Apatite

Apatite is a group of Phosphate minerals, including hydroxyapatite, fluorapatite and chlorapatite.

It can occur in a range of colours including clear, green, blue, and a few others – although green and blue are the most common.

High grade pieces of Apatite are faceted or cut into cabochons for jewellery making. The bright colours of Apatite can make amazing specimens for collectors.

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Appearance, Uses and History

Apatite is primarily used in industry as a phosphate in fertilisers. For our purposes, the main uses are as specimens and as gemstones – faceted, cabochons and beads.

Some Apatite can contain rare earth metals, and can contain uranium – however, it can be safer than most other ores like monazite which are more radioactive.

Apatite has given us some amazing information about the moon – analysis of the moon rocks from the Apollo mission has helped to give scientists a much more detailed idea of the possible amount of water on the moon, stored as hydroxyl within the minerals themselves.


Locales

Large deposits of Apatite can be found in Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Madagascar, Mexico, Morocco, Norway, South Africa, Spain, and the USA. Most of the gem quality material comes from Brazil and Mexico.


Mineralogy

Chemistry
Ca5(PO4)3(F,Cl,OH) – chemistry varies
Colours and Variations
Apatite is a group of minerals including hydroxyapatite, fluorapatite, and chlorapatite. The colours vary based on chemical compositions – however, the most common form is green – there are also colourless, yellow, blue and pink colours available.
Streak
Luster
Vitreous
Fracture
Conchoidal, uneven
Transparency
Transparent to opaque.
Crystal habit
Mohs hardness
5 (defining mineral)
Specific Gravity
3.16 – 3.22
Fluorescence
Varies depending on formula.
Easiest testing method
Common Treatments
None.

Photos of Apatite

Apatite-Aegirine-64416
Apatit-1605
Apatite verte (Madagascar) 1
Apatite-168088
Apatite-(CaF)-280343
Apatite-(CaF), calcite

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.


Translations

Arabic:

  • اباتيت
  • الأباتيت

Hindi:

Portuguese:

  • apatita

Bengali:

Indonesian:

  • apatit

Punjabi:

English:

  • apatite

Italian:

Russian:

  • апатит

French:

Japanese:

  • アパタイト

Spanish:

  • apatito
  • apatita

German:

  • apatit

Korean:

  • 인회석

Thai:

  • อะพาไทต์

Gujurati:

Mandarin and Traditional Chinese:

  • 磷灰石

Urdu:


Further Reading / External Links

  • https://www.mindat.org/min-29229.html
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apatite