In 1975, a core-drill sample from a manganese mine near Hotazel, South Africa revealed a thin seam of sugilite. This material had enough manganese content to give it a deep purple color. Small but significant, the deposit became the first source of gem-quality sugilite and launched the gem’s now famous association with purple. (Some specimens can approach an amethyst-like color).
A number of trade names for sugilite have emerged. Material more lavender than purple is sometimes called “Royal Lavulite.” Hotazel, South Africa has inspired names such as “Royal Azel” and “Royal Lazelle.” The Wessels Mine itself has also inspired the name “Wesselite.”