Variscite: "Don't Call me Turquoise"
Variscite is a rare, green, phosphate mineral. Its color varies from a yellow green to emerald green often with black or white/cream inclusions running through it. These colors are due to the presence of chromium and vanadium. The mineral crandallite reveals itself in the form of white veins running throughout. The original Variscite was found in Germany, 1837, at Messbach, Voigtland, Saxony. The ancient name for Voightland is Variscia, named for a Germanic tribe that settled there.
Variscite is mined all over the world with some of the best gem quality deposits right here in the United States, in Utah and Nevada.
Over the years there has been some confusion and misrepresentation between variscite and turquoise because of the similarity in color as well as that both minerals are often found in the same locale. Before modern testing could differentiate between the two, miners would often call it “Variquoise”. The biggest difference between the two minerals is the hardness. Variscite is listed as 3.5 - 4.5 on the MOHS scale where turquoise is rated at 5.
Personally, as an avid collector, Variscite is one mineral I’ve really admired because of its rarity and exceptional patterning. I also have a soft spot for it because of my love for turquoise. In the past I have only seen Australian Variscite cut into beads, but sadly, it is very high-priced. Over the years our tradeshow attendees would ask if we had American Variscite or if I had ever seen it in bead form. Regretfully, I would have to tell them “no.”
Needless to say. I was ecstatic when we were able to get these high quality, American mined stones in stock! We now have authentic, North American Variscite from Nevada that we are able to offer at a reasonable price for our customers.