Benitoite: The Beauty Of Blue

Benitoite is one of the world’s rarest, most desirable, and most expensive gemstones, yet few could match this gem to its little known name. Worth more than emeralds, benitoite’s dazzling, glitteringly deep blues and violets are very similar in color to those of the far more famous sapphire, a gemstone with which benitoite has often been confused.

Remarkable for its qualities of light dispersion, which is greater than that of diamonds, and also for its light refracting brilliance, benitoite is a truly outstanding gem of unparalleled beauty. However, it is also an incredibly rare gem, only sourced in one location worldwide. The intense scarcity of benitoite combined with its resplendent royal blue tones means it can reach eye-watering prices, with competition for ownership between mineral collectors and gemstone connoisseurs reaching fierce heights.  

  • Benitoite Color: Blue
  • Zodiac Sign : Virgo
  • Hardness Scale: 6 – 6.5 on Mohs Scale
  • Mineral Class: Barium Titanium Silicate
  • Symbolism: Energy, Joy, Happiness

What is Benitoite

Benitoite is the state gemstone of California and one of the rarest minerals in the world. It is a form of barium titanium silicate. Its brilliant, deep, ‘sapphire-esque’ blues combined with its scarcity make it an extremely valuable and highly sought-after gemstone. In fact, the value of benitoite is almost as striking as the gem itself, rich blue, eye clean gems of 1 carat will sell for between $6,500 – $8,500. 

Benitoite typically ranges in color from a pale, watery blue to light blue and deep bluish violet. It is famous among mineralogists for its high dispersion, which is the stunning, multi-colored sparkle that certain gemstones create as light passes through them. Benitoite’s light dispersion, or what is sometimes called ‘fire effect’, is greater than that of diamonds, and at times the vivid azure blues of benitoite will dazzle the eye with red and green flashes.  

What does Benitoite look like

The striking ocean bright hues of benitoite are as remarkable as its crystal structure, which is the rarest in the world. It is the rich, royal blue tones of benitoite which are the most valuable, but in fact benitoite can range from colorless, through various shades of blue to a deep purplish black. Pale pink benitoite stone also exists but is incredibly rare. Benitoite is a transparent crystal with a vitreous luster. It is a magnificently brilliant stone due to a high refractive index, which means the stone gives back almost as much light as it receives, leading to a gorgeous sparkling effect.

History of Benitoite stone

Benitoite was first discovered in 1907, by prospector James M. Couch, in the San Benito Mountains of California. It was at first believed to be either volcanic glass, sapphire or blue diamond. However, benitoite’s light dispersion and high refractive index distinguished it from sapphire and diamond, and it came to be identified as a new gemstone. Not only did benitoite make history as a new, incredibly valuable glittering gem of cerulean blue, but it was also the first time a crystal structure of such rarity had ever been discovered. Scientists knew that such hexagonal systems were mathematically possible, but it wasn’t until benitoite was found that they had proof of their existence.

Meaning of Benitoite

Benitoite was named after the San Benito river next to which it was first discovered. The San Benito river flows from the southeasternmost past of San Benito County, California, to the extreme northwestern part of the country. The word benito originally comes from Latin and means “blessed”. Owners of such an exquisite and rare stone can certainly consider themselves blessed, gem quality benitoite can even exceed the value of diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds!

The spiritual meaning of benitoite is one of joy, happiness and beauty. It is an energizing stone, said to spark curiosity and enhance intuition.

Where does Benitoite come from

Small specimens of benitoite stone have been found in Australia, the Czech Republic and Japan, as well as Montana and Arkansas in the United States. However, gem quality benitoite is exclusively sourced in only one place in the entire world, in San Benito County, California.

Benitoite and Zodiac signs

Although not a traditional birthstone, the cool blue tones of benitoite are sometimes used as a natural birthstone for those born at the end of the summer, under the sign of Virgo. The refreshing, calming blues of this stone aptly reflect the colors that play upon the surface of the ocean at this time of year, and the enticing lapping of the deep blue sea.

Which family is Benitoite from 

Benitoite is a barium titanium silicate mineral found in certain types of rocks where hot water (usually caused by volcanic activity) circulates. Remarkably, it is fluorescent in nature, and will glow brilliantly, or ‘fluoresce’, when held under ultraviolet light.

Frequently asked questions about Benitoite

How much is benitoite worth?

The rarity of benitoite means it is an extremely valuable stone. Brilliant blue, clean gemstones sell for between $6,500 – $8,500 per carat, and it is one of the world’s rarest and most valuable gems.

Why is benitoite so rare?

Benitoite is so rare because fine, top quality gemstones are exclusively mined in only one location worldwide, in the San Benito Mountains of California, USA. What’s more, the benitoite gems that are found are usually tiny, 89% weighing under 1 carat.

Is a benitoite ring expensive?

A benitoite ring would be very expensive, due to the rarity of the stone and the fact that very few benitoite gems are one carat or larger. The value of benitoite increases greatly as the size of the cut stone increases, meaning that the cost of a good quality benitoite stone over 2 carats is $10,000 per carat. As a result, many benitoite rings feature multiple clusters of the shimmering blue gem, rather than one large stone.

Where is benitoite found?

Benitoite is found in Arkansas and Montana in the United States, as well as in the Czech Republic, Japan, Romania and Australia. However, connoisseurs of rare gemstones are only interested in the fine, gem quality benitoite which is uniquely located in one place in the world, in the San Benito Mountains of San Benito County, California.