Micro-World Gems & Gemology, Fall 2021, Vol. 57, No. 3

Hematite “Rose” Inclusion in Aquamarine

Hematite inclusion in the shape of a rose.
The aquamarine cabochon showed a fractal-like hematite inclusion with the beautiful outline of a rose. Photomicrograph by Shu-Hong Lin; field of view 0.64 mm.

Recently, a 23.67 ct pear cabochon aquamarine with light greenish blue color and poor clarity was sent to the Taiwan Union Lab of Gem Research (TULAB) for identification. Microscopic observation of this aquamarine from the basal direction showed a number of negative crystals and black to brown hematite, confirmed by Raman spectroscopy. Hematite inclusions in gems usually appear in shapes such as flaky, striped, dendritic, or filamentous. Yet the hematite inclusions in this aquamarine seem to resemble a rose blossom composed of mathematical fractals (see above). It is worth mentioning that the rose form of hematite is common in hand specimens but rarely seen as inclusions. Photomicrography with brightfield illumination reveals this unique inclusion that shares a dash of science and romance.

Shu-Hong Lin is director of the Taiwan Union Lab of Gem Research in Taipei.