- Chemistry: K(Na, Ca)11(Ba, Sr)Si18O46(OH,
F)-nH2O, Hydrated Potassium Sodium Calcium
Barium Strontium Silicate Hydroxide Fluoride.
- Class: Silicates
- Subclass: Inosilicates
- Uses: an ornamental stone and also as gemstones.
Charoite is an unsual mineral and of rare occurence. It is found to
date in only one location: along the Chary River at Aldan in Russia. It
formed from alteration of limestones by the close presences of an alkali-rich
nephline syenite intrusion. The heat, pressure and more importantly, the
infusion of unique chemicals into the rock is responsible for the transformations
into new minerals such as charoite. Why charoite has not been found in
other locations is not fully understood. But it is probably due to a combination
of a chemically unique limestone reacting with a chemically unique intrusion
and subjected to unique physical conditions.
Charoite is used as an ornamental stone and as a gemstone. It forms
a swirling pattern of interlocking crystals. The color of charoite is described
as a stunning lavender, lilac, violet and/or purple. All can be used as
all are probably present in every swirling example. The look of charoite
is unlike any other mineral and can't be mistaken. It has the appearance
of purple marble, but really defies description. Its popularity would probably
be much greater if not for its "synthetic" character. It simply
looks unnaturally beautiful.
Color is white, lavender, lilac, violet and/or purple.
Luster vitreous to pearly.
Transparency transparent to translucent.
Crystal System: monoclinic
Crystal Habit is of fibrous interlocking crystal masses.
Cleavage is not observed since it is exclusively massive.
Specific Gravity is approximately 2.5 - 2.8 (average)
Streak is pale purple.
Notable Occurrence is solely the Chary River at Aldan in Russia.
Best Field Indicators are color, locality and habit.