Wardite Gemstone: Properties, Meanings, Value & More

Wardite is a pale, often blue to green phosphate mineral sometimes used as a gemstone. It’s mostly known among collectors for its glassy luster, rare crystal structure, and attractive colors.

In terms of rarity, wardite is somewhat rare as a mineral but rarer as a gemstone. It’s more often cut into cabochons than faceted gems.

We love lesser known gemstones here at Gem Rock Auctions, so today we’re going over all of wardite’s uses, properties, history, prices, and more.

wardite gemstonePictured above: Floater cluster of large, translucent, bluish-gray wardite crystals with microcrystals of siderite | Image credit: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0

About Wardite Stone

Wardite is a rare semi-precious gemstone most sought out for its blue to green hues. Astrologically, wardite benefits the water signs: Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces.

Other monikers for the stone include:

  • Hydrous basic phosphate of alumina (from first description)

  • Soumansite (from discovery of material in Soumans, France)

This stone might be mixed up with certain types of variscite that are dipyramidal and pseudo-tetragonal.

Green stones from Utah, USA, that contain wardite, variscite, and/or other minerals or compounds like iron oxides in a quartz or chalcedony matrix are called “Amatrice” or “Utahlite.”

Outside of gemstone and ornamental purposes, what is wardite used for?

Wardite Uses

Although wardite uses aren’t present in the industrial realm, as an industrial ingredient, the stone has been valuable for researchers.

Scientists have studied wardite to learn about its spectroscopic properties, crystal structure, composition, and behavior under high pressure.

Wardite is also important to mineralogical researchers because it’s in a rare, unique class of crystals with tetragonal-trapezohedral symmetry.

lustrous yellow wardite crystals on matrixPictured above: Translucent, lustrous wardite crystals perched on matrix coated by siderite druzy; Tim Blackwood Collection | Image credit: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0

Wardite Specifications & Characteristics

As a hydrous sodium aluminum phosphate hydroxide, wardite’s formula is written as NaAl3(PO4)2(OH)4·2H2O. This is the formula accepted by the International Mineralogical Association (IMA).

Wardite is in the eponymous wardite mineral group alongside other hydrous sodium phosphate minerals: cyrilovite, fluorowardite, and millisite.

  • Cyrilovite: Formula NaFe3+3(PO4)2(OH)4·2H2O

  • Fluorowardite: NaAl3(PO4)2(OH)2F2·2H2O

  • Millisite: Formula NaCaAl6(PO4)4(OH)9·3H2O

Fluorowardite is the fluorine analogue of wardite, which is fluorowardite’s hydroxide analogue. Additionally, cyrilovite is the ferrous iron analogue of wardite, which is cyrilovite’s aluminum analogue.

In terms of habits, wardite crystals can be dipyramidal, pyramidal, and/or pseudo-octahedral, often with striations perpendicular to [001]. The mineral also occurs as aggregates (granular or fibrous), encrustations (radial or fibrous), or spherulites with concentric banding.

Looking at optics, wardite is uniaxial (+) positive, but it can be anomalously biaxial, particularly wardite crystals from France.

Wardite properties listed:

  • Mohs hardness: 5

  • Color: Colorless, white; Pale shades of yellow-pink, yellow, yellow-green, green, blue-green, blue, or brown

  • Crystal structure: Tetragonal

  • Luster: Vitreous (glassy)

  • Transparency: Transparent to opaque

  • Refractive index: 1.586-1.604

  • Density: 2.81-2.87

  • Cleavage: Perfect on {001}

  • Fracture: Conchoidal

  • Streak: White

  • Luminescence: None

  • Pleochroism: None

  • Birefringence: 0.009

  • Dispersion: None reported

translucent wardite crystals with lazulite on matrixPictured above: Attractive, sharp, tetragonal wardite crystals with minor blue lazulite on matrix from Canada | Image credit: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0

Wardite History

American mineralogist John M. Davison wrote the first description of wardite in 1896. He described the mineral as a “hydrous basic aluminum phosphate” and named it in honor of Henry Augustus Ward.

Ward was an American natural sciences professor, collector, and founder of Ward's Natural Science Establishment (now Ward’s Science).

Davison’s description was based on specimens of massive variscite from the Clay Canyon mine in Utah, famous for its top-quality variscite specimens. The specimens were donated to Ward’s Natural Science Establishment with an initial analysis by R.L. Packard in 1894.

However, some of the variscite specimens had nodule cavities created by variscite decomposition and encrusted by a light green to blue-green “hydrous basic phosphate of alumina” not previously described.

These light green to blue-green minerals ended up being wardite.

Other descriptions of the Utah area’s wardite specimens found examples of irregularly layered nodules, fibrous aggregates, small crystals, spherulites, thin crusts, or thin layers on chalcedonic millisite nodules. Some specimens even formed druzy, but the druzy consisted of small, poorly developed crystals.

In 1891, French mineralogist Alfred Lacroix found a seemingly new mineral in the Montebras mines of Soumans, France. He named it “Soumansite” when he reported it in 1910, but it was proven as identical to wardite in 1930.

Specimens of wardite from Fairfield, Utah, were studied extensively in the early 1900s. Some of these studies examined Utah wardite’s formation, relationship to other phosphate minerals found nearby, morphology, and other crystal properties.

Wardite Healing Properties

As an often green healing stone, wardite’s meaning reflects the rejuvenating and balancing properties of other green gemstones. Wardite can also be used as a heart or throat chakra stone.

Other purported benefits of wardite crystals include:

  • Facilitating better communication

  • Encouraging greater empathy

  • Boosting your self-esteem

  • Helping you become more confident in social settings

  • Bringing out your best traits

seafoam green wardite crystal on goyazitePictured above: Seafoam green wardite crystals found overlapping with goyazite | Image credit: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0

Wardite Gemstone Properties

Besides its rarity, wardite’s value depends on its color, cut, clarity/transparency, and carat weight.

Color

Wardite stones range in color from colorless to brown, but the best specimens have blue to green hues. Even coloring is best.

In many cabochons, however, the predominant material is green variscite, and wardite appears as gray to white lines throughout.

Cut

Wardite is rarely faceted, making these gems more valuable for their scarcity. Faceted wardites often have emerald or octagonal shapes.

More often, wardite is cut into cabochons, particularly white wardite mixed with variscite. Many wardite crystals for sale are rough (uncut).

Clarity & Transparency

Clarity describes the degree of visible inclusions in a gem, which can lower its transparency and value. Wardite ranges from transparent to opaque, but stones with greater transparency and fewer visible inclusions are rarer with higher value.

Most wardites have some visible inclusions. Many cabochons, however, feature wardite as an inclusion in variscite.

Carat Weight & Size

Faceted wardites are perhaps unsurprisingly small, only up to 3 carats. Cabochons can be larger.

utah wardite specimen with crandallite and variscitePictured above: Small, polished cabinet slab with patterns of green variscite, white crandallite and yellow wardite from Utah | Image credit: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0

Wardite Formation & Sources

Wardite minerals usually form when groundwater containing dissolved elements alters variscite, resulting in wardite in other phosphate minerals via regional metamorphism. Amblygonite can also alter into wardite.

Miners find wardite in phosphate nodules or masses and complex pegmatites.

Geographically, where is wardite found?

Mining Locations

The only known source for gem-quality, facetable wardite crystals is Rapid Creek, Canada. High-quality crystals are also found in Brazil and the USA (Maine & Utah).

Other wardite sources worth noting are:

  • California, USA

  • France

  • New Hampshire, USA

  • South Dakota, USA

golden yellow wardite large crystalPictured above: Large wardite crystal from Canada | Image credit: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0

Wardite Gemstone Price & Value

Given their rarity, most wardites will be somewhat pricey, but the cost ranges broadly.

Faceted wardite gems range from around $100 to $1,900 per carat or roughly $160 to $250 total — remember, some stones are under 1 carat.

Cabochons of wardite and variscite range from $2 up to $60 per carat depending on quality.

Rough wardite specimens also range a lot, from $40 up to $2,250.

You can find wardite cabochon rings for around $100 to $150 each.

Wardite Care and Maintenance

Proper gemstone care for wardite is fairly easy; you just have to mind its mid-range hardness. We recommend protective settings on wardite jewelry, particularly rings.

Clean wardite with warm water, mild soap, and a soft toothbrush. Keep it away from acids — it will dissolve in them.

Store wardite away from other gems to avoid scratches.

Are You Wowed by Wardite?

Wardite is a gorgeous blue to green crystal found in delicate crystals to stunningly patterned nodules. This lesser-known stone is a great find for collectors or anyone looking for a rare jewelry gem or soothing ornamental piece!

Buy wardite and more underrated gemstones today!

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