baguette-cut hambergite - Myanmar
baguette-cut hambergite - Myanmar

Hambergite Value, Price, and Jewelry Information


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.

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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.

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

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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