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Selenite impresses people with its gentle sheen and pleasant chatoyancy. It is a widely available mineral used for small sculptures and carvings. In addition, selenite commands affordable prices because it is readily available in good quality.
Selenite value factors are color, transparency, and sheen effect. The best quality selenite is white, transparent to semitransparent without distractive inclusions or irregularities, and with a noticeable and homogeneous satin-like sheen. It is an affordable mineral with prices rarely greater than $350.
Can you imagine 10 meter-long (40 feet) selenite crystal? They exist! Selenite crystals create one of the most spectacular caves in the world – the Naica caves in Chihuahua, Mexico. Crystals from there are not available for sale. Still, fortunately, selenite is a really affordable gemstone you can buy without any fear of fakes.
If you are interested in checking out the best books about rock and minerals identification you can find them by clicking here (Amazon link).
Is Selenite Worth Anything
Selenite is a variety of gypsum. It is an abundant mineral and is available on the market in good quality. There is a slight difference between the perception of selenite varieties in the US and Europe.
Selenite in the US is an eye-clean transparent gypsum crystal. In contrast, selenite in Europe is a semitransparent crystal with a satin-like sheen that is known as a satin spar in the US.
Selenite is a readily available mineral and is quite affordable. Several tumbled stones can be purchased for about $5. Simple forms like eggs, balls, moons, and carvings like jewelry plates, angels, and pyramids are available for $10-20. Some samples for mineral collectors can reach one to two hundred.
As a variety of gypsum, selenite is a very soft material, just 2 on the Moh scale. Therefore, it gives carvers unlimited opportunities to create any form out of selenite. That is why people often run into balls and pyramids of selenite and very scarce raw minerals.
Selenite prices are usually expressed as prices for parcels of tumbled stones or carved pieces. The value of good quality selenite is commonly around $5 to 30.
Because of selenite’s soft white color and pleasing sheen, small fashioned pieces like candle holders, jewelry trays, lamps, and bowls are widely used in home decor. They are also available in excellent quality material and are worth around $10-40 per piece.
Why is Selenite So Cheap
Selenite, as a variety of gypsum, is a ubiquitous mineral. It can be found as a huge deposit or a local mineral locality in almost every country.
Because of selenite abundance (sometimes deposits of gypsum stretch for kilometers), the prices of selenite rarely exceed $30 per piece. For the same reason, you rarely see prices for selenite in carat and gram units. Selenite is not as precious as a diamond to be measured in carats.
The abundance of selenite is explained by gypsum formation. Gypsum is a soft mineral of calcium sulfate dihydrate (CaSO4·2H2O). Gypsum is one of the more common minerals formed in sedimentary environments, such as tropical seas, by deposition from the lake and sea waters.
So yeah, it means there are literally seas and lakes of gypsum. That is why selenite is so cheap and readily available in good quality.
There are even caves made up entirely of selenite. For example, unlike other gypsum caves where gypsum occurs as aggregates, in the Naica caves in Chihuahua, Mexico, there is a 100-meter-long room with giant selenite crystals up to 11.40 meters (37.4 ft).
Can you imagine a crystal weighing over 55 tonnes? By the way, 50 tonnes is 5,000,000 carats. Impressive, isn’t it? Selenite from the cave is protected by the government. Still, there are tonnes and tonnes of other materials available all over the world.
You can even find some selenite or common gypsum crystals by yourself. Look for soil reach in clay, pure clay ideally, and if you live in an arid area, explore cracks of clay during hot days. Some tiny crystals can be found. Like these, found by the author.
TIP: As with any other natural material, selenite has several fakes with a similar appearance. Check out the differences between real and fake selenite in the article below:
Real vs. Fake Selenite: Focus on These 5 Differences
Main Factors: How Much Does Selenite Cost
Selenite is such an abundant mineral that there is enough material of excellent quality. In addition, it has many physical characteristics that make selenite so popular among mineral lovers. For example, selenite hardness and structure create soft material suitable for carving with an intricate moonlight-like sheen.
The four main factors of selenite value are color, transparency, sheen, and chatoyancy. White semi-transparent material without dark inclusions and a pleasant, evenly distributed sheen is the most valuable. Sometimes the glow can be strong enough to produce chatoyancy.
Selenite’s color range varies from snow-white to yellowish-orange, with the absolute prevalence of white species. Orangy colors are the results of iron oxides and clay impurities. Pay attention to the vivid green, purple, blue, pink, and yellow colors of selenite. This material is artificially dyed.
Selenite varies from transparent to translucent. Transparent species are commonly left in the form of natural crystals and sold as collector material.
Because of gypsum softness and cleavage in three directions (here you can find out more about cleavage), selenite is never faceted. Translucent satin spar is highly valuable due to its moon-like sheen on the crystal surface.
Satin spar varieties of gypsum (called selenite in Europe) have silk and fibrous appearance. This optical phenomenon occurs due to thin elongated gypsum crystals closely paced in one direction.
This arrangement is closely related to selenite formation, as it commonly occurs in fractures of clay and crystallizes perpendicular to the fracture elongation.
In cases when selenite is made of the same size elongated gypsum crystals and is not interrupted by various inclusions, a silky or moon-like sheen can be arranged to a cat’s eye band.
That material is commonly fashioned as cabochons, puffed hearts, eggs, or spheres to emphasize the chatoyancy effect.
BTW: Do you want to know more about rock and mineral identification? The books listed below are the best ones you can find on the internet (Amazon links):
- Smithsonian Handbooks: Rocks & Minerals
- Gemstone & Crystal Properties (Quick Study Home)
- Ultimate Explorer Field Guide: Rocks and Minerals (National Geographic Kids)
How Much is Selenite Worth per Pound, Ounce, Kg, Gram & Carat
Selenite is worth around $30 per pound. The price per ounce is about $2. The per kilogram price is approximately $60. Carat and gram units are rarely used as selenite material is so plentiful. Selenite rarely exceeds the $100 price tag. Some mineral specimens for collectors can reach up to $300-350.
The table is designed for you to understand the prices for different units. The price per pound in bold is the most common, while costs per carat and per gram are rarely used for selenite.
|per carat||$0.012 *|
|per gram||$0.06 *|
*(just a recalculation). Selenite prices are rarely expressed in carat and grams.
TIP: Rockhounding in the desert might not seem rewarding at first. However, there are many rocks and minerals you can find if you know where to look for them. Find out more in the article below:
Rockhounding in Desert: How to Find + 5 Best Places in the USA
Where to Buy Selenite
Selenite material is plentiful and available in the best possible quality, so it’s safe to buy it everywhere. You can feel secure even while shopping for selenite on online platforms. High-quality genuine material is available at every local mineral show. The only warning is the presence of dyed material.
Selenite is plentiful on online platforms like Amazon, Etsy, and eBay. Usually, we advise not to buy gemstones there because of the risk of fakes; however, in the case of selenite, you can be safe because of selenite prevalence.
The most common material sold is selenite sticks and carved small sculptures. They are genuine. Avoid buying vivid-colored green, blue and purple selenite crystals as they are 100% dyed.
Mineral shows and local fairs are also good places for selenite buying. The material there is also natural.
The advantage of offline buying is that you can carefully observe the sample for damages, scratches, and inclusions before purchase. Don’t forget that selenite is a very soft mineral that can be easily scratched by anything except talc.
Selenite is a valuable variety of gypsum. It is plentiful in good quality and readily available on all online shopping platforms and mineral shows. It is prized for its pastel white, silver-gray, and yellowish-orange colors and moonlight-like sheen on the surface.
The main factors of selenite value are
- Color. The most desirable color is snow-white or silver-gray.
- Transparency. Transparent and translucent material free from any inclusions is the most valuable.
- Sheen. The gentle sheen on the surface is the main reason ща selenite’s popularity.
- Chatoyancy. Sometimes the material can be so perfectly formed structurally that the sheen can be arranged in a noticeable band producing a cat’s eye effect.
Selenite is an affordable material. It is commonly sold as tumbled stones or already carved figures like eggs, spheres, pyramids, and hearts. The price for a pound of selenite is usually around $30.
Bracelets of selenite beads, separate tumbled stone, or rough crystal can be purchased for about $3-10. Some specimens for mineral collectors can reach $300-350 price tags.
A significant advantage of selenite is that it can be purchased on online shopping platforms without fear of fake material. Unfortunately, occasionally crystals are dyed to bright colors like blue and green that are atypical for natural gypsum. Still, it is easy to avoid this treated material.