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Scapolite (variety: Cat's Eye)

Scapolite comes from the Greek word skapos, meaing rod, and lithos, meaning stone, and is commonly found in stubby to long prismatic crystals. It is not a well known gemstone, but can be very attractive. Scapolite gemstones can be white, gray, yellow, light brown to orange, pink or purple. The less transparent material is often cut en cabochon and will commonly exhibit a cat's-eye effect, as seen here. The effect refers to the sharp ray of white light crossing the cabochon as a center line along its length. Microscopic tube-like cavities or needle-like inclusions form in a parallel orientation so when cut en cabochon the resulting "line" or cat’s eye is present. If the cat's eye is not distinct, the scapolite gem sometimes will display an adularescence, or soft white glow, similar to moonstone. Gem quality scapolite is found in Brazil, Madagascar, Switzerland, and Burma.

Image Number: Ken Larsen
Catalog Number: G10553
Weight: 12.81 carats
Gift of Bill Larson , 2008
Locality: Mogok , Burma

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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Department of Mineral Sciences website Credits