GemNotes

BUYER'S GUIDE: ANDALUSITE This is the eighth in a series by Senior Editor Robert Weldon designed to help jewelers buy different types of gems. What to look for: A few decades ago, the mineral andalusite, an aluminum silicate, was used to manufacture automobile spark plugs. Named for Andalucia, Spain, where it was first found, it held little promise as a gemstone. Indeed, gem connoisseurs scoffed at andalusite's commonly small sizes, cleavage problems and often visible rutile needle inclusions. But when andalusite was discovered in Sri Lanka and later in Brazil, opinions began to change. The gems found there were quite dramatic and beautiful, especially if well-cut. Andalusite has been largely a collector's gem, partly for the reasons mentioned above, but also because it is relatively rare in consistent clean sizes and quantities. But its popularity among designers and jeweler
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