Demantoid Desire

May 1999

Gemstones & Pearls:News

Demantoid Desire

Renewed production from Russia spurs interest

The past three years represent the greatest commercial availability of demantoids ever, thanks to renewed production at a mine along the Bobravka River in the Ural mountains. Even so, it remains rare, says Nicolai Kuznetsov of Russia, who mines the material, and Gabrièl Mattice of Pala International, Fallbrook, CA, which sells the Russian production in the U.S.

Demantoid was discovered in the mid- to late 1800s, became desirable after the Russian revolution in 1919, but is rarely seen now except in estate jewels.

To attract today's consumers, the producers are banking on demantoid's rarity as well as its bright, highly refractive index, superb color and striking "horsetail" inclusions. The inclusions comprise bissolite crystal fibers, though Mattice says the fibers also have been shown to be chrysotile, a fibrous form of serpentine. At their best, the inclusions seem to explode from the depths of the gem without detracting from its saturated color and scintillation.

Prices depend on the size, color and nature of inclusions. Sizes range from 0.25-2.5 carats.

  • Pala International, Fallbrook, CA; (800) 854-1598.

– by Robert Weldon, G.G.

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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