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By Gavin Clarke Reviewed By Andreas Zabczyk Aug 27, 2013 Updated Jun 19, 2019

Calcite Gemstone Information

Calcite Gemstones from GemSelect - Large Image
Buy Natural Calcite from GemSelect
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 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.

Natural Calcite Cabochon
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 Color

Calcite in its purest form is completely colorless. Common coloring agents and impurities include iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc and cobalt. The most common calcite colors include white, gray, yellow, orange, green, red and blue.

Calcite Clarity and Luster

Calcite is typically found with transparent to translucent levels of clarity. Transparent specimens are most desirable and valuable. Calcite has an attractive vitreous luster and takes an excellent polish.

Calcite Cut and Shape

Calcite is most often faceted or carved. The most common shapes and cuts include octagons, ovals and cushions. Fancy shapes, such as trillions and hearts are quite rare, since there is very little demand for jewelry-cut calcite.

Calcite Treatment

Calcite is typically an untreated gem, making it one of the few gem types that remains completely unenhanced throughout production, all the way from the mine to the market.

Calcite Gemological Properties: Back to Top
Chemical Formula: Ca [Co3] Calcium carbonate
Crystal Structure: Trigonal
Color: Colorless, yellow, orange, gold
Hardness: 3 on the Mohs scale
Refractive Index: 1.486 to 1.658
Density: 2.69 to 2.71
Cleavage: Perfect, conchoidal fracture
Transparency: Transparent to translucent
Double Refraction or Birefringence: 0.172
Luster: Vitreous
Fluorescence: Multiple colors, often phosphorescent

Please refer to our Gemstone Glossary for details of gemology-related terms.

Calcite: Varieties or Similar Gemstones: Back to Top
South Sea Pearl
South Sea Pearl

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.

Most Popular Similar Materials:

Coral, pearl, mother of pearl and sea-shells are the most well-known related materials to calcite.

Lesser-Known Similar Materials:

Nacre, mollusk mantle, turtle shell, snail shell and oyster shells are lesser-known related materials to calcite.

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.

Disclaimer: Metaphysical and Alternative Crystal Healing Powers and Properties are not to be taken as confirmed advice. Traditional, Ceremonial and Mythological Gemstone Lore is collected from various resources and is not the sole opinion of SETT Co., Ltd. This information is not to replace the advice of your doctor. Should you have any medical conditions, please see a licensed medical practitioner. GemSelect does not guarantee any claims or statements of healing or astrological birthstone powers and cannot be held liable under any circumstances.
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

How to Clean your GemstonesCalcite 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.

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