epidote - Pakistan
epidote - Pakistan

Epidote Value, Price, and Jewelry Information


The epidote mineral supergroup contains many related species of interest to collectors. However, epidote itself is the one most likely to be faceted into beautiful, albeit small and dark, gemstones.

5 Minute Read

The epidote mineral supergroup contains many related species of interest to collectors. However, epidote itself is the one most likely to be faceted into beautiful, albeit small and dark, gemstones.

epidote - Pakistan
1.42-ct epidote, Pakistan. © ARK Rare Gems. Used with permission.

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Epidote Value

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Highest values go to transparency, color, and size.

epidotes - Mexico and Kenya
Epidote: Baja California, Mexico (1.0), Kenya (1.2). Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

What is Epidote?

Although epidotes have loaned their name to the epidote mineral supergroup, the gems themselves form a clinozoisite-epidote solid-solution series within this taxon.

Is Tanzanite an Epidote?

In 2006, mineralogists removed all varieties of zoisite, including its most well-known member, tanzanite, from the epidote supergroup. Zoisite is an orthorhombic polymorph of monoclinic clinozoisite. Mineralogists reclassified zoisite since all other epidote members had monoclinic crystal systems.

Does Epidote Make a Good Jewelry Stone?

Despite losing tanzanite, the epidote supergroup still includes some interesting gemstones, both common and rare. It features species suitable for faceting and cabbing as well as beautiful crystals for collecting. These materials often contain fibrous inclusions. On rare occasions, they create a chatoyant "cat's eye" effect in cabbed epidotes and clinozoisites.

Some epidotes may have a hardness of 7, on par with quartz. However, most gem materials in this supergroup have a hardness of 6 or softer. Since these gems also have perfect cleavage and sensitivities to heat and acids, they require special care as jewelry stones. Have these stones set in protective settings, especially for ring use, and reserve them for occasional wear.

epidote pendants
Earrings and pendants are great ways to wear softer gems like epidotes safely. Silver pendants with epidotes in raw stone designs. Photo courtesy of liveauctioneers.com and Fantasy Jewelry.

Epidote Varieties

Epidote

Usually so dark in color, large faceted epidotes result in nearly black, lifeless gems. However, small stones, under 3 to 4 carats, can often turn out as bright and lively faceted gems.

epidote - Madagascar
1.86-ct faceted epidote, Madagascar. Photo by Didier Descouens. Licensed under CC By-SA 4.0.

Pistazite or pistacite is a trade name for yellowish green "pistachio-colored" epidote.

Clinozoisite

These gems would actually make better looking faceted pieces than epidotes. Although clinozoisites aren't rare, they occur rarely in sizes over 5 carats.

clinozoisite - Mexico, epidote supergroup
Clinozoisite: Baja California, Mexico (0.5). Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

Some localities occasionally yield fine gems, but clinozoisite rarely occurs in pure form. It usually contains some iron, like its series brother, epidote. Clinozoisite shares a chemical formula and outward appearance (but not a crystal system) with zoisite.

clinozoisite - Pakistan
1-ct clinozoisite, Pakistan. Photo courtesy of liveauctioneers.com and Jasper52.

Allanite

Very dark in color and seldom cut, allanite contains rare-earth and radioactive elements. As a result, these gems become metamict. In other words, they have severe damage to their internal crystalline structure.

Hancockite

This New Jersey gemstone is very rare. Faceted pieces, if any exist, would weigh under 1 to 2 carats.

Mukhinite

This very rare mineral occurs in small grains. First discovered in Gornaya Shoriya, Russia, no cut specimens exist.

Piedmontite

Also known as piemontite, this species is sometimes confused with thulite, a pink manganiferous variety of zoisite. While thulite sometimes appears bright pink, piedmontite typically has a dark brown or reddish color. Thulite can occur in large pieces, but piedmontite seldom occurs in large masses. However, both materials can make lovely cabochons.

piedmontite - Pennsylvania
Piedmontite: Adams County, Pennsylvania (~4 inches across). Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

Tawmawite

A very rare, deep emerald-green colored variety of epidote from Myanmar, this material gets its color from chromium.

Unakite

A popular material for cabochons, unakite, an altered granite, contains green epidote, white to gray quartz, and pink feldspar (orthoclase). The United States produces and exports this widely used lapidary rock, but Ireland, Zimbabwe, and other countries also produce similar material.

unakite
Tumbled and polished unakite. Photo by Ra'ike. Licensed under CC By 3.0.

Other Lapidary Materials

The light, striped lines of "Zebra Stone" from Arizona may contain epidote.

"Rosalinda," an ornamental rock from Peru, consists of calcite, scapolite, and red epidote-piedmontite.

Another ornamental rock used for carving, "Bowesite," from Australia, consists of epidote, diopside, grossular garnet, actinolite, and other gem materials.

"Lapis Nevada" consists of pink thulite, yellow-green epidote, green diopside, and white to lavender scapolite.

Identifying Characteristics of Epidote

Optics and Specific Gravity

 ClinozoisiteEpidotePiedmontiteHancockiteAllanite
Specific Gravity3.21-3.383.38-3.493.45-3.524.033.4-4.2
Optics     
a1.670-1.7151.715-1.7511.732-1.7941.7881.640-1.791
β1.675-1.7251.725-1.7841.750-1.8071.811.650-1.815
γ1.690-1.7341.734-1.7971.762-1.8291.831.660-1.828
2V(+) 14-90°(-) 90-116°(+) 2-9°(-) 50°(+/-) 40-123°
Birefringence0.005-0.0150.015-0.0490.025-0.0730.0420.013-0.036

Sri Lanka produces a yellow-brown epidote with the following properties:

Minas Gerais, Brazil produces cuttable, yellowish-green trichroic crystals. They're low in iron and have the following properties:

  • Specific Gravity: 3.30 - 3.50
  • Optics: a = 1.722; β = 1.737; y = 1.743.
  • Birefringence: 0.021.

Streak

Epidote may have a gray streak. Please note that streak testing may harm or destroy your specimen. Conduct it on a piece of rough, never a finished gem, only as a last resort.

Are There Any Synthetic Epidotes?

Scientists have synthesized epidotes for petrological research. Clinozoisite has also been created for mineralogical research. However, there is no known jewelry use for these materials.

Epidotes don't typically receive any treatments or enhancements.

Where are Epidotes Found?

Epidote Sources

Untersulzbachthal, Austria is the main source of faceting rough.

Other important gem-quality sources include the following:

  • Bourg d'Oisans, France: fine crystals.
  • Italy: Piedmont, other localities.
  • Switzerland: many localities.
  • United States: McFall Mine, Ramona, California; Colorado; Connecticut; Idaho; Massachusetts; Michigan; New Hampshire.
  • Australia; Brazil; Czech Republic; Japan; Kenya; Madagascar; Baja California, Mexico; Arendal, Norway; Pakistan; Russia; Slovakia; South Korea; Sri Lanka.
  • Tawmaw, Myanmar: a chrome-rich material, fine deep green color (tawmawite).
  • Outokumpu, Finland: chromiferous epidote (tawmawite).
epidotes - Austria
Epidotes in a dense cluster, specimen 3.4 x 2.6 x 2.0 cm, largest crystal 2.2 cm, Knappenwand, Knappenwand area, Untersulzbach valley, Hohe Tauern Mts, Salzburg, Austria. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

Clinozoisite Sources

The best known source of gem-quality material, Gavilanes, Baja California, Mexico produces brownish facetable crystals.

Other notable gem-quality sources include the following:

  • Kenya: gray-green crystals.
  • Austria: Goslerwand, Tyrol (type locality).
  • United States: Nevada; Colorado.
  • Timmons, Ontario, Canada; Czech Republic; Iceland; India; Ireland; Italy; Pakistan; Slovakia; Switzerland.
clinozoisite - Mexico, epidote supergroup
Clinozoisite: Mexico (1.18). Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

Allanite Sources

Various localities throughout the United States produce this material.

Other sources include the following:

  • Brazil; Canada; Greenland; Madagascar; Norway; Russia; Sweden.
allanite - Brazil
Square step-cut allanite, 3.35 cts, 10.3 mm, Brazil. © The Gem Trader. Used with permission.

Hancockite Sources

Franklin, New Jersey, the only notable locality, produces small crystals.

Piedmontite Sources

Piedmontite occurs in sericite schists in Piemonte, ItalyEgypt produces a porphyry colored red by piedmontite. California and Arizona also have many producing localities.

Other sources include the following:

  • United States: Missouri; New Mexico; Pennsylvania.
  • Morbihan, France; Japan; Otago, New Zealand; Scotland; Vermland, Sweden.
piedmontite - New Mexico
Freeform cabbed piedmontite, 17.54 cts, 30.4 x 14.3 x 3.5 mm, Taos County, New Mexico. © The Gem Trader. Used with permission.

Unakite Sources

Blue Ridge, Unaka Range, North Carolina produces this lapidary material. Other sources include Virginia and Georgia. In addition, Zimbabwe yields a similar rock.

Stone Sizes

Unakite occurs in huge blocks weighing many pounds. Gem cutters often cut it into spheres as well as cabs. Facetable epidote is rare over 5 carat sizes. Cut clinozoisite tends to be even smaller. Allanite is rarely ever cut, except as cabochons. Piedmontite is opaque and massive. It's also cut only as cabochons.

  • Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC): 3.9 (epidote, brown, Austria).
  • Devonian Group (Calgary, Alberta, Canada): 7.30 (clinozoisite, brownish, Iran); 6.90 (epidote, brown).
  • Private Collection: 15 (clinozoisite, light brown-green, Baja).
epidote - Sri Lanka
5.25-ct epidote, Sri Lanka. © ARK Rare Gems. Used with permission.

How to Care for Epidotes

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

epidote rough and cut gem - Pakistan
Epidote rough and cut set, 2.1 x 1.6 x 0.8 cm (Crystal), 4.35 ct (Gem), Tormiq, Gilgit-Baltistan (Northern Areas), Pakistan. © 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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