I have some on Finnish Spectrolite. I assume you
bought the material from the GLDA Holiday Inn Show, because our
New York office is producing and promoting this material, and
they were there. The guys in New York tell me we’re the sole
distributors of material from this area, but in this business,
as you know, there aren’t many ‘sole distributors’ of anything,
at least not for very long!
Anyway, I’ve got some references on the material.
See Lapidary Journal , August 1993 , “Spectactular Spectrolite”,
by Si & Ann Frazier
Australian Gemologist , February 1989, “Gemmology study club
lab reports : Spectrolite”
Lapidary Journal , October 1980, “Spectrolite, Finland’s Gem
Labradorite”, by K. and D. Koshi
The article by the Fraziers is very good, as usual. They went
to Finland to see the deposits. They report in the article that
the earliest report of Labradorite from Labrador was written
around 1770, by a missionary by the name of Wolfe. A decade
later, similar Labradorite was discovered near St. Petersburg,
in western Russia. The Finnish ‘Spectolite’ was discovered near
Yllama, only 8 kms. from the present Russian border, during WWII
as blasting was being done to create bunkers for tanks.
I understand from talking to our Finnish partners that the mine
is open only 3 months per year, the only time the place isn’t
frozen solid. Appears on my large map to be around 65 degrees
N. Latitude, and not far from St. Petersburg. Beautiful
glaciated country, say the Fraziers. I like the stuff. The
range of color is wide, from greens, to reds, to oranges and
greens. Many pieces, but not all, display the characteristic
royal blue. Different people like different pieces; it’s that
kind of stone. If cut to a normal-domed cab, the Ylaama
material that we have (maybe others as well) displays a sharp and
straight cat’s-eye over the labradorescense. Pretty cool stuff.
I like the flat-topped cabs we produce better though; the eye is
not as evident, but the play of color is stronger. The best sizes
are over 10x8, large enough to show color. The largest size that
can be cut for large orders is 20x15 Oval - there are pieces
larger than this, but not very many. They are rather impressive,
though, I must say.
Most pieces display cracks, especially if you illuminate it from
below. I’ve had no complaints about breakage from the setters,
but I suppose some care should be taken with it. It seems to be
well accepted by the American and European markets, especially.
I brought it to Japan two weeks ago, and will do so again next
week, with some, but not great interest shown there so far. A
little too dark. I think it looks better with silver than with
gold, but I’ve seen nice Spectrolite jewelry made with each.
Sorry to be so lenthy today. I recommend the Frazier’s article
if you have access to the issue.
Best Regards, Scott.