A new ornamental gemstone from Pakistan: Sannan-Skarn

Hänni, H. A. and Franz, L. and Wei, Z.. (2017) A new ornamental gemstone from Pakistan: Sannan-Skarn. In: Proceedings of the 35th International Gemmological Conference (IGC 2017). pp. 146-147.

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At the Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair September 2015 a significant volume of complex fine grained green rock material from Western Pakistan was sold to gemstone dealers under the name Maw Sit Sit. The new material originates from a remote area in Belochistan, about 60 km from the Muslim Bagh Chromite mine. The productive area lies in a thrust zone (Kazmi & Snee, 1989) known as Karakorum Suture Zone. There, sediments from the Tethys were welded on the Eurasian Plate when the Indian continent collided some 65 Mio years ago. Triassic carbonate sediments and oceanic crust were imbricated in a tectonic movement going along with strong brecciation and mylonitization of the rocks. During this imbrication, intense fluid activity led to a replacement of carbonate by calcsilicate minerals. A common term to name the material is skarn, as it describes a rock formed by metasomatic replacement of a parent rock. Sannan is a specific modifier that describes the skarn from the new occurrence. After a preliminary test, it became clear that this material has nothing in common with Maw Sit Sit, i.e. kosmochlor jade (e.g. Hänni & Meyer, 1997; Franz et al., 2014), although specific gravity (SG) and refractive index may show overlaying data. Three samples (JG1- JG3) were selected and prepared for petrographic thin sections and investigated by polarization microscopy and micro-Raman spectroscopy. Each sample has a strongly different mineralogical composition. Sample JG 1 (SG 3.26) is of greenish-grey to dark green colour and has a fine grained, randomly oriented texture. Euhedral crystals of zoned green, up to 0.6 mm wide hydrogrossular (Ca3(Al,Fe3+)2(OH)4/(SiO3)2) are surrounded by large prismatic diopside. Streaks and bands of chlorite are often cut by veins filled with calcite. The rock is a calcite-chlorite-hydrogrossular-diopside skarn. Sample JG 2 (SG 2.98) is of medium green colour with a light green margin. Radiating clusters of short prismatic, up to 0.3 mm long aegirine crystals (Na-Fe-pyroxene, NaFe3+Si2O6) show a strong pleochroism from luminous green to yellow-green. In interspaces, subordinate fillings of agglomerated, yellow-brown prismatic pectolite crystals (NaCa2Si3O8(OH)) occur. The lighter green margin shows a mylonitic texture with lenticular and linear concentrations of pectolite and chlorite as well as heavily fractured aegirine. The rock is a chlorite-pectolite-aegirine skarn. Sample JG 3 (SG 2.67) shows an inhomogeneous patchy texture with green, dark greyish-green and whitish domains. Pale green winchite crystals (sodic-calcic amphibole, (CaNa)Mg4(Al,Fe3+)Si8O22(OH)2) of up to 1 mm size are intergrown with smaller, dark green aegirine crystals. In the darker areas, winchite prisms and fine aegirine needles lie in a groundmass of colourless natrolite (Na2Al2Si3O10 . 2H2O). The white zones consist purely of sodalite (Na8(Al6Si6O24)Cl2). The rock is thus an aegirine-natrolite-winchite skarn with sodalitic parts. The results of the crystal-optical analysis were confirmed by micro-Raman spectroscopy. Qualitative chemical results were performed with ED-XRF. The analyses vary from sample to sample, due to their inhomogeneous composition. In all samples, the presence of Cr is identified and Ca is a main constituent, which represents a main difference to Maw Sit Sit. The rocks described in this paper mainly consist of calc-silicates, which formed by tectonic movements and metasomatic processes in a thrust zone between carbonate sediments and descendants from the oceanic crust. The minerals that are identified are typical for metasomatic processes leading to skarn formation (e.g. Henmi et al., 1971; Nysten & Skogby, 1994). The green colour is due to chromium that is present in most of the constituent minerals. Sannan-Skarn will have its position among other green stones, such as jadeite, Maw Sit Sit, nephrite a.s.o. It seems, however, clear that it has to be identified correctly and shall be sold under its correct name Sannan-Skarn, the recommended trade name for this new ornamental gemstone. The opaque material is suitable for cabochons, spheres, carvings and other jewellery items. Sannan-Skarn can either be differentiated from Maw Sit Sit by polarization microscopy of thin sections, by EDXRF by checking for Ca, or by micro-Raman spectroscopy through the identification of aegirine, winchite, hydrogrossular and the other minerals listed above.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Ehemalige Einheiten Umweltwissenschaften > Theoretische Petrologie (De Capitani)
UniBasel Contributors:Franz, Leander
Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item, refereed
Conference or workshop item Subtype:Conference Paper
Publisher:International Gemmological Conference
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Conference paper
Last Modified:17 Mar 2022 12:47
Deposited On:17 Mar 2022 12:47

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