Bustamite Value, Price, and Jewelry Information


BUSTAMITE: Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia (2.6). Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

Bustamite is very similar in appearance and properties to rhodonite. The Japanese crystals are very rich in Mn. The color, when fresh, is paler than rhodonite. Bustamite may also be fibrous, and then yields fine catseye gems, but these are extremely rare. Faceted Bustamite are very attractive, especially in the pinkish shades, but stones over 1-2 carats are very rare collector items. The cleavage makes cutting difficult and wear ill advised.

Bustamite Value

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Bustamite Information

DataValue
NameBustamite
Crystallography Triclinic. Crystals tabular, usually rounded and rough; massive.
Colors Pale flesh pink to brownish red.
Luster Vitreous
Hardness 5.5-6.5
Specific Gravity 3.32-3.43
Birefringence 0.014-0.015
Cleavage Perfect 1 direction, good 1 direction.
Stone SizesFaceted gems are usually small, less than 5 carats, and mostly in the 1-2 carat range. Catseyes are also known, up to about 5 carats.
Luminescence None
Spectral Not diagnostic
Formula(Mn, Ca)3Si3O9
Pleochroism Weak; rose red/ orange/ orange

OPTICS: a= 1.662-1.692; β= 1.674-1.705; γ= 1.676 -1.707

Biaxial (-), 2V = 30-44°.

OCCURRENCE: Manganese ore bodies, usually of metasomatic origin.

Cornwall, England; Långban, Sweden.

Franklin and Sterling Hill, New Jersey: in fine crystals.

Iwate and Yamagata prefectures, Japan: gemmy crystals.

Broken Hill, N.S.W., Australia: this material has high Mn content, in crystals up to 2 x 10 cm; S.G.= 3.41, 2V = 39°, a= 1.688, β = 1.699, γ = 1.703, Birefringence 0.015.

COMMENTS: Bustamite is very similar in appearance and properties to rhodonite. The Japanese crystals are very rich in Mn. The color, when fresh, is paler than rhodonite. Bustamite may also be fibrous, and then yields fine catseye gems, but these are extremely rare. Faceted Bustamite are very attractive, especially in the pinkish shades, but stones over 1-2 carats are very rare collector items. The cleavage makes cutting difficult and wear ill advised.

NAME:  After the discovery of the mineral. M. Bustamente.