Epidote is a commonly yellowish-green to green gemstone resembling the color of pistachios. Is epidote rare or common? As a mineral, epidote is common and abundant worldwide. However, the stone’s fragile nature makes faceted epidote gems rare.
Besides being a gemstone itself, epidote is also a group of gems which includes stone like zoisite. You may also see epidote as inclusions in other stones.
On the lookout for epidote jewelry? Just want to know more about this lush stone? Stay tuned as we cover all of epidote’s properties, healing powers, prices, and more.
Epidote is a semi-precious gemstone found in yellow to green, though it may appear brown or black because of how dark the tone can be.
At first glance, you may wonder: is epidote green tourmaline? No, green tourmaline (and tourmaline in general) is a separate stone. Though similar in color, green tourmaline doesn’t have epidote’s cleavage and epidote doesn’t have tourmaline’s triangular or hexagonal cross-section.
Another common mix-up is epidote vs. olivine. Olivine (a.k.a. chrysolite or peridot) is a green magnesium iron silicate. The plainest distinction is that epidote is usually found within or around quartz while olivine is never found near quartz.
Outside of gemstone purposes, epidote doesn’t have any industrial uses.
Next, what kind of stone is epidote?
As a calcium aluminum iron sorosilicate, the epidote mineral formula is Ca2(Al,Fe)3(SiO4)3(OH). The stone belongs to the eponymous epidote mineral group and serves as the most common member. Other gems in this group include zoisite, clinozoisite, allanite, and piemontite.
Clinozoisite and epidote are extremely similar and virtually indistinguishable, so you may see sellers labeling these stones as “clinozoisite-epidote.” Some specimens are composed of both minerals.
The main crystal habit of epidote is column-shaped prisms with lengthwise faces. It often forms twinning crystals as well.
Here are the remaining mineral data for epidote, including its birefringence values:
Mohs hardness: 6-7
Color: Green, yellow-green, yellow, brown, blackish-green
Crystal structure: Monoclinic
Luster: Vitreous (glassy), pearly, resinous, or greasy
Transparency: Transparent to translucent, sometimes near opaque
Refractive index: 1.72-1.77
Cleavage: Perfect, 1-direction; Good, 1-direction
Pleochroism: Present and strong in yellow, green, and brown
Dispersion: Strong; 0.030
Pictured above: Unakite
Epidote has one somewhat official variety. There is another stone mostly made up of epidote along with a particular type of epidote displaying optical phenomena. These are:
Pistacite: Pistachio-green epidote variety occasionally faceted into small gems
Unakite: Polished rock largely composed of epidote and other minerals
Cat’s Eye Epidote: Epidote that contains parallel fibers that produce a single ray of reflected light through the optical effect of chatoyancy (the “cat’s eye” effect).
With the varieties established, let’s dive into epidote’s symbolism and past.
Epidote symbolizes manifestation, karma, and personal growth. It’s nicknamed the “attraction stone” in spiritual circles for the belief that it helps attract the energies its wearer gives off to the world. In this way, the stone encourages you to give what you want to receive and focus on positivity.
One character in Greek mythology has virtually the same name as the stone, Epidotes. Epidotes was a spirit or deity of purification. He doesn’t appear throughout many myths, but he is part of a legend wherein he stops the god of thunder, Zeus, from taking out his anger on a Spartan military general named Pausanias.
Epidotes’ name translates to “bountiful” or “giver.” However, the mineral name “epidote” instead derives from the Greek epidosis meaning “increase” or “addition.” This reflects the fact that the base of prismatic epidote crystals have one longer side and one shorter side. It may also reflect its many crystal faces.
The first official discovery, description, and name for epidote came from acclaimed French mineralogist René Just Haüy in 1801. You may recognize Haüy as being the first to describe other minerals like euclase, diaspore, nepheline, and sphene. In fact, he also named nepheline and diaspore in 1801.
Clearly, Haüy was great at naming minerals. But what is an epidote crystal good for?
Like many crystals, epidote can function as a potent healing stone. Its powers are partly influenced by the energies of its coloring. As a predominantly green stone, epidote joins other green gemstones in encouraging optimism, personal growth, and good luck.
Below, we’ll look at more specific epidote uses for physical, emotional, and chakra healing.
Crystal healers use epidote’s physical healing properties for:
Purifying the body
Strengthening the immune system
Boosting blood circulation
Speeding up recovery after illnesses or accidents
Emotionally, epidote crystals can enhance creativity while attracting abundance, prosperity, and romance. It’s also great for helping you better understand yourself and your desires. Through this process, the stone can bring repressed feelings to the surface and help you communicate these feelings to others without being overwhelmed by them.
One benefit of green gemstones is that they are great for heart chakra healing. Chakra healing is an ancient practice of resolving blockages in particular energy centers along your body (chakras) to bring the system back into balance.
When your heart chakra is blocked, you may shut yourself off from others, experience low self-esteem, and struggle with changing circumstances. After using epidote as a chakra stone, your open heart chakra will bring feelings of self-love, compassion, and acceptance.
Of course, you’ll have to buy the stone before you can start healing with it. Next, we’ll tell you what value factors to look for so you can ensure you get a great deal.
Epidote grading involves looking at where the stone falls in terms of color, cut, transparency, luster, clarity, and carat weight.
Among epidote’s various shades of yellow, green, and brown to almost black, the classic shades of pistachio or yellow-green are most desirable. Lighter hues are also valuable because they typically show the stone’s transparency, pleochroism, and color better.
Increasing amounts of iron impurities give epidotes a green to increasingly brown color. More aluminum means lighter colors, which is why clinozoisite (which has more aluminum) tends to be paler.
High-quality transparent, green epidote is often faceted for collectors. Common cuts are octagons, ovals, and cushions, with hearts or trillions being rarer. Lapidarists (gem cutters) must orient their faceted cuts carefully to properly bring out the epidote's pleochroism.
Collectors also seek out raw epidote (uncut) when the crystals are long and twinned with a strong glassy luster. Opaque epidotes are more often cut as cabochons, beads, or carvings. Chatoyant epidote must be cut as a cabochon to properly display its “cat eye” reflection.
While epidote crystals can be transparent to nearly opaque, the transparent gem material is the most valued. Vitreous (glassy) luster is a sign of high-quality epidote, while resinous luster is a sign of lower quality.
The best transparent material is often what gets faceted into gemstones.
Clarity describes the amount of visible inclusions in a gemstone. Epidotes may have fluid inclusions or mineral inclusions like titanite and magnetite. If these affect its transparency, they may lower the stone’s value. More often, epidote is an inclusion in other stones like quartz or prehnite.
Facetable epidote is already hard to find, and finding gem-quality material that can yield faceted stones over 5 carats is rare. Any faceted epidote gemstones around 5 carats or higher are very valuable.
Speaking of finding gem material, how does epidote form and where does it come from?
Epidotes can form through two types of metamorphism: regional and contact. Regional metamorphism involves mostly heat (through nearby magma) changing the composition of minerals inside a rock. Contact metamorphism involves both heat and pressure yielding a similar result.
Because of this, epidote is often found in metamorphic rocks like marble, hornfels, and skarns, along with metamorphosed schists and limestones. Less often, you’ll find epidote in igneous rocks like basalt or granite pegmatites.
Geographically, where is epidote found?
The most abundant source of epidote is eastern France. High-quality epidote gem material also comes from Russia.
Additional epidote sources include:
Austrian & French Alps
USA (Alaska, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Washington)
Now, what epidote gemstone prices should you expect?
The epidote price per carat largely depends on the type of stone or cut we’re talking about. Faceted gems are the priciest, ranging from $30-$300 per carat at wholesale.
Epidote rough costs around $0.10-$0.50 per carat at wholesale. Well-formed, uncut crystals with good coloring are around $0.90-$2.50 per carat. Cabochons are usually around $0.40 per carat at wholesale.
Epidote beads for earrings and pendants are around $15 to $25 each.
Lastly, let’s discuss proper gemstone care for epidote.
Epidote’s cleavage and fragility mean you have to be careful when handling it. We recommend opting for epidote jewelry with protective settings.
This stone is sensitive to high heat and hydrochloric acid, so keep it away from both. Also, don’t clean it with harsh chemicals like household cleaners.
Instead, you can safely clean epidote with a soft, dust-free cloth along with mild soap mixed into lukewarm water. Don’t use ultrasonic or steam cleaners.
Store epidote in a velvet or fabric pouch separately from other gems. Keep the pouch in a place away from any high heat like direct sunlight.
Besides its gorgeous twinned crystals perfect for any collector display, epidote is also perfect for attracting good vibes and keeping the good times rolling. Wearing or carrying this stone can help you manifest your truest desires and bring them right to you.
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