Pink Diaspore, image courtesy of GIA(Pink Diaspore, image courtesy of GIA)

This gorgeous soft pink gemstone is relatively new to the jewellery scene and is taking the luxury goods market by storm. From its discovery in February 2020 by excavation of a new deposit in Afghanistan, several kilograms of the material have been reported with faceted stones being created holding a breath-taking 50 carats.

The diaspore is an orthorhombic aluminium oxide hydroxide mineral that is reported to display colour changing abilities in some of its stones – similar to that of Alexandrite. In different varieties of light, this pink stone can change into pale green, yellow, purple, and brown. However, this new variety of Diaspore displays a straight vibrant baby pink tone with a powerful pleochroism, only showing a slight variation in colour within the larger carats from pink to lavender. So far its cutting yield has been low due to the presence of cleavage fractures within the rough material, nevertheless those which have been able to be faceted have displayed its incandescent colour properties beautifully and have been extremely desirable to all gemstone enthusiasts. Its unique colour is attributed to its trace element concentrations of chromium and vanadium, which are lacking within the Turkish diaspore which has lower concentrations of vanadium.

Before this pink variety was discovered, the majority of these transparent diaspore gems were recovered from Turkey and excavation of them began from the 1970s, however it wasn’t until 2005 that commercial mining gave us a stable supply to the luxury industry. These beautiful stones were sold under a variety of trade names such as Zultanite and Csarite, yet many of those which were excavated were not large enough to be faceted and sold through the market. These Afghan gemstones hold a similar result with many being too small to pass through into the cutting and polishing stages, with only about 1% of the stones excavated making it to the luxury market, though due to its unique properties there is a higher desirability of the gemstone making them more valuable.

Cut and Polished Afghan Diaspore, image courtesy of GemFrance
(Cut and Polished Afghan Diaspore, image courtesy of GemFrance)

Unfortunately, due to the rarity of these gorgeous stones many of the mines within Afghanistan have closed due to their exhaustion – however due to a lot of the excavation being undertaken by local villagers, much of the mining has only been taken place in a localised area and so the extent of these deposits are yet unknown. If you’re lucky enough to find one if these beautiful pieces on the market make sure you grab a hold of one, its one you’ll regret if you miss it in your collection!