Gemstone Toxicity Table


Summary
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.
Reading time: 9 min 52 sec
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.

Name Toxicity Risk Hazard
Actinolite Low Asbestos
Adamite High Arsenic, Copper; soluble in acids
Agate Low Silicosis
Albite None Known N/A
Alexandrite None Known N/A
Algodonite High Arsenic, Copper; may react with water and acids
Almandine None Known N/A
Amazonite Low Lead
Amber High Organic Material
Amblygonite High Can react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
Amethyst High Silicosis
Ametrine High Silicosis
Ammolite High Organic Material
Analcime None Known N/A
Anatase None Known Soluble in acids
Andalusite None Known N/A
Andesine None Known N/A
Andradite None Known N/A
Anglesite High Lead
Anhydrite (Angelite) None Known Soluble in acids
Anorthite None Known Soluble in acids
Apatite High Can react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
Apophyllite None Known Soluble in acids
Aquamarine None Known N/A
Aragonite None Known Soluble in acids
Augelite None Known Soluble in acids
Axinite None Known N/A
Azurite High Copper; Soluble in acids
Barite Low Barium
Bayldonite High Copper, Lead, Arsenic; Slightly soluble in acids
Benitoite None Known N/A
Beryl None Known N/A
Beryllonite None Known Soluble in acids
Bismutotantalite Unknown Bismuth
Black Onyx Low Silicosis
Bloodstone Low Silicosis
Boleite High Copper, Lead; Soluble in acids
Boracite Low Borate; Soluble in acids
Bornite High Copper; Soluble in acids
Brazilianite None Known N/A
Breithauptite Medium Nickel, Antimony
Brookite None Known N/A
Brucite High Asbestos; Soluble in acids
Bustamite None Known Soluble in acids
Bytownite None Known N/A
Calcareous Concretions High Organic Material
Calcite None Known Soluble in acids
Canasite None Known N/A
Cancrinite None Known Soluble in acids
Carnelian Low Silicosis
Cassiterite None Known N/A
Catapleiite None Known Soluble in acids
Celestite None Known N/A
Ceruleite High Arsenic, Copper; Soluble in acids
Cerussite High Lead; Soluble in acids
Chabazite None Known Soluble in acids
Chalcedony Low Silicosis
Chambersite Low Borate; Soluble in acids
Charoite None Known N/A
Chicken-Blood Stone High Mercury, Silicosis
Childrenite None Known Soluble in acids
Chiolite None Known N/A
Chromite High Hexavalent Chromium Traces
Chrysoberyl None Known N/A
Chrysocolla Chalcedony Low Silicosis
Chrysocolla Low Silicosis
Chrysoprase Low Silicosis
Cinnabar High Mercury; Can react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
Citrine High Silicosis
Clinochlore None Known N/A
Cobaltite High Arsenic, Cobalt; Can react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
Colemanite None Known Soluble in acids
Coral High Organic Material
Cordierite None Known Soluble in acids
Cordundum None Known N/A
Covellite High Copper; Can react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
Creedite None Known Soluble in acids
Crocoite High Hexavalent Chromium, Lead; Soluble in acids
Cryolite High Can react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
Cuprite High Copper; Soluble in acids
Danburite None Known Slightly soluble in acids
Datolite Low Borate; Soluble in acids
Demantoid Garnet None Known N/A
Diamond None Known N/A
Diaspore None Known N/A
Dickinsonite None Known Soluble in acids
Diopside None Known N/A
Dioptase High Copper; Soluble in acids
Dolomite Medium May contain heavy metals; Soluble in acids
Dumortierite None Known N/A
Ekanite High Lead, Radioactivity (Uranium, Thorium)
Emerald None Known N/A
Enstatite None Known N/A
Eosphorite None Known Soluble in acids
Epidote None Known Soluble in acids; Other members of the epidote group contain lead and radioactive elements
Ettringite None Known May contain heavy metals; Soluble in water
Euclase None Known N/A
Eudialyte Medium Zircon; Slightly radioactive; Soluble in acids
Euxenite High Uranium, Thorium
Feldspar None Known N/A
Fergusonite Low Rare Earth Elements; Soluble in acids
Fluorite None Known Can react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
Freshwater Pearls High Organic Material
Friedelite None Known Soluble in acids
Gadolinite Low Rare Earth Elements; Soluble in acids
Gahnospinel None Known N/A
Garnet None Known N/A
Gaylussite None Known Soluble in acids
Glass Low Silicosis
Grandidierite None Known N/A
Grossular Garnet None Known N/A
Gypsum None Known Soluble in acids
Hambergite Low Borate; Soluble in acids
Haϋyne None Known Soluble in acids
Heliodor None Known N/A
Hematite Low Iron; Soluble in acids
Hemimorphite None Known Soluble in acids
Herderite None Known Soluble in acids
Hessonite None Known N/A
Hodgkinsonite None Known Soluble in acids
Holtite Medium Arsenic, Rare Earth Elements
Howlite None Known Soluble in acids
Huebnerite Low Tungsten; Soluble in acids
Humite None Known Soluble in acids
Hureaulite None Known Soluble in acids
Hurlbutite None Known Soluble in acids
Hydrogrossular None Known Soluble in acids
Idocrase Low May contain beryllium, copper, and rare earths; Soluble in acids
Inderite Low Borate; Soluble in acids
Iolite None Known Soluble in acids
Jadeite None Known N/A
Jasper Low Silicosis
Jeremejevite None Known N/A
Jet High Organic Material
Kämmererite None Known N/A
Kornerupine None Known N/A
Kurnakovite Low Borate; Soluble in acids
Kyanite None Known N/A
Labradorite None Known N/A
Langbeinite None Known Water soluble
Lapis Lazuli Medium Often included with pyrite
Lawsonite None Known N/A
Lazulite None Known N/A
Legrandite High Arsenic
Lepidolite None Known Soluble in acids
Leucite None Known Soluble in acids
Linarite High Copper, Lead; Soluble in acids
Ludlamite None Known Soluble in acids
Magnesite None Known Soluble in acids
Malachite High Copper; Soluble in acids
Malaya Garnet None Known N/A
Mali Garnet None Known N/A
Mandarin Garnet None Known N/A
Manganotantalite None Known N/A
Marcasite Medium Reacts with water
Meliphanite None Known N/A
Mellite High Organic Material
Microcline None Known N/A
Microlite High Can react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
Milarite None Known N/A
Millerite High Nickel; can react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
Mimetite High Arsenic, Lead; Soluble in acids
Moldavite None Known N/A
Monazite Low Rare Earth Elements; Soluble in acids
Moonstone None Known N/A
Mordenite High Fibrosis
Morganite None Known N/A
Nambulite None Known N/A
Natrolite High Asbestos
Mesolite High Asbestos
Scolecite High Asbestos
Nepheline None Known Soluble in acids
Nephrite None Known N/A
Neptunite None Known N/A
Niccolite (Nickeline) High Arsenic, Nickel
Obsidian Low Silicosis
Oligoclase None Known N/A
Opal Low Silicosis
Oregon Sunstone Medium Copper
Orthoclase None Known N/A
Padparadscha Sapphire None Known N/A
Painite None Known N/A
Palygorskite None Known N/A
Papagoite Low Copper
Paraiba Tourmaline None Known N/A
Pargasite None Known N/A
Parisite High Can react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
Pearl High Organic Material
Pectolite (Larimar) None Known N/A
Pentlandite High Nickel
Periclase High Laxative; reacts with water
Peridot None Known N/A
Peristerite None Known N/A
Perthite None Known N/A
Petalite None Known N/A
Phenakite None Known N/A
Phosgenite Medium Lead; Soluble in acids
Phosphophyllite None Known Soluble in acids
Pollucite Low Cesium; Soluble in acids
Powellite Medium Molybdenum; Soluble in acids
Prehnite None Known Soluble in acids
Prosopite High Can react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
Proustite High Can react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
Pumpellyite None Known N/A
Purpurite Low Soluble in acids
Pyrargyrite High Can react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
Pyrite High Can react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
Pyrope None Known N/A
Pyrophyllite Low Soluble in acids
Pyroxmangite None Known N/A
Pyrrohotite High Can react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
Quartz High Silicosis
Quartzite High Silicosis
Realgar High Arsenic; Can react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
Red Beryl None Known N/A
Rhodizite None Known N/A
Rhodochrosite Low Manganese; Soluble in acids
Rhodolite None Known N/A
Rhodonite Low Manganese; Soluble in acids
Rose Quartz High Silicosis
Rubellite Tourmaline None Known N/A
Ruby None Known N/A
Rutile None Known N/A
Saltwater Pearls High Organic Material
Samarskite High Lead, Uranium, Rare earth elements; Soluble
Sanidine None Known N/A
Sapphire None Known N/A
Sapphirine None Known N/A
Scapolite None Known N/A
Scorodite High Arsenic; Soluble in acids
Sellaite High Can react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
Senarmontite Low Antimony; soluble in water
Serandite None Known N/A
Serpentine None Known N/A
Shattuckite Medium Copper; soluble in acids
Shell High Organic Material
Shortite None Known Water soluble
Siderite None Known Soluble in acids
Sillimanite None Known N/A
Simpsonite Medium Tantalum; soluble in acids
Sinhalite None Known N/A
Smaltite High Arsenic, Cobalt, Nickel; soluble in acids
Smithsonite Medium Zinc; soluble in acids
Smoky Quartz High Silicosis
Sodalite None Known Soluble in acids
Sogdianite None Known N/A
Spessartite Garnet None Known N/A
Sphalerite None Known N/A
Sphene (Titanite) None Known N/A
Spinel None Known N/A
Spodumene Low Lithium
Spurrite None Known N/A
Staurolite None Known N/A
Stibiotantalite Low Antimony, Niobium, Tantalum
Stichtite None Known Soluble in acids
Stolzite High Lead, Tungsten
Strontianite Low Strontium
Sugilite None Known N/A
Sulfur High Sulfur
Sunstone None Known N/A
Taafeite None Known N/A
Talc None Known N/A
Tantalite Medium Niobium, Tantalum; soluble in acids
Tanzanite None Known N/A
Tektite Low Silicosis
Tephroite None Known N/A
Thomsonite None Known N/A
Tiger’s Eye High Asbestos; Silicosis
Topaz None Known N/A
Tourmaline None Known N/A
Tremolite None Known N/A
Triphylite (Tryphylite) Medium Lithium; soluble in acids
Tsavorite None Known N/A
Tugtupite None Known N/A
Turquoise Low Copper
Ulexite Low Borate
Uvarovite None Known N/A
Vanadinite High Lead, Vanadium
Variscite None Known N/A
Väyrynenite None Known N/A
Villiaumite High Water soluble; Can react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
Vivianite None Known N/A
Wardite None Known Soluble in acids
Wavellite None Known N/A
Weloganite Low Zirconium
Whewellite High Oxalate
Wilkeite High Can react dangerously if accidentally swallowed
Willemite None Known N/A
Witherite High Barium
Wollastonite None Known N/A
Wulfenite High Lead
Xonotlite None Known N/A
Yugawaralite None Known N/A
Zektzerite Low Lithium, Zirconium
Zincite None Known Soluble in acids
Zircon Low Zirconium; soluble in acids
Zunyite High Can react dangerously if accidentally swallowed

 

About the author
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.
All articles by this author