The Magic of Rutile

a publication of the Insurance Institute of Jewelry Appraisal and International Gemstone Academy 14 June 2019

The Magic of Rutile

We are talking about magic revenue streams for the smart gemstone dealer!


It is technically known as titanium dioxide. The scientific formula is TiO2. If you have a painted white wall in your home, office or jewelry store you have closer ties to rutile than you may know. Titanium is a major component for the white color of paint and rutile is a major source for that titanium. Since we are not a paint school, however, this is a fun trivia fact but there is a more important formation of rutile that can create an important revenue stream for gemstone dealers. You can see it in the image at left.

Here you see a formation of rutile needles from our IIJA Student Reference Collection. Notice that the needles form as a radial spiral, not well seen in this image but clearer as we look at most images below. When these form as protogenetic or syngenetic inclusions in gemstones, amazing things happen.


Rutile can be present as long prismatic crystals inside gemstones creating a myriad of unique designs and properties. Some of the most notable are quartz, corundum and garnet. When the rutile needles are microscopic and form in layers inside corundum, they are responsible for asterism or the “star” in star sapphire and star ruby.

At left you see a microphotograph of rutile inclusions around an included crystal inside a larger host garnet. Forming at 60 degree angles this is a raw image of the formation that demonstrates the amazing features that rutile can form inside gemstones.

When the rutile needles are large they can create intricate formations inside a gemstone. The value of these gemstones can vary greatly depending on the size, color and intensity of the formations. Smaller quartz crystals with a few rutile needles is referred to as “rutilated quartz” with tumbled stones selling for $4.00 to $5.00. However, the larger gemstones with well-organized formations have been known to sell for thousands of dollars.


The beautiful rutilated quartz piece at left is from the IIJA Student Reference Collection and donated by Robert Connelly, GG, RGA, a long-time friend and mentor of our organization.

One of the most prized formation by collectors is the “Rutile Star” formation as seen at left. A well-formed star formation in the quartz crystal is considered very rare and have been seen on the market selling at hundreds to even thousands of US dollars based on the quality of the star and the host quartz crystal.

Before we end this study, we need to get a closer look at these with our Meiji Techno microscope in order to fully appreciate the beauty created by rutile needles.

At left is a slide show of the rutile stone you see above. We are starting at 10x magnification and going up to 90x using the standard magnification on our Meiji Techno GEMT2-BFDF. Here you get a step by step magnified view of the rutile needles and their intricate formation.

Whether they are creating a star in a sapphire, needle formations in garnet, a crystal star in quartz, or simple rutilated quartz, rutile can be the source for profitable revenue streams to the savvy gemstone dealer.

Profits are high with colored gemstones. Some areas are highly competitive due to the number of dealers vying for market share. The smart gemstone dealer will know to look for the unique and unusual to create their own place in the market.

Smart gemstone dealers will seriously consider the unique impact of rutile on the beauty of gemstones, and add this amazing material to your inventory.

If you have problems viewing the images, you can read this article on the IIJA and IGA websites.

Robert James FGA, GG
President, Insurance Institute of Jewelry Appraisal Inc.
a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Education Organization