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A black diamond is a genuine diamond that has been enhanced through a radiation treatment to obtain a uniform black color. Just like white diamonds, black diamonds are a 10 on the Moh's hardness scale and make a good stone for everyday wear.
Sugilite is named for the Japanese geologist who discovered the first specimens in 1944, Ken-ichi Sugi. The location of the first discovery was the Iwagi Islet in Southwestern Japan. The original Japanese sugilite samples were just tiny, yellow crystals with no gem value. In 1975, the only known deposit of gem grade sugilite was found in the Wessel Mine in the Kalahari Desert near Hotazel in Kuruman, Republic of South Africa. At first it was thought to be a very small sugilite deposit, but later found to be a commercial sized deposit estimated to contain as much as ten to twenty tons located 3,200 feet below the surface. Sugilite commands a high price for an opaque gem material, due in part to the difficulty of removing it from such a great depth.
Sugilite often contains black matrix, reddish brown or yellowish blotches. Some of the lesser grades have very light purple to white areas. Opaque bright purple stones with little matrixing or blotches are the highly valued. While almost all sugilite is opaque, a very small percentage, perhaps 1/10 of 1% is translucent. Due to it's rarity and mesmerizing beauty, this gem grade commands the highest prices. At it's peak, stones of this quality climbed to as high as $1000 per carat. Sugilite ranges between 6 - 7.5 on the Moh's scale of hardness.
Sugilite is also known under the trade names of "Royal Lavulite" and "Royal Azel".