Andalusites are named after the province in Spain, Andalusia, where they were first found. They are pleochroic, which means that they show different colors when turned in different directions. Other such stones with this property are iolite and tanzanite. Cutting pleochroic gemstones is tough and it is important that pleochroism is minimized while ensuring that the best color is always brought out. However, with a stone like an andalusite, this rule does not apply. It is important that andalusites are cut maximizing on its pleochroic quality – and the more the colors, the better it is!
If cut correctly, Andalusites are a niche above other gemstones. The colors and their patterns are all fantastic to look at. Rectangular shapes and round cuts are best for andalusites. This stone is mined mainly in Brazil, but deposits are found in Sri Lanka, the United States of America and Russia as well.
Initially, andalusites were referred to as the ‘poor man’s alexandrite’. But really, andalusites do not even resemble alexandrites. While andalusites have a fantastic color play, alexandrites change from a green to red in varied lights. Alexandrites are not even color-changing stones.
If you like earthy tones and the idea of color play, then andalusites are for you. They can be bought at a fairly low price and are quite durable. They are used mostly in men’s jewelry. It is important that andalusites are cut properly. Otherwise, they end up looking quite insipid and dull.