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
Stone Sizes Cabochons up to several inches long can be cut from cleavages.
Formula (Mn,Fe)PO4.
Colors Deep rose to reddish purple; alters on outside to brown or black.
Fracture Uneven
Hardness 4-4.5
Cleavage Good 1 direction
Crystallography Orthorhombic. Crystals rare, in small masses and cleavages.
Refractive Index 1.85-1.92
Birefringence 0.007
Dispersion Very strong.
Luminescence None.
Luminescence Present No
Absorption Spectrum Not diagnostic.
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 +
Luster Dull, satiny.
Specific Gravity 3.69.
Transparency Translucent to opaque.

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.

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