Sphene (also known as titanite) is a gemstone of high luster that ,with brilliant cut, displays exquisite fire rivaling that of a diamond. It is one of the world's finest gemstones. However, because it is soft and brittle and because it has been a rare gem on the market, it has mainly been a stone for collectors and has lacked public popularity. Recently-discovered new deposits will surely increase store quantities.
The chemical composition of sphene is calcium titanium silicate. The word sphene comes from the Greek root word "sphen," meaning wedge, because it is often found in wedge-shaped crystals. Its other name, titanite, is named for its titanium contents.
As stated above, sphene is a soft gemstone with a hardness rating of 5-5.5 on the Mohs scale. It is not often used in rings because it is easily scratched. Sphene is more suited for brooches, earrings, or pendants. To show off its fire, the brilliant cut may be best, but it may be cut round or in cabochons, depending on the quality of its clarity. (Cabochons are highly polished, rounded, convex forms without facets.) Usually transparent to opaque, sphene often has some inclusions, or impurities, and clean gems are rare.
The color of sphene is yellowish-green, green, brown, or reddish, usually depending on its iron content. The most popular color is yellowish-green or green. The rarest and most valuable kind is chrome sphene. It has a strong green color due to its chromium content. Sphene is pleochroic and can display three or more colors. Pleochroic occurs when light hits the stone, and the stone is viewed from different angles. With heat treatment, sphene's color can be changed to orange or red, although most is not treated.
Deposits of sphene are located in Austria, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Myanmar, Pakistan, Russia, Switzerland, and the United States.
Some people believe in the healing and magical powers of gemstones. They think sphene aids wearers in self-knowledge, mental processes, meditation, and provides good luck in life.