The name zultanite may be new, but this particular mineral has been known since 1801 when it was first discovered in the Ural Mountains in Russia. Its gemological name is diaspore, and it is a hydrated aluminum oxide colored by manganese. It was first faceted as a gemstone in the 1980's, but has never been mined commercially until recently.
Zultanite has reasonably good gemstone characteristics. It has a hardness of 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale, comparable to peridot and tanzanite . It has a refractive index of 1.702-1.750, between tanzanite and spinel . zultanite does have perfect cleavage in one direction, making it a challenge to cut.
Gems that change color under different lighting are rare and zultanite is attracting buyers drawn to this unique quality. Under natural or fluorescent light, diapsore has a kiwi green color, with flashes of yellow. zultanite displays a champagne color under incandescent lighting, and when exposed to subdued lighting, such as candlelight, it has a pinkish color. The larger the stone, the more pronounced the color change effect will be.
zultanite deposits have now been found in a number of locations around the world, including Arizona and Pennsylvania in the USA, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina, Russia, UK and China. But thus far the only gem-quality material has been mined in Turkey.