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Appearance, Uses and History
Titanite is a little confusingly named. Prior to 1982, Sphene was the more commonly used name, but in 1982 the International Mineral Association chose the name ‘Titanite’ as the official name.
However, ‘Sphene’ is still a widely used name, and is sometimes used to refer to gemstone quality Titanite.
Titanite has high lustre and causes brilliant colours and interesting light forms – it is also highly pleochroic. However, it is quite soft, and quite brittle – so its use for jewellery is somewhat limited, although pieces are still faceted.
In industry, it is used as a form of Titanium Dioxide.
Specimens of Titanite can be found all around the world, although gem quality deposits are rarer.
Good quality specimens can be found in Afghanistan, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Italy, Madagascar, Morocco, Namibia, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Tanzania, and the USA.
Photos of Sphene / Titanite
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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Mandarin and Traditional Chinese:
Further Reading / External Links