Apatite Gemstone Information
When people envision beautiful gems, the apatite gemstone is often overlooked. However, that isn’t due to the stone’s appearance, as a piece of apatite can easily qualify as magical in the eyes of many. Instead, it’s simply because apatite isn’t as well-known, which is a real pity.
If you’re wondering about the apatite gemstone, including the properties of apatite, the history of the stone, its color, and more, here’s everything you need to know.
While many people call apatite a gem when you look at the properties of apatite, it’s actually classified as a mineral; a phosphate mineral, to be precise. That means the stone’s phosphorus content is significant.
Apatite is also considered highly stable. It doesn’t dissolve in the natural environment easily. In fact, it can even absorb radioactive contaminants in an environment and groundwater, effectively locking the containments away and making them removable.
Generally, apatite ranges from translucent to transparent. Light typically passes through the stone with at least some ease, allowing the gem’s bright color to shine through. While many samples are left natural, some are heat treated to enhance the coloring further.
At times, people refer to apatite as a crystal. While it doesn’t always, it can potentially form in hexagonal crystals, making even this form of the natural stone incredibly striking.
Apatite can also be found in pieces that resemble raw quartz chunks, where there’s a crystal-like quality, but the whole sample leans slightly more opaque. This version is more likely to make appearances in specific lapidary crafts, including small carvings, tumbled stones, beads, or spheres.
Overall, apatite tends to be fairly common. However, gemstone-quality apatite can be rare. That’s part of the reason that many people aren’t familiar with the stone. Its rarity – as well as the stone’s brittleness – means it isn’t typically found in chain jewelry stores. But many independent jewelry designers adore the stone, creating apatite jewelry pieces for the world to enjoy.
Apatite Stone Color
There isn’t a single color for the apatite stone. Instead, apatite gemstones can come in a range of colors. Green apatite is the most common. The exact shade can vary from a delicate spring green or light lime to a deep teal.
Blue apatite is another popular variant. Often, the hue leans lighter, such as a soft sky or robin’s egg blue. However, the apatite stone can come in other shades. Yellow, brown, purple, and pink versions all exist. Plus, some apatite is colorless, giving it a diamond-like appearance.
In many cases, the coloring of a piece of apatite is quite strong. Many of the pieces are incredibly bright and vibrant, including in their raw, faceted, or polished form.
The History of Apatite
Apatite was initially described in 1786. When it comes to the stone’s name, it’s derived from the Greek word that means “to deceive.” The reason for that is because apatite was often confused for other stones, especially peridot and beryl.
The apatite stone has been used in a variety of ways since its discovery. As a phosphate mineral, it is occasionally mined for its phosphorus content. Phosphorus is a crucial component of various products, including certain chemicals, fertilizers, and acids.
However, apatite also has a long history of ornamental use. High-quality stones are often faceted, making their way into a range of jewelry pieces.
Where is Apatite Found?
Generally, apatite crystals form in metamorphic, sedimentary, or igneous rocks. Some of the most notable sources are sedimentary rocks, as a marine environment with a significant amount of phosphatic organic debris increases the likelihood of apatite formation.
As for the actual location, China is the biggest phosphate rock producer, making it a reliable source for apatite. Morocco, Russia, Western Sahara, and the United States also have apatite that’s used for its phosphorus in some parts of the country.
When it comes to gem-quality stones, Brazil, Canada, India, Madagascar, and Mexico are leaders. However, different colors are often found in other areas. For example, Germany, Italy, and Myanmar are better sources for colorless apatite, and Germany, Portugal, and the United States are where you’re more likely to find violet apatite.
When it comes to apatite jewelry, most feature faceted stones. Since apatite ranges from transparent to translucent, faceting allows the stone to capture and reflect light effectively, giving the gem a sense of brilliance and even internal warmth. Faceted apatite is often used for rings, earrings, and pendants.
While the highest-quality apatite stones are faceted, some apatite gemstones of the lower-quality samples are used to make cabochons or beads instead. As a result, you can find apatite cabochon jewelry, particularly pendants and rings, with some ease.
With apatite beads, strand necklaces are likely the most common use. However, there are also apatite bead bracelets, and you occasionally see beads on earrings, as well.
It is important to note that the apatite gem tends to be a bit brittle. Unless the wearer exercises some caution, they may accidentally crack the stone if there’s a hard impact. As a result, it’s best not to wear apatite bracelets or rings when taking part in any activity that may cause the jewelry to strike against a surface.
The apatite stone meaning can vary depending on a person’s belief system. Many associate the apatite gemstone with peacefulness, relaxation, and calm. It’s also connected to balance, clarity of thought, and self-expression.
When it comes to the blue apatite meaning, its color leads some to connect it to the throat chakra. Instead, if it’s a piece of green apatite, it’s a better match to the heart chakra.
While some belief systems feel that apatite has healing properties, as with all stones, wearing, holding, or meditating with apatite shouldn’t be viewed as a substitute for medical care. If you have a health concern, it’s always best to seek assistance from a medical professional. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t hold, wear, or meditate with apatite if it improves your mood, as those actions likely won’t cause any harm.
Stones Similar to Apatite
Since apatite can come in a variety of colors, many stones can potentially look similar to apatite. For example, green apatite and peridot have similar coloring, so much so that it’s easy to confuse one for the other.
Beryl can be a substitute for numerous apatite colors. While pure beryl is colorless, impurities can cause it to take on a wide range of hues, including green, yellow, and blue tones that resemble apatite.
Some spinel may resemble certain apatite colors. You can also say the same for zircon, topaz, and even diamonds of various hues.
The same goes for quartz, especially if you are looking at larger carved apatite pieces that are a bit opaquer than the jewelry-quality stones. While quartz can resemble apatite, it typically doesn’t have the same strength of color.