This new mineral, dubbed johnkoivulaite after microscopist and GIA researcher John Koivula, shows strong pleochroism, going violet to near-colorless when examined with polarized light.
Carlsbad, Calif.—Researchers from the Gemological Institute of America, along with scientists from the California Institute of Technology, have confirmed a new mineral species and named it in honor of a well-known and respected gemologist.

A 1.16-carat crystal of the mineral now known as johnkoivulaite, named for renowned microscopist and GIA researcher John Koivula, was found in Myanmar’s Mogok Valley by local gemologist Nay Myo.

Koivula has more than 40 years of industry experience in research and photomicrography.

In 1986, he co-authored “Photoatlas of Inclusions in Gemstones” with Edward J. Gübelin, which followed with two more volumes.

Koivula also wrote “The Microworld of Diamonds” and co-authored “Geologica” with Robert Coenraads.

His contributions to gemology have earned him several industry awards and honors, including the American Gem Society’s Robert M. Shipley Award, the Accredited Gemologists Association’s Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology and GIA’s Richard T. Liddicoat Award for Distinguished Achievement.

He also won first place in Nikon’s Small World Photomicrographic competition in 1984.

“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,” said Tom Moses, executive vice president and chief laboratory and research officer at GIA.

“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.”

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Johnkoivulaite has been accepted by the International Mineralogical Association as a new mineral species.

According to GIA, it has a hexagonal crystal structure similar to beryl and other members of the beryl group.

Standard gemological testing gave the mineral an RI of 1.608, with a birefringence too small to accurately measure, and a hardness of 7.5.

It has a strong pleochroism from deep violet to nearly colorless when observed with polarized light, GIA added.

The institute has a specimen of johnkoivulaite in its museum collection at its headquarters in Carlsbad, California, and GIA Senior Research Scientist Aaron Palke will present the new mineral at the Geological Society of America conference later this month in Phoenix.

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