Charoite

Charoite is a rare purple tinged mineral only found in Siberia. It is often used for jewellery but is also quite popular with crystal healers. It is usually sold polished to show off the colour, but rough pieces can be found too.

Charoite looks almost artificial – for the price it has a good bright colour and a pattern that seems to be an almost random selection of swirls.

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Appearance, Uses and History

Charoite is only found in a single location – the ‘Aldan Shield’, Siberia, Russia. It was named after the Chara River and was first described in 1978.

It is a relatively unknown mineral, perhaps for several reasons. When found unpolished, it is described as ‘unattractive’. We must also consider the international trade restrictions that would have been in place during that time period, with the gulf between the ‘West’ and the USSR.

It is a little soft for jewellery usage but looks gorgeous when cut and polished – ideal for necklaces and earrings, rather than rings.

Charoite has a bizarre appearance, a fibrous, random swirling pattern, which sometimes leads people to believe it is a synthetic material.

It’s possible these reasons, along with limited access from a single locale, have limited its use in popular ‘mainstream’ jewellery, which is a shame!


Mineralogy

Chemistry
Silicate mineral, (K,Sr)15-16(Ca,Na)32[Si6O11(O,OH)6]2[Si12O18(O,OH)12]2[Si17O25(O,OH)18]2(OH,F)4 · ~3H2O
Colours and Variations
Violet, lilac, purple, brown, grey – mixed up.
Streak
White
Luster
Vitreous to pearly
Fracture
Conchoidal
Crystal habit
Monoclinic, massive
Mohs hardness
5 – 6
Specific Gravity
2.54 – 2.58
Easiest testing method
Visual inspection, if polished. Hardness test can be used to be sure!
Common Treatments
None that I’m aware of.

Photos of Charoite

'czaroit'

Polished Charoite slices.

Charoite and Aegirine

Charoite with Aegirine inclusions, polished.

Charoite, Aegirine, Fedorite-1552

Charoite with Aegirine inclusions, unpolished.


Charoitite, sw Yakutia Siberia
Czaroit - Masyw Muruński (rzeka Czara).
Czaroit miska

Charoit terra mineraloia
Czaroit1
Tinaksite, Charoite-543035

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:

Hindi:

Portuguese:

Bengali:

Indonesian:

Punjabi:

  • ਚਾਰੋਇਟ

English:

Italian:

Russian:

  • чароит

French:

  • Charoïte

Japanese:

  • チャロアイト

Spanish:

  • charoita

German:

  • Charoit

Korean:

Thai:

Gujurati:

Mandarin and Traditional Chinese:

Urdu:


Further Reading / External Links