High-quality Phenakite is affordable in sizes ranging from 1 – 5 carats and the cost per carat is between $6.00 to $50.00 per carat. Most of the faceted stones will be colorless or have a faint yellow tint to them. If you’re a purist then you’ll want to buy the colorless version of Phenakite.
Phenakite only comes in one color and that’s colorless. Some people will use it as a diamond alternative but the commercial availability of this gemstone is low. That means you’ll need to source your faceted gemstone from a gem dealer or visit a local gem and mineral show in your area.
The main sources of high-quality Phenakite come from Colorado, Myanmar, Tanzania, and Nigeria.
How to determine value and cost
When determining the value of the gemstone you will be using GIA guidelines which means color, clarity, carat weight, and cut. You’ll want to look at each one of these individually and then circle back when finished to evaluate the stone as a whole.
Color is going to be the most important factor when determining the value of gemstones. Clarity and carat weight are tied for the second most important factor.
Color – The more intense the color the more valuable the stone is. When dealing with warm colors, think of red and orange, you’ll want to determine if there are brown undertones. If you can’t see brown undertones then the color should be very vibrant. The more vibrant and saturated the color the more expensive the gemstone. If the gemstone has a unique “neon-like glow” then it will demand the highest price per carat.
With Phenakite you’ll be judging how “colorless” the stone is and its overall brightness. You want to see a nice, bright stone.
Clarity – Buyers, and collectors prefer stones with no internal inclusions visible to the eye. Phenakite can be found with visible inclusions all the way to flawless. To determine the clarity ranking you’ll need at a minimum a 10x loop and a higher-powered microscope to confirm internally flawless and flawless designations.
If you can visibly see the inclusion while holding the gemstone then the highest designation would be SI1 and if the inclusion detracts from the overall beauty of the stone then the clarity designation would be I1 – I3.
Clarity designations – FL, IF, VVS1, VVS2, VS1, VS2, SI1, SI2, I1, I2, I3
Carat – Phenakite can be found in sizes ranging from below 1 carat to above 10 carats. Generally speaking, Phenakite can be sourced in most carat weights. The larger stones with high clarity will bring a higher price per carat due to rarity.
Cut – It is sad to say but cut has the least impact on value and cost unless it affects the stone in an extreme way. For example, when you look at the stone you would be able to see through it which means light is not being reflected back to the eye. This is called a window in the stone and it would have to be quite large to impact the price. The other extreme would occur when you look at a stone and see a rough circle or oval shape inside the stone. This occurs when the stone is very shallow and it’s reflecting the rough girdle inside the stone. Note: the girdle is the edge/side of the stone where the pavilion and crown meet.
Phenakite Valuations and Pricing
Small to Medium Sized Phenakite price per carat = $6.00 – $20.00
- Easily sourced from gem dealers
- Plenty of shapes and weights to choose from
Medium to Large Phenakite price per carat = $20.00 – $50.00
- Slightly more difficult to source
- Artisan gem cutters will have these available and they can be amazing to look at
Cat’s Eye Phenakite price per carat = $200.00 – $1,000.00
- New find, new material, very limited
- Learn more about Chatoyant Minerals
Phenakite Specimens = $5.00 – $725.00
- Range in size
- Sold by the carat on a piece-by-piece basis
- Collectors like these stones because of the etching on the surface, see above
How valuable is Phenakite?
Phenakite has never brought a higher dollar per carat because the demand for a colorless stone with low dispersion just isn’t there. Collectors and gemstone enthusiasts will buy and cut Phenakite but the mass appeal for this stone will always be limited.
Values of Phenakite will continue to increase
Each year I do research on market prices for Phenakite and prices for small to mid-sized stones are fairly constant with the larger faceted stones bringing a slight premium. If I was looking to add Phenakite to my collection then I would try to source the new Cat’s Eye variant. If supply remains low then values will rise.
If you’re not sure how to value a gemstone then you should consider a gemstone appraisal. Individuals acquiring gemstones through inheritance, estate sales, and auctions typically have the gemstone appraised to determine the value and to ensure the gem is what they think it is.