Expedition Zultanite: Erica Courtney’s New Turkish Delight

Erica Courtney’s latest lapidary crush may come from the
former Ottoman Empire, but it’s got present-day pretty appeal. The Los
Angeles–based designer known for her high-end diamond designs and Drop Dead
Gorgeous line of jewels recently travelled to the only source of Zultanite in
the world—Turkey’s remote Anatolian Mountains at a height of more than 4,000
feet—to see the stones first hand. What she brought back was a newfound appreciation
for the material, a diaspore with a hardness of 6.5–7.0, a relative density of
3.4, a refractive index of 1.70–1.75, and an Orthorhombic crystal structure,
and, some new styles featuring the naturally color-changing Zultanite.

According to supplier Ottoman Gem Suisse, “Zultanite’s rarity is not just
dictated by its natural scarcity and remoteness, but only 50 percent of all
Zultanite mined is suitable for faceting and up to 98 percent of the raw
crystals are lost during lapidary.”

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