Kyanite comes from the Greek word KUANOS which means "blue." It is also known as Cyanite and Disthene which means "twice strong" in Greek. This alludes to Kyanite’s two varied hardness on the Mohs scale.

Kyanite is a mineral usually found in metamorphic rock. It is an aluminium silicate.
Kyanite shares the same chemical composition as Andalusites and Sillimanites. However, their crystallography (structure and physical properties) is different.

Kyanite comes in different varieties of blue, sometimes with white (or other colors) streaks and blotches. It can be colorless, white, gray, green, orange, yellow and black. The colorless form of kyanite is the most valuable because it is the rarest. The most sought after is the sapphire-blue color which may come with violet pleochroism.

Kyanite can be transparent to translucent. Transparent being more desirable. Its luster is vitreous to almost pearly. Some Kyanites may display chatoyancy (cat's eye effect) when cut en cabochon. Kyanite may display a weak red fluorescence (alexandrite effect).

Kyanite has a perfect cleavage just like diamonds and Topaz.

Kyanite is often confused with blue sapphire when its color is deep blue; topaz and aquamarine when its color is light blue. In fact it is often sold as the more prized sapphires as Kyanite is one of few gems having the authentic color of blue sapphire.

There are key identifiers of kyanite:

1) the inclusions within kyanite and sapphires are different under a microscope

2) kyanite has variable hardness within the same stone. It has a dual hardness of 4 to 4.5 along the length and 6 to 7 across the width on the Mohs scale. This distinctly different hardness values is called anisotropism and it is a key identifying characteristic of kyanite

3) its blade-like crystal formation although sometimes it occurs as radiating mass.

Kyanite is used mainly in industrial purposes because they are very heat resistant. They are made into porcelain and ceramics and refractory products such as bricks and mortars.

Only the top 3% are good enough to make into gems. Yet, only skilled workers are able to work with this mineral because of its varied hardness and its crystal formation of long, narrow blades and of its perfect cleavage.

Kyanite deposits are found in Austria, Burma, Brazil, Cambodia, India, Kenya, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, Tanzania, the United States and Zimbabwe.

There has been a recent discovery of orange kyanite in Tanzania. This kyanite is highly sought after too.

The finest Kyanite comes from Nepal. Nepal’s kyanite is of a richer blue than that of Sri Lanka's and Madagascar’s Sapphire.

In ancient times, kyanite was used as a compass. It was said that the stone follows the earth's magnetic field and would point to the North like our regular compass. It was to be suspended from a string or even hung in a human’s hair.

It was also believed that kyanite could awaken supernatural abilities that lay dormant within our body.

Kyanite is one of the most healing stones. It absorbs and releases negative energy effectively and can even transforms it positively. It does not require cleansing as it does not retain any negative energies. It dispels them. For this reason, Kyanite is used to cleanse other gems and crystals. It is thus a very protective stone for healers and patients alike as kyanite not only shields their energetic field, it helps to release any toxic materials gathered during healing sessions.

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