petalite - Afghanistan
petalite - Afghanistan

Petalite Value, Price, and Jewelry Information


Gem-quality, colorless, facetable petalite is rare and desirable to collectors. More so if the stones are large and free of inclusions.

1 Minute Read

Gem-quality, colorless, facetable petalite is rare and desirable to collectors. More so if the stones are large and free of inclusions.

petalite - Afghanistan
Faceted petalite, 13.35 cts, Pech, Kunar Province, Afghanistan. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.
petalite - Namibia
Petalite, 4.3 x 4.2 cm, Rubicon Mine, Okongava Ost Farm 72, Karibib Constituency, Erongo Region, Namibia. Photo by John Sobolewski. Licensed under CC by 3.0.

What is Petalite?

A major source of lithium, the mineral petalite rarely occurs in gem-quality crystal form.

Does Petalite Make a Good Jewelry Stone?

Just below quartz in hardness and with perfect cleavage, petalites are best suited for earrings and pendants. These jewelry pieces receive minimal physical impact. Avoid ring use without a protective setting.

silver earrings - petalites and white diamonds
Sterling silver earrings featuring petalite and white diamond. Photo courtesy of liveauctioneers.com and Dalshire International.

Although colorless, glassy crystals can make stunning faceted jewelry pieces, beautiful pale gray, white, yellow, greenish, and pink stones can also be found. Gem cutters occasionally cab  or carve massive pink material from Namibia.

carved pelican
Carved petalite pelican on a green marble base, 4.25" x 3.5". Photo courtesy of liveauctioneers.com and B.S. Slosberg, Inc. Auctioneers.

Phenomenal Petalites

Included cab-cut petalites may show a weak chatoyancy or cat's eye effect.

Some petalites from Myanmar may show a color change effect between daylight and artificial light.

  • 2.19 ct. Burmese Petalite - PetaliteI
  • 2.19 ct. Burmese Petalite - PetaliteII

    This keystone step-cut petalite appears yellow-greenish in daylight but golden brown under other light sources. 2.19 cts, 9 x 8.4 mm, Myanmar. © The Gem Trader. Used with permission.

    What is Castorite?

    Crystal petalites are sometimes called castorites. When the mineral pollucite was discovered in Elba, Italy in 1846, it was named after Pollux, the twin brother of Castor in Classical mythology. The discoverers associated it with castorite, named after Castor, since both occurred in lithium-rich granite pegmatites at this source. Although castorite was later renamed petalite, the name pollucite remained unchanged.

    castorite - Italy
    Crystals of petalite, such as this specimen from Elba Island, Italy, were once called "castorites." © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

    Are There Synthetic Petalites?

    Scientists have synthesized petalite for various commercial purposes. However, there is no known jewelry use for this material. There are also no known gem treatments for petalites.

    Where are Petalites Found?

    Notable gem sources include the following:

    • Utö, Sweden: the type locality
    • United States: San Diego County, California; Greenwood, Maine; Bolton, Massachusetts; North Bonneville, Wyoming.
    • Londonderry, Western Australia: facetable material.
    • Arassuahy, Brazil: large, clean masses.
    • Bikita, Zimbabwe: considerable material mined for lithium content.
    • Karibib, Namibia: colorless, transparent, and pinkish material.
    • Afghanistan; Elba, Italy; Myanmar; Russia.

    Stone Sizes

    Faceted petalites are usually small. You can find faceted gems from Brazil for sale, ranging from 1 to 10 cts. Rough can range up to 20 cts. Some Brazilian and Namibian rough material has yielded somewhat larger stones in the 50-ct range.

    • Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC): 55 (colorless, Namibia): 48.3, 45.9, 26.6 (colorless, Brazil).
    • Devonian Group (Calgary, Alberta, Canada): 14.8 (colorless. Australia).
    • Private Collection: 48.25 (colorless).

    Caring for Petalite Gemstones

    Store your petalites separately from other harder gems to avoid scratching. Use a soft brush, mild detergent, and warm water for cleaning. Consult our gemstone jewelry cleaning guide for more recommendations.

    petalite - Brazil
    Petalite: Brazil (15.65). 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


    International Gem Society

    Never Stop Learning

    When you join the IGS community, you get trusted diamond & gemstone information when you need it.

    Become a Member

    Get Gemology Insights

    Get started with the International Gem Society’s free guide to gemstone identification. Join our weekly newsletter & get a free copy of the Gem ID Checklist!