Barite Value, Price, and Jewelry Information


barite - Illinois
“Baryte on Calcite,” Minerva #1, Rosiclare Level, Cave-in-Rock, Hardin Co., Illinois, USA. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

Massive white barite (also called known as baryte) looks like marble and could be used for decorative purposes. In spite of the abundance of good crystals, cut barites are not commonly seen, especially in rich colors.

Barite Value

The International Gem Society (IGS) has a list of businesses offering gemstone appraisal services.

Barite Value via Gem Price Guide
Faceted 1 carat plus
Yellow to /ct
Colorless to /ct

See the entire Gem Price Guide.

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Barite Information

DataValue
NameBarite
Alternate Common NamesBaryte
Crystallography Orthorhombic. Tabular crystals, aggregates and rosettes; massive, granular, fibrous, earthy, stalactitic.
Colors White, grayish, yellowish to brown, blue, green, reddish. May be color zoned.
Luster Vitreous to resinous; pearly on cleavage.
Fracture Fracture even. Brittle.
Hardness 3-3.5
Specific Gravity 4.50 (pure); usually 4.3-4.6
Birefringence 0.012
Cleavage Perfect 1 direction.
Dispersion 0.016
Luminescence See “Identifying Characteristics” below.
Transparency Transparent to opaque.
FormulaBaSO4 + Ca, Sr
Pleochroism See “Identifying Characteristics” below.
Optics α= 1.636; β = 1.637 γ = 1.648. Biaxial (+), 2V =37°
EtymologyFrom the Greek baros, “heavy,” because of its high specific gravity.
OccurrenceBarite is common in low temperature hydrothermal vein deposits; also as a component of sedimentary rocks, sometimes in large beds; as concretions, in clay deposits, and rarely in cavities in igneous rocks. Good crystals abundant worldwide.
barite - faceted
Barite: South Dakota (4.7), Colorado (9.4, 9.1). Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

Comments

Gem cutters will find faceting barite difficult. Facet junctions tend to be rounded. Collectors can obtain large stones in almost any desired color with very few exceptions.

Identifying Characteristics

Pleochroism

Barite can display weak pleochroism if the crystal is colored.

  • Brown crystal: straw yellow/wine yellow/violet.
  • Yellow crystal: pale yellow/yellow-brown/brown.
  • Green crystal: colorless/pale green/violet.

Luminescence

In shortwave ultraviolet light (SW):

  • White (Germany, Ohio).
  • Blue-green (Germany, England).
  • Gray (Germany).

In longwave ultraviolet light (LW):

  • Greenish white, yellow-green (Germany)
  • Pinkish white (Ohio).
  • Cream-white (South Dakota).
barite - morocco
“Cerussite, baryte under UV light long waves,” Bou Bekker (Bou Becker), Touissit, Touissit District, Oujda-Angad Province, Oriental Region, Morocco, by Géry Parent. Licensed under CC By-ND 2.0.

Sources

Many localities worldwide may yield clean, gem-quality barite. Below are some notable sources.

  • Meade County, South Dakota, USA: fine brown crystals, facetable.
  • Colorado, USA: exquisite blue crystals, some facetable (Sterling area).
  • Illinois, USA.
  • Thunder Bay District, Ontario, Canada: colorless crystals suitable for cutting.
  • Rock Candy Mine, British Columbia, Canada: facetable yellow crystals, up to 4 inches long.
  • Cumberland, England: fine crystals, sometimes very large, facetable areas.
barite - south dakota
“Baryte on Calcite,” Elk Creek, Meade County, South Dakota, USA. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

Stone Sizes

Large crystals, usually flawed, have many facetable areas. English material will yield stones up to about 50 carats. (One specimen is known to be over 300 carats). Faceters have cut yellow-brown crystals from France as large as 65 carats. Colorado gems range from 1 to 5 carats.

Notable barites in private collections include:

  • A 42-carat golden-orange, cushion cut gem (British Columbia).
  • A 108-carat dark brown, oval cut gem (South Dakota).

Care

Due to this stone’s perfect cleavage and low hardness, jewelry use is very risky. Consult our gemstone jewelry cleaning guide for care recommendations.

barite - Italy
“Barite” by Cliff. Licensed under CC By 2.0.