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Appearance, Uses and History
Andalusite is a mineral primarily used as a refractory material in furnaces, kilns, etc – it is extremely heat resistant.
A much loved variety of it is called Chiastolite, in which Graphite inclusions form an unusual cross shape. Andalusite is not often sold for jewellery usage, although some higher quality pieces are cut en cabochon or faceted.
Andalusite was named after Andalusia, Spain – where it was supposedly discovered. However, the person who named it was not particularly familiar with Spanish geography… turns out it was actually in Guadalajara. Guadalajite is probably a bit harder to pronounce.
Andalusite is found in Australia, Austria, Brazil, China, Czechia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Russia, Spain, and the USA.
Photos of Andalusite
Hazards and Warnings
Almost all rocks, minerals (and, frankly, almost all other substances on earth) can produce toxic dust when cutting, which can cause serious respiratory conditions including silicosis.
When cutting or polishing rocks, minerals, shells, etc, all work should be done wet to minimise the dust, and a suitable respirator or extraction system should be used.
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