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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History


This intense orange-green titanite from Madagascar exhibits great dispersion with flashes of spectral colors and is a major upgrade from this locality for the National Gem Collection.
Photo by Greg Polley. Click to zoom.
Catalog Number NMNH G11478-00
Locality Madagascar
Weight 25.03 ct

Purchased with funds from the Tiffany & Co. Foundation in 2014.

Titanite, a calcium titanium silicate named for its titanium content, occurs as translucent to transparent crystals, typically forming as flattened wedge-shaped crystals, often twinned. Gem quality titanite can be found in shades of yellow, green, brown or red with a resinous to adamantine luster. Faceted stones are known for their pronounced dispersion or “fire.” Transparent specimens are also noted for their strong trichroism (exhibiting three different colors), typically greenish-yellow, reddish-yellow and nearly colorless, however the exact shades are dependent on the body color. Titanite is also known as sphene. However, the use of sphene was discredited by the International Mineralogical Association Commission on New Minerals and Mineral Names (CNMMN), and titanite is the approved name. Titanite is not commonly used in jewelry because it is brittle and rather soft (5.5 Mohs hardness), but it is a popular collector’s stone. Gem quality titanite can be found in Brazil, Mexico, Switzerland, and Madagascar. This intense orange-green titanite weighs 25.03ct and exhibits great dispersion with flashes of spectral colors.


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