Posted by Dakota Stones on 4/20/2020 to
We’ve talked about thulite before on our blog—it’s a naturally pink stone of the zoisite family, named for the mythical island of Thule by ancient Romans.
Thulite is often mistaken for any pink zoisite, however, what makes thulite special is the manganese content in the stone. Manganese is an element, somewhat unstable, but when purified with no inclusions is a metallic, silvery material.
Most thulite comes in a rosy-red color, but the thulite we source from is a unique, rare light pink because of the manganese has been heavily oxidized. While it does calcium to oxidize manganese in this way, you will find out beads to have very few inclusions when compared to other sources. This way you can enjoy the exceptional gentle pink color without a large quantity of cloudy white inclusions.
Gemstones must go through a long process before they are made into finely polished rounds like the ones we sell. Zoisite, and other brittle materials can be difficult to work with. The stones grow in long columnar structures, but when carved to make beads, the stone tends to break apart unpredictably. However, because they are columnar in form, the first two steps of the process are easier than others. First a large slap of rock is mined, which then gets cut into slabs. The slabs are graded appropriately for the size of bead is desired. The slabs are then run through a cutting machine, which slices them into manageable rectangular shapes. They are then run through another slicing machine, which cuts them into cubes.
At this stage in the process, if cubes are the desired shape, a hole is drilled through the bead, which is then polished, and quality inspected. If the bead is attractive with an appropriate amount of inclusions for the stone type, the beads are strung together and ready to sell.
If faceted rounds, or any type of rounds are desired, the cubes are put into a large vibrating machine that rounds off the cube’s hard edges. Then they are rolled out onto a grooved sanding surface to make the rounds take their final shape. During all steps of this process, a large amount of water is used, both to speed up the eroding process, and to keep large amounts of dust out of the area that can be harmful to workers. Once the sanding portion of the process is completed, the stones are taken to a tumbler, where they are polished to create a fine luster.
Finally the beading holes are drilled through the beads, and are strung then prepared for selling! With gemstones like thulite, extra care is taken when supplying these minerals, in order to make sure the dusty rose color is maintained in all our beads. This time we’ve sourced new shapes in our line of thulite. Rest assured that no matter to cut of the bead, our quality is guaranteed, and the color of our thulite is as well!