Pyrophyllite Gemstone: Properties, Meanings, Value & More
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pyrophyllite gemstonePyrophyllite is a soft mineral used as a gemstone in decorative carvings. It’s also used industrially in various products from cosmetics to agriculture to metalworking.

The pyrophyllite mineral is quite similar to talc and the talc-dominant rock soapstone. What is the difference between talc and pyrophyllite?

Talc is a hydrated magnesium phyllosilicate while pyrophyllite is a hydrated aluminum phyllosilicate. While they’re both clay minerals, pyrophyllite is dioctahedral while talc is trioctahedral. You can’t distinguish them by eye — you’ll need chemical testing.

Pyrophyllite is more than just a talc simulant — this guide will teach you all of pyrophyllite’s history, properties, varieties, and meanings!

golden pyrophyllite gemstone radiating crystal specimenImage credit: John Sobolewski (JSS), CC-BY-SA-3.0

About Pyrophyllite Stone

Pyrophyllite is a semi-precious gemstone, though distinct crystals are virtually non-existent. The stone can be white, yellow, green, light blue, gray, or brown.

Other names for pyrophyllite include “ablikite” and “white mica.”

Industrially, some of pyrophyllite’s beneficial properties include:

  • Low thermal and electrical conductivity

  • Low expansion coefficient

  • High refractive behavior

  • Chemical inertness

  • High resistance to corrosion by gasses and molten metals

  • White color

  • Smooth & soft

  • Hydrophobic

We’ll discuss industrial uses later — first, let’s establish its mineral properties.

Pyrophyllite Specifications & Characteristics

As a phyllosilicate composed of aluminum silicate hydroxide, pyrophyllite’s chemical formula is Al2Si4O10(OH)2. The mineral is in the pyrophyllite-talc group alongside talc, willemseite, ferripyrophyllite, and minnesotaite.

Pyrophyllite has two polytypes: monoclinic pyrophyllite (2M) and triclinic pyrophyllite (1A).

The stone can occur as tabular (but curved and deformed) crystals or aggregates of radiating, needle-like crystals (often like interconnected fans), but distinct pyrophyllite crystals are extremely rare. The most common habits are foliated laminae (thin, stacked sheets) and compact masses. It can also be colloidal (gel-like).

Pyrophyllite has a flexible but inelastic tenacity, meaning under stress, it can bend without breaking but doesn’t return to its original shape.

How do you identify pyrophyllite? With a refractometer, you’ll see a vague shadow edge at about 1.6.

Pyrophyllite properties listed:

  • Mohs hardness: 1-2

  • Color: White, gray, pale blue, pale green, pale yellow, grayish-green, brown, brownish-yellow, brownish-green

  • Crystal structure: Monoclinic or triclinic

  • Luster: Pearly, dull, or greasy

  • Transparency: Translucent to opaque

  • Refractive index: 1.534-1.601

  • Density: 2.65-2.90

  • Cleavage: Perfect on {001}

  • Fracture: Splintery or uneven/irregular

  • Streak: White

  • Luminescence: Fluorescence present in agalmatolite variety - cream-white in LW-UV

  • Pleochroism: None

  • Birefringence: 0.045-0.062

  • Dispersion: Weak to none

pyrophyllite agalmatolite gemstone varietyPictured above: Agalmatolite, variety of pyrophyllite | Image credit: 珍庵 at Japanese Wikipedia, CC-BY-SA-3.0

Types of Pyrophyllite

Many pyrophyllite varieties listed below are more so trade names than varieties, but they’re still important to know. The important types of pyrophyllite to know are:


Wonderstone, or “koranna stone,” is a dark gray stone mined in South Africa. The rock is around 86 percent pyrophyllite, and blocks are sold for sculpture carvings.

This variety differs from the rhyolite or jasper varieties also called “wonderstone.”

Agalmatolite / Pagodite

Agalmatolite or pagodite is a grayish-green or grayish-yellow carving stone popularly used in Chinese carvings like those in pagodas (Hindu or Buddhist temples with tiered towers). In Japan, small pieces may be used as traditional writing tools.

This term can be used for pyrophyllite, talc, or pinite, along with rocks containing these and/or other clay minerals.

Cattle Egg Stone

Cattle egg stone is a dense pyrophyllite variety that’s black inside and yellow outside, often used for carvings. The colors come from iron oxide and diaspore mineral inclusions. The only referenced source is China.


Chrome-pyrophyllite is a green, chromium-bearing variety first found in Austria in 1961.

Onto pyrophyllite’s metaphysical properties!

ancient pyrophyllite gemstone figure pendant carvingPictured above: Pyrophyllite figure pendant from Costa Rica | Image credit: Metropolitan Museum, Public Domain

Pyrophyllite Meaning & History

Metaphysically, pyrophyllite is nicknamed the “Creator’s Stone.” It symbolizes strength and resilience.

Pagoda carvings made with pyrophyllite are auspicious, representing wisdom and a path to higher perception.


German chemist Rudolf Hermann made the first official discovery of pyrophyllite in Russia in 1829. He named the mineral after the Greek terms pyro, for “fire,” and phyllos, for “leaf” alluding to how it swells up and exfoliates when heated.

The term “agalmatolite” was first recorded in 1801 and derives from the ancient Greek terms agalma, meaning “statue” or “figure,” and lithos, meaning “stone,” in reference to its use in Chinese carvings and figurines.

Historical Pyrophyllite Uses

Compact pyrophyllite has been used historically for carvings, slate pencils, and tailors’ chalk.

A carved pyrophyllite figure pendant from Costa Rica (pictured above) currently held at the Met Museum is dated between 300 to 800 AD!

Slate pencils were common in the 1800s. Schoolchildren used them to write on slate (the chalkboard precursor) because paper was expensive.

Tailors’ chalk, or “French chalk,” was used for making temporary marks on fabric while sewing and removing grease from dry cleaning. White French chalk powder can also be used by welders to mark metals.

What is the pyrophyllite stone used for now?

red pyrophyllite gemstone carved seal buddhistPictured above: Buddhist seal made from Pyrophyllite found at the Liao Shangjing site | Image credit: BabelStone, CC-BY-SA-3.0

Modern Pyrophyllite Uses

Today, we know pyrophyllite is most useful when it’s pure or has high alumina content with low iron content (below 1 percent).

Some of the top applications are:

  1. Refractory: Produces fairly low-cost refractories when converted into mullite

  2. Cosmetics: Prevents sweat absorption and face/body pyrophyllite powders stick better; Safer alternative to talc

  3. Fiberglass: Used for preparing batches of fiberglass, helps remove sand

  4. Ceramics: Improves translucence, resistance to cracking, and firing times; Pyrophyllite ceramics include tiles, whiteware, plumbing fixtures, and electrical components like insulators

  5. Paper Filler: Inexpensive and improves quality, softness, hydrophobicity, reflectance, and chemical inertness

  6. Plastic Filler: High specific heat and electrical resistance used in computer cases and garden chairs; Mechanical strength used in car dashboards and bumpers

  7. Paint Filler: Powder used as suspending agent that extends pigment, helps film dry, increases volume, and promotes dispersion; Affordable alternative to China clay

  8. Insecticide Filler: Inexpensive, pH-neutral, doesn’t absorb moisture from air, easily sticks to plants

  9. Soil Conditioner: Increases soil’s ability to hold nutrients, minimizes leaching, retains heavy metals

  10. Dusting Agent: Improves quality, lubrication, and smoothing of rubber tires; Prevents adhesion and improves weather-resistance in roofing materials

Many industrial pyrophyllite compounds are called Torai “roseki” clays or PYRAX®.

pyrophyllite healing crystalImage credit: John Krygier, Public Domain

Pyrophyllite Healing Properties

As a commonly white healing stone, pyrophyllite joins other white gems in offering cleansing and spiritual ascension. Pyrophyllite is a chakra stone for the solar plexus and sacral chakras.

Physical Healing

Historically, natural clays like pyrophyllite have been used for healing skin infections, and some clays actually have antibacterial mechanisms.

Emotional Healing

Crystal healers recommend pyrophyllite for boosting concentration, self-confidence, and resilient positivity.

pyrophyllite in quartz gemstone cabochonPictured above: Pyrophyllite inclusions in quartz cabochon

Pyrophyllite Gemstone Properties

Pyrophyllite gems are valued on color, cut, and carat weight.


Most pyrophyllites are light green to brownish-green, and massive specimens often have silver to yellow running throughout.

While bright, pure white pyrophyllites are usually preferred industrially, colors like greens and blues may be more desirable for gems.


Given pyrophyllite’s extremely low Mohs hardness and lack of distinct crystals, faceted gems are essentially non-existent. Massive material can become cabochons or carvings.

Most varieties, like agalmatolite, cattle egg stone, and wonderstone, are carved.

Clear quartz containing pyrophyllite inclusions is often sold as cabochons or faceted gems.

Carat Weight & Size

You can find pyrophyllite carvings and cabochons in practically any size. Crystal aggregates can be fairly large.

orange brown pyrophyllite starburst crystal specimenImage credit: Antonio Nazario, Public Domain

Pyrophyllite Formation & Sources

Pyrophyllite forms when aluminum-rich rocks undergo low-grade metamorphism or aluminum-rich minerals like feldspar are hydrothermally altered.

What types of rocks have pyrophyllite? Rocks containing pyrophyllite include schistose and phyllite rocks. Pyrophyllite also occurs in hydrothermal veins.

Minerals commonly found with pyrophyllite include andalusite, topaz, kyanite, quartz, and mica.

Mining Locations

Where is pyrophyllite mined? Pyrophyllite is mined all over the world, but significant locales for ornamental material include:

  • Belgium

  • Brazil

  • Canada

  • Italy

  • Japan

  • Korea

  • Mexico

  • Russia

  • South Africa

  • Sweden

  • Switzerland

  • USA (Arizona, California, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania)

colorless pyrophyllite crystal geodeImage credit: Rock Currier, CC-BY-SA-3.0

Pyrophyllite Price & Value

How much is pyrophyllite worth? Attractive pyrophyllite crystal specimens usually range in price from about $5 to $20 for smaller specimens and $50 to $100 for larger ones.

Wonderstones are often sold in huge blocks (like 12 lbs to 73 lbs), ranging from about $90 to upwards of $850 each.

Pyrophyllite carvings and sculptures can go for $75 to $2,900.

Cabochons of pyrophyllite in clear quartz range from around $4 to $13 per carat or $55 to $160 each.

The industrial pyrophyllite market was valued at $151.7 million (USD) in 2019, and it’s estimated to be worth over $180 million by 2032.

Pyrophyllite Care and Maintenance

Is pyrophyllite toxic? Polished cabochons and carvings should be perfectly safe to handle, but pyrophyllite dust or particles (often produced when cutting rough material) can cause low category pneumoconiosis if you inhale a lot of it frequently.

Onto gemstone care, you can clean pyrophyllite with warm water and mild soap. However, most materials will scratch it, so be extremely cautious. If you need to wipe off dust, only use a lint-free microfiber cloth or simply blow the dust away.

Store separately from other minerals.

Ready to Pick Your Pyrophyllite?

What pyrophyllite may lack in hardness, it makes up for in its beneficial properties and wide potential for beautiful carvings or decor. Add some earthy wonder to your space with pyrophyllite!

Buy pyrophyllite and other unique gemstones today!





金色葉蠟石寶石輻射晶體標本圖片來源:John Sobolewski (JSS), CC-BY-SA-3.0





  • 低導熱性和導電性

  • 低膨脹係數

  • 高折射行為

  • 化學惰性

  • 對氣體和熔融金屬的腐蝕有很高的抵抗力

  • 白色

  • 光滑柔軟

  • 疏水性







如何鑑別葉蠟石?使用折射儀,您會在 1.6 左右看到模糊的陰影邊緣。


  • 莫氏硬度:1-2

  • 顏色: 白色、灰色、淡藍色、淡綠色、淡黃色、灰綠色、棕色、棕黃色、棕綠色

  • 晶體結構: 單斜晶系或三斜晶系

  • 光澤: 珠光、暗淡或油膩

  • 透明度: 半透明到不透明

  • 折射率:1.534-1.601

  • 密度:2.65-2.90

  • 乳溝:完美{001}

  • 骨折:分裂或不均勻/不規則

  • 條紋:白色

  • 發光:熒光存在於方鎂石品種中 - 在 LW-UV 中呈乳白色

  • 多色性:無

  • 雙折射:0.045-0.062

  • 色散:弱到無

葉蠟石雜石榴石寶石品種上圖:Agalmatolite,各種葉蠟石 |圖片來源:日本維基百科的珍庵, CC-BY-SA-3.0




Wonderstone,或“koranna stone”,是一種在南非開采的深灰色石頭。岩石中約有 86% 是葉蠟石,塊狀物用於雕塑雕刻。


Agalmatolite / Pagodite

Agalmatolite 或 pagodite 是一種灰綠色或灰黃色的雕刻石,廣泛用於中國雕刻,如寶塔(印度教或帶有分層塔的佛教寺廟)中的雕刻。在日本,小塊可以用作傳統的書寫工具。





鉻葉蠟石是一種綠色的含鉻品種,於 1961 年首次在奧地利發現。


古代葉蠟石寶石人物吊墜雕刻上圖:來自哥斯達黎加的葉蠟石人物吊墜 |圖片來源:大都會博物館,公共領域





1829 年,德國化學家魯道夫·赫爾曼 (Rudolf Hermann) 在俄羅斯首次正式發現了葉蠟石。他以希臘語pyro和 phyllos 為“火”的意思命名了這種礦物,而phyllos的意思是“葉子”,暗指它在受熱時如何膨脹和剝落。

“agalmatolite”一詞最早於 1801 年被記錄下來,源自古希臘術語agalma ,意思是“雕像”或“人物”,以及lithos ,意思是“石頭”,指的是它在中國雕刻和小雕像中的使用。



目前保存在大都會博物館的一件來自哥斯達黎加的雕刻葉蠟石人物吊墜(如上圖)可追溯到公元 300 至 800 年之間!

石板鉛筆在 1800 年代很常見。小學生用它們在石板(黑板的前身)上寫字,因為紙很貴。



紅色葉蠟石寶石刻圖章佛教上圖:遼上京遺址出土的葉蠟石佛印|圖片來源:BabelStone, CC-BY-SA-3.0


今天,我們知道葉蠟石在純淨或氧化鋁含量高而鐵含量低(低於 1%)時最有用。


  1. 耐火材料:轉化為莫來石時可生產成本相當低的耐火材料

  2. 化妝品:防止汗液吸收,面部/身體葉蠟石粉末更好地粘附;更安全的滑石粉替代品

  3. 玻璃纖維:用於製備批次的玻璃纖維,有助於去除沙子

  4. 陶瓷:提高半透明度、抗裂性和燒製時間;葉蠟石陶瓷包括瓷磚、白色陶瓷、管道裝置和絕緣體等電氣元件

  5. 紙張填料:價格低廉,可提高質量、柔軟度、疏水性、反射率和化學惰性

  6. 塑料填料:用於電腦機箱和花園椅的高比熱和電阻;用於汽車儀表板和保險槓的機械強度

  7. 塗料填料:用作懸浮劑的粉末,可延展顏料,幫助成膜乾燥,增加體積,促進分散;經濟實惠的瓷土替代品

  8. 殺蟲劑填料:便宜,pH 值中性,不吸收空氣中的水分,容易粘附在植物上

  9. 土壤調理劑:增加土壤保持養分的能力,減少淋溶,保留重金屬

  10. 除塵劑:改善橡膠輪胎的質量、潤滑和光滑度;防止粘附並提高屋頂材料的耐候性

許多工業葉蠟石化合物被稱為 Torai “roseki” 粘土或 PYRAX®。

葉蠟石療愈水晶圖片來源:John Krygier,公共領域













鑑於葉蠟石的莫氏硬度極低且缺乏明顯的晶體, 刻面寶石基本上不存在。大塊材料可以變成凸圓形或雕刻品。





橙棕色葉蠟石星爆晶體標本圖片來源:Antonio Nazario,公共領域







  • 比利時

  • 巴西

  • 加拿大

  • 意大利

  • 日本

  • 韓國

  • 墨西哥

  • 俄羅斯

  • 南非

  • 瑞典

  • 瑞士

  • 美國(亞利桑那、加利福尼亞、佐治亞、北卡羅來納、賓夕法尼亞)

無色葉蠟石晶洞圖片來源:Rock Currier, CC-BY-SA-3.0


葉蠟石值多少錢?有吸引力的葉蠟石晶體標本通常較小標本的價格在 5 到 20 美元之間,大標本的價格在 50 到 100 美元之間。

Wonderstones 通常以大塊(如 12 磅到 73 磅)出售,價格從每塊 90 美元到 850 美元以上不等。

葉蠟石雕刻和雕塑的售價為 75 美元至 2,900 美元。

透明石英中的凸圓形葉蠟石價格從每克拉 4 美元到 13 美元左右或每克拉 55 美元到 160 美元不等。

2019 年工業葉蠟石市場價值 1.517 億美元,預計到 2032 年將超過 1.8 億美元。








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