step-cut brucite - South Africa
step-cut brucite - South Africa

Brucite Value, Price, and Jewelry Information


Brucites are extremely difficult to cut. Although too soft for jewelry use, faceted pieces would be great additions to collections of rare gemstones.

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Brucites are extremely difficult to cut. Although too soft for jewelry use, faceted pieces would be great additions to collections of rare gemstones.

step-cut brucite - South Africa
A slightly greenish blue, “sea foam” 0.96-ct brucite, 6.6 x 6.5 mm, square step cut, South Africa. © The Gem Trader. Used with permission.
yellow brucite crystals - Pakistan
This cluster of inter-grown, lemon-yellow brucites "looks like a tree with a canopy over it." 5.0 x 3.3 x 3.1 cm, Killa Saifullah District, Balochistan, Pakistan. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

Comments

The mineral brucite has many industrial uses, such as serving as an magnesium ore. However, it rarely occurs in cuttable crystals. It has a hardness of only 2.5, so a coin could scratch its surface. With sectile tenacity, it could also be cut with a knife. (When it occurs in fibrous form, brucite can even be elastic). All these factors, combined with perfect cleavage, make this a very difficult material to facet or wear as jewelry.

brucite - Azerbaijan
Brucite, 170 mm, Kyalbajar region, Azerbaijan. Photo by AyselkaDjabrailova. Licensed under CC By-SA 4.0.

Manganoan Brucite

Most brucites show pale white, blue, gray, or green colors. A manganese-rich variety can occur in yellow, reddish brown, and dark brown.

Nemalite

A fibrous variety of brucite.

Nemalite, brucite variety - Vermont
Brucite variety nemalite in pale green antigorite from the Eden Mills mines in Vermont, USA. Photo by John Krygier. Public Domain.

Brucite Marble

Brucite can also occur in bands in marble known as brucite marble or ophicalcite.

Identifying Characteristics

Brucites exhibit the pyroelectric effect. They generate an electric charge when heated.

Brucites may show an anomalously biaxial optic character.

Some brucites have blue-white or light green fluorescence.

  • brucite on matrix, white light - South Africa
  • brucite on matrix, ultraviolet light - South Africa

    This pearly white brucite on matrix shows fluorescence under ultraviolet light. 4.1 x 2.8 x 1.2 cm, N'Chwaning II Mine, N'Chwaning Mines, Kuruman, Kalahari manganese fields, Northern Cape Province, South Africa. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

    Although slightly softer than brucite with a hardness of 2, gypsum's color range overlaps with this mineral's. However, gypsum also has lower refractive indices (RI) and specific gravity (SG). Gem cutters rarely facet either of these soft minerals, but gypsum is more likely to be finished. It sees more use as material for cabochons and carvings.

    Synthetics

    Brucite has been synthesized for numerous research projects and commercial purposes, especially as an environmentally friendly flame retardant. However, there is no known jewelry use for this material.

    Enhancements

    None known.

    Sources

    Pakistan and South Africa produce lovely crystals and sometimes cuttable material.

    Asbestos, Quebec, Canada has produce fibrous masses up to several feet in length as well as cuttable pale blue masses.

    Lancaster County in Pennsylvania is perhaps the most well-known source in the United States. In particular, Wood's Chrome Mine has produced large crystals and plates nearly 20 cm across. Brucite from this source has been called "texalite," after Texas, Little Britain Township, where the mine is located.

    • brucite crystals, front - Pennsylvania
    • brucite crystals, back - Pennsylvania

      This specimen contains large transparent brucites, front and back views. 19.5 x 14.5 x 3.2 cm, Wood's Chrome Mine, Texas, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

      Other notable sources include the following:

      • United States: California; Hoboken, New Jersey (type locality, fibrous aggregates); Brewster, New York (small crystals).
      • Italy; Russia; Scotland; Sweden (manganoan variety).

      Stone Sizes

      Most of the few known faceted brucites range from ½ to 1 carat in size. Asbestos, Quebec, the major source of cuttable material, has yielded pale blue gems up to 1+ carats.

      A nearly colorless faceted Russian specimen of 20.18 cts has been reported.

      Care

      Handle these fragile gems carefully. Clean them only with a soft brush, mild detergent, and warm water. For more care recommendations, consult our gemstone jewelry cleaning guide.

      brucite crystal - South Africa
      The curves, luster, and color of this brucite crystal give it an almost ocean wave appearance. 7.5 x 6.2 x 4.0 cm, Wessel's Mine, Hotazel, Kalahari manganese fields, Northern Cape Province, South Africa. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. 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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