Scapolite Value, Price, and Jewelry Information
Although not well known, scapolite would make an attractive gem material for both jewelry enthusiasts and mineral collectors. It comes in a wide variety of colors and can show dramatic fluorescence and phenomenal effects.
3 Minute Read
Although not well known, scapolite would make an attractive gem material for both jewelry enthusiasts and mineral collectors. It comes in a wide variety of colors and can show dramatic fluorescence. Rare specimens also display phenomenal effects, like chatoyancy.
Start an IGS Membership todayfor full access to our price guide (updated monthly).
Yellow scapolite’s value depends on size, clarity, and strength of color. Expect the usual premiums on price in terms of color saturation and custom versus native or commercial cutting. Values for natural purple or violet scapolites differ greatly from irradiated stones, since the untreated stones are rarer and have a delicate, but much purer, purple.
Prices for untreated purple stones would exceed yellow, while prices for irradiated purple stones fall below yellow.
Rare cat’s eye scapolites are highly varied and quite beautiful.
Tanzanian golden scapolite is much darker in tone than the Brazilian material, as well as much cleaner. Moreover, there is enough available to make jewelry promotion feasible.
What is Scapolite?
The scapolite mineral group contains a solid state series from marialite to meionite, with mizzonite as the intermediate member. Gemologically speaking, the term scapolite refers to the gems that form in this series. Older sources may refer to this series as "wernerite."
Does Scapolite Make a Good Jewelry Stone?
With a hardness of 5.5 to 6 and perfect cleavage, scapolites require care when setting and wearing as jewelry. Although daily wear as a ring stone may be inadvisable, protective settings and occasional use will let you show off these rarely seen gems.
Scapolites would also make excellent choices for pendants and earrings.
What Causes Color in Scapolite?
The colors and properties of scapolites vary as the amount of sodium and calcium in their chemical composition changes. Colors range from near colorless through pinks and purples to yellow and orange. By far, yellows occur most commonly. Purples come a distant second.
Scapolites may show strong fluorescence and pleochroic colors.
Some rare scapolites have displayed a variety of phenomenal effects. These include chatoyancy (in many colors and with unusually sharp "eyes") and tenebrescence.
Under shortwave ultraviolet light, this tenebrescent colorless scapolite changes to a light blue. Over time, the blue fades back to colorless. Cushion cut, 1.55 cts, 7.6 × 7.4 ×5.0, Pakistan. © ARK Rare Gems. Used with permission.
In addition, so-called "rainbow" or "sunstone scapolites" display iridescence. Recently, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) found that brownish orange platelets, possibly hematite inclusions, caused aventurescence in a scapolite specimen. Of course, true sunstones are feldspars, and scapolites don't belong to that mineral group. (Be aware that pink scapolite with sheen is sometimes erroneously called pink moonstone).
Distinguishing citrines, a yellow variety of quartz, from yellow scapolites may sometimes prove challenging (without a destructive scratch test). Consult this article on difficult separations for advice.
Table of Marialite-Meionite Series Properties
|Entire Rios, Mozambique|
|Umba River, Tanzania|
|Umba River, Tanzania|
|Umba River, Tanzania|
|Umba River, Tanzania|
very pale yellow
|Rio Pardo, Brazil|
|Myanmar (cat's eye)|
|Sri Lanka (cat's eye)|
|Kenya (cat's eye)|
Graph of Scapolite Optical Properties Versus Chemical Composition
Note: Dipyre is a Ca-rich marialite.
Are There Any Synthetic Scapolites?
Scapolite Gem Enhancements
Heating can improve color in scapolites. This common enhancement is undetectable.
Yellow and colorless scapolites may receive radiation treatments. This uncommon enhancement creates a brownish purple color, which fades rapidly.
Where are Scapolites Found?
Tanzania produces the finest golden yellow scapolite known in commercial quantities. Dodoma yields transparent, golden yellow to orangey yellow gem material. This source sometimes produces very pale to near colorless stones, as well as violetish and pink (rare) cuttable crystals.
Espirito Santo, Brazil produces pale yellow crystals, sometimes large and facetable.
Madagascar produces yellow, facetable crystals.
Other notable gem-quality sources include the following:
- Canada: Quebec (lemon yellow, opaque scapolite, some with silky luster); Ontario (light yellow, pink, and green material yielding tiny cut gems).
- Kenya: brownish cat's eyes.
- Myanmar: white, yellow, pink to violet (all cuttable); also bluish, pinkish, white cat's eyes.
- Afghanistan; China; India; Pakistan; Peru; Sri Lanka; Tajikistan.
The pink and purple Tanzanian material is extremely rare in sizes over 5 carats. You'll find most gems of this color in the 1-2 carat range.
Brazilian yellow scapolite is cuttable up to about 30 carats. However, at that size, it's usually flawed (long thin tubes).
Faceted Myanmar scapolites are rarely encountered on the market. However, white and yellow specimens from Myanmar have been found in large sizes. Pink Myanmar step-cut gems to 70 carats have been reported. Cat's eyes usually run under 10 carats. However, larger ones are known.
- Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto, Ontario, Canada): 28.4, 57.6 (yellow, Brazil); 7.91 (pink, Myanmar); 65.63 (colorless, Myanmar); 18.8 (gray, cat's eye); and 18.3 (pink cat's eye).
- Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC): 288 (colorless, Myanmar); 29.9, 19.7 (cat's eye, pink, Sri Lanka); 12.3 (pink, Myanmar); 103.4, 52.2 (yellow-orange, Tanzania).
- Devonian Group (Calgary, Alberta, Canada): 3.34 (blue cat's eye, Myanmar); 21.25 (white cat's eye, India).
- Private Collection: 14.83 (violet, Tanzania, largest known of this color); 52.92 (green-brown cat's eye).
How to Care for Scapolites
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
Donald Clark, CSM IMG
The late Donald Clark, CSM founded the International Gem Society in 1998. Donald started in the gem and jewelry industry in 1976. He received his formal gemology training from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the American Society of Gemcutters (ASG). The letters “CSM” after his name stood for Certified Supreme Master Gemcutter, a designation of Wykoff’s ASG which has often been referred to as the doctorate of gem cutting. The American Society of Gemcutters only had 54 people reach this level. Along with dozens of articles for leading trade magazines, Donald authored the book “Modern Faceting, the Easy Way.”
International Gem Society
Difficult Gemstone Separations
Humite Value, Price, and Jewelry Information
Pectolite (Larimar) Value, Price, and Jewelry Information
Saltwater Pearls Value, Price, and Jewelry Information
Rubellite Tourmaline Value, Price, and Jewelry Information
Ten Rare and Expensive Engagement Ring Stones
Eight Famous Sapphires and the Stories Behind Them
How to Dry Opals Safely
When you join the IGS community, you get trusted diamond & gemstone information when you need it.
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!