This olive-green to bottle-green gemstone was most likely formed by the impact of a meteorite. Moldavite is a natural glass so most of these gemstones look fairly ordinary.
However there are truly spectacular varieties of moldavite crystal that cooled while airborne forming bizarre shapes. This type of moldavite is called ‘flower burst’.
High quality flower bursts are truly spectacular as can be seen below. When you think about the events that shaped this gemstone, it should not be missing from your gemstone collection.
What is Moldavite?
Formation of Moldavite
When moldavite was first found it was believed that it was an artificial product. Further research showed that no glass industry could be found anywhere in the area.
Not only that, but moldavite could be found over a large area. Which made it highly unlikely that this was correct and another answer had to be found.
Currently it is widely accepted that moldavite was formed during the impact of a meteorite about 15 million years ago. This theory was first proposed by F.E. Suess, who had noticed certain markings on this gemstone that resembled marks on meteorites.
The massive meteorite struck the area that is currently known as Nördlinger Ries. Silica-rich rock that was thrown into the air at impact cooled rapidly to form natural glass. Some pieces of molten rock cooled during flight and formed bizarre shapes as can be seen on the photo above. These shapes are often called flower bursts because of their similarity to flowers.
The chemical formula for moldavite is SiO2, silicon oxide. Better known as glass, another example of glass being used as a gemstone is fulgurite. Just like glass it has a hardness of around 5.5 on Mohs hardness scale. The high iron content of the rocks that were hit by the meteorite gave moldavite its green color.
Moldavite is translucent or transparent. Frequently air bubbles and swirls can be seen in this gemstone. Moldavite metaphysical properties are highly thought of in circles that believe in the power of gemstones. Because of its extraterrestrial origins it is able to make a strong connection to the cosmos.
Where is Moldavite Found?
Moldavite can be found around the area where the meteorite struck, Nördlinger Ries in Germany. The glass was scattered across the Czech Republic, Austria and Germany. Only an estimated 275 tons of moldavite has been formed in the entire world.
Currently there are only four mines in production, all located in the Czech Republic. It is highly like that commercial mining activity will cease in this decade, making moldavite a rare commodity.
Taking Care of Your Moldavite Gemstones
If you can take care of glass you can take care of moldavite, it’s a fairly simple gemstone. Just be sure to not bump into anything, because it could shatter.
If you own high quality flower burst moldavite you should be a bit more careful. Some of the extensions can break when treated roughly. This will make your moldavite value plummet.
Moldavite Buying Guide
Currently there are no enhancements known for this green gemstone. However there are plenty of imitations on the market, after all, how hard is it to imitate glass?
These imitations are fairly simple to detect though. Man-made glass does not contain striations and elongated bubbles, while moldavite is in most cases at least moderately included.
Normal quality moldavite is fairly cheap, usually selling for around $20-$30 per carat for a faceted stone. Usually a bit less than that for rough moldavites.
The flower bursts mentioned earlier are an entirely different beast however. Usually these are sold to museums or to private gem collectors for hundreds if not thousands of dollars for a good specimen.
If you’d like to own moldavite jewelry your best bet is to look around for a handmade jewelry shop or a store where they sell healing crystals and things like that. Almost no regular jewelry shop will be selling this gemstone, because its relatively unknown and most of it looks fairly plain compared to other gemstones.
Because of the fragility of moldavite, especially flower burst moldavite, I recommended buying earrings or a pendant instead of a moldavite ring. These are less likely to come into contact with hard objects which could damage your stone.
Please be aware that most of the moldavite sold in both online and brick and mortar shops is not natural. So make sure you are buying from a reputable shop with a good return policy. So that even if you yourself are not able to identify gemstones you can get a family member or friend to look at it.
If you are interested in this stone you should not hold off on buying for too long, as the end of commercial mining is in sight which will make this gemstone far more expensive.