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  • Cairngorms

    Hello. How valuable are cairngorms as gemstones? Do they serve any scientific purposes?

  • #2
    Cheap as chips.


    • #3
      Not a great deal, unless you have a large & perfectly shaped/flawless crystal & can prove its provenance. Even then, you might get a decent sum but don't plan to retire on it.

      In the past, a big annoyance in the hills were the "collectors" who thought nothing of lugging a cold-chisel & sledgehammer with them to pulverise any likely looking rocks, repeatedly. Instead of using the traditional method of scouring the debris in run-offs or the aftermath of rockfalls after the spring thaw. Nothing other than sheer vandalism IMO!

      IIRC, Most of the Cairngorms on sale today don't come from Scotland, instead they are imported in bulk from South America.


      • #4
        Cairngorms I know are a type of quartz, and most quartzes have a MOH's Scale's hardness of 7.

        Are there any gemstones that are found only in Scotland?


        • #5
          My hubby has a tie clip with heather 'stone' in it. It's pretty but I don't think you can call it a 'gem' stone!

          He got it close to Ben Nevis and the porriage mines! heeheehee

          Come to the Dark Side, we have cookies!


          • #6
            Originally posted by Mavericker
            Hello. How valuable are cairngorms as gemstones? Do they serve any scientific purposes?
            I thought the Cairngorms were a mountain range??? I have never heard of a gemstone called a cairngorm.

            Does this mean that Mavericker is gormless?


            • #7
              Cairngorms are stones (presumably found in The Cairngorms) - not very valuable but pretty when polished - often found in the top of kilt pins or sgian dubhs or brooches.


              • #8
                Thanks Pol - its always nice to learn something new.


                • #9
                  A bit more info from here:


                  Cairngorm is a variety of quartz crystal originally found in the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland. It usually has a smokey yellow-brown colour, though some specimens are a grey-brown. Like other quartz gems, it is a silicon dioxide crystal, with a small amount of ferric oxide impurity which gives it the characteristic colour. It is used in Scottish jewellery and as a decoration on kilt pins and the handles of sgian dubhs (more widely known by the anglicised version skean dhu). The largest known cairngorm crystal is a 52-pound (23.6-kilogram) specimen kept at Braemar Castle.
                  More on Scots minerals here:



                  • #10
                    Cairngorm (the gemstone)

                    I realise that this thread is now rather old (2006), but thought that forum members might be interested to know that I have recently completed a project to research the minerals and gemstones of the Cairngorms, and the associated social history of the people who once sought them in the harsh mountain environment back in the 1700s and 1800s.

                    The results have just been published as a book, illustrated with lots of colour photos of the minerals, gemstones, jewellery and landscape. I have set up a website where you can learn more and also watch a video of the fabulous Cairngorms scenery British Mineralogy | Welcome to the home of British Mineralogy

                    Hope you find it of interest!