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GIA Names New Mineral Johnkoivulaite

Sample discovered in Myanmar and named for renowned microscopist and researcher.
Sep 18, 2019 5:20 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has confirmed a new mineral species discovered in Myanmar, which it has called johnkoivulaite.

The organization named the substance in honor of renowned microscopist and GIA researcher John Koivula. The 40-year industry veteran has co-authored several books on geology, diamonds and minerals, and has received a number of industry awards, including the American Gem Society’s (AGS) Robert M. Shipley Award, GIA’s Richard T. Liddicoat Award for Distinguished Achievement and the Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology.

“We are privileged to be able to name this mineral after John Koivula, who has contributed so much to science and the gem and jewelry industry as a prominent gemologist and innovator in photomicrography,” Tom Moses, GIA executive vice president and chief laboratory and research officer, said Tuesday. “Discoveries such as this remind us of the importance of our mission-based research and of the numerous important contributions John has made in his more than four decades of scientific work.”

Johnkoivulaite, discovered by local Burmese gemologist Nay Myo in the Mogok Valley, has a hexagonal crystal structure that is similar to beryl and other members of the beryl group, such as pezzottaite. The mineral exhibits strong pleochroism — an optical phenomenon in which a substance has different colors when observed at different angles, especially with polarized light. The sample found in Myanmar changes from violet to nearly colorless, explained the GIA, whose researchers worked with scientists from the California Institute of Technology to confirm the substance was a new mineral.

The specimen of the new mineral, which measures 1.16 carats, will be on display in the GIA museum collection in Carlsbad, California.

Image: The johnkoivulaite in violet and colorless (top); John Koivula (right). (Gemological Institute of America/Kevin Schumacher)
Tags: AGS, American Gem Society, Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology, California Institute of Technology, Gemological Institute of America, GIA, John Koivula, Johnkoivulaite, Nay Myo, New Mineral, Rapaport News, Richard T. Liddicoat Award for Distinguished Achievement, Robert M. Shipley Award, Tom Moses
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