Purpurite Value, Price, and Jewelry Information

PURPURITE: Usakos, Namibia (specimens ~2 inches across). Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

Purpurite

This material is never transparent and is too soft for wear. However, cabochons are a magnificent purplish rose hues that have essentially no counterpart in the gem world. The material is available from Namibia in abundance and at low cost.

Purpurite Information

Data Value
Name Purpurite
Colors Deep rose to reddish purple; alters on outside to brown or black.
Crystallography Orthorhombic. Crystals rare, in small masses and cleavages.
Refractive Index 1.85-1.92
Luster Dull, satiny.
Hardness 4-4.5
Fracture Uneven
Specific Gravity 3.69.
Birefringence 0.007
Cleavage Good 1 direction
Dispersion Very strong.
Stone Sizes Cabochons up to several inches long can be cut from cleavages.
Luminescence None.
Luminescence Present No
Transparency Translucent to opaque.
Absorption Spectrum Not diagnostic.
Formula

(Mn,Fe)PO4.

Pleochroism

Strong: gray/rose-red or deep red/purplish red.

Optics

a = 1.85; β = 1.86; γ = 1.92. Biaxial (+), 2V moderate.

Optic Sign Biaxial +

Series to Heterosite.

Optics: a = 1.85; β=1.86; γ =1.92.

Biaxial (+), 2V moderate.

Occurrence: A secondary mineral, due to the oxidation of phosphates in granite pegmatites.

South Dakota; California; North Carolina.

France; Portugal; Western Australia.

Usakos, Namibia: rich purplish masses.

Comments: This material is never transparent and is too soft for wear. However, cabochons are a magnificent purplish rose hues that have essentially no counterpart in the gem world. The material is available from Namibia in abundance and at low cost.

Name: After the Latin purpura (purple), in allusion to the color.