step square crocoite - gemstone toxicity tablestep square crocoite - gemstone toxicity table

Gemstone Toxicity Table

Gem faceters and jewelry enthusiasts alike should learn about gemstone toxicity. This table has toxicity ratings for 280+ gems, based on their composition and potential for bioactivity, as well as descriptions of the hazards they may pose.

10 Minute Read

Gem faceters and jewelry enthusiasts alike should learn about gemstone toxicity as it relates to three activities: normal handling, cutting, and ingestion. The table below has toxicity ratings for 280+ gems, based on their composition and potential for bioactivity, as well as descriptions of the hazards they may pose.
step square crocoite - gemstone toxicity table
Medium-dark orange-red crocoite, 1.13 cts, 4.7 mm, square step cut, Red Lead Mine, Dundas, Tasmania. © The Gem Trader. Used with permission.

Gemstone Toxicity During Normal Handling

Most minerals are safe to handle normally. However, radioactivity in minerals containing uranium and thorium should be assessed using a Geiger counter prior to handling. Water soluble gems will also require extra care.

While certain heavy metals have adverse effects at any concentration, others are far less toxic.

Gemstone Toxicity While Cutting

Lapidaries should exercise caution when cutting potentially toxic minerals. Inhalation or accidental ingestion of particles could be detrimental to your health. Furthermore, inhalation of asbestos and silica can be physically toxic.

For additional information, see our articles on lapidary health hazards and safety tips and toxic and radioactive gem safety tips.

Potential Toxicity for Intentional Gemstone Ingestion

Crystal healers should avoid making potions with toxic gems. They should also avoid putting these gems in their or their patients' mouths. In addition, some gems have no known toxicity but are still soluble in acids. If you swallow particles of these gems, their dissolution in your stomach could release impurities in the mineral. Certain gems may react dangerously with stomach acid to produce hydrofluoric acid (HF) or hydrogen sulfide gas (H2S). Avoid ingesting gems that may produce these dangerous substances.

Finally, most lists of toxic gems on crystal healing websites include aluminum and a few other elements as toxic. While these can be toxic, the dose required to induce a toxic reaction is exceptionally high. As long as you're not eating rock dust, toxicity from these stones is unlikely.

Gemstone Toxicity Table

If you find any incorrect or inconsistent information in this table, please contact the IGS team.

NameToxicity RiskHazard
AdamiteHighArsenic, Copper; soluble in acids
AlbiteNone KnownN/A
AlexandriteNone KnownN/A
AlgodoniteHighArsenic, Copper; may react with water and acids
AlmandineNone KnownN/A
AmberHighOrganic Material
AmblygoniteHighCan react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
AmmoliteHighOrganic Material
AnalcimeNone KnownN/A
AnataseNone KnownSoluble in acids
AndalusiteNone KnownN/A
AndesineNone KnownN/A
AndraditeNone KnownN/A
Anhydrite (Angelite)None KnownSoluble in acids
AnorthiteNone KnownSoluble in acids
ApatiteHighCan react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
ApophylliteNone KnownSoluble in acids
AquamarineNone KnownN/A
AragoniteNone KnownSoluble in acids
AugeliteNone KnownSoluble in acids
AxiniteNone KnownN/A
AzuriteHighCopper; Soluble in acids
BayldoniteHighCopper, Lead, Arsenic; Slightly soluble in acids
BenitoiteNone KnownN/A
BerylNone KnownN/A
BerylloniteNone KnownSoluble in acids
Black OnyxLowSilicosis
BoleiteHighCopper, Lead; Soluble in acids
BoraciteLowBorate; Soluble in acids
BorniteHighCopper; Soluble in acids
BrazilianiteNone KnownN/A
BreithauptiteMediumNickel, Antimony
BrookiteNone KnownN/A
BruciteHighAsbestos; Soluble in acids
BustamiteNone KnownSoluble in acids
BytowniteNone KnownN/A
Calcareous ConcretionsHighOrganic Material
CalciteNone KnownSoluble in acids
CanasiteNone KnownN/A
CancriniteNone KnownSoluble in acids
CassiteriteNone KnownN/A
CatapleiiteNone KnownSoluble in acids
CelestiteNone KnownN/A
CeruleiteHighArsenic, Copper; Soluble in acids
CerussiteHighLead; Soluble in acids
ChabaziteNone KnownSoluble in acids
ChambersiteLowBorate; Soluble in acids
CharoiteNone KnownN/A
Chicken-Blood StoneHighMercury, Silicosis
ChildreniteNone KnownSoluble in acids
ChioliteNone KnownN/A
ChromiteHighHexavalent Chromium Traces
ChrysoberylNone KnownN/A
Chrysocolla ChalcedonyLowCopper; Silicosis
ChrysocollaLowCopper; Silicosis
CinnabarHighMercury; Can react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
ClinochloreNone KnownN/A
CobaltiteHighArsenic, Cobalt; Can react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
ColemaniteNone KnownSoluble in acids
CoralHighOrganic Material
CordieriteNone KnownSoluble in acids
CordundumNone KnownN/A
CovelliteHighCopper; Can react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
CreediteNone KnownSoluble in acids
CrocoiteHighHexavalent Chromium, Lead; Soluble in acids
CryoliteHighCan react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
CupriteHighCopper; Soluble in acids
DanburiteNone KnownSlightly soluble in acids
DatoliteLowBorate; Soluble in acids
Demantoid GarnetNone KnownN/A
DiamondNone KnownN/A
DiasporeNone KnownN/A
DickinsoniteNone KnownSoluble in acids
DiopsideNone KnownN/A
DioptaseHighCopper; Soluble in acids
DolomiteMediumMay contain heavy metals; Soluble in acids
DumortieriteNone KnownN/A
EkaniteHighLead, Radioactivity (Uranium, Thorium)
EmeraldNone KnownN/A
EnstatiteNone KnownN/A
EosphoriteNone KnownSoluble in acids
EpidoteNone KnownSoluble in acids; Other members of the epidote group contain lead and radioactive elements
EttringiteNone KnownMay contain heavy metals; Soluble in water
EuclaseNone KnownN/A
EudialyteMediumZircon; Slightly radioactive; Soluble in acids
EuxeniteHighUranium, Thorium
FeldsparNone KnownN/A
FergusoniteLowRare Earth Elements; Soluble in acids
FluoriteNone KnownCan react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
Freshwater PearlsHighOrganic Material
FriedeliteNone KnownSoluble in acids
GadoliniteLowRare Earth Elements; Soluble in acids
GahnospinelNone KnownN/A
GarnetNone KnownN/A
GaylussiteNone KnownSoluble in acids
GrandidieriteNone KnownN/A
Grossular GarnetNone KnownN/A
GypsumNone KnownSoluble in acids
HambergiteLowBorate; Soluble in acids
HaüyneNone KnownSoluble in acids
HeliodorNone KnownN/A
HematiteLowIron; Soluble in acids
HemimorphiteNone KnownSoluble in acids
HerderiteNone KnownSoluble in acids
HessoniteNone KnownN/A
HodgkinsoniteNone KnownSoluble in acids
HoltiteMediumArsenic, Rare Earth Elements
HowliteNone KnownSoluble in acids
HuebneriteLowTungsten; Soluble in acids
HumiteNone KnownSoluble in acids
HureauliteNone KnownSoluble in acids
HurlbutiteNone KnownSoluble in acids
HydrogrossularNone KnownSoluble in acids
IdocraseLowMay contain beryllium, copper, and rare earths; Soluble in acids
InderiteLowBorate; Soluble in acids
IoliteNone KnownSoluble in acids
JadeiteNone KnownN/A
JeremejeviteNone KnownN/A
JetHighOrganic Material
KämmereriteNone KnownN/A
KornerupineNone KnownN/A
KurnakoviteLowBorate; Soluble in acids
KyaniteNone KnownN/A
LabradoriteNone KnownN/A
LangbeiniteNone KnownWater soluble
Lapis LazuliMediumOften included with pyrite
LawsoniteNone KnownN/A
LazuliteNone KnownN/A
LepidoliteNone KnownSoluble in acids
LeuciteNone KnownSoluble in acids
LinariteHighCopper, Lead; Soluble in acids
LudlamiteNone KnownSoluble in acids
MagnesiteLowSoluble in acids. As a powder, it can irritate the skin, eyes, and respiratory system.
MalachiteHighCopper; Soluble in acids
Malaya GarnetNone KnownN/A
Mali GarnetNone KnownN/A
Mandarin GarnetNone KnownN/A
ManganotantaliteNone KnownN/A
MarcasiteMediumReacts with water
MeliphaniteNone KnownN/A
MelliteHighOrganic Material
MicroclineNone KnownN/A
MicroliteHighCan react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
MilariteNone KnownN/A
MilleriteHighNickel; can react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
MimetiteHighArsenic, Lead; Soluble in acids
MoldaviteNone KnownN/A
MonaziteLowRare Earth Elements; Soluble in acids
MoonstoneNone KnownN/A
MorganiteNone KnownN/A
NambuliteNone KnownN/A
Natrolite (Zeolite)None KnownNon-asbestos fibers in erionite (a non-gem fibrous zeolite) can cause mesothelioma if inhaled. Natrolite has a similar fibrous structure but no known toxicity.
Mesolite (Zeolite)None KnownNon-asbestos fibers in erionite (a non-gem fibrous zeolite) can cause mesothelioma if inhaled. Mesolite has a similar fibrous structure but no known toxicity.
Scolecite (Zeolite)None KnownNon-asbestos fibers in erionite (a non-gem fibrous zeolite) can cause mesothelioma if inhaled. Scolecite has a similar fibrous structure but no known toxicity.
NephelineNone KnownSoluble in acids
NephriteHighPossible risk of silicosis
NeptuniteNone KnownN/A
Niccolite (Nickeline)HighArsenic, Nickel
OligoclaseNone KnownN/A
Oregon SunstoneMediumCopper
OrthoclaseNone KnownN/A
Padparadscha SapphireNone KnownN/A
PainiteNone KnownN/A
PalygorskiteNone KnownN/A
Paraiba TourmalineNone KnownN/A
PargasiteNone KnownN/A
ParisiteHigh/LowCan react dangerously if accidentally swallowed./Weakly radioactive, negligible in small amounts.
PearlHighOrganic Material
Pectolite (Larimar)None KnownN/A
PericlaseHighLaxative; reacts with water
PeridotNone KnownN/A
PeristeriteNone KnownN/A
PerthiteNone KnownN/A
PetaliteNone KnownN/A
PhenakiteNone KnownN/A
PhosgeniteMediumLead; Soluble in acids
PhosphophylliteNone KnownSoluble in acids
PolluciteLowCesium; Soluble in acids
PowelliteMediumMolybdenum; Soluble in acids
PrehniteNone KnownSoluble in acids
ProsopiteHighCan react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
ProustiteHighCan react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
PumpellyiteNone KnownN/A
PurpuriteLowSoluble in acids
PyrargyriteHighCan react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
PyriteHighCan react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
PyropeNone KnownN/A
PyrophylliteLowSoluble in acids
PyroxmangiteNone KnownN/A
PyrrohotiteHighCan react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
RealgarHighArsenic; Can react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
Red BerylNone KnownN/A
RhodiziteNone KnownN/A
RhodochrositeLowManganese; Soluble in acids
RhodoliteNone KnownN/A
RhodoniteLowManganese; Soluble in acids
Rose QuartzHighSilicosis
Rubellite TourmalineNone KnownN/A
RubyNone KnownN/A
RutileNone KnownN/A
Saltwater PearlsHighOrganic Material
SamarskiteHighLead, Uranium, Rare earth elements; Soluble
SanidineNone KnownN/A
SapphireNone KnownN/A
SapphirineNone KnownN/A
ScapoliteNone KnownN/A
ScoroditeHighArsenic; Soluble in acids
SellaiteHighCan react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
SenarmontiteLowAntimony; soluble in water
SeranditeNone KnownN/A
SerpentineHighChrysotile, a variety of serpentine, is one of the minerals classified as asbestos. Gem cutters should take precautions working with chrysotile, but wearing finished pieces poses no health risks. The other varieties of serpentine are not asbestos and have no known health risks.
ShattuckiteMediumCopper; soluble in acids
ShellHighOrganic Material
ShortiteNone KnownWater soluble
SideriteNone KnownSoluble in acids
SillimaniteNone KnownN/A
SimpsoniteMediumTantalum; soluble in acids
SinhaliteNone KnownN/A
SmaltiteHighArsenic, Cobalt, Nickel; soluble in acids
SmithsoniteMediumZinc; soluble in acids
Smoky QuartzHighSilicosis
SodaliteNone KnownSoluble in acids
SogdianiteNone KnownN/A
Spessartite GarnetNone KnownN/A
SphaleriteNone KnownN/A
Sphene (Titanite)None KnownN/A
SpinelNone KnownN/A
SpurriteNone KnownN/A
StauroliteNone KnownN/A
StibiotantaliteLowAntimony, Niobium, Tantalum
StichtiteNone KnownSoluble in acids
StolziteHighLead, Tungsten
SugiliteNone KnownN/A
SunstoneNone KnownN/A
TaafeiteNone KnownN/A
TalcLowTalcosis. Do not inhale or ingest particles. Note: although talc itself does not pose an asbestos hazard, talc ore may contain minerals that do pose asbestos hazards.
TantaliteMediumNiobium, Tantalum; soluble in acids
TanzaniteNone KnownN/A
TephroiteNone KnownN/A
ThomsoniteNone KnownN/A
Tiger's EyeHighAsbestos; Silicosis
TopazNone KnownN/A
TourmalineNone KnownN/A
Triphylite (Tryphylite)MediumLithium; soluble in acids
TsavoriteNone KnownN/A
TugtupiteNone KnownN/A
UvaroviteNone KnownN/A
VanadiniteHighLead, Vanadium
VarisciteNone KnownN/A
VäyryneniteNone KnownN/A
VilliaumiteHighWater soluble. Can react dangerously if particles accidentally swallowed or inhaled. Can irritate skin, eyes, and respiratory tract. Wash hands after touching any material.
VivianiteNone KnownN/A
WarditeNone KnownSoluble in acids
WavelliteNone KnownN/A
WilkeiteHighCan react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
WillemiteNone KnownN/A
WitheriteHighBarium: toxic if ingested.
WollastoniteNone KnownN/A
XonotliteNone KnownN/A
YugawaraliteNone KnownN/A
ZektzeriteLowLithium, Zirconium
ZinciteNone KnownSoluble in acids
ZirconLowZirconium; soluble in acids
ZunyiteHighCan react dangerously if accidentally swallowed

Addison Rice

A geologist, environmental engineer and Caltech graduate, Addison’s interest in the mesmerizing and beautiful results of earth’s geological processes began in her elementary school’s environmental club. When she isn’t writing about gems and minerals, Addison spends winters studying ancient climates in Iceland and summers hiking the Colorado Rockies.

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