cabbed charoitecabbed charoite

Charoite Value, Price, and Jewelry Information

With light to medium dark purple colors and swirling patterns, charoite is usually quite distinctive. No other material is likely to be mistaken for it.

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HomeGemstonesCharoite Value, Price, and Jewelry Information

With light to medium dark purple colors and swirling patterns, charoite is usually quite distinctive. No other material is likely to be mistaken for it.

cabbed charoite
Cabbed charoite, 62 cts, 40 x 22 x 08 mm. Photo courtesy of and Jasper52.

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Charoite Value

A bargain gemstone, even the highest-quality charoite pieces cost a few dollars a carat, at most. If you look for a lovely pattern, pleasing colors, a good polish, and an appealing shape, you can’t go wrong. A silky, slight to moderate chatoyant glow will add value to a piece.

charoite cabochon
The white swirls in this medium-dark purple charoite cabochon display a slight chatoyant or “cat’s eye” effect. 10.05 cts, 16.2 x 12.3 mm, Russia. © The Gem Trader. Used with permission.


Charoitite (charoite-dominated potassic metasomatite), Early Cretaceous, 115-120 mya. Photo by James St. John. Licensed under CC By 2.0.

What is Charoite?

Like lapis lazuli, the gemstone we call charoite is actually a rock. However, it's almost purely composed of the mineral charoite. To say that the mineral charoite is a silicate of complex composition is an understatement. For example, one mineralogical source describes it as a hydrated potassium, sodium, calcium, barium, strontium, silicate hydroxyfluoride!

The dominant presence of charoite mineral gives this gem material its distinctive range of purple colors, which can vary even within a single specimen. Its characteristic swirling pattern is due to its fibrous crystals arrayed in complex, interlocking patterns. The mix of other minerals in charoite rocks can include prismatic orange crystals of tinaksite, pale greenish gray microcline, and greenish black crystals of aegerine-augite. Patterns of these colors, as well as white, may occur. As a result, this is a unique, highly ornamental rock.

Charoite. Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

Due to this mixture, charoites also occur as scenic stones, pieces that show so-called "natural pictures" that may resemble landscapes or even objects.

Can You Identify Charoites Just By Sight?

Gemologists can usually make sight identifications of charoites with confidence if the specimens show swirling patterns. Most charoites do indeed show these patterns. However, cut charoites that show a virtually pure purple color, almost free of other mineral admixtures, do surface on the market, albeit rarely. Nevertheless, further testing would be needed to confirm the stone is an actual charoite and not an imitation.

This rectangular cushion-cut charoite shows an almost pure medium-dark purple color without the typical swirls of other colors. 5.10 cts, 13.3 x 10.7 mm, Russia. © The Gem Trader. Used with permission.

What is "Lilac Stone?"

"Lilac stone" was first discovered in the 1940s in the Chara River area in the Sakha Republic, Russia. In the 1970s, this gem entered Western markets as charoite and made an immediate impact.

Does Charoite Make a Good Jewelry Stone?

Charoites have a "Tough" tenacity. This means they have greater resistance to damage from accidental blows than most other gem materials, which only have a tenacity of "Brittle." (This includes rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and even diamonds). However, charoites also have a hardness that ranges from 5 to 6. This means they are susceptible to scratches. Thus, protective settings for ring use are recommended, since rings have an increased risk of accidentally scratching against surfaces. However, most other jewelry uses are safe for charoites.

Navajo ring
Sterling silver Navajo ring with a bezel-set charoite. Photo courtesy of and Billy the Kid Auction House.

Lapidaries could make cabochons from the material, while carvers could make decorative objects. Since charoite can be a massive material, these objects may even include bookends, vases, and goblets.

charoite - bowl and beads
Charoite bowl and chaplet (beads). Photo by Piotr Sosnowski. Licensed under CC By 3.0.

Metaphysically inclined gem enthusiasts attribute a long list of healing and spiritual properties to the stone.

Are There Synthetic Charoites?

There are no known synthetic or lab-created charoites. However, the GIA has documented two manufactured materials intended to simulate or look like real charoites. Both materials had the external appearance of charoites, including colors. They also had specific gravity values and refractive indices that fell within charoite's range. Nevertheless, hot point testing revealed they contained a significant amount of plastic. One of these simulants has been been marketed as "Royal Russianite." (p. 221)

Dyed massive beryl with intergrown quartz may also simulate charoites.

There are no known enhancements for charoites.

Where is Charoite Found?

The only source for this striking gemstone remains the Chara River area in the Murun Massif, Northwest Aldan, Sakha Republic, Russia.

Charoites form from limestone due to the process of contact metamorphism. Since this is a relatively common geological phenomenon, why its distribution is so limited is unclear. Apparently, the particular limestone and intrusive rocks in this area had unique chemical properties.

charoite - polished
Tumbled polished charoite. Photo by Ra'ike. Licensed under CC By 3.0.

Stone Sizes

Carvers can fashion charoites into objects a foot or more in size from available large blocks.

How to Care for Charoites

Due to charoites' heat sensitivity and fair to good cleavage, avoid mechanical cleaning such as steam or ultrasonic processes. Instead, use a soft brush, mild detergent, and warm water for cleaning. Consult our gemstone jewelry cleaning guide for more recommendations.

charoite - bracelet
Charoite bracelet. Photo by Magpie Gal. Licensed under CC By-ND 2.0.

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.

Barbara Smigel, PhD. GG

Barbara Smigel is a GIA certified gemologist, facetor, jewelry designer, gem dealer, gemology instructor and creator of the well-regarded educational websites and

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