|Even among collector's of gem
rarities, Zektzerite is not widely known. This despite the fact that
the mineral is quite lovely, reasonably durable and is, in fact, an uniquely
U.S. gem material.
Perhaps one reason for this is that Zektzerite
was only identified as a separate species in the late 1970's. Upon
first encountering the mineral, it was thought (due to the color and
apparent habit) to be Beryl. The locality, in Washington's Golden Horn
Batholith, is extremely rugged and even when thoroughly searched, the small
pockets containing Zektzerite are few and far between. So, ultimately,
the lack of familiarity with this gem has to do with one simple fact - it's
Drawing a comparison with another collector's
gem may provide some perspective. Let's use a much more widely known
collector's favorite, Benitoite. Both gems are found in gem grade in
just one locality worldwide, both in the western U.S. for that matter.
Both have an attractive color range - these are lovely gems and not deep
brown or colorless gems as so many rarities are. Moreover, in terms of
hardness and durability, both Benitoite and Zektzerite are capable of being
jewelry stones. The similarities disappear however when you consider
the relative abundance of Benitoite in comparison - think of those huge
specimens literally covered with the blue pyramidal crystals of Benitoite.
No such proliferations of Zektzerite exist - crystals are exponentially
rarer at their locality.
Consider then the likelihood of actually having
a faceted example of this mineral; quite literally one of the gem world's
great rarities. Unless you happen upon a hidden trove or decide to
take a collecting trip yourself, there is not more than a slim chance of
finding these in the marketplace. We assembled a few of this treasures
and loaned them to GIA for a recent article - see Gems and Gemology,