Rare earth (yttrium (Y), europium (Eu), and terbium (Tb)) nanoparticles and Eu and Tb doped Y nanoparticles are synthesized in an apoferritin cavity. They exhibit a narrow size distribution and a high stability in an aqueous solution at pH 8.5. Eu and Eu doped Y (Y:Eu) nanoparticles exhibit red photoluminescence (emission peaks: 590 and 614 nm), while Tb and Tb doped Y (Y:Tb) nanoparticles exhibit green photoluminescence (emission peaks: 488, 544, 582, and 618 nm). High-resolution electron microscopy observations reveal that about 5% of the nanoparticles have a lattice structure, while the remaining nanoparticles are amorphous. Electron diffraction of the Y nanoparticles gives lattice spacings corresponding to the cubic structure of yttrium oxide (Y2O 3). The most optimal dopant content for luminescence of Y:Eu and Y:Tb nanoparticles in apoferritin cavity are about 60% and 40%, respectively.