cushion-cut clinohumite - humite group series
cushion-cut clinohumite - humite group series

Humite Value, Price, and Jewelry Information


Clinohumites and chondrodites can make beautiful gemstones with rich colors, but these members of the humite mineral group are rare and little known to the gem-buying public.

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Clinohumites and chondrodites can make beautiful gemstones with rich colors, but these members of the humite mineral group are rare and little known to the gem-buying public.

cushion-cut clinohumite - humite group series
Custom cushion-cut clinohumite, 3.31 cts, 9 x 9 mm, Pamir Mountains, Tajikistan. © The Gem Trader. Used with permission.
Humite crystal in vug - Italy
This vug holds a 5 mm yellow, gem-quality humite crystal from the type locality, Monte Somma, Vesuvius, Naples Province, Campania, Italy. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

What is Humite?

Humite lends its name to a mineral group as well as a series within that group. The humite series includes norbergite, chondrodite, humite, and clinohumite.

Do Humites Make Good Jewelry Stones?

Gemstones cut from members of the humite series can have very rich colors. Faceting poses no great difficulty. With hardness ranging from 6 to 6.5, they also make durable jewelry stones. However, they'll still be susceptible to scratching from household dust. To prevent scratches, use protective settings and reserve any jewelry pieces for occasional wear.

All the minerals in the humite series are rare, but chondrodite is the most abundant member of this series. Unfortunately, rough suitable for cutting is virtually unobtainable and could only yield tiny gems, so faceted chondrodites are almost unknown. Norbergite and humite itself also face a similar situation.

chondrodite - New York
Chondrodite: Tilly Foster Mine, Brewster, NY (0.5). Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

Clinohumites

Although scarcer, clinohumites are more commonly faceted than their fellow series members. Gem-quality, transparent, slightly brownish yellow to reddish orange crystals have been found in the Pamir Mountains, primarily in what is now Tajikistan. This material can yield beautiful, flawless gems.

oval-cut clinohumite - Afghanistan
Oval-cut clinohumite, 7.45 cts, 13.1 x 11.1 x 7.9 mm, Pamir Mountains, Afghanistan. © ARK Rare Gems. Used with permission.

Identifying Characteristics of Humite Series Gemstones

Since humite series minerals have similar properties, they can be easily confused. Their compositions are related in a very distinctive way.

  • Norbergite: Mg(OH,F)2 · Mg2(SiO4)
  • Chondrodite: Mg(OH,F)2 · 2Mg2(SiO4)
  • Humite: Mg(OH,F)· 3Mg2(SiO4)
  • Clinohumite: Mg(OH,F)· 4Mg2(SiO4)

The presence of titanium dioxide (TiO2) in humite and clinohumite strongly affects their optical properties.

Comparison of Physical and Optical Properties of Humite Series Gemstones

Norbergite

Chondrodite

Humite

Clinohumite

Clinohumite (Tajikistan)
Crystallographyorthorhombicmonoclinicorthorhombicmonoclinic
Colorsyellowish tanbrown, yellow, redyellow, deep orangebrown, yellow, orange, white
Hardness6.56.566
Specific Gravity3.15-3.183.16-3.263.20-3.323.17-3.35
Optics
α1.563-1.5671.592-1.6151.607-1.6431.629-1.6381.631
β1.567-1.5791.602-1.6271.639-1.6751.662-1.6431.639-1.647
γ1.590-1.5931.621-1.6461.639-1.6751.662-1.6741.668
2V44-50°71-85°65-84°73-76°
Birefringence0.026-0.0270.028-0.0340.029-0.0310.028-0.0410.037
Pleochroism
αpale yellowvery pale yellow/brownish yellowyellowgolden yellow/ deep reddish yellow
βvery pale yellowcolorless/ yellowish greencolorless/ pale yellowpale yellow/orange yellow
γcolorlesscolorless/pale greencolorless/ pale yellowpale yellow/orange yellow

All members of this group have poor cleavage, vitreous luster, and a biaxial (+) optic character. Typically, they show yellowish brown colors. Clinohumites from China have been found with reddish orange color, and some clinohumites from Tanzania show yellow-green colors.

Fluorescence

Clinohumite fluoresces slightly orangey yellow in shortwave (SW) ultraviolet light (UV). Humite may fluoresce slightly yellow in SW UV. Chondrodite may fluoresce yellow in SW UV and slightly orange in longwave (LW) UV. Norbergite may fluoresce bright yellow to golden yellow in SW UV.

  • norbergite crystal, normal light, Myanmar - humite mineral series
  • norbergite, UV light, Myanmar - humite mineral series

    This orange, gem-quality norbergite crystal on a calcite matrix fluoresces golden yellow under ultraviolet light. 4.2 x 3.6 x 2.8 cm (calcite), 9 mm (norbergite), Mogok Township, Pyin-Oo-Lwin District, Mandalay Division, Myanmar. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

    Are There Synthetic Humite Series Gemstones?

    Scientists have synthesized the humite series members using a variety of methods. However, there's no known jewelry use for this lab-created material nor any known enhancements for the natural stones.

    clinohumite gem rough - humite mineral series
    Clinohumite rough. (The coin is 1 Pakistani rupee, 20 mm in diameter). Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

    Where are Humite Series Gems Found?

    Although rare, humite series members occur across the globe.

    The most well-known source for gem-quality clinohumite is Tajikistan, in the Pamir Mountains. Russia also produces gem-quality clinohumite in the Lake Baikal and Taymyr regions.

    Tilly Foster Mine in Brewster, New York produces fine crystals of reddish brown, gemmy chondrodite, associated with humite and clinohumite. This is the principal source of most gem-quality chondrodite.

    chondrodite gem and rough - New York
    Chondrodite: Tilly Foster Mine, Brewster, New York (gem, around 2 cts; rough, around 1" long). Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

    Afghanistan, China, and Tanzania produce gem-quality clinohumite and chondrodite.

    Other notable clinohumite sources include the following:

    • Ala, Italy; Malaga, Spain; California, United States.

    Norberg, Sweden and, in the United States, Franklin, New Jersey and Orange County, New York produce norbergite.

    Myanmar produces norbergite and chondrodite.

    Vietnam yields humite, clinohumite, and chondrodite.

    Notable humite sources include the following:

    • Ontario, Canada; Pargas, Finland (yellowish material); Loolekop, South Africa (in carbonatite); Kafveltorp, Orebro, Sweden (yellowish material).
    oval-cut chondrodite - Tanzania
    Oval-cut chondrodite, 2.20 cts, 9.0 x 7.1 x 4.4 mm, Tanzania. © ARK Rare Gems. Used with permission.

    Stone Sizes

    Cut humite series members were long known as small gems, usually from 1 to 3 carats in size. Crystals tended to be dark and filled with inclusions and fractures, so larger cut gems were extremely rare.

    The discovery of gem-quality clinohumites since the 1980s has yielded material for larger gemstones. Faceted Tajikistani clinohumites of 36.56 cts and even 84.23 cts have been documented.

    oval clinohumite and diamond ring
    18k white gold ring with round brilliant-cut diamonds, about 1.50 ctw, and an oval modified brilliant-cut clinohumite, about 10.36 cts. Photo courtesy of liveauctioneers.com and Hindman.

    Caring for Humites

    Since humite series gems may have many inclusions, including two-phase inclusions, don't place them in ultrasonic or other mechanical cleaning systems. Clean them only with a soft brush, mild detergent, and warm water.

    Consult our gemstone jewelry cleaning guide for more recommendations.

    faceted clinohumite - Tajikistan
    Clinohumite: Tajikistan (1.52). Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

    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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