Herderite Value, Price, and Jewelry Information

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Light brown, round brilliant herderite, 1.57 cts, 7.3 mm, Brazil. © The Gem Trader. Used with permission.

Herderite is a rare collector’s gem, especially in larger sizes. Although too soft for daily jewelry wear, this material is attractive when cut and can show a wide range of colors.

Herderite Information

Data Value
Name Herderite
Crystallography Monoclinic. Crystals stout or prismatic; tabular; crusts.
Crystallographic Forms
Refractive Index 1.591-1.624
Colors Colorless, pale yellow, greenish white, pink, green, violet.
Luster Vitreous
Hardness 5-5.5
Fracture Conchoidal
Specific Gravity 2.95-3.02
Birefringence 0.028-0.030
Cleavage Indistinct, Interrupted on {110}
Dispersion 0.017
Luminescence Pale green in LW and SW; also stronger violet in LW. Orange fluorescence in X-rays with persistent phosphorescence.
Luminescence Present Yes
Luminescence Type Fluorescent, Phosphorescent, UV-Long, UV-Short, X-ray Colors
Transparency Translucent to transparent
Absorption Spectrum Not diagnostic.
Formula CaBePO4(F,OH).
Pleochroism None or weak
Optics a = 1.591-1.594; β = 1.611-1.613; γ = 1.619-1.624. Biaxial (- or +), 2V = 67-75°. See “Identifying Characteristics” below.
Optic Sign Biaxial +, Biaxial -
Etymology After S. A. W. von Herder, a mining official in Freiburg, Germany (1776–1838).
Occurrence Late stage hydrothermal mineral in granite pegmatites.
pink herderite and other colors - Brazil

Herderites: Brazil (9.6, 3.65, 9.25). Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

What is Herderite?

Herderite belongs to the herderite-hydroxylherderite mineral series as the fluorine (F)-dominant end member. If hydroxyl (OH) dominates, the specimens are then called hydroxylherderites. Herderites are rarer than hydroxylherderites, and some gems may be misidentified as their hydroxyl-dominant brethren.

hydroxylherderite - Brazil

Greenish yellow, round brilliant hydroxylherderite, 1.82 cts., 8 mm, Near Ouro Verde, Minas Gerais, Brazil. © The Gem Trader. Used with permission.

Do Herderites Make Good Jewelry Stones?

With a hardness of 5 to 5.5, herderites would need protective settings for use as ring stones. They’ll scratch easily, so it’s best to reserve them for occasional wear. Other jewelry uses, such as earrings and brooches, would probably pose fewer risks.

Of course, herderites are rare minerals and aren’t well-known by gem enthusiasts, so they rarely appear for sale as faceted pieces. Clean and large stones suitable for cutting are also very hard to find. However, more gem material may come on the market from Brazilian sources.

herderite - faceted

Green herderite, 6.92-ct, 12.7 x 10.5 x 6.0 mm, Brazil. © ARK Rare Gems. Used with permission.

Identifying Characteristics

Some herderites can have a biaxial (+) optic sign. In general, however, OH-dominant specimens will have a positive sign and F-dominant specimens a negative sign.

The refractive indices (RI) of these gems systematically decrease as their F content increases. Thus, RIs in the lower range may indicate herderites.

The green gem from Brazil in Dr. Arem’s photo has the following properties:


No known synthetics or enhancements.

Where is Herderite Found?

Brazil and Pakistan yield gem-quality herderites as well as hydroxylherderites. Minas Gerais, Brazil has produced crystals up to nearly fist size. Their colors include colorless and pink as well as some green and violetish.

The following locations may produce hydroxylherderites:

  • United States: Maine (colorless and pale yellow crystals); New Hampshire.
  • Austria; Germany; Russia.


herderite - Pakistan

Green herderites, Shigar Valley, northeast of Skardu, Baltistan, Pakistan. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

Stone Sizes

Faceted gems from Maine usually weigh from 1 to 5 carats and show pale colors or appear colorless. Herderites from Brazil, however, have stronger colors. Faceters may cut stones up to 25 or 30 carats from larger crystals.

  • Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC): 5.9 (green, Brazil).
  • Devonian Group (Calgary, Alberta, Canada): 3.65 (blue, Brazil).
  • National Museums of Canada (Ottawa, Ontario): 4.65 (light violet octagon, Brazil).

Caring for Your Herderite Jewelry

Due to their relatively low hardness, don’t clean herderites through mechanical processes, such as steam or ultrasonic systems. Instead, use a soft brush, mild detergent, and warm water. Avoid storing them with other harder, more common gemstones to avoid contact scratches. Consult our gemstone jewelry cleaning guide for more recommendations.

step-cut hydroxlherderite

Yellowish green, rectangular step-cut hydroxylherderite, 5.66 cts, 11.5 x 10 mm, Minas Gerais, Brazil. © The Gem Trader. Used with permission.

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