a publication of the International School of Gemology 17.April.2013

Surprise!.....it's Sodalite!

A natural gemstone and important revenue stream.....
Today we continue our efforts to help you become more profitable. Not based on some fairy tale expedition to some mystical Tibetan gemstone mine, but based on solid revenue streams generated by documented and established gemstones. Many of these you may have not considered due to lack of public familiarity, or perhaps you have simply overlooked them due to a lack of press coverage in the trade media. Either way, there are important revenue streams available to you through these gem materials that can help your bottom line. Today, we want to talk about the beautiful blue gemstone shown in today's banner! Surprise...it's Sodalite.
At left is a kilo sized chunk of rough sodalite that we obtained this past February at the Tucson Gem Shows for the ISG Student Reference Collection. As you can see, sodalite is known for its beautiful blue color that rivals a nice lapis lazuli, but with a far more significant amount of calcite veining than is seen with lapis lazuli. Additionally, sodalite can also have pyrite inclusions like lapis lazuli which is why it is sometimes miss-identified by the untrained gemologist or jeweler. Here are the gemological properties to help you identify this excellent gemstone material that is both plentiful and affordable, and makes beautiful jewelry items:
  • Chemical: chloric sodium aluminum silicate (the sodium content is the basis for the name of this gemstone)
  • Refractive Index: 1.48
  • Mohs' Hardness: 5 - 6
  • Crystal System: Cubic (isometric) although rarely found in crystal form
  • Specific Gravity: 2.13 - 2.29
  • Opaque to slightly translucent in finer qualities
  • Identification: Easy separation from lapis lazuli and all other similar gemstones based on a strong orange reaction to long wave fluorescence as seen below.
Below left: An oval cabochon cut sodalite of 102.80 carats. Below right: this gemstone under long wave ultraviolet light.
Looking at the images above it is easy to see why sodalite should never be mistaken for lapis lazuli for identification purposes, but the beauty of this affordable gemstone makes it an easy replacement for the more expensive lapis lazuli in regular ambient light.

The Lapidary Connection

Sodalite is one more example of why there needs to be a greater working relationship between the formal gemstone industry and the local lapidary and faceters guild industries. The kilo sized chunk of sodalite rough seen at top of this page cost less than US$80.00 at the Tucson Gem Shows. Put into the hands of a local carver or lapidary this chunk could generate a whole showcase full of matching sodalite jewelry whose retail markup would dwarf the profits from diamonds. Plus, being able to market these gemstones as one-of-a-kind from your company that is locally produced....I think you get the picture.

In the end...its all about business. Revenue streams. Creating revenue streams for yourself and your local gem cutting industry. No matter where you live, from Australia to Austria...Zambia to New Zealand...you can generate your own revenue streams to increase your business and your local economy if you just look for ways to generate revenue streams. Today we present an often overlooked gemstone that can be a profitable and important revenue stream for you.

And Surprise! It's Sodalite!

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