Posted by Dakota Stones on 6/29/2020 to
All of our gemstones at Dakota Stones are sourced from ethical suppliers, especially those sourced internationally. While we do support American stone suppliers and bead manufacturers within our own borders, we keep an eye out for the unique and exclusive stones coming in from around the world. This week we want to celebrate some of the rarest stones coming out of Siberia, Russia.
We must remember that Russia is the world’s largest country, and thus it contains an extremely diverse set of geology. Russia boasts four climate zones: arctic, subarctic, temperate and tropical. Taking this into account, it's no wonder some minerals are native to only Russia as its mixture of climates provides space for unique mineral formations. We are mainly looking at the stones sourced from Siberia, one of the oldest, largest, and northernmost provinces of Russia.
Charoite is possibly the rarest of this week’s selection, as it is sourced from a single mountain in Russia. It was named for a nearby River, the Chara. Because this mineral is so rare, it is highly sought after. Part of the Russian government’s debt was paid off in slabs of this material-- now these slabs are stored in a basement under the capital city of Hungary. This stone is a member of the chlorite group, and has a unique chatoyancy because of the reflective purple mineral. It was discovered in the 1940’s, but its rarity and value was not recognized until the 1970’s. You will find the beads to have similar chatoyancy to tiger eye, but the silver and dark lavender coloring will leave you speechless.
Seraphinite is also known for its chatoyancy, and is a member of the chlorite group as well. The way the layers of silvery mineral emerge in the stone is said to resemble angel’s wings, which is where the name comes from. The silvery effect is typically surrounded by dark grey or black stone, which creates an incredible contrast. These stones are incredibly rare, and we make sure to source the high-quality stone that makes the wait worth it.
Moonstone is part of the feldspar group, and is more closely related to labradorite. It does have a particular schiller effect coming from one angle in the stones, which is why one must take particular care when shaping the stone into beads. Russian moonstone is grey in color, often called “new moonstone.” This stone has been mined and worn by humans for centuries, and named because the Romans thought the stone resembled the solid rays from the moonlight.
Shungite is a modern material, the first instance of the name being coined only dating back to 1879. Then, the material could refer to any mineral with shungite inclusions-- and at the time, this meant just about any stone with carbon inclusions. Over time, we’ve been able to identify what makes shungite special-- which comes from the biological material it comes from. The name is derived from where it was discovered, like many other minerals -- Shunga, Russia, has the largest deposits of shungite. Shungite is also almost exclusively sourced from Russia, and the mineral has been illusive in most other places in the world.
Because of importation laws and generally limited quantity of these stones in the world, we do not know when, or if, these will ever come back in stock at Dakota Stones again. Our supply is limited as well, as the demand for these stones internationally is high, so get them while they last!