Diaspore may not be one of the most notable or popular minerals, but it has many unique and interesting features. Where more popular minerals like azurite have more complex histories and diverse uses, diaspore’s unique characteristics and physical properties have fascinated geology enthusiasts for over two hundred years.
Below, we will explore the history of this interesting mineral.
Diaspore: A Brief History
Like most minerals, diaspore’s history likely dates back before recorded time. The first recorded description of the stone came in 1801, however. It is believed that the first occurrence of the mineral was in Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia – approximately 1,800 km (1,118.5 miles) west of Moscow.
René Just Haüy, a French minerologist and priest, is credited with coining the term after the Greek word διασπείρειν, which translates to “to scatter” or “disperse.”
While it has been suggested that the name came from the way the rock displaces (or “scatters”) light, Haüy likely gave diaspore its name based upon the sound the mineral makes when disintegrating when exposed to heat.
At the time of diaspore’s discovery in Russia, it was generally considered to be a fairly rare mineral. It has since been discovered in multiple locations across Asia and North America, however, and is believed to be far more common that originally suggested.
Diaspore is an important ore of aluminum and is used in the production of aluminum metal. In 1893, diaspore deposits were discovered in the Bauxite Hills of Les Baux-de-Provence in southern France. These deposits were found to contain large amounts of aluminum, and the discovery of diaspore in Les Baux-de-Provence led to the development of the modern aluminum industry.
Today, diaspore is primarily mined in Turkey, where it is found in large quantities. It is also mined in other parts of the world, including Russia, Greece, and the United States. The largest known deposit of diaspore is located in the Gökçetepe mine in the Mugla Province of southwestern Turkey.
In addition to its use in the production of aluminum, diaspore has other uses as well. It is used as a gemstone and is known for its unique color-changing properties. It is also used in the manufacture of ceramics and as a polishing agent.
Diaspore Cost and Market
If you happen to be holding diaspore, there is good news: it is considered a desirable stone that is relatively rare. As such, you might be able to secure it for a higher price on the market. The downside, obviously, is that you might be paying more if you are trying to purchase the stone for the first time.
While diaspore won’t cost anywhere near as much as diamonds, the cost can range from around forty dollars to several hundred for each carat. If you are finding diaspore for considerably less – say, under five dollars per carat – you are likely not dealing with a high quality stone.
As with all stones, it is important to speak with a specialist before making any major purchases.
Alternative Names for Diaspore
Here’s a fun fact that many might not know.
On the market, you can often find diaspore sold under a couple different names. Those names include csarite and zultanite.
That said, these alternative names are most commonly used when referring to stones derived from the Aydin and Mugla regions of southeast Turkey.
Where is Diaspore Found Naturally?
For collectors and enthusiasts, it is worth noting that diaspore occurs naturally in a variety of locations, including:
- Russia: Primarily in the Ural Mountains, a chain running north-to-south in west/west-central Russia
- Brazil: Occurs in Bahia state, located on the eastern shore of the country
- China: Typically in the Guangxi and Hunan provinces
- United States: Interestingly, diaspore has been found in both Colorado and California but also North Carolina
Prevalence: Is it Rare?
Now, the catch is that diaspore, despite being found in numerous locations, is not typically found in large quantities.
If you are sitting on a collection of quality stones, then, you may see their value increase with time.