By Danielle Olivia Tefft, Jewelry Writer
“Moldavite” is not a very glamorous name for a gemstone. But it was named for the Moldau River Valley in the Czech Republic where it was first discovered in the 1700s. Moldavite is unlike many other gemstones which are formed by geological processes far below the earth’s surface. Rather, the prized gem was created in the molten vapors created just before impact of a massive meteorite that smashed into the earth’s surface some 14 million years ago.
Moldavite is considered to be a form of natural glass; hence it is a vitreous gem. Since very few natural glasses are actually found on the earth’s surface, Moldavite is considered rare as far as gemstones go.
Fine gem quality Moldavite is forest green with yellow undertones or undertones in shades of brown. There are also lighter hues of Moldavite which appear to have grey undertones. But the most coveted stones are medium forest green with no brown undertones. Also, the more translucent Moldavite is, the higher priced it is.
Moldavite has a hardness of 5.5 on the Mohs Scale (diamonds are a 10 on the same scale). It is harder than organic gemstones like coral, pearls or amber but not as hard as emeralds, rubies or sapphires. Therefore, Moldavite can easily be scratched, especially if it is mounted in a ring that will be worn every day. Earrings or pendants featuring the gemstone are a much better choice, because they don’t typically see as much wear as rings.
Even gem quality Moldavite typically has imbedded areas of pitting. These flaws can appear like tiny bubbles at best or hairline cracks or fissures at worst. (Remember, it is a natural glass!) Moldavite does not need to be treated or enhanced like many other gemstones.
How much does Moldavite cost? Well, I checked the latest Moldavite selection at the Jewelry Television website (jtv.com). (For those of you who aren’t familiar with Jtv.com, they are currently the largest gemstone retailer in the world.) Here are the price points I found:
You can purchase a 14K gold and diamond ring with a 3 carat Moldavite gemstone for under $400. You can purchase sterling silver rings featuring Moldavite ranging from about $30 to $200 depending on the size of the Moldavite stone.
As far as loose gemstones go, you can purchase a nice 3 carat oval cut Moldavite from the Czech Republic for about $70 right now.
However, these prices won’t remain static. According to a personal friend of mine who is a gemstone expert and collector, the supply of Moldavite is dwindling rapidly, so its price will steadily increase.
So the next time you shop for multi-colored fine jewelry, or browse through a collection of estate jewelry, make sure you look for pieces that feature Moldavite. If you find one, take a moment to marvel at this forest green gem created by a meteor impact with the earth 14 million years ago!
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Danielle Olivia Tefft is a professional writer with a lifelong passion for gems and jewelry. She is a GIA accredited jewelry professional and is the owner of online antique and vintage jewelry shop, Treasure Box Antiques; for many years at Ruby Lane and now at Etsy. When she is not writing, she spends time in the garden, spoiling her cats and traveling with her significant other. Would you like to hire her? Would you like to advertise on her website or this blog? Visit danielleoliviatefftwrites.com for clips, terms, her media kit and more information.
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The Found in the Jewelry Box Blog is my attempt to teach others about the wonderful world of gems and jewelry, past and present. Please enjoy!