faceted scorodite - Namibia
faceted scorodite - Namibia

Scorodite Value, Price, and Jewelry Information


With lovely colors and intense pleochroism, faceted scorodite is a prize for collectors of the rare and unusual. However, it’s too soft for jewelry use.

2 Minute Read

With lovely colors and intense pleochroism, faceted scorodite is a prize for collectors of the rare and unusual. However, it’s too soft for jewelry use.

faceted scorodite - Namibia
Scorodite: Tsumeb, Namibia (1.0). Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.
scorodite - Portugal
Scorodite crystal, Alto das Quelhas do Gestoso Mines, Gestoso, Manhouce, São Pedro do Sul, Viseu District, Portugal. Picture width 1.5 mm. Collection and photograph of Christian Rewitzer. Licensed under CC By-SA 3.0.

What is Scorodite?

Scorodite belongs to the variscite mineral group. It forms series as the ferric iron analogue (Fe3+) with mansfieldite (AlAsO4 · 2H2O), yanomamite (InAsO4 · 2H2O), and strengite (FePO4 · 2H2O). These minerals occur far more rarely than their fellow series member scorodite. Accordingly, faceted examples of these minerals are even rarer than faceted scorodites.

faceted mansfieldite
Pear-cut mansfieldite, 2.99 cts, 12.6 x 7.8 mm, Algeria. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission. (Images combined to show details).

Does Scorodite Make a Good Jewelry Stone?

Although not a rare mineral in nature, faceted or cabbed scorodites are extremely rare. A low Mohs hardness score of 3.5 to 4 and imperfect cleavage make them very susceptible to scratches and blows. Thus, scorodites just don’t have the wearability to serve as jewelry stones. Furthermore, they're soluble in acids and contain arsenic. Gem cutters should take precautions to prevent inhaling particles, protect their eyes, and wash their hands while working with scorodites.

Since such a soft stone can be scratched easily, which can release small particles of the gem, jewelry use is not recommended. Reserve scorodites for display in mineral or gem collections.

scorodite cabochon - Morocco
Oval cabbed scorodite, 5.18 cts, 11.8 x 9.5 mm, Morocco. © The Gem Trader. Used with permission.

Identifying Scorodites

Rare specimens display color change, from blue-green in daylight to blueish purple or grayish blue in incandescent light.

Scorodites may have a greenish-white streak. Please note that streak testing may harm or destroy your specimen. Conduct it on a piece of rough, never a finished gem, only as a last resort.

Optical Properties of Scorodite from Various Localities

Birefringence

2V

Durango, Mexico

1.784

1.795

1.814

0.030

75°

Idaho

1.738

1.742

1.765

0.027

60°

Oregon

1.741

1.744

1.768

0.027

40°

Tsumeb, Namibia

1.785

1.796

1.816

0.031

75°

Are There Synthetic Scorodites?

Scientists have synthesized scorodite, including crystals, for research into the safe disposal of arsenic. However, there is no known jewelry use of this material.

What is "Scorolite?"

Consumers may encounter so-called “scorolites” for sale online, especially as purplish beads. Occasionally, these same pieces are offered as a type of scorodite. More often, they're marketed as “scorolite opals.” However, in fact, they're simulants, usually purplish glass or quartz pieces. Of course, quartz and glass are distinct gemologically from opals and scorodites. Gemologists can readily distinguish these materials.

“Scorolite” is not an accepted synonym or trade name for scorodite. This confusion may stem from a typo in a paper on geo-environmental hazards in groundwater in India. Any gems sold as "scorolites" should come with a disclaimer identifying what they actually are.

scorolites
“Scorolite” rondelles. Photo courtesy of liveauctioneers.com and Blue Antiques Blue.

Enhancements

There are no known gemstone enhancements for scorodites.

Where is Scorodite Found?

Tsumeb, Namibia produces beautiful, pleochroic blue/purplish crystals, some gemmy, up to 25 mm long.

Durango, Mexico and Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, Brazil also yield fine, blue crystals, some gemmy.

Other notable crystal sources include

  • United States: California; Idaho; Nevada; Oregon; South Dakota; Utah; Washington; Wyoming.
  • Algeria; Ontario, Canada; China; Japan; Morocco; Portugal; United Kingdom.
stalactitic scorodite - Algeria
An unusual stalactitic growth of scorodites. 7.7 x 6.2 x 1.0 cm, Djebel Debar, Hamman, Meskhootine, Constantine Province, Algeria. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

Stone Sizes

Scorodites almost always make small faceted gems. As a reasonable maximum, expect about five carats. However, even that would be very large for the species.

  • Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC): 2.6 (purplish, Namibia).

Scorodite Care

Clean scorodites with a soft brush, mild detergent, and warm water. For more care recommendations, consult our gemstone jewelry care guide.

scorodites
Scorodites: Tsumeb, Namibia (1.15, 1.50). Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

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


International Gem Society

Never Stop Learning

When you join the IGS community, you get trusted diamond & gemstone information when you need it.

Become a Member

Get Gemology Insights

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!