Purpurite Value, Price, and Jewelry Information


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

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 Value

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Purpurite Information

DataValue
NamePurpurite
Crystallography Orthorhombic. Crystals rare, in small masses and cleavages.
Colors Deep rose to reddish purple; alters on outside to brown or black.
Luster Dull, satiny.
Fracture Uneven. Brittle.
Hardness 4-4.5.
Specific Gravity 3.69.
Birefringence 0.007.
Cleavage Good 1 direction.
Dispersion Very strong.
Stone SizesCabochons up to several inches long can be cut from cleavages.
Luminescence None.
Spectral Not diagnostic.
Formula(Mn,Fe)PO4.
Pleochroism Strong: gray/rose-red or deep red/purplish red.

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.