Aragonite (uh-RAG-oh-nite) is a mineral related to calcite. It’s unique in forming both geologically and biologically.
Is aragonite rare? The mineral isn’t rare, but gem-quality crystals are rare. Faceted aragonite is more of a collector's mineral given its rarity, though all aragonites are beloved for their various crystal shapes, fluorescence, and phosphorescence.
Ready to learn more? This guide will cover what aragonite is worth, plus its properties, healing powers, variations, and more.
Aragonite (sometimes spelled arragonite) is a commonly white or yellow semi-precious gemstone. Other names for aragonite include:
Carbonate of lime
Iglite / Igloite
Conchite (Greek for “shell”)
Being within pearls, aragonite can be a June birthstone and 30th wedding anniversary gem. As a constituent of coral, it can also be an Aries zodiac stone, and Mars star stone, particularly within Vedic astrology.
Outside of gems, aragonite has quite a few industrial applications.
Many industrial applications for aragonite use aragonite sand, particularly oolitic aragonite, which is more pure and lacks silica or dust. For example, aragonite sand can be used agriculturally in animal feed or for spreading fields.
In aquariums, aragonite makes a useful substrate for maintaining the water’s pH. It can also be used for preventing disease and improving growth in aquariums.
Within the energy industry, aragonite can be used in filtration, coal scrubbing, and drilling mud. It also has use as a polymer.
It’s sometimes used for creating building materials like cement, and oolitic aragonite can help create very transparent glass. Additionally, aragonite is a part of limestone, a rock used extensively within construction.
What kind of stone is aragonite? It’s a calcium carbonate, making the aragonite formula CaCO3. Lead and strontium are common impurities, and zinc shows up rarely. The mineral is the second most common member of the eponymous aragonite group after calcite.
How are aragonite and calcite different? It can be hard to tell, as they share the same chemical composition and high birefringence. But the differences between aragonite vs. calcite are calcite’s trigonal crystal system, greater abundance, better stability, and larger facetable crystals. Heating aragonite to 400°C (752°F) alters it to calcite.
Some of aragonite’s various habits include prismatic, needle-like, chisel-like, or coral-like crystals. Twinned crystals and fan-like crystal clusters are a popular favorite. The mineral may also be massive, granular, compact, or fibrous.
The remaining aragonite properties are:
Mohs hardness: 3.5-4
Color: Colorless white, gray, yellow, brown, green, blue, red, lavender
Crystal structure: Orthorhombic
Luster: Vitreous (glassy) to resinous
Transparency: Transparent to opaque
Refractive index: 1.530-1.685
Density: 2.93-2.947 (3.0 if lead is present); 2.947 when pure
Cleavage: Distinct/good on , Poor/very indistinct on  and 
Luminescence: Fluorescence often present – Light pink, yellow, green, tan, or blue in LW-UV; Yellow, tan, white, or pinkish-red in SW-UV; Phosphorescence often present – green
Optical effects: Chatoyancy
Is there more than one type of aragonite? You bet!
Aragonite has a few varieties, mostly defined by their impurities or crystal habits:
Flos Ferri (“Iron Flowers”): Geological type with thin, intertwined branches of crystals (a coral-like habit called coralloidal)
Piso Carolina: Oolitic or pisolite-like variety
Tufa: Variety with trapped organic matter, formed by deposition or precipitation
Mossottite / Strontian Aragonite: Strontium-rich variety
Nicholsonite / Zincian Aragonite: Zinc-rich variety
Tarnowitzite / Plumboan Aragonite: Lead-rich variety, often from cerussite
Stillatitius Lapis: Latin name (meaning “drop of stone”) for color-banded variety
Onyx Marble / Mexican Onyx: Trade name for layered, color-banded, marble-like tufa (doesn’t contain onyx)
The stone can also display chatoyancy, called “cat’s eye aragonite.”
Though not a variety per se, aragonite with copper inclusions or aragonite-copper pseudomorphs are quite popular, displaying emerald-green coloring.
Pictured above: Canadian ammolite
Many gems composed of aragonite come from the ocean, namely pearls and coral. Both organic gemstones can be made up of aragonite or calcite, but aragonite is more common.
Mollusks form pearls with alternating, overlapping layers of aragonite platelets and conchiolin, a binding organic material. This combo creates the signature pearlescent surface called “nacre.” Pearls may be aragonite, calcite, or both.
Coral is a marine animal that forms hard calcium carbonate exoskeletons. Stony coral exoskeletons are a mesh of interwoven, needle-like aragonite crystals, but soft coral only forms calcite exoskeletons because of an extracellular protein called ECMP-67.
A non-organic gem containing aragonite is septarian, a tri-colored rock commonly colored brown (from aragonite), yellow (from calcite), and gray (from limestone).
What about aragonite’s spiritual meaning?
Aragonite symbolizes honesty, empathy, and stability.
Each aragonite color can carry its own symbolism:
Red Aragonite Meaning: Motivating & positive
White Aragonite Meaning: Cleansing & peaceful
Green Aragonite Meaning: Stabilizing & calming
Brown Aragonite Meaning: Nurturing & grounding
In various folklore, aragonite is believed to treat flu symptoms, increase confidence, and enhance the power of magic or prayer.
Many Native American tribes use aragonite-containing abalone shells for sage smudging for purification during ceremonial rituals.
German geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner chose the name “aragonite” in 1797 to honor the first identified aragonites’ source of Molina de Aragón in Spain, though many mineralogists mistakenly thought it was the Aragón province, not village.
Local monks reportedly used carved aragonite beads in their rosaries to promote mental clarity.
Nowadays, what is aragonite good for?
What chakra does aragonite help open? Most aragonites open the foundational root chakra, though blue aragonite is a third eye chakra stone, which governs intuition and spiritual awareness.
What is aragonite good for physically and emotionally?
Crystal healers recommend aragonite for treating:
Immune system function
Restless leg syndrome
Emotionally, aragonite benefits looking for clarity, understanding, and positivity. It’s said to help you trust yourself and persevere through trying times. The crystal can also promote organization, self-discipline, and emotional stability.
Of course, paying too much for a gem can pose a risk to your emotional stability. Next, we’ll help you know what factors to look for when shopping for aragonite.
What is aragonite worth? Each aragonite’s value depends on where it falls in terms of color, cut, clarity, carat weight, and treatments.
Aragonite is most often colorless or white, but impurities can create colorful hues. Colored and color-banded specimens are often more valuable (when untreated).
With facetable crystals being scarce and aragonite’s hardness being low, faceted aragonite is a rare and valuable find usually reserved for collectors. More often, aragonite is sold as cabochons, carvings, or raw specimens.
Clarity describes the amount of visible inclusions in a gem, which usually lower a stone’s value. Most aragonites have veils, or small, layered, bubble-like inclusions. Many also have sand inclusions, creating a brown coloring.
Transparency-wise, transparent aragonite is less common and more valuable, moreso without visible inclusions.
Most faceted aragonites are colorless and under 15 carats. The largest is a 110-carat gem from Czechia. Massive material can yield larger cabochons.
Some aragonite may be dyed to display attractive colors like pink or blue, which can lower value if the treatment is disclosed. Remember: reputable sellers should always disclose any treatments the gem has undergone.
Back to nature, how does aragonite form?
Unlike most minerals, aragonite can form through geological and biological processes.
Geologically, aragonite usually forms inside rocks undergoing high-pressure metamorphism or via hot water depositing dissolved calcium carbonate that cools. Common places to find it are hot springs, limestone caves, and ore deposits.
Biologically, mollusks and coral form aragonite by extracting bicarbonate and calcium from their surroundings. Aragonite is essential to many sea creatures and helps balance the ocean’s pH. Unfortunately, climate change-induced ocean acidification can harm these shells or exoskeletons.
Aragonite often transforms into calcite, helping preserve shell and coral fossils for millennia.
Where is aragonite most commonly found? The top sources for gem-quality aragonite are Czechia, Germany, and Austria.
Additional aragonite gem sources are:
Bohemia, Spain, and England are noted for their transparent aragonite crystals.
How much does aragonite sell for? Most aragonite is pretty affordable. Faceted gems are the priciest at $26 to $260 per carat.
Cabochons go for around $40 to $50 each. Aragonite rough prices at wholesale are typically $0.03-$0.30 per carat.
Lastly, we’ll cover gemstone care.
Aragonite is soft and brittle, so it’s unsuitable for everyday wear. Any jewelry should have protective settings.
Is aragonite water-safe? Yes, you can safely clean it with lukewarm water and mild soap. Use a dust-free cloth to dry it after, then store it away from acid and other gems.
From keeping ocean acidity balanced to balancing our emotions, aragonite is an underrated rock star. Calcite may be more widespread, but aragonite is more unique and having a crystal allows you to hold an essential part of nature.
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