Benitoite Tidbits


Benitoite is pronounced beh-nee-tow-ite.  The very rare and beautiful Benitoite is found in just one location on earth, in the Diablo Mountain range of San Benito, California.  Benitoite was discovered in 1906  by J.M. Couch in San Benito County.  In 1907, George D. Louderback, a professor at the University of California identified Benitoite as a new mineral species and named the new gemstone Benitoite after the San Benito location it was found in. In 1985, California named Benitoite its state gemstone.   

A Benitoite's amazing blue color is often compared to the finest blue sapphire.  Benitoite has an intense Blue color, also found in violet blue, violet and very rare clear and pink colors.  This gemstone has very strong blue and colorless pleochroism.  It displays this when you tilt the gem or when viewed with a dichroscope. A dichroscope is an instrument that is used to see if a gem shows pleochroism.  Benitoite will also fluoresce a bright blue color under shortwave ultra violet light.

Benitoite is never treated and is 100% natural.  It also has the same dispersion (internal fire) as a diamond.  It is extremely rare to find a faceted Benitoite that reached 1 carat in size.  There are also Benitoite gemstones that are not facet grade and they are cut into cabochons. 

Benitoite is 6.5 on the MOHS scale for hardness making this gem suitable for jewelry.

As with any gemstone you purchase, buy from a reputable person who will guarantee the authenticity of your gem and disclose to you any enhancement or treatments that have been done.

Linda McMurray, G.G., A.J.P