Moldavite crystal is not a typical gemstone, it is actually a tektite – a type of silica impact glass created by the crash landing of a meteorite. This vitreous olive green to dark mossy green crystal was unearthed in 1787 around the Moldau River in modern-day Czech Republic, the former country of Czechoslovakia.
Moldavite becomes a stunning green gem when polished
While the general opinion is that the glass was created by the meteorite impact, some experts believe that this translucent material has an extra-terrestrial source that melted into glass during the meteorite’s journey from outer space to the earth.
This glass-like amorphous crystal varies from transparent through translucent to opaque in its clarity. When it comes to Moldavite, the stunning shades of green offer the telltale signs to differentiate it from other tektites available in the hues of yellow to earthy brown and tints of black. This distinguishing green colour can be attributed to the presence of an interesting colouring agent – iron. The distinctive inclusions in Moldavite feature a ‘wiring’ flow texture and tiny bubbles.
Two Moldavites from southern Bohemia, Czech Republic (top row) and two recent imitations from China (bottom row). The natural specimen on the top right measures 44 mm across. Photo by Jaroslav Hyršl via GIA.com
Traditionally, a rough Moldavite crystal is cut into emerald, round and small cabochon shapes. An imperfect and poorly cut or an unpolished Moldavite specimen appears quite dull when compared to a polished and finely cut piece. Moldavite is a glass and much like all glasses, this gemstone calls for special care as it is quite fragile in nature.
Moldavite has been hailed as a talisman over the centuries for its soothing crystal structure and metaphysical power. Fusing the energies of earth and cosmos, Moldavite is known as the stone of integrity and connectivity. This crystal is said to resonate with the chakras to activate and rejuvenate them to release any repressed emotional and spiritual blockage. The frequency of Moldavite is believed to have a profound impact in unleashing and accelerating individual spiritual evolution.
The dulcet shades of Moldavite make it one of the most commonly imitated gemstones. From the earliest of the nineteenth century until today, different types of green glass have been sold to unassuming buyers as Moldavite. Simulated man-made glass with intense variegations have occasionally replaced the original. However, a faceted natural and unadulterated piece of Moldavite can be identified by its muted lighter shades of green, abundant bubbles, and diagnostic “wire” outlines of high-temperature silicon dioxide known as lechatelierite.
The Moldavite crystal with its fascinating provenance is sought after by collectors and is yet to experience mass popularity as a jewellery quality gemstone. Nevertheless, increasing interest in Moldavite has been witnessed owing to its metaphysical qualities, and leading to its growing availability.
Glass in a silver brooch, hallmark from 1866. Private collection, photo by Jaroslav Hyršl via GIA.com
As far as collector-quality gemstones are concerned, Moldavite fetches a modest price. Based on the size and colour of the Moldavite, the price can start from US$70 for a piece as small as 3 grams and go much higher for bigger options. The price category is completely different for larger Moldavite specimens weighing above 20 grams and featuring outstanding characteristics.
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