Variscite Gemstone: Properties, Meanings, Value & More

variscite gemstoneVariscite is a little-known, intense green gemstone with white or black patterns. The stone is somewhat fragile, so carvings and decor are more common than jewelry.

Is variscite a rare stone? Well-formed crystals are rare, but variscite’s massive aggregate form is more common.

Because it’s obscure, you’re more likely to see variscite for sale at trade shows or specialty gemstone sites than mainstream jewelry stores. Luckily, we have a wide variety of variscite gemstones available here at Gem Rock Auctions!

If you have questions about variscite gemstones before you shop, we’ll answer them all today! This guide will teach you all the variscite properties, benefits, prices, and more!

variscite gemstone

What Is Variscite Stone?

Variscite is a beautifully colored semi-precious gemstone of many names. Stones with color banding may go by “trainite” or “sabilite,” and “variquoise” recently became common for bluer variscite. Other monikers include:

  • Utahlite

  • Amatrice/Amatrix

  • Bolivarite

  • Peganite

These gems aren’t birthstones, but winter babies can substitute them for the traditional turquoise December birthstone. Celebrating an anniversary soon? You can also substitute variscite as the traditional 11th wedding anniversary gemstone! 

Astrologically, variscite is a zodiac stone for Taurus, Gemini, and Scorpio. 

Variscite Specifications & Characteristics

Variscite is a singular stone in the eponymous “variscite” mineral group. It’s a hydrated aluminum phosphate with a fairly low ranking on the Mohs mineral hardness scale of 3.5-4.5. Sometimes, chalcedony impurities can make variscite stones harder. 

The stone is almost always opaque. However, some stones have translucent edges. Transparent variscite is very rare. Only Utah’s variscite is fluorescent. 

The remaining variscite properties are:

  • Color: Typically shades of green, including yellow-green and blue-green, with black, brown, or white patterns; May be brownish-yellow or yellow-brown; Rarely red or violet

  • Crystal structure: Orthorhombic

  • Luster: Vitreous (crystals); Waxy to dull (masses)

  • Transparency: Translucent to opaque

  • Refractive index: 1.56-1.59

  • Density: 2.20-2.57

  • Cleavage: Good on [010] (crystals); None (masses)

  • Fracture: Conchoidal (crystals); Splintery or uneven (masses)

  • Streak: White

  • Luminescence: Fluorescence in specimens from some localities; Green in SW-UV & Whitish-green in LW-UV

We mentioned the variscite mineral group, so what varieties are there?

utah variscite gemstone cabochonImage: Utah variscite

Types of Variscite & Similar Gems

The official variscite varieties are scorodite and mansfieldite, so we’ll cover those first:

  • Scorodite: Most common variety besides variscite, has beautifully colorful properties, but its fragility and arsenic content make it better for display than jewelry.

  • Mansfieldite: Very rare white to light gray variety (sometimes pink from cobalt) found in microscopic sizes. 

Another variscite is impression jasper. Despite the name, impression jasper isn’t jasper but a multi-colored variscite. Vanadium and chromium create green portions, while iron blends in violet or red. 

Now, what is Utah variscite?

Utah, USA, produces the highest-quality variscite called Utahlite. Most are light green with white veining, but some are deep emerald-colored. Utah variscite also has mesmerizing color patterns. 

Utahlite nodules can reach 24 inches — yoga-mat width! The best material comes from the Little Green Monster Mine. 

Variscite vs. Turquoise

By appearances, you may wonder: is variscite a turquoise? No, but they’re commonly confused.

Variscite vs. Turquoise: Both have the same composition, but turquoise adds in copper. Plus, variscite is rarer and softer. 

variscite gemstone carved pendant with lotus leaf

Variscite Meaning & History

This green gem possesses a few metaphysical meanings. Variscite’s spiritual meaning often ties to encouragement, joy, and unconditional love. It also symbolizes prosperity, balance, and connection.

Ancient History

Long before the modern discovery of variscite, people living over 6,000 years ago made variscite jewelry.

Later, people discovered these Neolithic artifacts in France and named them callaïs (“callainite” in English) based on a description of a similar gem from ancient Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder. 

Initially, the French thought the beads were Chinese turquoise, though this was quickly refuted. Researchers believe the beads came from Italy, making them possible evidence of a European network of gemstone trading in prehistoric times.

Plus, these particular variscites still go by callaïs among historical and archeological circles. 

Modern History

The name “variscite” comes from Variscia, the ancient name for Germany’s Voigtland district. This area is where variscite was first officially discovered, though the name came later. 

German mineralogist Johann August Friedrich Breithaupt discovered a stone he named “peganite” in Saxony, Germany in 1830. In another part of Saxony, Briethaupt discovered a stone in 1837 and named it “variscite.” Later on, he realized both stones were variscite.

Similar instances (finding a stone, naming it, and realizing it was variscite later) occurred in many places. In 1865, French mineralogist Alexis Damour found variscite in a Celtic grave but called it “callainite.”  In Spain, variscite was “bolivarite.” 

The first Utah variscite discovery happened in 1893, technically by Frank Butt (who’d claimed the mine with his brother). Butt gave the variscite to F.T. Millis, who helped popularize the stone by sending it to a Smithsonian curator. 

Trade names popped up from the Utah mine’s different owners. Don Maguire called it “utahlite” in 1904, and E.R. Valinski dubbed it “Amatrice” (for “American matrix”) in 1909. Waldemar Schaller called the Utah material from Lucin “lucinite” in 1916.

Shifting to spiritual uses, what is variscite stone good for?

light green variscite gemstone pendant

Variscite Healing Properties

All gems can be healing stones, and green gemstones like variscite bring abundant benefits like grounding, attracting wealth, and promoting vitality. 

Below, we’ll look at the specific variscite stone benefits for physical, emotional, and chakra healing!

Physical Healing

Some purported physical benefits of variscite include treating various abdominal issues like cramps, indigestion, and distension. It may also make your skin more elastic (fewer wrinkles) and encourage blood circulation. 

Spiritual practitioners believe variscite can use your DNA and nervous system to project you into the astral realm, allowing you to explore past lives. 

Emotional Healing

Emotional variscite benefits can include decreasing stress or anxiety. It’s also said to encourage tolerance and unity among people with different viewpoints — something we could all use nowadays!

Chakra Healing

Chakra healing opens an energy center (chakra) to relieve negative symptoms of a blockage. What chakra is variscite best for opening? The heart!

Your heart chakra governs love and adapting to change. When it’s blocked, you may feel resentful or numb. Using variscite as a chakra stone, you can replace those feelings with compassion, forgiveness, and vulnerability. 

dyed variscite gemstone beaded necklace graduated

Variscite Gemstone Properties

The properties relevant to determining variscite’s objective value are its color, cut, carat weight, and if it’s synthetic or natural. 


Most variscites are green, usually in multiple shades. They’re often yellow-green, mint, or emerald-green. The green comes from chromium and vanadium.

White or black patterns are common, usually from crandalite or phosphate mineral inclusions. Other colors may come from element impurities, like the rare violet and red hues caused by iron. 

The color pattern varies, including veins, webbing, splotches, and orbs among others.

The most sought-after variscite colors are black-spider-web Nevada variscite and emerald-green Utah variscite.


Variscite isn’t suited to faceted cuts, but cabochons, spheres, or intricate variscite carvings make beautiful jewelry or decor. The lack of cleavage in variscite masses make them even more durable cabochons. 

Carat Weight

The size range for variscite is pretty broad. Many gems come in 20-carat sizes or larger, perfect for statement jewelry! Scorodites, however, only come in sizes under five carats. 

Treatments, Synthetics, and Simulants

Variscite is only treated by jewelers trying to sell it as a turquoise simulant, often dyeing the stone closer to turquoise’s color. 

Both synthetics and simulants of variscite have been around for decades. Sellers should always disclose this information. 

variscite gemstone rough specimen

Variscite Formation & Sources

Variscite is a secondary mineral, meaning it starts as a different mineral but environmental forces on the host rock transform it into variscite. 

In this case, the specific rock is usually aluminum-rich rocks like brecciated sandstone. The main force is water containing phosphate. The phosphate water reacts with the aluminous rocks, depositing the elements. These elements (along with weathering like oxidation) alter some minerals already in the rock into variscite. 

Mining Locations

This stone is rare but widespread because a lot of variscite, raw, is tiny! Currently, the most significant locale is Utah, USA. 

Other abundant variscite locales include: 

  • Australia 

  • Austria

  • Brazil

  • China

  • Czechia

  • France

  • Germany

  • Poland

  • Russia

  • Spain

  • Sweden

  • USA (Arizona, Arkansas, Nevada)

Scorodite rough most notably comes from Namibia, Mexico, Brazil, and the USA. 

light green variscite gemstone carved leaf beads for pendant

Variscite Stone Price & Value

Variscite’s value mostly depends on its shape, color, and size. Luckily, the stone’s lack of popularity makes it pretty affordable! 

Cabochons at wholesale range from $0.30-$2 per carat when they’re paler, smaller, dominated by black inclusions, or all three. The price range increases to $18-$60 per carat for heavier cabochons with emerald-green coloring and more attractive patterns like golden-yellow veining. 

Rough variscite price per gram for rough material is $0.03-$0.60 per gram.

Jewelry prices are higher but more variable. Beaded variscite bracelets or necklaces are usually $14-$70. Earrings have a broader range, from around $10 to near $300. 

Pendants range from $30-$200, though designer options can exceed $700. Similarly, designer variscite rings can be near $1,000 but most are $20-$150.

Variscite Care and Maintenance

Knowing how to care for gemstones like variscite can keep it shining and intact. Variscite scratches easily, so we recommend opting for jewelry with protective settings. Rings are most vulnerable, while pendants, earrings, and brooches are safest. 

Scorodite contains arsenic that’s toxic if inhaled, which can happen with scratches. Therefore, we recommend scorodite only for display, not jewelry.

You can safely clean variscite by dipping a soft, dust-free cloth into lukewarm water mixed with mild detergent, then gently wiping the stone. Rinse all soap residue from the stone, then let it air-dry. 

Don’t leave variscite under strong heat for long periods, or it may have irreversible color damage. 

variscite gemstone beaded bracelet

Enticed by Variscite’s Vibrance?

There are lots of green gems out there, including variscite’s doppelganger turquoise. But variscite’s obscurity gives it an eccentric, unique nature that few are lucky enough to know about – including you now! 

If you’re seeking an ancient gem with one-of-a-kind patterns and abilities, look no further than variscite.

Buy variscite gemstones today!

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