Manganite was a valuable manganese ore when it was found in plentiful deposits.
Now its rarity has relegated it to the standing of a minor ore dispite its high manganese content.
Crystals are the chief indicator for identification.
Only a few metallic minerals will have similar crystals (such as enargite) and these can be eliminated by means of comparing manganite's reddish streak and hardness.
Pyrolusite is softer and has a bluish streak.
If manganite is massive, it is difficult to distinguish it from other manganese minerals.
Fine crystals of manganite can make a nice addition to a mineral collection.
Color is black to steel gray.
Luster is metallic to dull in weather specimens.
Transparency: Crystals are opaque, translucent in only thin splinters.
Crystal System is monoclinic; 2/m
Crystal Habit is typically short prismatic crystals that have a psuedo-orthorhombic shape.
The terminations are generally blunted with domes and minor pyramid faces.
The crystals are striated lengthwise.
Crystals are usually grouped into tight bundles and columnar, massive and fiberous forms are also known.
Penetration and contact twinning does occassionally occur.
Cleavage is perfect in one direction lengthwise and good to fair in two other directions, one lengthwise at near right angles to the first one and one basal.
Fracture is uneven.
Hardness is 4
Specific Gravity is 4.3 (average for metallic minerals)
MANGANITE specimen MAN-8 $ 450.00 -55% = $ 202.50Dims: 3.4x2.6x2.8" (8.8x6.7x7.1 cm) .... Wt: 20.35 oz. (576 g) .... Loc: Caland Open Pit Mine, Atikokan, Ontario, Canada This unusual hand specimen of manganite looks like a geode, although it merely a cavity in the host rock which is lined in manganite crystals. This specimen is nearly all manganite, and the crystals in the protected cavity show a course fibrous appearance. On the outside of the specimen, this fibrous pattern gives portions of the surface a silky luster, very reminiscent of smithsonite. The manganite crystals are black and opaque, yet their luster is very bright, and more reflective than merely "metallic". There is only a small amount of host rock on the specimen, plus some tiny undamaged prismatic quartz crystals inside the cavity.