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Fibrous While Sillimanite

The Mineral sillimanite

Sillimanite is named in honor of Benjamin Silliman (1779-1864), noted chemist and the earliest professor to teach mineralogy at Yale University. Silliman was also the father in law of noted mineralogist and author James Dwight Dana.
Chemical Formula Al2SiO5
Composition Aluminum silicate
Color Gray, brown, yellowish-gray, white. Rarely colorless, light pink, or light purple.
Streak Colorless
Hardness 6.5 - 7.5
Crystal System Orthorhombic
Crystal Forms
and Aggregates
Most often fibrous, sometimes with radiating crystal sprays embedded in matrix. Also columnar, massive, compact, and as rounded waterworn crystals and crystal masses. Rarely as prismatic crystals.
Transparency Transparent to translucent
Specific Gravity 3.2 - 3.3
Luster Vitreous, silky
Cleavage 1,1
Fracture Uneven, splintery
Tenacity Brittle
In Group Silicates; Nesosilicates
Striking Features Crystal habits and hardness
Environment In metamorphosed schists and gneisses. Rarely in granite pegmatites.
Rock Type Metamorphic
Popularity (1-4) 3
Prevalence (1-3) 3
Demand (1-3) 2

Sillimanite AUCTIONS


The rare transparent Sillimanite crystals from Burma, Sri Lanka, and India are valued as important rare collector stones, and are occasionally cut into exquisite gemstones for collectors. Compact masses of Sillimanite were once used by Native Americans of the American Southwest to fashion tools.

Unusual prismatic and waterworn transparent crystals of Sillimanite come from Mogok, Burma (Myanmar); and from the Ratnapura District, Sri Lanka. Orissa, India, is another uncommon source for transparent crystallized Sillimanite. 

In the U.S., brownish fibrous crystal groupings of Sillimanite have come from Chester, Middlesex Co., Connecticut. Also in Connecticut are the old classic locality of Norwich, New London Co.; and Willimantic, Windham Co., where small crystals in matrix were found. Fibrous masses of Sillimanite come from Brandywine Springs, New Castle Co., Delaware; and dark brown crystals crystal sprays from Oconee Co., South Carolina. Gray Sillimanite masses are found in Natrona Co., Wyoming.

Quartz, Biotite, Almandine, Plagioclase

Tremolite - Lower hardness, often fluorescent.
Chrysotile - Much lower hardness, greasy feel, and flexible.
Dumortierite - Usually in a more blue or violet color.

sillimanite PHOTOS
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