Calcite Gemstone Information
About Calcite - History and Introduction
Calcite is the most stable form of calcium carbonate and a primary ore of calcium. Calcium carbonates are a very abundant group of minerals and in their purest form, they are completely colorless with excellent transparency. Calcite is often referred to as 'limespar' or 'calspar' and is a primary mineral found in metamorphic marble. Calcite is also a common constituent of sedimentary rock, such as limestone, which often contains organic materials including the shell remains of marine organisms. Thus, the composition of calcite is actually quite similar to various organic gemstones such as pearl, amber and coral.
Calcite is quite soft and fragile compared to other gem types. It is primarily classified as a 'collector's stone', but not because of its rarity. Instead, calcite is a collector's stone because it lacks the hardness and durability needed for most jewelry applications. However, calcite's hardness is comparable to amber, coral and chrysocolla, which are all very popular as jewelry stones. So, despite its lack of hardness, calcite can still be used for certain types of jewelry, such as earrings or pendants.
Calcite is an important mineral for many industrial purposes. It is commonly used in the construction industry, especially for cementation. Other industrial purposes include the production of various metals, glass and rubber. There are also many important chemicals made with calcite, including paints and fertilizers. Calcite is also a major component of ordinary chalk.
Identifying Calcite Back to Top
Calcite has a distinct level of hardness and in most cases, it can be distinguished from similar materials through simple scratch testing. Quartz and gypsum are often confused with calcite, but since calcite is much softer than quartz and considerably harder than gypsum, these materials can be easily identified from one another. Other similar minerals, such as aragonite and dolomite, can be very difficult to distinguish without testing for refractive index, specific gravity, birefringence or crystal structure.
Calcite Origin and Gemstone Sources Back to Top
Calcite can be found in many locations around the world, but the most significant deposits originate from Chihuahua, Mexico. The United States also has significant deposits of calcite located in Kansas, Oklahoma, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Texas and Missouri. Other calcite origins include Iceland, Germany, Bohemia, Africa (Namibia) and the Czech Republic.
Buying Calcite and Determining Calcite Gemstone Value Back to Top
Calcite Gemological Properties: Back to Top
Please refer to our Gemstone Glossary for details of gemology-related terms.
Calcite: Varieties or Similar Gemstones: Back to Top
Calcite is a gemstone quality, transparent to translucent variety of calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate is actually one of the most abundant minerals on earth and is closely related to several various types of organic materials. As a result of the wide variety of colors that calcite occurs in, there are quite a few gemstones that can be confused with calcite, including gypsum, quartz, aragonite and dolomite.
Calcite Gemstone Mythology, Metaphysical and Alternative Crystal Healing Powers Back to Top
Calcite is associated with all of the elements: Fire, earth, wind and water. It is also believed to enhance all metaphysical energies and is known as both a grounding and protective stone. Calcite can help release energy and aid in balancing all of the chakras. Calcite can increase creativity in its wearer and it is also known as a stone of spirituality and wisdom.
Calcite is an excellent stone for alternative crystal healing. Calcite can alleviate back pain and increase physical strength. Additionally, calcite is beneficial for the strengthening of bones, teeth and eyes. Although, calcite is not an official birthstone, it is still held in high regard by believers in astrology and zodiac gems. Calcite is the planetary stone for Venus and also represents the sun and the moon.
Calcite Gemstone and Jewelry Design Ideas Back to Top
Calcite is fairly soft and considered to be one of the more fragile types of gemstones available. Therefore, calcite is not recommended for most jewelry applications and is more suited for gemstone carvings and ornamental designs. However, calcite is durable enough for some types of jewelry, considering it has a hardness similar to that of amber and chrysocolla. If wearing calcite as jewelry, designs should be limited only to earrings, pendants or brooches. Calcite cannot endure the wear and tear of daily wear jewelry designs, so it should be reserved for occasional use only. Calcite is not recommended for gemstone rings.
Note: Buy colored gemstones by size and not by carat weight. Colored stones vary in size-to-weight ratio. Some stones are larger and others are smaller than diamond by weight in comparison.
Calcite Gemstone and Jewelry Care and Cleaning Back to Top
Calcite gemstones require great care and gentleness when it comes to cleaning. Calcite can be easily scratched and like most carbonates, it is also sensitive to acid. Therefore, avoid harsh cleaning agents, including bleach and acid. Do not use ultrasonic cleaners or steamers when caring for your calcite.
When cleaning your stones, wipe them down using only a soft cloth and a mild soap if needed. Rinse the stones well to remove soapy residue. Always take off jewelry before engaging in vigorous physical activity, such as household chores, sports or exercise. When storing calcite gemstones, place them away from other gemstones to prevent scratches. Wrap calcite stones with a soft cloth and place them separately inside a fabric-lined jewelry box.
- First Published: August-27-2013
- Last Updated: September-09-2016
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