A NEW MINERAL SPECIES CONFIRMED
In the Gem world, new discoveries are not that common. Recently, however, researchers from GIA, in collaboration with scientists from the California Institute of Technology, have confirmed a new mineral species, which they have named "johnkoivulaite," in honor of the renowned microscopist and GIA researcher John Koivula.
The 1.16 ct crystal, accepted by the International Mineralogical Association as a new mineral species, was found in the Mogok Valley of Myanmar by Nay Myo, a local gemologist.
“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 an innovator in photomicrography,” said Tom Moses, GIA executive vice president and chief laboratory and research officer. “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 has a hexagonal crystal structure that is very similar to beryl and other members of the beryl group, such as pezzottaite. Standard gemological testing gave a Refractive Index of 1.608, with a birefringence too small to accurately measure, an SG of 3.01, a hardness of 7½, a conchoidal fracture, vitreous luster, and no reaction to long-wave or short-wave UV.
This mineral is especially unique due to the strong pleochroism it shows from deep violet to nearly colorless when observed with polarized light.
A specimen of the new mineral now resides in the GIA Museum collection, located at the Institute’s world headquarters in Carlsbad, California.
John Koivula has more than 40 years of industry experience in research and photomicrograghy and his many contributions have received broad acclaim. In 1986, he and Edward J. Gübelin co-authored the immensely popular Photoatlas of Inclusions in Gemstones, followed by two additional volumes. Koivula also wrote The Microworld of Diamonds and co-authored Geologica with Robert Coenraads. He received AGS’s Robert M. Shipley Award, AGA’s Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology and GIA’s Richard T. Liddicoat Award for Distinguished Achievement. Koivula also won first place in Nikon’s Small World Photomicrographic competition in 1984.