Moldavite is the only precious stone from the tektite class. It comes in a wide variety of colors and shapes, but the color of the stone is always the same – green.
In jewelry, moldavite is often used uncut: its embossed, slightly rough to the touch surface is attractive in its own way. Moldavite has nothing to do with Moldova. Most of its deposits are located in the Czech Republic, not far from the Vltava River, which is why the Czechs call the green bottle stone “vltavin”. But in German the river is called differently – Moldau. The stone is named after her.
Moldavite was first discovered in 1786 by Dr. Joseph Mayer. He lived in the town of Tin Nad Vltavu, on the banks of the Vltavu River, and worked as a professor of natural history at Charles University in Prague. At first, Mayer decided that he had found either beryl of volcanic origin, or dark chrysolite.
In 1836, Professor F.M. Zippe investigated the find. He revealed the differences from the minerals already known at that time, and called the stone moldavite.
Place of Birth
About 14 million years ago, an asteroid fell to Earth. When it collided with the earth’s surface, it formed a huge crater with a diameter of 24 km. Particles of the asteroid hit the atmosphere, and then landed in the Czech Republic, Germany and Austria. Most of them were lost due to soil erosion.
The largest deposits of moldavite are found in the upper basin of the Moldau River, as well as in the south and west of Ceske Budejovice. The total collective weight of all Moldavites ever found is about 275 tons. 10 million of these have been found in South Bohemia.
Also known are the deposits of stone in Moravia: they have a more pronounced brown tint, and are sometimes called differently – Moravites. There are deposits in Austria and Germany, but they are extremely scarce. Scientists predict that the amount of moldavite in the jewelry market will decline over time. It is mined only in a limited area, and due to the demand for stone is regularly growing. This can lead to shortages and, as a consequence, higher prices.
Moldavite is a green stone. Only shades vary – grassy, mossy, brown-marsh. The stone can be transparent or translucent, with a large number of third-party inclusions that resemble curved lines and air bubbles.
Due to its unusual origin, moldavite boasts original shapes. Each stone fell to the ground from a different height, and was subjected to different temperature stress. Some of the specimens fell apart, others twisted during rotation, and a third stretched in length. Most often, moldavites are found in the form of a drop, a sphere or a flat disc. More rare – resemble an arc, horn or crescent.
Air bubbles are often found in Moldavites found in South Bohemia. Their diameter varies from 0.1 mm to 1 cm. The bubbles were formed in the upper atmosphere of the Earth, which explains the low pressure inside them – 19-25 times lower than the pressure at sea level. Moldavite is a stone with a low hardness, ranging from 5.5-7.0 on the Mohs scale. The properties of the mineral are in many ways identical to those of the bottle glass, to which it is so similar. It is not surprising that their chemical formula is also identical – silicon dioxide.
Most Moldavites are stones weighing several carats. There are also larger specimens, up to 25 carats, but they are very rare.
Scope of application
Moldavite is loved by jewelry designers and artists. A rough stone in the form of a flat disc or drop resembles a petal of a bizarre plant. To emphasize the original texture of moldavite, it is not cut, but left almost in its original form. At the same time, the cut stone is also popular. Its deep color is emphasized with the help of classic cuts – round or “emerald”. Moldavite looks especially impressive with other stones of extraterrestrial origin – for example, meteorites. It is also paired with transparent quartz, matte sandalwood, white agate to highlight the difference in color and texture.
The cost of moldavite is directly related to its mass. On average, Czech stones weighing 0.5-19.99 g are sold at prices ranging from $ 8 to $ 15 per gram. But the cost can rise to $ 30 per gram when it comes to a stone with an expressive texture and rich shade.
How to distinguish a fake
Moldavite is a rare stone, but it is often counterfeited. Due to the resemblance to bottle glass, the imitations are quite realistic: a piece of plastic or glass can be very similar to natural stone. Still, there are ways to distinguish moldavite from a fake. Natural moldavite contains elongated inclusions that resemble curved thin worms.
They are formed by molten grains of sand that got inside the stone immediately after its formation. Inclusions can be detected with a magnifying glass on a polished, chipped, or confined piece of stone. In addition, air bubbles will always be present in natural moldavite.
Determining the authenticity of a rough stone is more difficult. Arm yourself with a magnifying glass and inspect the surface of the moldavite: if it is perfectly flat, without chips or dents, it is most likely a fake. Natural stones often have defects resulting from a long stay in the ground or during excavations. To examine the structure of moldavite in more detail, you can wet it.
It is useful to be guided by the following rules
- Each Moldavite is unique. There are no two identical stones in nature. if you find specimens of the same shape, size, with the same inclusions, this is an imitation.
- A bright green, like a beer bottle, is a sign of a fake. Natural stone has a more subdued shade.
- If the stone is free of bubbles and inclusions, it is most likely glass.
- If it sells too cheaply, too. The stone is neither green nor brown – not moldavite.
Most of the Moldavians entering the jewelry market are from the Czech Republic. If you are offered stones mined in other regions, this is a reason to be wary: the exceptions can be counted on one hand.
- Storage and care Moldavite is a stone with a slight hardness comparable to bottle glass. This means it is easy to scratch. Moldavite jewelry must be protected from contact with other jewelry and accessories. If you put on a ring with moldavite, there should be no other rings on your hand.
- Since moldavites contain numerous inclusions, ultrasonic systems cannot be used to clean them. Lukewarm water and a few drops of liquid detergent are enough to remove dust and dirt. You can use a soft bristled brush to remove stubborn stains.