cushion-cut painite - Myanmar
cushion-cut painite - Myanmar

Painite Value, Price, and Jewelry Information


Until 2001, only three painite crystals were known to exist. Since then, additional discoveries have produced many more specimens of this deep red gemstone, but facetable material remains very rare.

2 Minute Read

Until 2001, only three painite crystals were known to exist. Since then, additional discoveries have produced many more specimens of this deep red gemstone, but facetable material remains very rare.

cushion-cut painite - Myanmar
Cushion-cut painite, 0.30-ct, 3.8 x 3.4 mm, very dark brownish red, Myanmar. © The Gem Trader. Used with permission.
gem-quality painite crystal - Ongaing, Myanmar
These photos show both the transparency and very dark colors of a gem-quality painite crystal. 0.7 x 0.3 x 0.2 cm, Ongaing, near Mogok, Myanmar. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

Comments

Painites are found only in Myanmar. The first painite specimen, a single crystal, was identified as a new gem species in 1957. Until 2001, only two more crystals were found. Since then, more painites have been discovered. Over a thousand crystals and fragments have now been recovered, but most of this material isn't facetable.

  • Cut corner square painite 1 - Myanmar
  • cut corner square painite (2) - Myanmar
  • cut corner square painite (3) - Myanmar

    This cut corner square painite shows deep red/brownish orange pleochroism. 0.75 cts, Myanmar, 2005 find. Photo by Allyce Kosnar. © Kosnar Gem Co. Used with permission.

    Although painites have a hardness of 8, great brilliance, and attractive red colors, they present some challenges for gem cutters. Even gem-quality rough is typically highly included and fractured. As a result, faceters tend to cut these gems small and shallow, which can impair their brilliance.

    • rough and cut painite - Myanmar
    • rectangle step-cut painite - Myanmar

      Although new finds of painite have produced very heavily included and fractured rough, an expert gem cutter can still bring out the beauty of this rare material. Very dark brown, rectangle step-cut painite and rough. The faceted gem weighs 0.75 cts and measures 3.7 x 6.8 mm. © The Gem Trader. Used with permission.

      Identifying Characteristics

      Painites have colors and a specific gravity that overlap with those of almandines, spessartites, and rubies. This means that some cut gems might have been misidentified as rubies or garnets. However, painites have refractive index values that differ from rubies, and their birefringence and absorption spectrum should distinguish them from garnets.

      In 2007, a brown specimen from the Natural History Museum, London, originally identified as a tourmaline with rubies from Mogok, proved to be a painite.

      painite crystal with rubies - Myanmar
      A deep red, glassy painite crystal surrounded by dozens of rubies. Discovered between 2000 and 2003. The painite measures 2.2 cm long; specimen 4.0 x 3.5 x 3.0 cm, Kyauk-Pyat-Thet, Mogok, Myanmar. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

      Synthetics

      No known synthetics.

      Enhancements

      No known gem treatments.

      Sources

      Myanmar remains the sole source of painites. In addition to Ongaing, the type locality, Kyauk-Pyat-Thet in Mogok and Namyazeik in Kachin State have produced gem-quality material.

      Stone Sizes

      The first two discovered painite specimens, weighing 1.7 and 2.118 grams, respectively, now reside in the Natural History Museum, London.

      Care

      Although painites do have great resistance to scratching, they may also contain inclusions and fractures that make them susceptible to impacts from everyday wear or heat and vibrations from mechanical cleaning systems. Consult with a gemologist to evaluate your gemstone and determine the best way to set and clean such a rare piece. Otherwise, a soft brush, mild detergent, and warm water should pose no risks for painites. For more care recommendations, consult our gemstone jewelry cleaning guide.

      • oval-cut painite (1) - Myanmar
      • oval-cut painite (2) - Myanmar
      • oval-cut painite (3) - Myanmar

        Oval-cut painite, 0.90 cts, Myanmar, 2005 find. Photo by Allyce Kosnar. © Kosnar Gem Co. 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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