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Yellow Gemmy Apatite

The apatite Mineral Group




Apatite is named from the Greek word apate, which means "deceit", since Apatite has a similar appearance to so many minerals. The Apatite group is a group of similar isomorphous hexagonal phosphate minerals. Since it can be very hard to distinguish between the individual member minerals, and since they may partially replace each other, a distinction between them is rarely made, and they are simply all called "Apatite" by collectors and dealers. Apatite-(CaF) is by far the most common form of Apatite.

The Apatite mineral members were traditionally known as Fluorapatite, Chlorapatite, and Hydroxyl-Apatite. The IMA (International Mineralogical Association), the world's largest organization promoting mineralogy, has recently changed the scientific naming of these minerals for easier cataloging and alphabetical indexing. The new mineral names are Apatite-(CaF) [instead of Fluorapatite], Apatite-(CaCl) [instead of Chlorapatite], and Apatite-(CaOH) [instead of Hydroxyl-Apatite]. Although use of the original names is now discouraged by the IMA, these names are still widely used and referenced, with the new names frowned upon by many collectors.

Apatite is the most common phosphate mineral, and is the main source of the phosphorus required by plants. The bones and teeth of most animals, including humans, are composed of calcium phosphate, which is the same material as Apatite.
Chemical Formula Apatite is mineral group with the following chemical formula: Ca5(PO4)3(F,Cl,OH)

Individual Apatite minerals are:
Apatite-(CaF) - Ca5(PO4)3F
Apatite-(CaCl) - Ca5(PO4)3Cl
Apatite-(CaOH) - Ca5(PO4)3OH

A very rare strontium-rich member Apatite-(SrOH) also exists, with the Calcium partially replaced by Strontium. Its chemical formula is (Sr,Ca)5(PO4)3(OH,F). (Due to its rarity, its relevance is minimal and it is not listed in most mineral references.) There is also a rare member of Apatite which has the phosphate radical (PO4) partially replaced by a carbonate radical (CO3). It is known as Carbonate-Apatite (or Carbonate-rich Apatite), and it has a chemical formula of Ca5(PO4,CO3)3(OH,F).
Composition Apatite group - Calcium fluoro-chloro-hydroxyl phosphate

Individual Group Members:
Apatite-(CaF) - Calcium fluoro-phosphate
Apatite-(CaCl) - Calcium chloro-phosphate
Apatite-(CaOH) - Basic calcium phosphate
Variable Formula (Ca,Sr)5(PO4,CO3)3(F,Cl,OH)
Color Colorless, white, yellow, brown, gray, red, pink, purple, blue, green. Some specimens are multicolored.
Streak White
Hardness 5
Crystal System Hexagonal
3D Crystal Atlas
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Crystal Forms
and Aggregates
As well-shaped hexagonal crystals, which may be elongated or stubby. Also as flat, tabular plates, columnar, in stacked parallel growths, as globular masses, acicular, grainy, stalactitic, botryoidal, and earthy. Also in enormous beds of massive material, from which industrial phosphorus is mined.
Transparency Transparent to translucent
Specific Gravity 3.1 - 3.2
Luster Vitreous
Cleavage Indiscernible
Fracture Conchoidal
Tenacity Brittle
Other ID Marks 1) Specimens from certain localities will fluoresce orange yellow in shortwave ultraviolet light.
2) Thermoluminescent bluish-white.
Complex Tests 1) May become fluorescent orange-yellow in longwave ultraviolet light after heating.
2) Dissolves in hydrochloric acid.
In Group Phosphates; True Phosphates; Apatite Group
Striking Features Hardness and crystal form
Environment As gemmy crystals in granite pegmatites; in hornfels in contact metamorphic rocks; in igneous diabase environments; in ore veins, and in nepheline syenite pegmatites.
Rock Type Igneous, Metamorphic
Popularity (1-4) 2
Prevalence (1-3) 1
Demand (1-3) 1

Apatite ON EBAY

VARIETIES
 -  A rare member of the Apatite group which has the phosphate radical (PO4) partially replaced by a carbonate radical (CO3). It has a chemical formula of Ca5(PO4,CO3)3(OH,F). It is also known as Carbonate-rich Apatite. The name Carbonate-Apatite was discredited by the IMA in 2008 and replaced with Carbonate-rich Apatite.
 -  Microcrystalline variety of botryoidal white Apatite.
 -  Manganese-rich variety of Apatite.
 -  A strontium-rich form of Apatite containing some rare earth elements, described from Lovozero in the Kola peninsula of Russia.
 -  A botryoidal variety of Apatite, originally described from Staffel, Hesse, Germany.

USES
Apatite is the main source of phosphorus. Phosphorus was previously extracted from crystalline Apatite, but nowadays is extracted from enormous deposits of Apatite-rich rock. Apatite is essential in the manufacture of phosphate fertilizers, and is very important in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Apatite is also a popular collectors mineral, and some transparent specimens are faceted for collectors. The gemmy violet and reddish forms are very much valued by collectors and command high prices.

NOTEWORTHY LOCALITIES
Apatite is very common; only the classic localities are mentioned here. European localities include Ehrenfriedersdorf, in the Erzgebirge, Saxony, Germany, which is the type locality for this mineral; and Panasqueira, Portugal, where thick gemmy crystals were found. Deep blue crystals come from Sludyanka, in Lake Baikal area, Russia; and interesting forms, especially botryoidal, come from the Lovozero Massif, Kola Peninsula, Russia. Purple Apatite comes from the Mawi Pegmatite, Nuristan (Laghman) Province, Afghanistan; and pink and red crystals from Pakistan in the Hunza Vallery, Gilgit; and at Skardu at Shengus, Dassu, and the Shigar Valley. Beautiful greenish-yellow Apatites with a excellent luster and transparency have been coming from the Imichil area in Morocco.

In Brazil, deep blue Apatite crystals come from Ipira, Bahia; and the state of Minas Gerais has several outstanding occurrences such as the Sapo mine, in Conselheiro Pena; Golconda, in Governador Valadares; Pederneira, in Sao Jose da Safira; and Galileia. A pink Apatite has recently come from the La Marina Mine, Boyaca, Colombia. One of the most famous localities of Apatite is Cerro de Mercado, Durango, Mexico, where gemmy prismatic crystals are plentiful.

In Canada, large glassy crystals in orange Calcite come from the Yates mine, Otter Lake, Quebec. Very large crystals also come from Ontario, at Bear Lake in Tory Hill, and at Cardiff, both in Haliburton Co.

In the U.S., the state of Maine has several excellent Apatite localities. Beautiful violet crystals come from the Mount Apatite area (especially the Pulsifier Quarry in Auburn, and the Mt. Rubellite Quarry in Hebron), Androscoggin Co. Also in Maine are the Noyes Mountain Quarry (Harvard Quarry) and the Emmons Quarry, Uncle Tom Mt, both in Greenwood, Oxford Co. In New Hampshire, Apatite was found in the Palermo No. 1 Mine, Groton, Grafton Co.

Prismatic green crystals, closely resembling Tourmaline, come from the Himalaya Mine, Mesa Grande, San Diego Co., California. Light blue crystals have come from the Butte mining district, in Silver Bow Co.,  Montana; and large yellow crystals from the Fulford District, Eagle Co., Colorado and Iron Mountain, Iron Co., Utah. Large opaque Apatite crystals come from Franklin, Ogdensburg (Sterling Hill), and Hamburg, all in Sussex Co., New Jersey; and across the state border in Amity, Orange Co., New York. Good specimens were once found in the Strickland Quarry, Portland, Middlesex Co., Connecticut.

COMMON MINERAL ASSOCIATIONS
Quartz, Feldspar, Calcite, Magnetite, Muscovite, Phlogopite, Nepheline, Diopside

DISTINGUISHING SIMILAR MINERALS
Beryl, Tourmaline, and Quartz - Much harder.
Calcite - Softer (3).
Pyromorphite, Mimetite, and Vanadinite - Slightly softer and usually occur in distinct localities.


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