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The Mineral CHAROITE

  • 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.
  • Specimens

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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.

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PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:

  • 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.
  • Fracture conchoidal.
  • Hardness 5
  • 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.
This Site Awarded
Available CHAROITE specimens:
see this List of ALL specimens including SOLD ones

 

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