Papagoite Value, Price, and Jewelry Information

Papagoite cabochon, Ajo, Arizona. © 49erMinerals. Used with permission.

Papagoite

Cerulean blue papagoite crystals are too small for faceting. However, massive material mixed with quartz can be cabbed, while quartz crystals with papagoite inclusions make striking specimens for collectors.

Papagoite Information

Data Value
Name Papagoite
Colors Cerulean blue.
Crystallography Monoclinic; crystals tiny, flattened; usually microcrystalline coatings and aggregates, sometimes mixed with quartz.
Refractive Index 1.607-1.672
Luster Vitreous.
Hardness 5-5.5; may be approximately 7 if silicified.
Specific Gravity 3.25 if pure; may be lower (for example, 2.42 on Arizona material) if mixed with quartz.
Birefringence 0.065
Cleavage Distinct on crystals; not observed on microcrystalline material.
Luminescence None.
Luminescence Present No
Transparency Crystals translucent to transparent. Massive material and cabochons are translucent to opaque.
Absorption Spectrum Bands centered at 4480, 5150, and 5550.
Formula

CaCuAlSi2O6(OH)3

Pleochroism

Colorless to very pale greenish blue/blue/deep greenish blue.

Optics

a = 1.607; β = 1.641; γ = 1.672. Biaxial (-).

Optic Sign Biaxial -
Etymology

Named after the Papago Native American tribe, now known as Tohono O’odham.

Occurrence

In narrow veinlets in altered granodiorite porphyry; as inclusions in quartz crystals.

microcrystalline papagoite - Arizona

Deep blue microcrystalline papagoite, 5.4 x 3.0 x 1.2 cm, New Cornelia Mine, Ajo, Pima County, Arizona. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

Comments

Papagoite was originally found as tiny crystals associated with blueish green ajoite in Ajo, Pima County, Arizona. This microcrystalline material isn’t cuttable. However, massive papagoite found mixed with quartz has greater hardness and wearability. It can also take a high polish, which makes it suitable for cabbing. These opaque to translucent cabs can have a vitreous luster.

In South Africa, papagoites can occur as inclusions within quartz crystals.

papagoite inclusion in quartz - South Africa

Quartz with included papagoite (Transvaal, South Africa). Photo by James St. John. Licensed under CC By 2.0.

Identifying Characteristics

Under magnification, you can see a regular interlocking structure in massive papagoite/quartz. You may also find tiny metallic copper crystal inclusions. This type of papagoite may look like more well-known chrysocolla or turquoise gems. 

Papagoites leave a light blue streak. Please note that streak testing can destroy your specimen. Never perform this test on a finished gem and only do it as a last resort to identify rough.

Synthetics

No known synthetics.

Enhancements

No known treatments.

Sources

Arizona and South Africa are the principal producers of this rare gem material. Other sources include Namibia and Slovakia.

papagoite crystals - Namibia

Papagoite crystals, 5.9 x 3.3 x 2.1 cm, Sindair Mine, South Central Namibia. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

Stone Sizes

Lapidaries can cut cabs up to several inches in length from the massive material.

Care

Clean microcrystalline specimens only with a soft brush, mild detergent, and warm water. Durable cabochons cut from massive material have no special care requirements. For more care recommendations, consult our gemstone jewelry cleaning guide.

papagoite cabs and rough - Arizona

Papagoite cabochons and rough. © 49erMinerals. Used with permission.

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