Hambergite Value, Price, and Jewelry Information

Baguette-cut hambergite, 2.46 cts, 10.7 x 6.9 x 4.0 mm, Mogok, Myanmar. © ARK Rare Gems. Used with permission.

Hambergite

Although hard enough for jewelry use, rare hambergite is a gem for collectors of the unusual. Its combination of high birefringence and very low specific gravity makes it easy to identify.

Hambergite Information

Data Value
Name Hambergite
Crystallography Orthorhombic. Crystals prismatic, flattened.
Refractive Index 1.550-1.630
Colors Colorless, white, grayish white, yellowish white.
Luster Vitreous to dull
Hardness 7.5
Fracture Conchoidal to uneven
Specific Gravity 2.35-2.37
Birefringence 0.072
Cleavage Perfect 1 direction
Dispersion 0.015
Luminescence None in most specimens
Luminescence Present No
Transparency Translucent to transparent
Absorption Spectrum Not diagnostic
Formula Be2BO3(OH,F)
Optics a = 1.55; β= 1.59; γ= 1.63. Biaxial (+), 2V= 87°
Optic Sign Biaxial +
Etymology After Axel Hamberg, Swedish mineralogist, who called attention to the mineral.
Occurrence In syenite pegmatites and alkali pegmatites, in crystals up to 2 x 1 inch.
Inclusions Tubes
twinned crystal - Tajikistan

Hambergite crystal, Mika Mine, Pamir Mountains, Tajikistan. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

Comments

Hambergite has the lowest known specific gravity of any gem with such high birefringence. As a result, larger size stones will show significant birefringent effects without much additional weight. Although hambergites have little fire and may resemble quartz gems, they have much higher birefringence than similar-appearing gemstones.

Identifying Characteristics

Usually, cut stones are not clean but filled with cleavage traces.

Stones from Norway sometimes show weak, pink-orange luminescence in longwave ultraviolet light.

boomerang-shaped crystal - California

An unusually colored and boomerang-shaped hambergite specimen. Rob Lavinsky notes: “Unlike all others I have seen which are pale white, this has color. Why?! We don’t know!” Himalaya Mine, Gem Hill, Mesa Grande District, San Diego Co., California, USA. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

Synthetics

None known.

Sources

Anjanabanoana, Madagascar produces large, gemmy crystals.

Other significant sources of crystals include the following:

  • Afghanistan; Ramona, California; Czech Republic; India; Langesundsfjord, Norway; Pakistan; Tajikistan.
hambergite - Madagascar 1.5 carats

Hambergite: Madagascar (1.5). Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

Stone Sizes

Hambergite is a fairly rare mineral, and material transparent enough to facet is rarer still. In 1968, a dealer offered a white stone of 28.86 carats. Nevertheless, cut gems over 5 carats are very rare.

  • Private collections: 40.20 (largest reported); also 7.6, 5.93.

Care

This gem’s relatively high hardness (7.5) exceeds that of quartz. However, its cleavage can make faceting difficult. These stones would more likely reside in mineral collections than on jewelry pieces. Although hambergite requires no special care, consult our gemstone jewelry cleaning guide for more recommendations.

hambergite - emerald cut

Emerald-cut hambergite, 0.99-ct, Madagascar. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission. (Photos enlarged and combined to show detail).

Ready to learn how to identify gems on your own?

Join our mailing list below to download a FREE gem ID checklist tutorial. See what’s inside…

• Discover the 17 practical steps to gemstone identification (even if you’re just getting started with gemology)

• Learn how you can use specific tools to gather data, make observations & arrive at an accurate ID

• Explore a range of gemological tests… not only will you get familiar with the process but also time-saving shortcuts!