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    1. Crocoite Value, Price, and Jewelry Information

      Baguette-cut crocoite, 1.65 cts, 6.3 x 5.3 x 2.7 mm, orange-red, Tasmania. Steve Burger, personal collection. ? ARK Rare Gems. Used with permission.

      Crocoite

      Lovely saffron-colored crocoite is quite a rare mineral. Although too soft and brittle for jewelry wear, a few crystals have been faceted for collectors.

      Crocoite Value

      The International Gem Society (IGS) has a list of businesses offering gemstone appraisal services.

      Crocoite Value via Gem Price Guide

      Accompanying value information:
      Faceted 5 to 10 carats
      to /ct

      Crocoite Information

      Data Value
      Name Crocoite
      Colors Red-orange, cherry red, orange, yellowish.
      Crystallography Monoclinic. Crystals prismatic, sometimes hollow.
      Refractive Index 2.29-2.66
      Luster Adamantine to vitreous.
      Hardness 2.5 - 3
      Fracture Conchoidal
      Specific Gravity 5.9-6.1
      Birefringence 0.370
      Cleavage Indistinct
      Dispersion Strong
      Luminescence Weak reddish to dark brown (SW); weaker effect in LW.
      Luminescence Present Yes
      Luminescence Type Fluorescent, UV-Long, UV-Short
      Transparency Translucent to transparent.
      Absorption Spectrum This mineral shows a distinct absorption band at 5550 but only in thin fragment specimens. It transmits light mainly in the yellow-red region of the spectrum.
      Formula

      PbCrO4

      Pleochroism

      Trichroic. Orange-red/orange-red/blood red.

      Optics

      a = 2.29-2.31; β = 2.36; γ = 2.66. Biaxial (+), 2V = 57°.

      Optic Sign Biaxial +
      Etymology

      From the Greek krokos for “saffron,” in allusion to the color.

      Occurrence

      Secondary mineral in oxidized zones of lead deposits.

      crocoite crystal - Tasmania

      Crocoite, Red Lead Mine, Dundas, Tasmania, Australia. Photo by Jamain. Licensed under CC By-SA 3.0.

      Comments

      This mineral was previously named crocoise and later crocoisite and is also known as red lead ore.

      Tasmania, Australia declared crocoite its official state mineral in 2000.

      This rough and cut set features a specimen of lustrous, red-orange crocoite crystals on matrix and a rectangle-cut crocoite gem. 4.5 x 3.3 x 2.1 cm (specimen); 0.58 cts, 4.36 x 3.70 mm (gem); Dundas, Zeehan District, Tasmania, Australia. ? Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

      Identifying Characteristics

      Crocoite’s intense red-orange to yellow-orange color completely masks its high dispersion.

      Crocoite has an orange-yellow streak. Please note: don’t conduct streak testing on finished gems. Test material in inconspicuous spots as a last resort only.

      This mineral shows a distinct absorption band at 5550 but only in thin fragment specimens. It transmits light mainly in the yellow-red region of the spectrum.

      crocoite display - GeoFair

      Crocoite on display at GeoFair 2015. Photo by Kyle Hartshorn. Licensed under CC By 2.0.

      Synthetics

      Synthetic lead(II) chromate, or “chrome yellow,” has the same chemical formula as crocoite but is only used as a pigment. There’s no known jewelry use for this material.

      Treatments

      No known treatments or enhancements.

      Sources

      Dundas, Tasmania produces the world’s best crystals (some gemmy) in large clusters.

      The Berezovsk District in Russia, the type locality, produces red crystals.

      Other notable sources for gem-quality material include the following:

      crocoite crystals - Russia

      Crocoites on matrix, 8.6 x 5.7 x 3.5 cm (specimen), Berezovsk Mines, Berezovskii Zavod, Sverdlovsk, Sverdlovskaya Oblast’, Middle Urals, Urals Region, Russia. ? Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

      Stone Sizes

      Gems can weigh up to about 10 carats. However, these are usually not transparent. Tasmania can produce clean, deep red-orange stones up to 1-2 carats.

      Care

      With a hardness range of 2.5 to 3, crocoites could be cut by coins and knives. Therefore, jewelry use isn’t recommended. For storage suggestions and other information, consult our gemstone collection guide.

      Although this mineral contains?hexavalent chromium and lead, both toxic, handling crystals or finished gems should pose no problems. However, when cutting this material, avoid ingesting or inhaling particles, wash your hands, and don’t pour solutions with this material down the drain. For more information, consult our articles on toxic and radioactive gem materials and health hazards and safety tips for gem cutters.

      faceted crocoite - Dundas, Tasmania

      Crocoite: Dundas, Tasmania (3.4). Photo ? Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

      by Joel E. Arem, Ph.D., FGA, International Gem Society

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