Calcite Gemstone

Calcite Gemstone

Calcite is a rock forming mineral of a calcium carbonate chemical composition. It is the 5th most abundant mineral in the world. It occurs in a trigonal crystal structure and has a perfect, conchoidal fracture cleavage. Calcite has an attractive glass-like luster with multiple colors. It is commonly fluorescent and some are phosphorescent. It is transparent to translucent.

Calcite has a hardness of 3 on the Mohs scale which means it is a very soft and fragile gemstone. It can be scratched by a knife blade. It has the same hardness as amber, coral and chrysocolla, all of which are used in jewelry.

Limestone is a sedimentary rock that is composed primarily of calcite. Marble is a metamorphic rock that forms when limestone is subjected to heat and pressure. Limestone blocks were the primary construction material used in many of the pyramids, tombs and temples of Egypt and Latin America. Today limestone and marble are used to produce cement and concrete in the construction industry.

From 1200 to 300 B.C., the Olmec Indians of central Mexico carved figurines and ornamental designs from calcite onyx that were widely traded from Guatemala to Costa Rica, a tradition that has been continued to the present day.

Calcite is used extensively for industrial purposes such as cement and in the production of steel and glass. It is also used to create paints and fertilizers. Chalk used in schools is made up mainly of Calcite.

Calcite has been used as an acid neutralizer in soil treatment. The high purity is made into antacids and medications for digestive and other ailments in the medical industry.

Pulverized limestone and marble are often used as a dietary supplement for calcium-rich diet.

The double refraction of calcite was first reported by Erasmus Bartholinus in 1669. This property known also as birefringence is the splitting of light that passes through a calcite crystal into two rays. Today, Iceland spar calcite is still used in some optical instruments such as polarizing microscopes.

Calcite in its purest form is colorless, and completely transparent. It can come in gray, yellow, orange, green, red, blue and black due to impurities and coloring agents like iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc and cobalt. The black Calcite is often referred to as Shamanite.

Calcite is also known as 'limespar' or 'calspar' and is the mineral that is usually found in metamorphic marble. Calcite which is the common component of limestone, also contains organic materials such as shell remains of marine organisms. Calcite, thus is very similar to organic gems such as pearl and coral including mother-of-pearl, nacre and seashells.

Calcite looks similar to Quartz and Gypsum. However, calcite is distinguished by its high reactivity to even weak acid. Moreover, they differ in the hardness level on the Mohs scale. Quartz has a hardness of 7 whereas Gypsum's ranges from 1.5 to 2.

Calcium carbonates has 2 forms - Calcite and Aragonite. They both have the same chemical composition but differ in their crystal structure. Calcite is stable whereas Aragonite is metastable meaning that over time, or when heated, it can ultimately transform into calcite. Calcite is mostly clear while Aragonite is pinkish. Additionally, their refractive index, specific gravity, and birefringence will tell them apart.

Calcite that is transparent and translucent in clarity is the most sought after and therefore commands a higher price.

Calcite is mostly faceted or carved into octagons, ovals and cushions. It is not treated or enhanced. It occurs naturally.

Calcite is a powerful stone for protection. It is known as The Stone of Spirituality And Wisdom. It is associated with the elements of Fire, Water, Wind and Earth. It has the ability to boost the energies of the mind, body and spirit. It helps us in releasing energy that is blocked and thus balancing all of the chakras. Calcite also helps in increasing creativity.

Calcite is used in crystal healing for physical strength and alleviation of back pain. Since ancient times it was known to be beneficial for bones, teeth and eyes.

Calcite was much respected and admired by astrologers of the past, just as it is today. It is the stone that represents Venus and both the Sun and the Moon.

Calcite can be easily scratched and damaged. Avoid even mild acids of any type including bleach and other cleaning agents.

To cleanse your Calcite gemstone, use a soft cloth and water. Remember to store it apart from other harder gemstones.

Calcite deposits can be found throughout the world in sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks, but the most significant mine is found in Chihuahua, Mexico. The United States, Iceland, Germany, Bohemia, Africa (Namibia) and the Czech Republic also have important Calcite deposits.