Scapolite Value, Price, and Jewelry Information


SCAPOLITE: Tanzania (32.44, 32.00). Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

This gem, which is not widely available and little recognized by the public, is none the less, a desirable and attractive gem material for jewelers as well as collectors. It is known mineralogically as Wernerite, after its discoverer. Similar to the gems in the garnet group, this gem ranges in color and precise gemological values along a "solution series" as the amount of sodium and calcium in the chemical formula changes.

Scapolite Value

The value of yellow scapolite, depends on size, clarity and strength of color. The usual premium on value would be expected in terms of saturation of color and custom versus native or commercial cutting. Values for natural purple or irradiated stones differ dramatically as the natural stones are both rarer and a delicate, but much purer, purple. They would range above and below the prices for yellows, respectively. The rare cat's eye varieties are highly varied and quite beautiful.

The International Gem Society (IGS) has a list of businesses offering gemstone appraisal services.

Scapolite Value via Gem Price Guide
Gold 1 to 3 carats 3 carats plus
Faceted to /ct to /ct
Purple .5 to 1 carat 1 carat plus
Faceted to /ct to /ct
Colorless 1 to 10 carats 10 carats plus
Faceted to /ct to /ct
Cat’s Eye 1 to 10 carats
to /ct
Star 1 carat plus
to /ct

See the entire Gem Price Guide.

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Scapolite Information

DataValue
NameScapolite
VarietiesMarialite, Meionite, Petschite, Wernerite
Crystallography Tetragonal: crystals prismatic, often large and coarse; massive. granular. cleavages.
Refractive Index 1.536 - 1.579
Colors Colorless, white, bluish gray, pale greenish yellow, pink, violet, brown, orangy-brown, golden yellow, orangy-yellow.
Luster Vitreous; resinous; pearly on cleavages.
Polish Luster Vitreous, resinous
Fracture Luster Vitreous, resinous, pearly
Fracture Uneven to Conchoidal; brittle.
Hardness 6 - 6.5
Toughness Good
Specific Gravity 2.50 - 2.78. See table below.
Cleavage Perfect/distinct in two directions.
Dispersion 0.017
Luminescence Burma: yellow to orange in LW (U spectrum), also pink in SW. Tanzania: strong yellow in both LW, SW; violet stones = pink in SW, inert in LW. Quebec: massive material fluoresces in LW (+ phosphorescence). Some yellow faceted gems fluoresce lilac in SW. strong orange in X-rays.
Spectral Pink and violet stones show bands in the red at 6630 and 6520 due to Cr. Strong absorption in the yellow part of the spectrum.
Wearability Poor
Enhancements Heat treatment, improves color, common, undetectable. Irradiation turns colorless and yellow to purple. Uncommon, undetectable, fades rapidly in light.
Special Care InstructionsAvoid rough handling
Transparency Transparent to Opaque
Absorption Spectrum Pink, lines at 663 and 652 nm
Phenomena Chatoyance, very rare
Formula
  • Marialite: 3Na(AlSi3)O8 · NaCl.
  • Meionite: 3Ca(Al2Si2)O8 · CaCO3.
Pleochroism 
  • Pink and violet stones: dark blue/ lavender blue; colorless/violet.
  • Colorless and pale yellow stones: colorless to pale yellow/yellow.

Scapolite, also known as Wernerite, runs in a solid state series from Marialite to Meionite, with Mizzointe in the middle.

Comments by Donald Clark, CSM IMG

This gem, which is not widely available and little recognized by the public, is none the less, a desirable and attractive gem material for jewelers as well as collectors. It is known mineralogically as Wernerite, after its discoverer. Similar to the gems in the garnet group, this gem ranges in color and precise gemological values along a “solution series” as the amount of sodium and calcium in the chemical formula changes.

Colors range from near colorless to yellow and orange, through pinks to purple. Yellows are the most commonly found colors with purple a distant second. Irradiation of colorless or yellow specimens can create a brownish purple variety which is prone to fading and not very attractive.

The main sources are Brazil, Tanzania, Madagascar and Sri Lanka. Cat’seye stones are rather rare and desirable as they have exceptionally sharp eyes. Its hardness of 6 and cleavability necessitate some care in setting and wearing in jewelry, with daily wear ring use unwise. The name comes from the Greek “scapos” or rod, and refers to the short rod-like crystal habit.

 scapolite

Comments by Dr. Joel Arem

Catseye scapolites from Burma are very rare, possess an unusually sharp eye, and occur in various colors. Cabochons from opaque Quebec and Ontario material are very lovely and often fluoresce brightly. The Tanzanian golden scapolite is much darker in tone than the Brazilian material, and is also much cleaner. Moreover, there is enough available to make jewelry promotion feasible. The pink-purple Tanzanian material is extremely rare in sizes over about 5 carats. Most gems of this color are in the 1-2 carat range. Faceted Burmese scapolites are also rarely found in the marketplace.

SCAPOLITE: Tanzania (14.83)
SCAPOLITE: Tanzania (14.83). Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.
SCAPOLITE: Catseye scapolite, Burma
SCAPOLITE: Catseye scapolite, Burma. Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

Table of Scapolite Group Properties

Table of Scapolite Group Properties

Locality

Color

o

e

Birefringence

Specific Gravity

Marialite

1.564-1.550

1.540-1.541

0.004-0.008

2.50-2.62

Entire Rios, Mozambique

yellow

1.568

1.548

0.02

2.70

Umba River, Tanzania

yellow-gold

1.562-1.567

1.543-1.548

0.019

2.66-2.67

Umba River, Tanzania

violet

1.539-1.540

1.531-1.534

0.007

2.59

Umba River, Tanzania

yellow

1.553

1.539

0.014

2.63

Umba River, Tanzania

very pale yellow

1.579

1.553

0.026

2.74

Rio Pardo, Brazil

golden yellow

1.570-1.574

1.549-1.552

0.021

2.68-2.70

Burma

colorless

1.56

1.544

0.016

Burma

pink

1.558

1.545

0.013

Burma

light yellow

1.587

1.554

0.033

Burma

pale pink

1.549

1.54

0.009

2.63

Burma (catseye)

violet

1.560

1.544

0.016

2.63

Sri Lanka (catseye)

gray

1.583

1.553

0.030

Kenya (catseye)

brown

1.57

2.73

Madagascar

colorless

1.568-1.571

1.550-1.552

0.018-0.020

Meionite

1.590-1.600

1.556-1.562

0.024-0.037

2.78

Scapolite table
Refractive index and birefringence (δ) as related to chemical composition in the scapolite group. Chemistry is expressed as (molecular) percent meionite, which reflects the ratio Ca/(Ca + Na) in the formula. Refractive index is plotted as a mean index = (o + e)/2. Adapted from W. A. Deer, R. A. Howie, and J. Zussman, 1962, The Rock Forming Minerals, vol. 4 (New York: Wiley). p. 329.

Occurrence

In contact zones; regionally metamorphosed rocks; altered basic igneous rocks.

  • Madagascar:  yellow, facetable crystals.
  • Espirito Santa, Brazil: pale yellow crystals, sometimes large, facetable.
  • Burma: white, yellow, pink to violet. all cuttable; also bluish, pinkish, white catseyes.
  • Kenya: brownish catseyes.
  • Dodoma, Tanzania: finest transparent golden yellow to orangy-yellow material, sometimes very pale to near colorless; also violetish and pink (rare) cuttable crystals.
  • Quebec, Canada: lemon yellow, opaque scapolite, some with silky luster.
  • Ontario, Canada: light yellow, pink and green material yielding tiny cut gems.

Stone Sizes

Burmese white and yellow gems have been found in large sizes. Pink Burmese step-cut gems to 70 carats have been reported. Catseyes are usually under 10 carats, but larger ones are known. Tanzania produces the finest golden yellow scapolite known in commercial quantities. Pink gems are extremely rare, violet stones very rare in sizes over 5 carats. Brazilian yellow scapolite is cuttable up to about 30 carats but is usually flawed (long thin tubes) at this size.

  • ROM: 28.4, 57.6 (yellow, Brazil); 7.91 (pink, Burma); 65.63 (colorless, Burma); 18.8 (gray, catseye); and 18.3 (pink catseye).
  • SI: 288 (colorless, Burma); 29.9, 19.7 (catseye, pink, Sri Lanka); 12.3 (pink, Burma); 103.4, 52.2 (yellow-orange, Tanzania).
  • DG: 3.34 (blue catseye, Burma); 21.25 (white catseye, India).
  • PC: 14.83 (violet, Tanzania — largest known of this color); 52.92 (green-brown catseye).

Name

Scapolite from the Greek skapos (shaft) because of the stumpy nature of its prismatic crystals. Marialite is named after Maria Rosa, wife of G. vom Rath. German mineralogist. Meionite is from Greek meion (less), because its pyramidal form is smaller than that of idocrase from Vesuvius, which it resembles. Mizzonite is also from the Greek meizon (greater) because the axial ratio is larger than that of meionite.

Misnomer

Pink moonstone, pink scapolite with sheen.