MAW SIT SIT – It’s no joke
Yep, that’s really the name of a gemstone, and an exceptionally beautiful one, at that.
One of the newer, and more unusual stones, Maw Sit Sit was first identified by the late eminent Swiss gemologist Eduard Gubelin as recently as 1963. It is named after the village where it was discovered, in Myitkyina-Mogaung District, Kachin State, northern Myanmar (Burma), in the foothills of the Himalayas. This location remains the only recorded occurrence for Maw Sit Sit.
Being in very close proximity to the Imperial Burma Jadeite mines, coupled with its rich green coloration, Maw Sit Sit was originally thought to be Jadeite, until Gubelin identified it as a separate entity.
Maw Sit Sit is sometimes referred to as a “cousin” of Jadeite, which is not inappropriate. It is,
however, a rock, rather than a mineral, being an aggregate of a number of different minerals. Described as a chromium-rich metamorphic rock, the dominant mineral in Maw Sit Sit is Kosmochlor, a sodium chromium pyroxene, which constitutes about 60% of the mix. The next ingredient, at around 15% is chromium-enriched Jadeite, followed by chromium Ekermannite at 4% and chromium Albite at 1%. This composition makes Maw Sit Sit the most chromium rich material on the planet. It can also contain small amounts of other minerals such as pure Chromite and Natrolite.
Maw Sit Sit is an opaque stone, consisting of a green ranging from dark emerald to almost neon in color and rivaling that of the best Imperial Jadeite, with distinctive black splotches, swirls and veins. It is most commonly cut as cabochons, beads or carvings.
Specific Gravity: 2.5 – 3.5
Refractive Index: 1.52 – 1.74 (varies according to the exact chemical composition)
Lustre: Vitreous to Greasy
Crystal System: Monoclinic
Fracture: Irregular to conchoidal
Expect to pay from $1 to $4 per carat for good quality cabochons, more for matched pairs & carvings.
Thank you for reading,