Adamite is a transparent to translucent gemstone that can take on a variety of colors due to different impurities. Collectors seek out the stone not only for its range of color options but also for its bright glow under ultraviolet light.
So, is adamite a fluorescent mineral? Yep! Its intense fluorescence is one of its most well-known traits.
Is adamite rare? As a mineral, no. However, faceted adamite gems are very rare. Given the stone’s brittle and soft nature, you won’t see as much adamite jewelry on the market. More often, you’ll see beautiful rough specimens for display.
Curious to know more? Stick around as we fill you in on adamite properties, meanings, healing powers, and prices. We’ll also teach you how to handle this zinc arsenate stone safely.
Adamite is a semi-precious gemstone beloved by collectors. What does adamite look like? The stone is transparent to translucent. Its color varies, but you’ll usually see it in shades of yellow or green.
In terms of industrial adamite uses, scientists have created synthetic versions of the stone to study spectroscopy. Spectroscopy involves splitting light into multiple wavelengths to study radiation, light absorption, and light emission.
Pictured above: Adamite fluorescing under ultraviolet light | Image Credit: © Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA 4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)
Adamite is a zinc arsenate hydroxide mineral with the formula Zn2(AsO4)OH. It is in the olivenite group of orthorhombic arsenate minerals. Other members of this group include libethenite, eveite, auriacusite, and of course, olivenite. Despite the name, olivenite is not the same as olivine (or peridot).
Olivenite and adamite form a mineral series, with olivenite on the copper-dominant end and adamite on the zinc-dominant end. Zincolivenite (sometimes called “cuproadamite” or cuprian adamite) is the intermediate mineral in the series, with the formula CuZn(AsO4)(OH). Other common elements that may substitute in the series include nickel, manganese, and cobalt.
The rare mineral tarbuttite, a zinc phosphate with the formula Zn2(PO4)(OH), is also analogous to adamite.
Is adamite a crystal? Yes! You may see adamite form wedge-like, prismatic crystals creating radiating clusters or layering to form druzy. The mineral also forms botryoidal (resembling grape clusters) masses, elongated crystals, or imperfect spheres within a rock matrix.
Below are the remaining adamite properties:
Mohs hardness: 3.5
Color: Colorless in pure form; Shades of yellow, shades of green, rose, violet, purple; May display color-zoning
Crystal structure: Orthorhombic
Luster: Vitreous (glassy), sub-vitreous, greasy, or waxy
Transparency: Translucent to transparent
Refractive index: 1.708-1.773
Cleavage: Good/Distinct on , Poor on 
Fracture: Subconchoidal, conchoidal, or uneven/irregular
Luminescence: Fluorescence present - Bright green in SW-UV & LW-UV, can be lemon yellow in SW-UV
Pleochroism: Present in cuprian or cobaltoan specimens - colorless to blue-green to yellow-green, light rose to light purple, or pink to light rose to colorless
Next, we’ll explain what those “cuprian” and “cobaltoan” notes mean in the list above.
Pictured above: Cuprian adamite
Adamite has a few variants based on its various impurities, which can affect the stone’s coloring and mineral properties (birefringence, pleochroism, and refractive indices in particular). These variants are:
Cobaltoan Adamite: Light pink variant containing cobalt, originally found in France
Cuprian Adamite: Green variant containing copper, commonly confused with zincolivenite
Aluminous Adamite: Light blue variant containing aluminum
Manganoan/Manganiferous Adamite: Pink to violet variant
Nickeloan Adamite: Pale mint to yellow-green or bright green variant containing nickel
These variants may also be labeled with “bearing” attached to the element they contain, such as “cobalt-bearing adamite” or “manganese-bearing adamite.”
You know the variants, but what does adamite mean?
Adamite has a variety of meanings. On the one hand, the adamite crystal symbolizes rejuvenation, resilience, and positivity. It also represents success, creative expression, and relaxation.
The stone’s elements are fire and wind, a powerful combination for intense warmth, passion, and the power to create change.
First, how did adamite get its name?
Adamite’s name honors Gilbert Joseph Adam, a French mineralogist and General Inspector of Finance for the government of France. French chemist and mineralogist Charles Friedel chose the name in 1866, honoring Adam for supplying the first adamite specimens from Chañarcillo, Chile.
Friedel was the first to study and describe adamite as a new mineral. He also served as curator at the Mineralogy Museum of Paris School of Mines.
Adamite wasn’t the only mineral Adam discovered, though. He also discovered scacchite, aerugite, corkite, cuprotungstite, chenevixite, and xanthiosite.
Adam was also a member of the Geological Society of France (or Société géologique de France), eventually earning the title of Commander in the Legion of Honor (or Commandeur de la Légion d'Honneur).
Eventually, Adam donated his collection of minerals to the Paris School of Mines, which also included 50 meteorites!
Green adamite, like other green gems, brings you good luck, optimism, and liberation. Meanwhile, the ideal colorless adamite specimens join other colorless crystals to offer cleansing and clarity-enhancing properties.
Next, we’ll look at the physical, emotional, and chakra healing benefits of adamite.
Physically, adamite is said to help treat:
Throat, heart, or lung disorders
Adamite crystals are also believed to treat issues related to the endocrine system.
Adamite can help increase emotional resilience and perseverance through hardship. It’s also said to spark your passion and inspire creativity.
Additionally, adamite crystals can be used for mental clarity, better communication, and emotional balance.
Chakra healing involves balancing energy centers (chakras) to resolve the negative symptoms associated with these centers being blocked.
Adamite chakra stones are used for opening and aligning the heart chakra and solar plexus chakra. Governing love and creativity, respectively, these chakras being aligned allows you to understand your truest creative desires and pursue them with confidence.
Image credit: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0
Adamite’s value comes from where each stone falls in the categories of color, cut, clarity, and carat weight.
Adamite is allochromatic, meaning its purest form is colorless. The introduction of impurities allows for new colors, most often yellow or yellow-green shades from iron.
Copper can cause shades of green, including blue-green. Cobalt can produce pink to violet hues, sometimes causing color-zoning as well. Manganese impurities create purple, while aluminum can produce blue colors. However, not all blue hues in adamite are caused by aluminum.
Typically, adamite crystals are sold raw (uncut) or as cabochons.
Clarity describes the amount of visible inclusions in a gem. Though element impurities can grant adamite new and exciting colors, mineral inclusions can affect its transparency and durability, lowering its value.
Common inclusions are hematite and limonite, the latter of which you’ll often find in a matrix with adamite.
Adamite stones are usually small, with green rough yielding faceted gems weighing 1-3 carats. Transparent, violet crystals can be 1 cm long, yielding faceted gems weighing 1-2 carats.
Speaking of rough crystals, how does adamite form in the first place?
Adamite is a secondary mineral, meaning it forms when different (primary) minerals undergo changes due to external conditions. In adamite’s case, minerals containing arsenic in hydrothermal zinc deposits undergo oxidation to become adamite.
As such, you’ll find adamite in the upper, oxidized areas of these deposits.
The best adamite specimens come from Mexico, Namibia, and Turkey. Another abundant source is Chile.
Other significant adamite sources include:
USA (California, Nevada, Utah)
Crystals from each locality may have different impurities and colors, along with varying birefringence and refractive indices.
The lowest birefringence is 0.031, seen in the copper-bearing specimens from Namibia. The highest birefringence value, from the often purple specimens from Greece, is 0.050.
Copper-bearing Namibian specimens have the highest refractive index ranges at 1.742 to 1.773. The lowest ranges of 1.708 to 1.758 are seen in Greek specimens.
Thinking of browsing some adamite crystals for sale? We’ll tell you what to expect in terms of cost next.
Faceted adamite gems are the priciest options, with the highest-quality gems (with eye-clean clarity, medium coloring, and good cut) reaching over $1,700 per carat.
Other faceted adamites range from $25-$60 per carat. Rough specimens range from $5 to $95 at wholesale.
Adamite cabochon rings are surprisingly affordable, fetching around $15 to $20. Pendants cost around $40 on average.
Before we discuss taking care of adamite, let’s discuss safety. Since it’s an arsenate mineral, that means inhaling fibers from the stone is dangerous and possibly deadly. Luckily, polished specimens are safe to handle. Just avoid drinking any elixirs that involve soaking adamite in the water beforehand.
Onto gemstone care, you can clean adamite by gently wiping it with a soft, dust-free cloth.
We recommend opting for adamite jewelry with protective settings, as even copper pennies can scratch the stone. Store it separately from other gems.
Although you won’t see as many faceted adamites as you will display specimens, it doesn’t stop this crystal from providing you with healing benefits. With adamite in hand or on display, you can be enveloped with the inspiration, creativity, and determination of this versatile gem.
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