Lepidolite Gemstone Information
When you think of gemstones, the lepidolite stone usually isn't one that comes to mind. However, that's actually a bit of a shame. The lepidolite is incredibly beautiful and amazingly unique. Plus, it has a fascinating history, one that's worth exploring.
There is a benefit to lepidolite being lesser-known; it's often reasonably affordable. If you'd like to learn more about what this breathtaking gem has to offer, here's a look at the properties, colors, meaning, and other aspects of the lepidolite stone.
Technically, lepidolite isn't a gem. Instead, it's a mineral. In fact, the lepidolite mineral is the most common lithium-bearing mineral on the planet. However, it is somewhat rare overall, as the lithium needed for its creation isn't widely available.
Lepidolite tends to be at least semi-translucent. Light can pass through at least sections of the gemstone. At times, the stones may be fully transparent.
When it comes to use as a gem, natural lepidolite isn't commonly found in jewelry. It isn't particularly hard or durable, which isn't ideal for accessories. However, it is at time imbued with quartz, enhancing its strength and making it suitable for a wider array of applications.
When it comes to colors, purple lepidolite is the most widely known. Usually, the stone is a lilac or lavender hue. However, it also comes in additional colors. Pink lepidolite is about as common as purple. Red also has a similar occurrence rate. All three of those colors can occur due to the presence of manganese, altering the stone's hue.
On occasion, lepidolite can take on a grayish tint, especially with darker pieces. When it comes to rare colors, yellow is among them. At times, lepidolite may even be clear, though this may be the rarest option.
The History of Lepidolite
The name lepidolite is actually derived from "\lepidos," which is Greek for scale. It speaks to the stone's structure involving micaceous plates.
When it comes to a claim to fame, lepidolite's composition is what made it a star in the earlier 1900s. As a major source of lithium, it had economic value. Plus, lepidolite can be used in glass and enamel production and can be a source of flaked mica.
Further, cesium and rubidium can be byproducts of the lithium extraction process. Those metallic elements also have uses, such as being featured in vacuum tubes and photocells.
However, lepidolite isn't needed for lithium to the same degree today. Brine and evaporite deposits, found in South America, are a more economical source, leading it to become favored.
Where Lepidolite Is From
Lepidolite is actually found all around the globe. Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Madagascar, Sweden, and the United States all have notable deposits.
As mentioned above, most lepidolite jewelry features stones that have been infused with quartz. This isn't always clearly advertised, even when that's the case. But the process makes the stone usable for jewelry, so it is ultimately a critical alteration that's necessary if the stone if going to work for that purpose.
Generally, lepidolite is turned into cabochons or beads. As a cabochon, it may be used to create lepidolite pendants. With beads, lepidolite bracelets or lepidolite necklaces are common creations.
At times, lepidolite beads may be used to create earrings. For those who have certain spiritual beliefs, lepidolite pendulums are even available.
When it comes to lepidolite jewelry colors, purple lepidolite is the most common. Pink lepidolite is also used regularly, so it's reasonably easy to find.
Other hues may be harder to come by, though that doesn't mean they aren't available. Just be aware that rarer colors, like yellow or clear, are usually more expensive than their more common counterparts.
As for supporting metals, silver-toned metals tend to be the most popular. Yellow gold is also available. By and large, you won't find lepidolite in platinum settings, since it's value doesn't align with the cost of the metal.
The lepidolite stone meaning differs depending on the belief system. When it comes to lepidolite metaphysical properties, some think that it is a balancing stone that brings harmony and equilibrium. Others equate the gemstone with relaxation and calm, or awareness and clarity regarding one's hopes and desires. Due to its coloring, purple lepidolite may be associated with the crown chakra, as well.
As far as lepidolite healing properties, it's important to understand that there isn't any scientific proof that holding or wearing any gemstone has a positive impact or a person's health. It's critical to not rely on stones to treat or prevent medical conditions.
However, there typically isn't harm in wearing or holding lepidolite. If you find that it makes you feel more peaceful, reduces stress, or makes you happy to wear it, there's likely no risk to doing so.
Stones Similar to Lepidolite
Which stones appear similar to lepidolite can vary depending on the color you're trying to replicate. Additionally, some lepidolite has a courser structure, giving it a more latticed appearance. Similarly, the amount of visible mica flecks also isn't consistent from one piece of lepidolite to the next.
Certain pieces of purple jasper can look a bit like purple lepidolite. The same goes for purple agate, as well as lighter-toned specimens of sugilite.
For pink lepidolite, pink aventurine is usually the closest match. It's a quartz variant that can have the same mica flakes, causing it to look incredibly similar. Rose quartz can also have the right tone, as well as certain pieces of pink rhodochrosite and pink rhodonite.
Pink opals and pink smithsonite have characteristics that may cause them to look a bit like pink lepidolite. But pink opals and smithsonite are both rare, so they can be costly.
If you want to find a substitute for yellow lepidolite, yellow muscovite can be an excellent stand-in. In fact, when turned into beads or cabochons, the two can look so similar that a formal analysis of the stones may be necessary to determine which is which.