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Home / Gem Library / Gemstones Varieties / Baddeleyite February 08, 2016

Natural Baddeleyite

Baddeleyite is a rare zirconium oxide mineral (ZrO2 or zirconia), occurring in a variety of monoclinic prismatic crystal forms. It is transparent to translucent, has high indices of refraction (nα=2.130, nβ=2.190, and nγ=2.200), and ranges from colorless to yellow, green, and dark brown. It was first documented in faceted form as .54ct. cushion cut purportedly from Sri Lanka. More recently, baddeleyite has been recognized as a mineral associated with painite from the Thurien-tuang painite deposit in the western Mogok area of Myanmar.

Although the chemistry of baddeleyite is identical to the popular diamond simulant cubic zirconia (CZ), it doesn't look anything like it. CZ is a bright highly refractive material which crystallizes in the cubic system while baddeleyite is opaque or nearly opaque and crystallizes in the monoclinic system.

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  • Baddeleyite(s) are organized in the following categories: Mixed Lot,  gemstones.

Baddeleyite Profile

Refractive Index: 2.130 - 2.200
Chemical Composition: ZrO2
Hardness: 6.5
Density: 5.4 - 6.02
Crystal Group: Monoclinic
Ocurrence: Sri Lanka; Minas Gerais and Jacupiranga, São Paulo, Brazil; Mogok, Myanmar.
Sign of the Zodiac: N/A
Month of the year: N/A
Baddeleyite has a specific gravity of 5.5 to 6 and a Moh's hardness of 6.5. It is a refractory mineral, with a melting point of 2700 °C. Hafnium is a substituting impurity and may be present in quantities ranging from 0.1 to several percent.

The Burmese material is sometimes mixed in parcels of rutlie, black amphibole, and schorl fragments that can easily be separated by specific gravity as well as the distinctive bladed crystal shape and sub metallic luster.

Baddeleyite was first described in 1892 from Sri Lanka, and Minas Gerais and Jacupiranga, São Paulo, Brazil. It was named after Joseph Baddeley, who described the occurrences in Sri Lanka.

Baddeleyete is often found as detrital grains in gravels. Its primary occurrence is in high temperature veins and in syenite, carbonatite, kimberlite, and lamproite intrusions. Because of their refractory nature and stability under diverse conditions, baddeleyete grains, along with zircon, are used for uranium-lead radiometric age determinations.

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