Charoite is a unique and rare violet gemstone only found in an area of Siberia, Russia. It has varying shades of purple swirled with white, black, and sometimes other colors. Because the exact minerals and their level in each stone varies, every charoite is wholly unique!
One important distinction to know: charoite mineral vs. charoite rock.
Ever heard of lapis lazuli? Like that heavenly blue gem, charoite is only used in its rock form for gems. However, charoite gemstones are almost entirely composed of the charoite mineral, while the lazurite mineral content is under half of lapis lazuli’s makeup.
But back to charoite — today, you’ll learn everything that makes this gem so exceptional, including charoite healing properties, prices, symbolism, and more.
Charoite is a gorgeous but largely unknown semi-precious gemstone. It’s also called “The Siberian Stone,” “charoite jade,” or “lilac stone.”
This one-of-a-kind gem might only be mistaken for sugilite. However, sugilite has more uniform coloring, no distinct swirls, and lacks simple chatoyancy (similar to the “cat’s eye” effect).
In fact, charoite’s look is so distinct, gemologists can usually identify it by appearance alone — a rare quality for gems!
This gem is a natural birthstone for those born around the winter solstice (Capricorn dates of December 21 to January 19). It’s also a zodiac stone for Gemini, Scorpio, and Sagittarius. Plus, it’s a planetary star stone for Venus.
Charoite’s composition is extremely complex; even credible sources differ on its exact formula. Even describing it is a mouthful: a hydrated potassium, sodium, calcium, barium, strontium, silicate hydroxyfluoride. Phew!
Although the technical term for the charoite-rich rocks used for gems is “charoitite,” gemologists still call them “charoite.”
The charoite crystals inside these rocks are fibrous masses. They create a system of intricate, interwoven patterns, resulting in the gem’s swirled appearance and texture.
Charoite rocks also contain small amounts of other minerals, mostly rare ones. Some of these can create different textures. For instance, benstonite minerals lead to parallel fibers, but tinaksite and canasite minerals cause a radial fibrous texture.
Check out the rest of charoite’s properties:
Mohs hardness: 5-6
Color: Purple shades, including violet and lilac-pink, or brown; Almost always patterns in white, black, and possibly orange, green, gray, and/or pink
Crystal structure: Monoclinic
Luster: Vitreous (glass-like) to pearly
Transparency: Translucent to opaque
Refractive index: 1.55-1.56
Density: 2.54 - 2.58
Cleavage: Fair to good
Luminescence: Sometimes weak fluorescence; Blue, red, or green in SW-UV
Pleochroism: Distinct in colorless to rosy pink
Optical effects: Sometimes chatoyancy
Charoite stone doesn’t have varieties, per se, but there are a few names used in the industry that you should know:
Beam Charoite: Purple charoite with uniform, deep lilac coloring and strong iridescence. Its low content of non-charoite minerals (under 15 percent) makes it the most beloved for charoite jewelry.
Spotty Beam Charoite: Charoite with the broadest color range, including a purple background with spots of black, golden-yellow, and deep green. The colors can also create scenic patterns called “landscape” charoite.
Chatoyant Charoite: Most sought-after charoite stone for the thin beams of reflected light on its surface (simple chatoyancy).
With that, let’s move onto the metaphysical charoite meaning and its history!
The origin of charoite’s name is a topic of some debate. Many claim it honors the stone’s discovery near the Chara River, but the original site was actually about 44 miles (70 km) away.
The other theory is that “charoite” comes from the Russian word chary, meaning “charms” or “magic.” Yet another possible origin is the Proto-Slavic term chara, meaning “goblet” or “bowl.” Indeed, charoite cups and bowls were common in the past.
Locals in the Sakha Republic of Siberia first found charoite near Lake Baikal in the 1940s. They called it the “lilac stone” or sometimes “the lilac miracle of Siberia” and enjoyed exclusive knowledge of it for decades.
The first official description of charoite came nearly 40 years later, but charoite had to prove itself to get there. For over a decade prior, people thought the stone was so vibrant and unique, it must be fake or dyed. By 1978, charoite received approval from the International Mineralogical Association (IMA) as an authentic gem.
Once the IMA approved the stone, sellers marketed it as “charoite.” Charoite’s popularity spread among gemologists and crystal healers alike.
In 2000, this purple stone from Russia even graced a special postage stamp from the Euroasian Geophysical Society (EAGO) honoring "300 Years of Mining and Geological Service in Russia."
Charoite symbolizes insight, transformation, and generosity. Some call it the “Chariot of Heaven,” believing it represents unity with the divine. For this reason, many spiritual practitioners like sages and mediums love using charoite’s metaphysical properties.
Speaking of, what is charoite good for?
Gemstones like charoite, particularly purple gems, are innately spiritual healing stones.
Given its symbolism of insight and intuition, it’s unsurprising that charoite is a powerful chakra stone for opening the third eye chakra — the center of intuition, decision-making, and spiritual wisdom. Charoite also opens the highest center for spirituality: the crown chakra!
Let’s look at charoite benefits for physical and emotional healing!
Crystal healers believe charoite can treat a multitude of physical ailments, including:
Headaches or cramps
High blood pressure
Liver damage, especially from chronic alcohol use
What about emotional properties?
Some people have great instincts about people, but not everyone is so lucky. If you find yourself missing red flags or wishing you were more perceptive, charoite could help. It’s said to give you clearer and stronger intuition. With that, you can recognize shady patterns to avoid tricksters and getting bamboozled.
Plus, according to psychological research, relying on intuition can increase your creativity, strengthen your decision-making, and help you gain a deeper understanding of yourself.
Likewise, other benefits attributed to charoite include improving self-esteem and self-awareness. The stone is said to encourage forgiveness, especially toward yourself. If you’ve made a mistake, charoite can help you accept responsibility and move forward with new insight.
If you’re worried about making mistakes while buying charoite, read on to find out all the important factors in charoite’s value!
Charoite’s value comes down to standard gemstone properties: color, cut, clarity, and transparency. However, chatoyancy is another major value factor.
Purple and pink charoite show a broad range of shades: lavender, lilac-pink, magenta, violet, and royal purple. These hues come from the high charoite mineral content.
White patterns usually come from quartz, calcite, or white feldspar. Black patterns are often from manganese dioxide, aegirine, dark green feldspar. Other color streaks include orange or yellow-brown from tinaksite and greenish-gray from microcline feldspar.
Lighter colors tend to fetch higher prices, along with attractive patterns.
Charoite gemstones are sometimes faceted. Common faceted cuts include octagon, trillion, and round shapes. More common unfaceted shapes are cabochons, tumbled stones, or charoite beads.
Additionally, charoite lends well to various carvings and sculptures, from everyday objects like bookends and boxes to decorative spheres and tiles.
Unlike many stones, raw charoite is actually harder to find and can be pricier than fashioned charoite.
Unlike many gems, inclusions (which determine a gem’s clarity) don’t decrease charoite’s value. Rather, the inclusions are behind its most valuable traits: beautiful swirling colors and sometimes, chatoyancy.
Transparency-wise, most charoite stones are opaque, so translucent varieties are more valuable.
Charoite’s fibrous inclusions can form parallel bundles that reflect thin light beams, creating simple chatoyancy. If the stone is translucent and chatoyant, it will fetch the highest prices.
How do those fibers get there in the first place? It comes down to how charoite forms.
You already know charoite only comes from Siberia, Russia. The specific area is the Murun Mountain near the Chara River in Yakutia (Sakha Republic).
Charoite is a metamorphic, alkali silicate rock. It forms through a process called “contact metamorphism,” where pressure, heat, and specific chemicals transform limestone deposits into charoite. One of those specific chemicals comes from nepheline syenite rich in alkali.
The stone’s rarity is a bit of a conundrum to geologists. Its formation process is fairly common, but it only forms in one place. Some theorize that the area’s limestone and other rocks have unique chemicals or chemical properties. This could explain why many of the minerals inside charoite are also rare.
Nevertheless, rarity invariably plays a part in charoite’s value.
Because charoite is so rare, the gem can be expensive. That said, prices are much lower than you’d imagine.
The highest-quality charoite for sale would be translucent, pearly, light-colored, and chatoyant. As of now, even these gems usually only cost $0.30-$3 per carat.
Charoite cabochons at wholesale are similar, ranging from under $1 per carat for lower-quality stones to around $4 per carat for high-quality stones.
While rough charoite specimens are rarer and often more expensive, almost all the specimens here at Gem Rock Auctions are under $1 per carat!
Charoite jewelry is usually pricier. Beaded bracelets are often $50-$200, while rings are typically $50-$150.
Charoite can fare well for jewelry, but you still need to care for this gemstone to ensure its beauty (and integrity) holds up. Most types of jewelry are safe, but we recommend protective settings for charoite rings to prevent scratches or breakage.
Cleaning charoite stones is simple. Just mix a mild soap with lukewarm water, then dip a soft brush in the mixture, and use the brush to gently scrub the stone. Rinse all residue from the stone after and dry it with a microfiber cloth.
This stone is sensitive to heat, so avoid storing it in direct sunlight or in a hot environment. Because the gem is only 5-6 on the Mohs scale, you’ll also need to store it away from other gems to avoid scratches.
With that, you have everything you need to know about charoite! Given its unique beauty and plethora of healing properties, charoite is certainly deserving of a dignified spot in any gemstone or jewelry collection.
Not only can wearing charoite jewelry make you more intuitive and perceptive, it’s also sure to turn heads. Who knows? You may just feel like nobility riding a “Chariot of Heaven!”
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