THE MINERAL OKENITE


Okenite is an unusual mineral. It frequently forms "cottonball" clusters where the crystals are so thin they look like tiny fibers. The clusters are composed of straight, radiating, thread thin, crystals. These clusters can make for very attractive specimens and often accompany many fine and rare minerals such as apophyllite, gyrolite and many of the zeolites.

Some volcanic bubbles (called vesicles) can be lined with delicate tufts of okenite and these are sometimes called "Okenite Geodes". They form a mesmerizing crystal wonderland-like landscape. One note of caution: the clusters seem to bring out an urge in people to touch the fine fibers and to "test" the minerals softness. Discourage and refrain from this as the crystals are very delicate and once touched, are never the same again.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:

  • Color is white or colorless.
  • Luster is resinous to pearly.
  • Transparency crystals are transparent to mostly translucent.
  • Crystal System is triclinic; bar 1
  • Crystal Habits include the popular radiating accicular crystals described above, but is more commonly found as radial fibrous masses and rarely as single bladed crystals.
  • Cleavage is perfect in one direction but rarely seen because of small crystal size.
  • Fracture is splintery.
  • Hardness is approximately 5.
  • Specific Gravity is approximately 2.3+ (below average)
  • Streak is white.
  • Associated Minerals are gyrolite, calcite, apophyllite, quartz, laumontite and other zeolites.
  • Other Characteristics: crystals are bendable and fragile.
  • Notable Occurrences include Poona, India; Greenland, Chile and Ireland.
  • Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, color and associations.
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Available OKENITE specimens:
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