I was at class on Wednesday and there was a gem dealer/broker there to show us some stuff. He didn’t have a lot that was really amazing or exciting to me except for some really large fire opals. They were cool.

One thing he did have though was a piece of sphalerite. It was a large stone, canary yellow with lots of brilliance and fire. I’ve heard sphalerite described as ‘diamonds on crack’ because of how bright and refractive they are and I find the description apt. They’re so much brighter than diamonds. Even under the shitty fluorescent light people noticed it’s brilliance from across the room.

The guy began to tell a story about sphalerite. He had three pieces that were identically cut. He sold one to a guy and told him that it was a display piece, not to be worn in jewelry. Sphalerite has a hardness of a little over three 3 and it also cleaves really easily. It’s a very fragile kind of stone. The guy indicated that he was purchasing it for jewelry and the broker said no, it’s not a good idea. Maybe a pendant, but do not under any circumstances put it in a ring. The guy then took it and had it set in a pinkie ring. Within a week he’d knocked it against something and the stone had shattered. The guy went back to the broker, bought the second stone and put it in the ring, only to have the exact same thing happen. So he bought the third stone. The broker was happy to have sold them all.

I found myself following along with the story, anticipating the details before he brought them up. I’d heard the exact same story before from someone else. That other person claimed that he’d been the one to sell the sphalerite to the guy. So… who’s story was it?

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