Gemstone Encyclopedia

Apatite is a stunning gemstone with a dazzling spectrum of colours, from cool electric blues and greens to warm yellows and oranges, and even rare pinks and violets.

The gem is part of the hexagonal crystal system, forming six-sided crystals that can be elongated, stubby, or tabular. They're gaining popular as a gem for jewelry, and because of the vibrant colours, they are sought-after by mineral collectors.

Gem-quality apatite is often transparent and faceted to enhance its appeal. Round, oval, or baguette shapes are typical.



Mohs Hardness


Crystal System


Mineral Category

Phosphate mineral


Transparent - Translucent



Specifc Gravity

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Other Names & Misnomers

Apatite is known by several other names, including Fluorapatite and Moroxite. The name Apatite comes from the Greek word 'apatao', meaning 'to deceive', reflecting its ability to be mistaken for other gemstones like beryl due to its wide color range and crystal shape. Asparagus Stone is another fun nickname for apatite, usually referring to the green variant of the stone that looks like a spear of asparagus.


Apatite boasts a wide range of possible colours including blue, green, yellow, purple, pink, and even colourless. Some even have a chatoyant cat's eye effect, mostly found in yellow or green colours. Its colour is one of the most desirable aspects of apatite, and stones are cut to maximise the colour's allure.

Where Is It Found

Apatite is found in quite a countries, including Brazil, Mexico, Portugal, Russia, Myanmar, Canada, and the USA. Each source offers its unique colour palette. Brazil produces blue, yellow, and green stones, while Mexico is famous for its yellow gems. Portugal's Panasqueira Mine is known for its 'asparagus stone' and purple apatite, and Maine in the USA is famed for its purple apatite. For those who love the neon blue-greens reminiscent of Paraiba tourmaline, Madagascar is the go-to source.

Interesting Facts

What makes apatite truly fascinating is its biological connection. It's one of the few minerals found in our bodies, serving as the mineral component of our bones and teeth enamel. In fact, fluoride is added to drinking water to interact with the apatite in our teeth enamel, increasing its resistance to acid attack.

Value & Rarity

Apatite's value is intrinsically tied to its colour—with the neon blue-green apatites, similar in hue to the prized Paraiba tourmalines, being the most coveted. Though not as rare as some other gemstones, gem-quality apatite's vivid colours and unusual properties make it desirable among collectors and gem enthusiasts.

Quality Factors

When it comes to quality, the colour of apatite is important. Its clarity is another big factor. It may exhibit inclusions such as hollow tubes and rehealed fractures.

Treatment & Enhancements

The colour of apatite is commonly improved by heat treatments, particularly in blue stones. However, due to its sensitivity to heat and susceptibility to chemical attack, these treatments should be done cautiously.

Fakes, Synthetics & Imitations

Synthetic versions of apatite exist, so it's essential to purchase from a reputable dealer. Being able to distinguish the real deal from fakes will often come down to recognising the unique properties and colour range of natural apatite.

Care Instructions

Apatite is relatively soft, ranking 5 on the Mohs hardness scale, and is also brittle. It needs to be handled with care to avoid scratches and damage. It's best suited for pieces like earrings and pendants that aren't subject to regular impact or abrasion. Apatite should not be cleaned with ultrasonic cleaners due to its sensitivity.

History & Famous Pieces

Apatite may not be the most historically significant gemstone, but its role in our biological systems and its use in industry, particularly in the manufacture of fertilisers, makes it a stone of remarkable utilitarian importance.

Similar Looking Gemstones

Because of its variety of colours, apatite can be mistaken for several other gemstones, including beryl and peridot. Its softness, however, can be a distinguishing feature, setting it apart from harder gemstones.

Related Gemstones

Apatite doesn't have direct relatives in the gemstone world in terms of composition, but it can look similar to gemstones like tourmaline and aquamarine, especially the neon blue-green variety. Each, however, has unique properties that set them apart from apatite.

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