About Sugilite


Sugilite is for some a fairytale and for others a memory of something small that they saw one time somewhere. Sugilite has been in a category of lesser-known gemstones all its life. This is imparted to its limited quantity to ever be unearthed as well as the amount to make it into the commercial market. Sugilite did not gain recognition by the Gem and Jewelry industry until the mid 1980’s. At this time, certain involved parties hoarded and exploited the material for whimsical advantageous financial gain. Claims were commonplace about “owning the mine” and it being the “sole source”. Still today there is a vast amount of poor information and false information about sugilite in the world. People can still be found claiming that the material is either called something other than sugilite or they may claim it’s from some place sugilite has never ever come from. This is the long disheartening truth of sugilites’ rise to fame. It’s taken several decades for sugilite to be more widely known and recognized for its stunning purple color. The biography of Sugilite encapsulated on this site is the most comprehensive assemblage of knowledge regarding sugilite’s history. The story of sugilite is vast, and sadly, recognition to its discoverer and the most influential people associated with it has been lost, until now. All of what it has become today is encapsulated in the pages of this site. Many pieces will briefly delve into the background of the uses and current existence of sugilite, to go further actual accounts and the names of a few will be cited to help us understand the evolution of this mysterious gemstone from nothing to the unicorn stone it is today.


Taking a glimpse into sugilite is like looking through the hourglass of time. In order to better understand this timeline regarding sugilite, a person must be able to dichotomize all the pieces that work together. Importantly are the human cogs that bring sugilite to the marketplace it is today. Today’s sugilite is found ever increasingly in high end jewelry. However, the nice lavender and purples commonly found with sugilite are becoming more and more scarce. This is due to the fact that a majority of what has ever been discovered has already been manufactured and sold. There is an extremely dwindling market availability for the lavender and purple types of sugilite. Today wholesalers who once sold rich purple sugilite by the tens of kilos are left with tons of black manganese ore strewn with wispy traces of purple sugilite. The result is jewelry manufacturers are left with little to work with. Thus, when the color rich purple grape or lavender/fuchsia sugilite is stumbled upon it commands a very high premium. Sugilite has been a favorite of Native Americans as well as Chinese, Japanese and American interests. One of the hurdles sugilite has faced throughout its history is that it is not plentiful enough for large scale commercial operations. Therefore, selling thousands and thousands of units that require the same type of material was never a feasible task. Perhaps sugilite was fortunate in this regard as it helped it remain a small niche item that always held extremely high value.

Sugilite’s discovery between 1940 and 1944 by Keni-Chi Suji was made on their small island in the southern waters of Japan. This island known as Iwagi island was just the start of what would one day become an incredibly treasured gemstone known around the world. Interestingly enough, the original sugilite that was discovered in Japan was a faint pale green and white structure that somewhat resembled granite. It wasn’t until the South African discovery that sugilite really began to shine. The sugilite found in the Wessels mine in South Africa was a bright deep purple that came in many shades of the color. People would soon realize this was an actual gemstone destined for the jewelry industry. This first major deposit was unearthed in 1981, found in the Kuraman iron fields of South Africa. This is where sugilite was given real consideration and was later acknowledged in 1987 by GIA the Gemological Institute of America as a Gemstone. An initial report and catalog and the catalog were done in rock and gem magazine to properly analyze the scientific elements as well as the gemological qualities of the mineral. The G.I.A. report put emphasis on two different types of Sugilite. One that was considered Manganoan or having a grown steaming and dominantly influenced by the host rock manganese and chalcedony material, which was more crystalline in nature, due to the host material being dominantly quartz material.

Then the Manganoan material, as identified by GIA, was deep grape purple. The highest purity having transparent qualities and some not. The deep dark purple “gel” sugilite had the highest concentration of sugilite in it. Gel referred to the mild transparency through this dark rich purple material. The chalcedony material while having a lesser concentration of sugilite in the rock matrix it yielded lighter purples and hues of that purple. Chalcedony material has yielded mostly of the spectrum of lavenders and fuchsia tones. Some material has been found of both types to have neon pink colors as well as rich raspberry colors. Today, to most people's knowledge the Manganoan material are all but extinct, due to the fact that there is about 2 times as much chalcedony material as deep purple Manganoan. In its early years cutters focused on the deep purple sugilite and it has been used to the point of almost complete disappearance.

A factoid for thought –

EVERY YEAR approximately 54 tones of tanzanite are mined. Tanzanite was discovered in 1967. Over 2754 tones of tanzanite has come out of the earth since its discovery.

Sugilite was discovered over 20 years earlier than tanzanite. An estimated 21 tones of sugilite have EVER been unearthed.


FYI... there hasn’t been any sugilite discovered or brought out of the mine in the last 20 years…. They estimate the tanzanite supplies are predicted to run another 20 years. Which means in 20 years, SUGILITE will be 175 times rarer than tanzanite!

The Manganoan grade was found to be a dark purple. Sometimes found in bands, sometimes found in layering, and sometimes found with beautiful flowering and spotting patterns, however always flush in dark purple color. This high purity material was the first to be used and obviously and is the hardest to find today. People will tell you sugilite is unfindable and is unavailable. Yet some small amounts of high-quality sugilite and pure grade sugilite are available on the market to those who know how to look for it. In a world constantly governed by money people are always trying to put in their hand in the pot to prevent other people from getting directly to the source. This level of greed has prevented a large portion of the market from ever attaining access to sugilite.


Something unknown to most of the gemological community as well as the jewelry world is the exportation of SUGILITE has been generally nonexistent since the 1990s. However, most of what has been mined was exported and sold prior to the 1990s. Some people immediately go to google to do research to see where else to buy sugilite. Sugilite can be found however no massive amounts of sugilite exist. Trace amounts sugilite as far as mineral deposits go have been found in places such as Canada, Italy, Turkey Russia and France however none of it sustained gemological grade to be cut or made into jewelry. Sugilite has been known as a stone that lacked transparent qualities compared to diamonds, tanzanite or some rubies and therefore was always thought of to be a stone that would be cut into cabochons thought to be made as an accent stone. There is a portion of sugilite that was pure enough and transparent enough to be faceted. This faceted material often ranges from $100 per carat $2000 per carat and is extremely rare.

The Science and the metaphysical attributes

Some interesting facts about sugilite are that it’s between 2 and 2.6 billion years old, sugilite is equal to the age of diamonds as far as their origination on earth and one of the oldest stones used in jewelry. Sugilite fuels fascination from admires around the world. The vibrant purple color spectrum moves from a deep lustrous magenta purple to a lighter violet lavender and fuchsia. The strong colors inspire artistic passions alluding to the aura of hidden meanings to whomever embraces the stone. For many, the simple act of holding, touching or possessing a piece sugilite provides great positive thoughts and benefits.

In other communities, metaphysical interests have found sugilite to have particularly unique qualities and benefits. Sugilites solid purple color has always been thought to be an important healer stone and used to gently draw out pain. Known for reducing headaches, inflammation, stress, disease, toxins and emotional blocks; it has been considered a protecting stone that absorbs and dissolves anger, hurt, unwanted energies. It is placed on the brow to alleviate depression, despair, and stress. It brings light into the physical body and the heart for healing. It creates balance for your dream state and pituitary glands, left and right brain peace of mind, and a supportive asset for well-being and spiritual love.

Color in our society

For thousands of years the color of purple has been assigned to royalty as well as wealth universally across humans existence. The royal purple color has served as a centerpiece as well as a complement for a variety of other gemstones treasured by those of value good

What makes Sugilite so special?

The answer to this question would be answered differently by different people. If you find the metaphysical properties provided from the stone to be the draw, that would be the answer. However, for many the interest is in the deep rich purple color offered by sugilite is rarely exhibited by any other minerals. Furthermore, the nature of the stone provides a solid color versus some transparency that can lend itself to being washed out. Sugilite is rare it’s extremely uncommon that a person would ever come across it on any occasion. There are a select few jewelers worldwide that use it in a very limited scope with very high-end jewelry. This jewelry is generally 18k gold or better and commonly mounted with a compliment of other stones. Native Americans are marvelous at showcasing the bright colors of gemstones. Their jewelry generally stays away from fine faceted stones like diamonds and emeralds. They embrace a more docile and earthy setting with other colors provided from stones like turquoise and coral. It is a rare and very seldom occurrence to see custom exotic manufacturers for one off pieces, when you do, they are usually for specialty clients. Sugilite’s scarcity makes it a premier item to be used in special one-of-a-kind pieces. Also, sugilite has a never-ending number of patterns and variations of the purple color it can be found from fuchsia to lavender to pink to purple some almost as dark as red sun with a raspberry hue.

Sugilite for almost all circumstances is very unique like a finger print. The wealth of patterns and colors of sugilite are comparable to a complex combination lock where there are millions of combinations. No two pieces of Sugilite are alike or identical, every single piece of sugilite has its own natural color and pattern which makes that stone unique. This is one of the qualities that is highlighted with sugilite.

Sugilite is impervious from any attempts to enhance the color via heating or dying. The same cannot be said for tanzanite or sapphire, scandals are abundant in the gemstone world. A great portion of turquoise sold today is not 100% natural. To further explain most turquoise mined in the last 30 years is either too soft, too polish, aka- it’s like chalk or it lacks color so its pale like chalk. To solve this 99% of modern turquoise is crushed to powder and then reconstituted with dye enhancements. It is reconstituted with an epoxy like resin that when cured it is hard enough to polish. For stones like sapphires and tanzanite, heat is the trick. Taking a stone and heating it and adding a lite amount of metal to the point the metal vaporizes can add color to a stone that would normally not pass for jewelry quality material. To make things worse the naked eye generally can’t tell.

Sugilite for the win!!

Sugilite cannot be treated. Sugilite cannot be dyed due to the mineral base that it’s made of. It is 100% resistive to dye permeation as well as does not change in any manner when subjected to heat. Todays concern is that people are working hard to replicate Sugilite’s look due to the desirable nature. The old saying, if it looks to good to be true it probably is, really applies here. The largest gem show in the world happens every January inn Tucson AZ where I have found on a rare occupancy people trying to sell things as sugilite that are not. One really crazy occurrence the person selling the material represented it as sugilite and in fact it was however when wiped with lacquer thinner or acetone a horrible coating of purple paint of dye came off of the rock. So someone has sprayed this entire lot of sugilite with this purple paint to “enhance” the color profile of face value. Knowing that most large parcels are sent to china for cutting the unknown inn buyer would be merely disappointed by what he received in finished product. Other types of scams currently coming out of china dominantly are glass imitations. This is done because the color does not come out when exposed to alcohols ie acetone, lacquer thinner. However at sugilite.com we spend several thousand a year buying what we believe to be fake sugilite off sites like Etsy, eBay, and other online sources and we send it to a Graduate Gemologist of GIA to have it tested. The reason this is done is to help keep the environment for sugilite honest. There are already so many scandals and so much bad information out there about sugilite.

The short version of this long story is that there is not enough natural Sugilite. So what can you do to tell if its real or fake. Again this starts with common sense and a little digging. For starters who are they and where are they? This matters, if they have hundreds or thousands of listings and everything is 39.99 and what they are offering you have seen it for $900 else where.. sounds too good to be true, probably fake. Next how is it being sold, in other words is it being sold in “vermeil” metal jewelry, probably fake. Vermeil is a fancy word for gold plating, and gold plating is a joke. Let’s put some $$$$ to this so you fully understand, to gold plate 1 ring would require 1/160 of a gram of gold, that means it has about 36 CENTS OR 36 PENNYS worth of gold on it. And to make it worse the metal they are plating is probably brass or nickel. Either way only another 3-5 cents worth of those metals. So if you see “vermeil” or “gold plated” justly know you’re buying costume jewelry that’s likely all fake. We see lots of real sugilite that is lower quality being sold in sterling silver, again much much more valuable than “gold plate”.

Here are some other distinguishing ways to be able to identify fake sugilite from real. One of those ways is the heat application, a person can get a very hot needle and apply it to the very bottom of a stone most plastics are not resistive to the heat the hot instantly melts it and will put a little tiny hole in it and you may smell burnt plastic this is one of the oldest ways. Some of the newer ways involve chemicals you can take the sample and drop it in a glass cup with enough lacquer thinner or acetone to cover the piece, after sitting over night the clear acetone may turn purple!!! Don’t cry but what you have is a fake. Okay and the hardest one to find out if its fake or not is glass. Yes GLASS, when we think of glass we thing of a clear window however long before there were clear windows humans made stained glass. This was glass that had other substances added to create colors in the glass. Glass with not fade like plastic nor will it burn like plastic however there are some options the best option is to have it evaluated by GIA and get a report on it. GIA with run a series of lab tests on it and will issue a report of the specific item submitted to them. Another at home option should be done with care and caution, exposure to a torch with cause glass to glow and it with happen quickly, sugilite however will never really glow cause it is more of a rock.


The crystalline structure of Sugilite is a very interesting topic to talk about. Something very rarely known is the composition of Sugilite in a crystalline structure when photographed under a photon microscope matches the star formation similar to the star of David. This crystal formation is completely unique to sugitlie.

Variations in colors and patterns

Sugilite is known for being as the truly purple as you get… the rich purple color is overwhelming when it’s all taken in … further because sugilite has such and infinitesimal amount of hues and patterns one never really get bored of it!