A Stunning New Gemstone: Introducing Aquadité

Feeling blue-green: A type of chalcedony discovered by chance in the islands of Indonesia, this gem is distinctive for its gleaming copper flecks.

May 23, 2023  |  Isabella Yan
Aquadité rough

In April 2022, a group of local miners discovered a new variety of chalcedony rich in copper minerals in Indonesia’s Maluka islands. The workers uncovered the gemstone accidentally when a bulldozer that was clearing a road hit a rock. The rock split open, revealing the coppery blue-green treasure now known as Aquadité.

Not long after the discovery, gemologist and explorer Yianni Melas came across the arresting image of the gem on a dealer’s Instagram account. He was captivated by its beauty and market potential. They chatted at length, and Melas asked for more samples so he could submit them to several gem labs.

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) confirmed it was a new variety, consistent with chalcedony and incorporating well-formed crystals of native copper, red cuprite, blue chrysocolla, and green malachite. One of the most distinctive features of this material is the abundance of dazzling copper flecks that float throughout the chalcedony matrix, giving it its beguiling appearance.

Aquadité stone.

Melas named the stone Aquadité — a registered trademark — with “aqua” referencing the blue sea, and “dité” the goddess Aphrodite, who not only had a connection to love and the sea, but was also the goddess of copper. Melas believes “the name is extremely important to the retailer, consumer, and also to the investor…and even the miners themselves. If the name doesn’t do the gemstone justice and doesn’t have marketability, the sales are far less, and everybody in the supply chain suffers.”

The first gemologist to visit the mining site, Melas took an expedition there this past January. There are three deposits containing Aquadité on the same remote island. The real beauty lies in the diverse patterns throughout the gem.

“Each [of the three mines] produces stones with different coloration, pattern and texture,” he explains. “Some specimens have chrysocolla specks, while others have only copper veins and copper flakes.”

The gemstone will offer the consumer a large palette of colors and textures. “The beauty of Aquadité is that it appeals to both female and male consumers,” says Melas.

Several large jewelry brands have shown interest in using the gem in their future collections, including a major Place Vendôme company. Melas plans to use Aquadité for the debut collection of his eponymous brand.

As of press time, the stone had not yet been officially launched, and Melas has created very few official posts about it.

“At the last Tucson show, there were a few custom cutters who displayed the material, but there was no official promotion,” Melas relates. “I like organic marketing, when a gem and its story are so beautiful that designers, retailers and influencers naturally gravitate toward it.”

Main image: Yianni Melas holds a rough Aquadité, surrounded by miners in Indonesia. (Yianni Melas)


Aquadité rough A Stunning New Gemstone: Introducing Aquadité

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