Hambergite Value, Price, and Jewelry Information


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

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 Value

The International Gem Society (IGS) has a list of businesses offering gemstone appraisal services.

Hambergite Information

DataValue
NameHambergite
Crystallography Orthorhombic. Crystals prismatic, flattened.
Colors Colorless, white, grayish white, yellowish white.
Luster Vitreous to dull.
Fracture Conchoidal to uneven. Brittle.
Hardness 7.5
Specific Gravity 2.35-2.37
Birefringence 0.072
Cleavage Perfect 1 direction.
Dispersion 0.015
Luminescence None in most specimens.
Spectral Not diagnostic
Transparency Translucent to transparent.
FormulaBe2BO3(OH,F)
Optics a = 1.55; β= 1.59; γ= 1.63. Biaxial (+), 2V= 87°
EtymologyAfter Axel Hamberg, Swedish mineralogist, who called attention to the mineral.
OccurrenceIn syenite pegmatites and alkali pegmatites, in crystals up to 2 x 1 inch.
Inclusions Tubes
hambergite - Tajikistan
“Hambergite (Twin),” 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, their birefringence is much higher 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.

hambergite - California
An unusually colored and boomerang-shaped specimen. Rob Lavinsky notes: “Unlike all others I have seen which are pale white, this has color. Why?! We don’t know!” “Hambergite,” Himalaya Mine (Himalaya pegmatite; Himalaya dikes), 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:

  • Afghanistan; Ramona, California; Czech Republic; India; Langesundsfjord, Norway; Pakistan; Tajikistan.

Stone Sizes

Hambergite is a fairly rare mineral. 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
“Hambergite,” emerald-cut, 0.99-ct, Madagascar. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission. (Photos enlarged and combined to show detail).