aragonite - Czech Republic
aragonite - Czech Republic

Aragonite Value, Price, and Jewelry Information


Aragonite is more commonly found as a constituent of pearl and shell nacre than as a crystal suitable for gem cutting. Too soft for most jewelry use, a faceted aragonite would be a true collector's item.

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Aragonite is more commonly found as a constituent of pearl and shell nacre than as a crystal suitable for gem cutting. Too soft for most jewelry use, a faceted aragonite would be a true collector’s item.

aragonite - Czech Republic
Triangle-cut aragonite, 22.19 cts, 22 x 19.3 mm, Czech Republic. © The Gem Trader. Used with permission.

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Aragonite Value

5 carats plus
Faceted
to /ct

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aragonites - Slovakia
Aragonites, spray of crystals on matrix, Podrescany, Lucsenac, Slovakia. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

Comments

Aragonite and calcite are dimorphous or polymorphs. They share the same chemistry but have different crystal habits. While calcite is the most abundant and widespread carbonate mineral on Earth, aragonite is less so. Facetable aragonites are almost always very small, as opposed to calcites, which occur in huge, transparent masses or crystals. (Like calcites, aragonites have a high birefringence and will also show facet doubling).

Be aware that some people describe ammolite as aragonite. However, this mineral only constitutes a part (albeit major) of this fossilized shell gem material.

Identifying Characteristics

Luminescence

  • Longwave: Pale rose, yellow, tan, green, rarely bluish; also may phosphoresce green (Sicily).
  • Shortwave: Yellowish, pinkish-red, tan, and white; also pink (Sicily).
aragonite - fluorescence
Aragonite from the Santa Eulalia mine in Chihuahua, Mexico, under daylight (above) and shortwave ultraviolet light (below). Photo by Hadley Paul Garland. Licensed under CC By-SA 2.0.

Enhancements

Heating to 400° C will convert aragonite into calcite. This occurs naturally over millions of years, but no commercial incentive exists to do this in a lab.

Sources

Notable gem sources include:

  • Spain: Molina de Aragon, type locality, in stubby twinned crystals.
  • Czech Republic: Bilin.
  • Greece: Laurium, blue aragonite.
  • Sicily: Agrigento, with sulfur crystals.
  • Chile: blue material.
  • Mexico: Guanajuato.
  • United States: Many localities, including Colorado, New Mexico, South Dakota, and Virginia. California, Iowa, and Wyoming yield a fibrous variety.
  • Austria; Germany; Namibia; Peru; Slovakia; United Kingdom.
aragonites - Spain
Aragonite, Retamal ravine, Enguidanos, Cuenca, Castile-La Mancha, Spain. Photo by Didier Descouens. Licensed under CC By 4.0.

Stone Sizes

Faceted gems are usually only a few carats and colorless, but the potential exists for much larger stones. The largest known cut specimen hails from Bilin, Czech Republic: a straw-yellow emerald-cut gem that weighs 110 carats.

Straw-yellow crystals from Horschenz, Germany have yielded stones up to 10 carats.

The Devonian Group in Calgary, Alberta, Canada holds a 7.85-ct stone from Germany.

Care

Aragonite's hardness is too low for this stone to be worn safely in jewelry. Avoid mechanical cleaning such as steam or ultrasonic processes. Instead, use a soft brush, mild detergent, and warm water for cleaning. Store your aragonites separately from other stones to avoid contact scratches. Consult our gemstone jewelry cleaning guide for more recommendations.

aragonite - Czech Republic
Aragonite: Czech Republic (5.35). 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


Donald Clark, CSM IMG

The late Donald Clark, CSM founded the International Gem Society in 1998. Donald started in the gem and jewelry industry in 1976. He received his formal gemology training from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the American Society of Gemcutters (ASG). The letters “CSM” after his name stood for Certified Supreme Master Gemcutter, a designation of Wykoff’s ASG which has often been referred to as the doctorate of gem cutting. The American Society of Gemcutters only had 54 people reach this level. Along with dozens of articles for leading trade magazines, Donald authored the book “Modern Faceting, the Easy Way.”


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