THE MINERAL VARISCITE

  • Chemistry: AlPO4-2H2O, Hydrated Aluminum Phosphate
  • Class: Phosphates
  • Group: Variscite
  • Uses: mineral specimens and ornamental stone applications
  • Specimens

Variscite is a relatively rare phosphate mineral that is sometimes confused with turquoise. It is usually greener, however, than turquoise. Variscite is sometimes used as a semi-precious stone and can make distinctive color patterns that are very attractive. Occassionally it is altered into other phosphate minerals. This can occur in what were perhaps weak layers of a nodule since only portions of the variscite nodules are altered. The most common alteration mineral is crandallite, CaAl3(PO4)2(OH)5-H2O, and gives some nodules a yellow or white layer.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:

  • Color is light green to emerald green, sometimes bluish-green or colorless.
  • Luster is vitreous or waxy.
  • Transparency specimens are translucent.
  • Crystal System is orthorhombic; 2/m2/m2/m
  • Crystal Habits include nodules, fine grain masses, and crusts.
  • Cleavage is normally not applicable, but should be good in one direction, poor in another
  • Fracture is conchoidal, splintery, uneven.
  • Hardness is variable from 3.5 - 5
  • Specific Gravity is approximately 2.57 (average)
  • Streak is white.
  • Associated Minerals are apatite, limonite, chalcedony, crandallite, wardite and other secondary phosphate minerals.
  • Other Characteristics: alteration to other phosphate minerals causes a shrinkage, yielding gaps between variscite and these other minerals.
  • Notable Occurances include Fairfield, Utah; Germany; Australia and Brazil.
  • Best Field Indicators are color, habit, associations, density and luster.
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Available VARISCITE specimens:
see this List of ALL specimens including SOLD ones

 

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