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Home » Minerals » Apatite

Apatite


Mineral Properties and Uses



What is Apatite?



Apatite is a group of phosphate minerals which includes: fluorapatite, chlorapatite, hydroxylapatite, carbonate-rich apatite and francolite. The term "apatite" is often used for fluorapatite, the most common of these minerals. Apatite is found in igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. The most extensive deposits are the sedimentary "phosphate rocks", which are mined to produce phosphate fertilizer.


Uses of Apatite



The primary use of apatite is in the manufacture of fertilizer - it is a source of phosphorus. It is occasionally used as a gemstone. Apatite also serves as an index mineral of Mohs hardness scale with a hardness of five.


Physical Properties of Apatite

Chemical Classification phosphate
Color green, brown, blue, yellow, violet, colorless
Streak white
Luster vitreous to subresinous
Diaphaneity transparent to translucent
Cleavage poor
Mohs Hardness 5
Specific Gravity 3.1 to 3.2
Diagnostic Properties color, crystal form, and hardness, can be scratched with a steel knife blade
Chemical Composition a variety of calcium phosphates
    - fluorapatite: Ca5(PO4)3F
    - hydroxylapatite: Ca5(PO4)3(OH)
    - chlorapatite: Ca5(PO4)3Cl
    - carbonate-rich apatite/francolite:
      Ca5(PO4,CO3)3(F,O)
Crystal System hexagonal
Uses


Green Apatite cabochon
A cabochon cut from apatite from the Kola Peninsula (Khibiny Region) of Russia. This gemstone is approximately 24 millimeters by 18 millimeters.


Cats eye Apatite
Apatite cabochon with a cat's eye from Sri Lanka. The gemstone is approximately 3 carats, and 9 millimeters by 7 millimeters.



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Apatite
Apatite from Perth, Ontario, Canada. Specimen is approximately 4 inches (10 centimeters) across.




Apatite from Canada
Apatite Crystal from Perth, Ontario, Canada. Specimen is approximately 2 inches (5 centimeters) across.


Apatite crystal
Apatite Crystal from Perth, Ontario, Canada. Specimen is approximately 2 inches (5 centimeters) across.


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