freeform vanadinite - Moroccofreeform vanadinite - Morocco

Vanadinite Value, Price, and Jewelry Information

Very few vanadinites have ever been cut. This is unfortunate, since their red, orange, and brown colors are rich and beautiful.

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HomeGemstonesVanadinite Value, Price, and Jewelry Information

Very few vanadinites have ever been cut. This is unfortunate, since their red, orange, and brown colors are rich and beautiful.

freeform vanadinite - Morocco
Freeform faceted vanadinite, 0.40 cts, 5.18 mm x 2.56 mm, Mibladen, Morocco. © Rob Lavinsky, Used with permission.

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Vanadinite Value

Vanadinite on Goethite - Morocco
Vanadinite crystals on goethite. Taouz Er Rachidia Province, Meknès-Tafilalet Region, Morocco. Photo by Géry Parent. Public Domain.

What is Vanadinite?

Vanadinite belongs to the apatite mineral group. It also forms series with both mimetite and pyromorphite as the vanadium-bearing end member. Vanadinite is one of the main industrial ores of vanadium and a minor ore of lead.

Does Vanadinite Make a Good Jewelry Stone?

With a hardness of only 2.5 to 3, vanadinites can be scratched very easily. Protective settings are highly recommended for any jewelry use. Any rare faceted pieces will weigh less than one carat, and lapidaries likely won't cut larger pieces into cabochons. Mineral collectors prize large, gem-quality crystals as display specimens. Thus, finding good gem rough proves very difficult, even for adventurous faceters and aficionados of the art of gem cutting. You're more likely to find vanadinites in a mineral collection than a jewelry collection.

Is Vanadinite Toxic?

Vanadinite contains vanadium and lead and might contain traces of arsenic. All of these elements are toxic. While this shouldn't pose a problem for normal jewelry wear or specimen display, faceters should take precautions against inhaling or ingesting particles, protect their eyes, wash their hands, and clean their workspace after cutting vanadinites. They should wear protective masks and, ideally, use a glovebox during cutting, polishing, and cleaning.

For more safety recommendations, consult our articles on lapidary safety tips and handling toxic gems.

Distinguishing Vanadinites from Similar Gems

Vanadinites have an over-the-limit (OTL) refractive index (RI) of 2.350-2.416 and a specific gravity of 6.5-7.1. These exceptionally high values would usually make distinguishing these rare gems from lookalikes fairly easy. However, vanadinites have some properties, including colors, that come very close and sometimes overlap with those of other rarely faceted gemstones: cassiterites, mimetites, and wulfenites.

Comparison of Selected Properties of Vanadinite, Cassiterite, Mimetite, and Wulfenite


Vanadinites still have a higher RI than any of these gems, though measuring an RI that high can prove difficult with a standard refractometer. Scratch testing can easily distinguish vanadinites from cassiterites and mimetites, but you should only conduct this destructive test as a last resort. (Conducting this test on a rare faceted vanadinite is not recommended). Vanadinites can have a white to yellowish streak. However, most gems have a white streak, so a destructive streak test isn't a good way to distinguish vanadinites.

Vanadinites are by far the most rarely faceted of these four gemstones.

Are There Synthetic Vanadinites?

Scientists have synthesized vanadinite for various mineralogical research purposes. However, there are no known jewelry uses for this lab-created material. No consumer demand exists for a synthetic version of such a soft gem material.

There are no known gem treatments for vanadinite.

Where is Vanadinite Found?

Most facet-quality material comes from either Arizona in the United States or Morocco.

Apache Mine, Mammoth Mine, and other sources in Arizona are notable producers of gem-quality vanadinite crystals. However, they tend to be very small.

vanadinite crystal - Arizona
At just 2.1 x 1.4 x 1.2 cm, this vanadinite crystal is unusually large for an Arizona specimen. Pure Potential Mine, Silver Mining Dist., La Paz Co., Arizona, USA. © Rob Lavinsky, Used with permission.

Mibladen, Morocco produces large red to brown crystals that can reach a size of several inches across.

Other notable sources include the following:

  • United States: California; Colorado; New Mexico; South Dakota; Utah.
  • Algeria; Argentina; Austria; Sardinia, Italy; Chihuahua, Mexico; Namibia; Russia; Tunisia; Scotland, United Kingdom.

How to Care for Vanadinites

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

shield-cut vanadinite - Namibia
Custom shield-cut vanadinite, 0.66 cts, 5.4 x 2.8 mm, Palmwag, Namibia. © The Gem Trader. 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.

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