When it comes to gemstones, few can surpass Calcite for its many uses and beauty. It’s not uncommon to see it incorporated into construction materials as well as pharmaceutical products. The gem’s calcium carbonate composition is found as components in limestone and marble as well as the shells of sea creatures and the exoskeletons of microorganisms. Here are some other interesting facts that make Calcite a popular addition to any collection.
General Information about Calcite
Calcite has been a popular stone for centuries especially when it’s transformed into other minerals like marble. It was named for the Latin word “calx”, German word “calcit” and Greek word “chalix” all of which mean “lime” due to its relationship to limestone. As pressure and heat are applied to limestone it becomes either chalk that can be turned into cement or some other hard mineral like marble through recrystallization.
An example of its use in ancient Greece were in statues such as Michelangelo’s “David”. When it was transformed into Travertine it was used in Roman architecture as well as the bathhouses, temples and the Colosseum in Italy. Although it only has a hardness of “3”, it has been used in foundation work throughout the world for centuries.
Calcite is a common material that was preferred due to its stunning properties that were revealed as the light played across it. It was also selected because it was found that it had phosphorescent and fluorescent properties that would emit light even when hit with non-UV rays or high heat.
Its double refractive properties also would create a double image when items were viewed through the crystals. In fact, because of that factor it has been used for optical purposes for more than 200 years.
Properties of Calcite
Varieties: There are a numerous variety of Calcite including, but not limited to, Angels Wing, Dog-tooth Spar, Iceland Spar, Mexican Jade and Limestone Onyx.
Color: Blue, brown, colorless, gray, green, orange, red, white and yellow (to name a few)
Luster: Pearly, resinous, sub-vitreous, vitreous and waxy
Crystal System: Trigonal
Crystal Habit: Concretionary, crystalline, granular, massive, rhombohedral, stalactitic
Twinning: 4 twin laws
Cleavage: Perfect in 3 directions parallel to the rhombohedron form
Optical Properties: Uniaxial, birefringence (double refraction)
Phosphorescence: May show fluorescence or phosphorescence under UV light.
Calcite has several interesting properties that make it usable in a variety of industries as well as in nature. It can be found in sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks. It has also been found incorporated into the exoskeletons of microorganisms that were estimated to be up to a billion years old as well as the shells of many sea creatures.
Calcite’s optical properties also made it suitable during WWII for weapon sights especially for anti-aircraft weapons and bombs. It’s commonly found in sedimentary rocks, metamorphic marble, in hot springs and the stalactites and stalagmites in caves.
Calcite actually forms from vaterite during a dissolution/reprecipitation process. Because of that fact, it is called a rock-forming mineral and is one of the most widely found and used minerals on Earth.
Metaphysical Details about Calcite
For individuals seeking a gemstone that will change the direction of their lives Calcite is the perfect choice. It helps direct the natural flow of the body’s energy toward change while expanding mental abilities. It will help you identify and use your innate talents while bringing a new perspective that will allow you to fully commit to change and believe that you can accomplish all you desire. If your wish is to return to school or do better in your studies, Calcite can also help. It can enhance your ability to learn because it helps the mind ingest and use new information.
As with other gemstones, it can also serve to protect you against negativity as well as physical onslaughts. By grounding you and enhancing your inner peace, you’ll find that your wisdom, spirituality and intuition are enhanced. It is believed to turn inert energy into vigor while improving mental and physical functioning. In that way, you can achieve and accomplish more while changing your attitude so you look forward to facing the challenges life brings.
Many believe that Calcite is powerful in its healing properties. It can relieve back pain, serve as an antiseptic and detoxify the body. It is also believed to remedy structural and bone disorders as well as certain forms of cancer, ulcers and arthritis. The color selected is believed to target specific concerns so knowing what you would like to work on is important. For example, blue Calcite targets throat problems while white helps relieve neurological disorders.
How to Wear Calcite
Calcite lacks hardness so jewelry is rarely made from the gemstone. In fact, it is so soft that it can easily be scratched with a fingernail. It is also very sensitive to even the mildest form of acid. It is strongly recommended that it be held in the hand and when not in use be wrapped in a soft cloth and stored in a secure location where it will not come into contact with other stones or jewelry.
Where Can We Find Calcite Today?
Calcite can be found throughout the world. Italy is a great source for some of the finest marble while Germany, England, the U.S. and Cumberland are best known for the pink and green variety. When it comes to golden yellow, the best veins are found in Pitcher, Oklahoma and Joplin, Missouri in the U.S. and in Mexico, Namibia and Romania large deposits have been found in conjunction with zinc, iron, manganese and other such minerals. The largest crystal was found in Iceland and weighed about 250 tons.
Final Thoughts about Calcite
Calcite contains micro-crystals that sparkle, have dazzling colors and contain unique properties that make it highly desirable. It is one of the most common calcium carbonates on the planet. Without it many of the organisms on Earth could not exist. It forms in many settings and has many uses making it an ideal gemstone for any collection.