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Gem Library

Hemimorphite (hem·i·mor·phite)

BUYER’S OVERVIEW:
Hemimorphite is considered to be a semi-precious gemstone. While not abundant in nature, Hemimorphite in its opaque form is not rare and good size stones are available. Hemimorphite in transparent form is rare and typically only small stones of less than 3 carats are found. Two crystalline forms of Hemimorphite are known, the type that produces a transparent, gem quality blue to blue-green botryoidal crust resembling Smithsonite is the most sought after.

COLOR:
White, blue, green or clear; some times Hemimorphite is banded. Gem quality, transparent blue is the most valuable color. after.

APPEARANCE:
Transparent to opaque, Hemimorphite is a Type II gemstone and is usually included.

SIZE RANGE:
Transparent stones are very rare, typically 1 to 3 carats, opaque can be massive, frequently over 1000 carats.

TYPICAL CUTTING STYLES:
Transparent: most cutting styles are available.
Translucent: cabochons, beads and carvings.

POSSIBLE ENHANCEMENTS & TREATMENTS:
Occasionally, dyed to improve color.

HARDNESS:
4½ to 5 on the Mohs scale.

BEST USE OF THE GEMSTONE:
Transparent Hemimorphite is not a strong gemstone and as such, earrings, pendants, pins, and tie tacks are probably the safest choice for this stone. Rings should be limited to occasional wear and the stones should be set with a protective setting. Opaque material is stronger than transparent and can be easily worn.

CARE & CLEANING:
Hemimorphite needs special care to avoid scratching the surface of the gemstone. It is advisable to wrap the gem or jewelry containing Hemimorphite in a soft cloth to prevent the stone from rubbing against metal or another gemstone during storage. It is best to never expose colored gemstones to cleaning solvents or chemicals of any kind.

Common cleaning methods include:
Ultrasonic: never
Steamer: never
Warm soapy water: safe
Reaction to Chemicals: gelatinizes easily with acids.
Reaction to Heat: very heat sensitive
Stability to Light: stable

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THIS GEMSTONE:
Discovered in 1853, Hemimorphite was originally named “Calamine”. However, as the name had already been used for another mineral, it was renamed Hemimorphite after its hemimorphic crystal structure, “Hemi” meaning “Half”, while “Morph” means “Shape”. Hemimorphis crystals produce a different termination at each end of the crystal; thus the term half shape. First discovered in Romania, Hemimorphite has two distinct crystal forms, one form is noted for its sprays and clusters of very glassy, clear or white, thin, bladed crystals and can be found in nearly every mineral museum in the world. The other form produces a blue to blue-green botryoidal crust that resembles Smithsonite.

DESIGNATION:
Hemimorphite currently has no traditions associated with it.

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