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Tantalite’s name alludes to the tantalum that makes up a large part of its chemical formula. Tantalite has numerous industrial uses but is only of interest for its mineral specimens and for exotic gemstone collectors. The color ranges from brownish to black sometimes with a red component.

Tantalite Polished
Tantalite Classification
Common Name Tantalite
Species Tantalite
Tantalite Optical Properties
Transparency Opaque-Translucent
Dispersion Strength: Strong Fire
Refractive Index Over The Limit 2.140-2.340
Birefringence 0.070- 0.200
Optic Character Biaxial
Optic Sign Positive or Negative
Polariscope Reaction Aggregate (AGG), Doubly Refractive (DR)
Fluorescence SWUV: Inert
LWUV: Inert
CCF Reaction None
Pleochroism Trichroic, Red, reddish brown, orange
Tantalite Characteristic Physical Properties
Hardness 6
Streak Red, black
Specific Gravity 6.650-8.000
Toughness Fair
Luster Vitreous, Submetallic
Fracture Subconchoidal, uneven
Cleavage Good
Tantalite Chemistry & Crystallography
Chemical Name Iron Manganese Tantalum Niobium Oxide
Chemical Formula (Mn2+, Fe2+)(Ta, Nb)2O6
Crystal System Orthorhombic
Chemistry Classification Oxide

Tantalite Colors

  • Colorless Tantalite Colorless
  • Brown Tantalite Brown
  • Black Tantalite Black
  • Red Tantalite Red
  • Pink Tantalite Pink

Countries of Origin

Tanzania, United Republic Of; Afghanistan; United States of America (the); Madagascar; Canada; Sweden; Norway; China; Finland; Russian Federation (the); Brazil; Zimbabwe; Australia


Normal care

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Manganotantalite is an intense red to reddish brown variety of tantalite with a high manganese and low iron composition. Prized for its exceptional dispersion, this mineral yields beautiful faceted gemstones, thanks in large part to its orthorhombic crystal structure. However, faceted gems are very limited in availability.

Manganotantalite Tantalite
Manganotantalite Classification
Common Name Manganotantalite
Manganotantalite Optical Properties
Dispersion Strength: strong fire
Refractive Index Over the Limit 2.19-2.34
Birefringence 0.015
Pleochroism Trichroic, strong red, brown, and orange
Manganotantalite Characteristic Physical properties
Specific Gravity 7.73
Tim Matthews


Tim Matthews

Tim Matthews is President and Chief Executive Officer of Jewelry Television® (JTV), as well as a member of the company's Board of Directors. He oversees and leads all aspects of the company's powerful omni-digital retail platform that uniquely specializes in fine jewelry and gemstones. His passion for business and gemstones has led him to become a recognized expert in the field of gemology. He is a life member of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A) and has earned Gem-A's highest degrees, the Gemmology (FGA) and Diamond (DGA) diplomas. He is also a Graduate Gemologist (GG) of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and has also completed GIA's Graduate Diplomas in Diamonds, Colored Stones and Pearls. Under his leadership, JTV has become the leader in the sourcing and selling of color gemstones and jewelry.

This page was created on June 27, 2014.

This page was last edited on October 24, 2019.