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By Reviewed By Andreas Zabczyk Nov 29, 2013 Updated Jan 17, 2019

Danburite Gemstone Information

Large Image of a Danburite Gemstone

About Danburite - History and Introduction

By composition, danburite is a calcium boric silicate and although it is a relatively commonly occurring mineral, large and facetable gemstone quality material is considered especially rare. Today, danburite is one of the lesser-known gemstones and is primarily classified as a collector's gem. It was officially named after the place in which it was first discovered in 1839 - Danbury, Connecticut (USA). Although Danbury is where the mineral was first found, the original mining deposit is now buried deep below the city, and surprisingly, the Danbury mineral deposit never actually yielded any gem quality specimens. The discovery of danburite is credited to Mr. Charles Upham Shephard (1804-1866), an eminent American mineralogist.

High quality danburite occurs with excellent transparency and clarity, and its hardness surpasses that of quartz. Its brilliance can rival that of the finest topaz, but owing to its modest ability to split light into spectral colors (dispersion), it lacks the fire required for most mainstream jewelry, which is the reason why danburite is sought-after by connoisseurs rather than jewelers.

Natural Danburite
Click to enlarge image

Identifying Danburite

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Danburite can sometimes occur encrusted with quartz druzy, and in many cases, quartz may pseudomorph and replace danburite altogether. Danburite can be identified by its unique prismatic crystal structure and through its distinct chemical composition. In most cases, danburite can be easily distinguished from similar materials through its very specific gemological properties, particularly hardness, fluorescence, cleavage and specific gravity (density). Danburite has very little cleavage and a specific gravity roughly the same as jadeite. Danburite tends to be available in large sizes, which is rare with many other colorless gemstones. Colorless rock quartz and topaz are most often mistaken for danburite. However, but topaz is considerably harder than danburite, whilst quartz is slightly softer.

Danburite Origin and Gemstone Sources

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Danburite was first discovered in Danbury, Connecticut (USA), but most of the danburite gemstones today originate from Mexico, specifically from Charcas, San Luis Potosi. Other notable gemstone quality deposits of danburite have been found in Bolivia, Burma, Japan, Madagascar and Russia.

Buying Danburite and Determining Danburite Gemstone Value

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Danburite Color

Danburite can occur in a variety of colors ranging from colorless to very light-pink and from light-yellow to brown, but typically only colorless danburite is ever faceted as a gemstone.

Danburite Clarity and Luster

Top grade danburite gemstones occur with excellent transparency and most form with very few inclusions. Eye-clean specimens should be expected, even in larger sizes. Danburite has a greasy to vitreous luster.

Danburite Cut and Shape

Danburite is almost always faceted, but for collectors rather than for jewelry designers. Danburite is occasionally diamond-cut to be used as diamond alternatives. The most common shapes are ovals, since they preserve the most original rough carat weight. Other shapes such as cushions, rounds, trillions, octagons (emerald-cuts) and pears are quite common.

Danburite Treatment

Danburite is not known to be treated or enhanced in any way. There are also no known synthetics or imitations available on the market.

Danburite Gemological Properties:

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Chemical Formula: CaB2(SiO4)2 - Calcium boric silicate
Crystal Structure: Orthorhombic, prismatic
Color: Colorless (white) wine-yellow, brown, pink
Hardness: 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale
Refractive Index: 1.630 to 1.636
Density: 2.97 to 3.03
Cleavage: Imperfect
Transparency: Transparent
Double Refraction or Birefringence: -0.006 to -0.008
Luster: Greasy, vitreous
Fluorescence: Sky-blue

Please refer to our Gemstone Glossary for details of gemology-related terms.

Danburite: Varieties or Similar Gemstones:

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White Zircon
White Zircon

Danburite does not have any closely related gemstone family members by chemical composition, though there are many types of stones that share physical characteristics and similarities, such as color and luster.

Most Popular Similar Gemstones:

White zircon, white quartz, white topaz, white sapphire and goshenite (white beryl) are the most popular similar gemstone varieties.

Lesser-Known Similar Gemstones:

Pyrite, cassiterite, orthoclase, calcite, andradite, fluorite and kunzite are lesser-known similar gemstone varieties.

Danburite Gemstone Mythology, Metaphysical and Alternative Healing

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Danburite is an excellent healing and energy stone. It has a very pure and sweet vibration, and an energy that is both gentle and powerful. It is considered to be highly spiritual and is thought to be an excellent stone for the third eye and crown chakras. Danburite is said to connect the heart to the mind and the mind to the heart. It is also thought that danburite can help relieve emotional pain and help clear past karma.

Danburite is also thought to aid enlightenment and encourage the release of fear, grief and anxiety. It is connected with the zodiacal sign of Leo. Physically, danburite is thought to be helpful for detoxification and is said to relieve allergy symptoms and chronic conditions, such as liver or gall bladder infections.

Disclaimer: Metaphysical and Alternative Crystal Healing Powers and Properties are not to be taken as confirmed advice. Traditional, Ceremonial and Mythological Gemstone Lore is collected from various resources and is not the sole opinion of SETT Co., Ltd. This information is not to replace the advice of your doctor. Should you have any medical conditions, please see a licensed medical practitioner. GemSelect does not guarantee any claims or statements of healing or astrological birthstone powers and cannot be held liable under any circumstances.

Danburite Gemstone and Jewelry Design Ideas

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With a hardness that surpasses that of quartz, danburite gemstones are perfectly suitable for any type of jewelry application. Due to its brilliance, well-cut danburite is often used as an alternative for diamond or white sapphire. Despite its poor pinacoidal cleavage, it is still an easy material for most lapidaries to work with. Additionally, because of its excellent clarity and the availability of very large sizes, danburite is ideal for creating bold fashion jewelry designs and accessories.

Large pendants, pins, brooches and everyday rings are all excellent ideas for fine quality danburite. Best of all, danburite is rather affordable, especially when compared to other types of colorless stones, but like most large 'white' gemstones, anything over 10 carats is quite rare and will typically be very expensive.

Note: Buy colored gemstones by size and not by carat weight. Colored stones vary in size-to-weight ratio. Some stones are larger and others are smaller than diamond by weight in comparison.

Danburite Gemstone and Jewelry Care and Cleaning

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How to clean your gemstonesAlthough danburite is an exceptionally hard and durable gemstone, it can be easily scratched by many of the other harder jewelry gemstones, such as topaz, spinel and sapphire. Danburite is sensitive to heat and should not be exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations. Avoid the use of steam cleaners as they can permanently damage danburite. Ultrasonic cleaners are typically considered safe, but caution should be taken when cleaning danburite in this manner.

It is best to simply wipe down your stones using a plain soft cloth and warm to room-temperature water. A mild soap or detergent can be used, but be sure to rinse well to remove soapy residue. Avoid wearing danburite with other gems, and always remove jewelry before playing sports, exercising or performing any harsh household chores. When storing your danburite gemstones, store them separately and away from other gems and jewelry. If possible, wrap them in a soft cloth or place them inside a fabric-lined box for extra protection.

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