Andalusite Value, Price, and Jewelry Information


andalusite - austria
“Andalusite” by Géry Parent. Licensed under CC By-ND 2.0.

Andalusite is a strongly pleochroic gemstone, which means it can show different colors when viewed from different directions. Although andalusite gems are hard and tough enough for most jewelry uses, this strikingly beautiful gem is largely unknown to the gem buying public. Depending on the cut and orientation, these stones can show shades of brown, green, and reddish brown.

Andalusite Value

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Andalusite Value via Gem Price Guide
Top Color: YG 5/2 and O 5/4
Faceted 1 to 4 carats 4 carats plus
Top color to /ct to ,000/ct
Medium color to /ct to /ct

See the entire Gem Price Guide.

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Andalusite Information

DataValue
NameAndalusite
VarietiesChiastolite, Viridine
Crystallography Orthorhombic. Crystals prismatic, striated, square in cross section. Massive, compact.
Refractive Index 1.629 - 1.650
Colors Pinkish, reddish-brown, rose-red, whitish, grayish, yellowish, violet, greenish.
Luster Vitreous to subvitreous.
Fracture Even to subconchoidal. Brittle.
Hardness 6.5 - 7.5
Specific Gravity 3.13 - 3.17
Birefringence 0.007-0.011. (Viridine: 0.029.)
Cleavage Distinct 1 direction.
Dispersion 0.016
Heat SensitivityNo
Luminescence None in LW. Brown fluorescence in SW (Lancaster, Massachusetts). Dark green or yellow-green fluorescence in SW (brown-green gems from Brazil).
Spectral Deep green varieties from Brazil display Mn spectrum: knife-edge shadow at 5535, fine lines at 5505 and 5475; faint lines at 5180, 4950, and 4550.
Wearability Very Good
Enhancements Can be heat treated to improve color. Rarely done.
Special Care InstructionsNone
Transparency Transparent to opaque.
Phenomena Chatoyancy (cat's eye), very rare.
FormulaAl2SiO5 + Fe
Pleochroism Strongly pleochroic; olive green to flesh-red (Brazil). Usually yellow/green/red. Blue andalusite from Belgium: blue/colorless/colorless.
Optics α = 1.629 – 1.640; β = 1.633 – 1.644 γ = 1.638-1.650. Near-colorless andalusite reported at low end of this range; green material at upper end. Viridine: 1.66-1.69. Biaxial (-), 2V = 73 - 86°.
EtymologyAfter the first noted locality, Andalusia (Spain). Chiastolite is from the Greek chiastos, “arranged diagonally,” because the pattern of carbon inclusions in the gem resembles the Greek letter chi, which is written “X.”
OccurrenceMetamorphic rocks, usually slates and schists as a contact mineral, or developed within mica schist or gneiss. Also as a detrital mineral and very rarely in pegmatites and granites.
Inclusions Rutile needles, common. Liquid inclusions.
andalusite samples - Brazil
Andalusite: Brazil (7.55, 2.40, 2.92, 9.55). Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

Comments

Andalusite’s pleochroism is very distinctive and attractive. Andalusite can show up to three colors (trichroism). Gem shapes with a long axis such as ovals, marquis, or emerald cuts tend to show one color near the center and a second, usually darker color, near the ends. Square and round cuts usually blend the colors into a mosaic. Sometimes, lapidaries cut these stones to show pink and almost colorless shades. Others cut to display green in the center of these stones, with browns or various other combinations on the tips, depending on the rough orientation before cutting.

Although poorly cut and polished stones may appear dull, a large, clean, well-cut andalusite demands attention in any jewelry setting.

Varieties

When fibrous inclusions are present, lapidaries can cab cat’s eye andalusites. However, they are extremely rare.

Viridine, a deep green variety of andalusite, contains manganese.

The blue color in andalusites from Ottré, Belgium is due to an Fe+2-Fe+3 charge transfer mechanism.

Since it’s opaque, chiastolite is cut more or less as a curiosity. Cross sections of this material may show a well-formed black cross on a gray background. Due to the impurities it contains, chiastolite has a lower hardness and density than other andalusite varieties.

andalusite - chiastolite
“Andalusite (Var: Chiastolite),” Tyrol, Austria. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

Sources

Currently, Brazil is the main source of these gems. They can be found as pebbles in stream beds or on hillsides under layers of clay. Andalusia, Spain, the stone’s namesake, produces a colorless variety.

Other notable gem sources include:

  • United States: California; Colorado; Maine; Massachusetts; New Mexico; Pennsylvania; South Dakota (Black Hills).
  • Belgium: blue crystals.
  • Myanmar: dull green material found in gem gravels.
  • Sri Lanka: gem material found as waterworn pebbles, sometimes large size.
  • Australia; East Africa; Madagascar; Russia.
andalusite - minas gerais Brazil
“Andalusite,” Jenipapo Mine, Taquaral area, Minas Gerais, Brazil. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

Stone Sizes

Gems from Brazil reach 75-100 carats. Gems usually range from 1 to 5 carats. Andalusites in the 5 to 10-carat range cost several times more per carat than smaller stones. Stones over 10 carats are quite rare. Stones over 20 carats are still rarer.

  • Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC): 28.3 (brown, Brazil), 13.5 (green/brown, Brazil).
  • Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto, Canada): 12.44 (Brazil).

Care

Although resistant to scratching due to its hardness, andalusite is slightly brittle due to its cleavage. Ring stones should have protective settings to avoid blows. Consult our gemstone jewelry cleaning guide for more recommendations.

andalusites - artistic colored stones
Andalusites. Photos courtesy of Barbara Smigel, Artistic Colored Stones.