Variscite is a relatively rare hydrated aluminum phosphate mineral, and gem-quality deposits and occurrences are fairly rare. Only the highest quality material is used for gemstones and ornate carvings. Variscite is named after 'Variscia', the historical name of the Vogtland district in Saxony, Germany. It was first discovered and described in 1837, when it was found in massive fine-grained aggregate form.
The appearance of Variscite often causes it to be confused with turquoise, but variscite's color tends to be greener rather than blue. Variscite is famed for its attractive green color. Its greens can range from light pale-green to emerald-green and from apple-green to bluish green. Solid mint-green colored materials with slight translucency are usually most desirable. Variscite may also be found in colors other than green, such as purple, orange, pink, red, brown or yellow. If materials contain less iron than aluminum in their composition, reddish to violet colors will dominate. Higher iron impurities will bring out more brownish tones.
Today, the most significant variscite deposits come from Utah, USA, which is why variscite is sometimes referred to as 'utahlite'. Other notable variscite sources include Arkansas and Nevada (USA), Australia (Queensland), Germany, France, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Brazil.
Although all variscite is valued by collectors, emerald-green variscite from Utah and the black spider-webbed variscite from Nevada are among the most desirable gemstone materials.
Above are some examples of Variscite jewellery from a couple of members of the Jewelry on Etsy team. Below are some more examples of Variscite jewellery also found on Etsy.