Skip to main content.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Website Search Box
Search Item
{search_item}

Scapolite

Oval cabochon-cut red brown scapolite weighing 4.93 ct.
Photo by Ken Larsen. Click to zoom.
Catalog Number NMNH G10566-00
Locality Tanzania
Weight 4.93 ct

Gift of Mr. Bill Larson in 2008.

Scapolite comes from the Greek word skapos, meaing rod, and lithos, meaning stone. It is commonly found in stubby to long prismatic crystals. Scapolite is not a well known gemstone, but can be very attractive. Scapolite gems can be white, gray, yellow, light brown to orange, pink or purple. The less transparent material is often cut en cabochon and will commonly exhibit a cat’s-eye effect, as seen here. The effect refers to the sharp ray of white light crossing the cabochon as a center line along its length. Microscopic tube-like cavities or needle-like inclusions form in a parallel orientation so when cut en cabochon the resulting “line” or cat’s eye is present. If the cat’s eye is not distinct, the scapolite gem sometimes will display an adularescence, or soft white glow, similar to moonstone. This gem is from Tanzania, but scapolite is also found in Brazil, Madagascar, Switzerland, and Burma.


Gallery

Sorry!

Landscape mode is not currently supported for this website