Producing high purity aluminum nitride crystals by the sublimation-recondensation technique is difficult due to the inherently reactive crystal growth environment, normally at temperature in excess of 2100 °C. The durability of the furnace fixture materials (crucibles, retorts, etc.) at such a high temperature remains a critical problem. In the present study, the suitability of several refractory materials for AlN crystal growth is investigated, including tantalum carbide, niobium carbide, tungsten, graphite, and hot-pressed boron nitride. The thermal and chemical properties and performance of these materials in inert gas, as well as under AlN crystal growth conditions are discussed. TaC and NbC are the most stable crucible materials with very low elemental vapor pressures in the crystal growth system. Compared with refractory material coated graphite crucibles, HPBN crucible is better for AlN self-seeded growth, as crystals tend to nucleate in thin colorless platelets with low dislocation density.