• Chemistry: LiAlSi2 O6, Lithium Aluminum Silicate
  • Class: Silicates
  • Subclass: Inosilicates
  • Group: Pyroxenes
  • Uses: gemstone and ore of lithium.
  • Specimens
      Also see variety specimens:
    • Kunzite Specimens
    • Hiddenite Specimens

Spodumene is a rock forming mineral in granites and pegmatites that bear other lithium minerals. Spodumene is a relatively new mineral to science, being discovered in the last three centuries and gem varieties have only been discovered in the last 120 years. Transparent deeply colored spodumene has two varieties called Kunzite and Hiddenite. Kunzite is the more common of the two and is known by most gemstone collectors and fanciers. It is a lovely pink to lilac color that is unique in the gem kingdom. Hiddenite comes North Carolina and is not well known or abundant. It has an usual green color that is unlike either peridot or emerald. Spodumene is strongly pleochroic and therefore a gem cutter must take care to orient the stone in the best position for the deepest color. Spodumene's cleavage, parting and fracture also make it a challenge for any gem cutter.


  • Color is white, colorless, gray, pink, lilac, violet, yellow and green.
  • Luster is vitreous.
  • Transparency crystals are transparent to translucent.
  • Crystal System is monoclinic; 2/m
  • Crystal Habits include prismatic, generally flattened and elongated crystals. The termination is usually the two faces of a dome or rounded, curved and faces indisernable. Crystal faces are often pitted and rough. Some crystals of spodumene have been found in record large crystals of more than 12 meters long.
  • Cleavage is perfect in two direction at close to right angles and a parting direction that breaks diagonally transect one of the cleavage angles and is parallel to the typical flattening of the crystals.
  • Fracture is splintery due to the cleavage and parting.
  • Hardness is 6.5 - 7
  • Specific Gravity is approximately 3.2 (slightly above average)
  • Streak is white.
  • Associated Minerals are lepidolite, plagioclase feldspars, quartz, tourmaline and topaz.
  • Other Characteristics: index of refraction is 1.66, prism faces are deeply striated lengthwise and clear colorful varieties show strong pleochroic color intensity variation when a crystal is viewed from the top or bottom then from other directions.
  • Notable Occurrences include California, North Carolina and South Dakota, USA; Afganistan; Pakistan; Brazil and Madagascar.
  • Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, striated prisms, color, fracture and cleavage.
SPODUMENE specimens:
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SPODUMENE specimen spo-1
$ 120.00
Dims: 3-3/4" x 1-1/4" x 1"
Wt: 4.86 oz
Northwestern Frontier Province, Pakistan
This is one of the larger Spodumene crystals that I have had the pleasure of describing. It seems to be made up of two crystals that grew so closely parallel to each other that they started out as a single crystal and then grew just enough apart so that one could see individual tendencies at their terminations. One of the terminations is about 5/8 inch shorter than its counterpart, and both are definite and sloping. They tend to have a waxy luster, whereas the prism faces have one which is vitreous. There is another termination at the other end of the crystal that makes up half of the end's surface area- the rest of that area is jagged, with only a tiny amount of partial healing evident. The crystal's color is a very pale green that does not qualify it as a hiddenite, although it is near gem-quality.
no photo
spo-1 ($120.00)
Northwestern Frontier Province, Pakistan
SPODUMENE specimen spo-2
$ 40.00
Dims: 1-3/4" x 7/8" x 3/8"
Wt: 16.7 g
Northwestern Frontier Province, Pakistan
Though merely a thumbnail specimen as far as size is concerned, this little Pakistani Spodumene crystal is one of the nicest that I have seen in my travels! First, it is nearly colorless with a pearly luster, and exhibits only tiny spots of damage. Secondly, apart from a few largish internal fractures near its base and one or two tiny ones near the termination, it is perfectly clear and transparent. Finally, it has exceptional crystal form, with a complete termination that is somewhat complex. One one side of the oblong, flat prism, there are some very subtle and shallow transition faces between the termination and prism faces. This crystal is equally apt for a specimen or a piece of high-quality gem rough, although personally I couldn't bring myself to destroy its amazing form.
no photo
spo-2 ($ 40.00)
Northwestern Frontier Province, Pakistan
SPODUMENE specimen spo-3
$ 20.00
Dims: 1.3" x 0.7" x 0.5" (3.3 x 1.8 x 1.3 cm)
Wt: 11.0 g
Minas Gerais, Brazil
One of the more unusually-formed Spodumene crystals that I have seen, this particular specimen has two terminations, one of which appears to have formed through partial healing of a break on one end of the prismatic crystal. It has excellent monoclinic form, though there is an abnormality present, and shows no signs of human-induced damage. It is colorless, though it appears to have a very faint yellowish tinge, and has a vitreous luster. The crystal is transparent and quite clear, though heavy striations on its surface make its clarity difficult to determine. The abnormality that this crystal shows consists of a large hollow that extends about 0.5" (1.3 cm) down into what I believe is the original termination. It is open on one side, and so is not like a "tunnel". It is an intriguing little piece that I have placed in a domed thimble box for display.
no photo
spo-3 ($ 20.00)
Minas Gerais, Brazil
SPODUMENE specimen spo-4
$ 22.00
Dims: 1.7" x 0.6" x 0.4" (4.3 x 1.5 x 1.0 cm)
Wt: 12.8 g
Minas Gerais, Brazil
Though not quite complete, this particular Spodumene specimen shows very good form. It occurs as a monoclinic prism that has a nearly perfectly rectangular cross-section and is topped with a domed termination that seems to be almost stepped when viewed from certain angles. It shows considerable damage, but this is not human-induced and was partially healed before its harvest. It has a very pale pink color that is only evident when looking down at its termination. The crystal's prism faces have a vitreous-to-pearly luster and are striated along their lengths, whereas its termination faces show an almost satiny luster due to microscopic growth patterns that cover it. It is transparent and shows very good clarity, although several internal fractures are visible. I have affixed it inside a domed thimble box for display purposes.
no photo
spo-4 ($ 22.00)
Minas Gerais, Brazil
SPODUMENE specimen spo-5
$ 36.00
Dims: 1.5" x 0.6" x 0.4" (3.8 x 1.5 x 1.0 cm)
Wt: 18.7 g
Kunar Valley, Afghanistan
Though not showing the best of form, this specimen of Spodumene from Afghanistan is large and has a faint, blue-violet color that is not very often seen in this stone. It occurs as a doubly-terminated monoclinic prism that shows considerable damage. Its intact prism faces are heavily striated and its termination faces show rather large growth patterns, and all have a vitreous luster. Its blue-violet color is best seen when viewed through either termination face against a white background. It is transparent and quite clear, though several internal fractures are visible. A lapidarist could probably get a few small faceted stones out of this piece.
no photo
spo-5 ($ 36.00)
Kunar Valley, Afghanistan
SPODUMENE specimen spo-6
$ 50.00
Dims: 1.6 x 1.4 x 0.2" (4.1 x 3.6 x 0.5 cm)
Wt: 12.9 g
Kunar Valley, Afghanistan
A single monoclinic Spodumene blade comprises this thumbnail specimen. It is in excellent condition, showing only minor damage- even the breakage surface at its base is mostly partly-healed. Its form is also excellent, with well-defined, straight edges and striated but clean and flat faces that possess a bright pearly luster; one of the termination faces, however, have a much duller waxy luster, and the other has an even duller matte luster. Though the crystal appears to be nearly colorless, it is not- there is a very subtle "phantom" of violet color that is visible in the lower one-third of its length, if one views it against a pure white background. This coloration is quite visible when the crystal is viewed through its termination faces to take advantage of its intense pleochroism. It is transparent and quite clear, though there are many internal fractures and a few layers of cloudiness near the termination that suggest other "phantoms". There is no other material or host rock present.
no photo
spo-6 ($ 50.00)
Kunar Valley, Afghanistan
SPODUMENE specimen spo-7
$ 130.00
Dims: 2.0 x 2.0 x 1.5" (5.1 x 5.1 x 3.8 cm)
Wt: 3.6 oz. (102.3 g)
Kunar Valley, Afghanistan
This large thumbnail specimen consists of a single highly warped Spodumene crystal. It is in excellent condition, showing minimal damage, and has a highly warped monoclinic prismatic form, with both straight and curved edges and faces that are flat, curved, and have a conchoidal appearance. Its luster ranges from matte to vitreous (see the close-up image) and its pleochroism makes it appear a pale violet color when viewed from overhead, and a very pale beige color when viewed from its sides. It is transparent and surprisingly clear, though it does contain many internal fractures. There is no host or base rock present.
no photo
spo-7 ($130.00)
Kunar Valley, Afghanistan
SPODUMENE specimen spo-8
$ 68.00
Dims: 2.7 x 0.7 x 0.7" (6.9 x 1.8 x 1.7 cm)
Wt: 1.8 oz. (50 g)
Kunar Tal, Nuristan, Afghanistan
This cabinet specimen consists of a single Spodumene crystal that is in nearly perfect condition. It has exceptional monoclinic prismatic form, with well-defined edges and clean faces that show either a vitreous or a silky luster. It is transparent and quite clear, containing a few internal cleavage planes, and its color is indicative of its strong pleochroism - facing down its length, through its termination, it has a definite pale violet color, but looking through its prism faces, it appears to be nearly colorless. There is no base or host rock.
no photo
spo-8 ($ 68.00)
Kunar Tal, Nuristan, Afghanistan
SPODUMENE specimen spo-9
$ 70.00
Dims: 2.73x1.03x0.87" (6.94x2.61x2.20cm)
Wt: 2.17oz (61.6g)
Kunar Tal, Nuristan, Afghanistan
This is a very pretty specimen, with a single large spodumene crystal partially buried in a mass of crystals and colorful crusts which includes albite, lepidolite, and something green which looks like chlorite but could be any of several similar minerals. From some angles the spodumene looks slightly greenish (making it hiddenite), while when viewed from one end, an edge appears pink (making it kunzite), but overall I judge it as colorless so that this is a true spodumene. The crystal has distinct striations along two faces. One end shows a well-formed roof termination, while the other end shows an uneven fracture. One unusual thing - the large crystal is not firmly attached to the polycrystalline mass. It seems secure, but slight movement yields a clicking feel although I cannot see any movement.
no photo
spo-9 ($ 70.00)
Kunar Tal, Nuristan, Afghanistan


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