Asterism (mineralogy)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Four-pointed diopside star
Six-pointed star sapphire

Under asterism (from Greek ἀστήρ aster "star"), also light star or starlight called, is meant in mineralogy and gemology star-shaped light reflections in crystals .

The special light reflections are generated by fine crystal fibers or needles, which are embedded in the host crystal in question and meet at a point if they are ideally distributed. Fine hollow channels in the stone are also able to create the star effect. The more evenly the fibers, needles or hollow channels are arranged, the more harmonious the star of light appears. Depending on the crystal system and class of the mineral concerned , there are 4, 6, 12 and 24-pointed stars. In addition, circular asterism can occur in rose quartz .

Asterism is preferred with sapphire and ruby , the varieties "star sapphire" and "star ruby" have therefore been named after this effect. Asterism can also be created in synthetic gemstones . However, while even the most beautiful natural star shine has a slightly irregular shape, artificially produced asterism is characterized by its (too) great perfection. The individual fingerprint of nature is missing. The asterism is particularly emphasized by the appropriate cut ( cabochon cut ).

More common and above all affordable stones with asterism form the so-called "star grenade " from the mineral group of the grenade . Grenades form asteric stones relatively rarely, but the locally abundant grenades are very similar in every deposit. There are also spinels, aquamarines and moonstones with asterism.

The asterism can usually only be seen when a more or less punctiform light source is pointed at the crystal. In evenly lit rooms with multiple light sources, the crystals appear less attractive.


  • Walter Schumann: Precious stones and gemstones. All kinds and varieties. 1900 unique pieces . 16th revised edition. BLV Verlag, Munich 2014, ISBN 978-3-8354-1171-5 , pp. 52-53 .

Web links

Commons : Asterism  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Bernhard brother embellished stones. Recognizing imitations and manipulations in gemstones and minerals . Neue Erde, Saarbrücken 2005, ISBN 3-89060-079-4 , p. 11 .
  2. Asterism (star effect, star shine). In: RENÉSIM GmbH, accessed on April 20, 2018 .
  3. Barbara W. Smigel: Star Stones (Asterism). In: June 14, 2012, accessed April 20, 2018 .