Mineral of the Month: Greenlandite, The Story of One of Earth’s Oldest Gemstones

Greenlandite, The Story of One of Earth’s Oldest Gemstones

greenlandite green aventurine quartz cabochon


A rare gemstone, greenlandite began its remarkable journey in the land of Greenland, where rugged landscapes and fascinating geology intertwined. Greenland was renowned for its geological diversity and bountiful array of minerals, but only some were as captivating as the precious stone known as "Greenlandite."

In the 1960s, a small and remote area named Nuuk became the birthplace of discovery for this extraordinary green aventurine-type rock. Inspired by this newfound interest in Greenland's geological treasures, the stone was affectionately dubbed "greenlandite." It held the distinction of being one of the oldest gemstones on Earth, having taken shape over a staggering 3.8 billion years ago. Such ancient origins placed greenlandite among the most venerable formations known to humanity.

This remarkable gemstone consisted primarily of quartzite, a sturdy mineral, but it possessed an extraordinary feature that set it apart—the presence of a vibrant, green chromium-bearing mica called fuchsite, a variation of muscovite. It was this fuchsite that lent greenlandite its resplendent emerald hue. When the quartzite and fuchsite intertwined, the result was a magnificent gemstone exhibiting a kaleidoscope of green shades.

greenlandite pendant

When expert artisans skillfully polished greenlandite, the fuchsite within would shimmer and sparkle, resembling scattered specks of glitter, enhancing the stone's innate beauty. These breathtaking cabochons, smooth and flawless, captured the essence of greenlandite's allure. Among jewelers, it became known as green aventurine quartz, a testament to its exceptional radiance.

In addition to its inherent beauty, greenlandite possessed unique properties that made it suitable for various purposes. When the gemstone was skillfully sliced into thin, translucent sheets, it allowed light to permeate, making it ideal for applications that required the passage of light. This versatility only added to its allure and made greenlandite highly sought after by those who admired its captivating charm.

News of greenlandite's discovery spread far and wide, captivating the attention of gem enthusiasts across the globe. Reports emerged of similar stones found in Brazil and southern Africa, but the greenlandite possessed a distinct quality. While its foreign counterparts displayed shades of green, the gemstone from Greenland possessed a mesmerizing bluish-green hue, setting it apart and making it a truly exceptional find.

Thus, the legend of greenlandite continued to unfold, capturing the hearts and imaginations of all who encountered its radiant beauty. The gemstone's journey, which began in the rugged landscapes of Greenland, was a testament to the wonders that lay hidden within our Earth's ancient past, waiting to be discovered and cherished for generations to come.

We talk a bit more about greenlandite here.


Quick facts: 

Chemical Formula: (Mg2)(Mg5)Si8O22(OH)2

Mohs Scale Hardness: 7.0

Luster: Vitreous to Pearly or Silky

Density: 2.77 – 2.88

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