cuprian adamite - Greece
cuprian adamite - Greece

Adamite Value, Price, and Jewelry Information


Although adamite occurs in many localities, it's very rarely cut as a gem. This mineral is much too soft and fragile for jewelry. However, collectors prize its intense fluorescence.

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Although adamite occurs in many localities, it’s very rarely cut as a gem. This mineral is much too soft and fragile for jewelry. However, collectors prize its intense fluorescence.

cuprian adamite - Greece
Rectangular-cut cuprian adamite, 0.73 cts, 4.9 x 4.1 mm, Laurion, Greece. © The Gem Trader. Used with permission.
Cuprian adamite, Tsumeb, Namibia, on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Photo by thisisbossi. Licensed under CC By-SA 2.0.

Comments

Adamite forms a series, as the zinc (Zn) analogue, with olivenite, the copper (Cu) analogue. This series has a distinct, intermediate member known as zincolivenite. (Don't confuse olivenite with olivine).

The presence of numerous impurities can create various colors in adamites. For example, iron (Fe) can cause yellow hues. Cuprian (Cu bearing) varieties show green hues. Cobalt (Co) bearing specimens can show rose or purple/violet hues. Manganoan or manganese (Mn) bearing specimens may have purple/violet colors as well as pink and lavender.

Manganoan adamite and lotharmeyerite, Ojuela Mine, Mapimí, Mun. de Mapimí, Durango, Mexico. Photo by Didier Descouens. Licensed under CC By-SA 3.0. (Lotharmeyerite occurs here as tiny, dark red crystals).

Identifying Characteristics

Adamites can have an intense green fluorescence under either shortwave (SW) or longwave (LW) ultraviolet light. They may also show lemon yellow fluorescence under SW.

  • adamite crystal - Mapimi Mexico
  • fluorescent adamite crystal - Mapimi, Mexico

    This crystal specimen shows dozens of "pinwheel" adamites on gossan matrix with intense neon green fluorescence. Ojuela Mine, Mapimi, Durango, Mexico, 10.5 x 9.3 x 6.2 cm. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

    Due to wide variations in composition, optical properties can vary significantly.

    Locality

    α

    β

    γ

    Birefringence

    Mapimi, Mexico (reddish)

    1.712

    1.736

    1.760

    0.048

    Mapimi, Mexico (rose)

    1.710

    1.735

    1.759

    0.049

    Mapimi, Mexico (violet)

    1.710

    1.735

    1.758

    0.048

    Mapimi, Mexico (green)

    1.722

    1.742

    1.763

    0.041

    Tsumeb, Namibia (Cu)

    1.742

    1.768

    1.773

    0.031

    Tsumeb, Namibia (Co)

    1.722

    1.738

    1.761

    0.039

    Laurium, Greece

    1.708

    1.734

    1.758

    0.050

    This cuprian Adamite crystal specimen also contains traces of cesium (Cs) as well as the rare-earth elements cerium (Ce) and dysprosium (Dy). Hilarion Mine, Laurium, Attiki Prefecture, Greece, 6.0 x 5.7 x 2.4 cm. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

    Synthetics

    Scientists have used synthetic specimens of the adamite-olivenite series for spectroscopy research. However, there is no known jewelry use for this material.

    Enhancements

    None known.

    pear-cut adamite - Mexico
    Brilliant pear-cut cuprian adamite, 0.86 cts, 7.6 x 4.8 mm, Mapimi, Durango, Mexico. © The Gem Trader. Used with permission.

    Sources

    The Ojuela Mine in Mapimi, Mexico produces fine sprays of crystals in limonite matrix.

    Tsumeb, Namibia also produces fine crystals, sometimes colored purple by cobalt.

    Laurium, Greece yields specimens often containing copper, in lovely blue and green shades.

    Other notable sources include:

    • United States: California; Nevada; Utah (various localities).
    • France: Cap Garonne.
    • Algeria; Chile; Germany; Italy; Turkey.

    Stone Sizes

    Violet crystals, noted up to 1 cm long and transparent, would yield stones up to about 1-2 carats. Green material, usually not clean, would provide only small faceted gems (1-3 carats).

    • Private Collection: 4.38 (pink, Mexico).

    Care

    Adamites have a low hardness of 3.5 and good cleavage. Thus, they make less than optimal pieces for jewelry use. You'll find these stones more likely in gem collections as crystal specimens than in jewelry collections. See our gemstone jewelry cleaning guide for care recommendations.

    adamite - ojuela
    Adamite: Ojuela Mine, Mapimi, Mexico (0.86). Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

    Joel E. Arem, Ph.D., FGA

    Dr. Joel E. Arem has more than 60 years of experience in the world of gems and minerals. After obtaining his Ph.D. in Mineralogy from Harvard University, he has published numerous books that are still among the most widely used references and guidebooks on crystals, gems and minerals in the world.

    Co-founder and President of numerous organizations, Dr. Arem has enjoyed a lifelong career in mineralogy and gemology. He has been a Smithsonian scientist and Curator, a consultant to many well-known companies and institutions, and a prolific author and speaker. Although his main activities have been as a gem cutter and dealer, his focus has always been education. joelarem.com


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