Lepidolite Mica - Physical Properties & Healing Properties

LEPIDOLITE MICA

Chemistry: KLi2Al(Al, Si)3O10(F, OH)2, Potassium lithium aluminum silicate hydroxide fluoride.

Class: Silicates

Subclass: Phyllosilicates

Group: Micas

Uses: ore of lithium, ornamental stone and heat insulator for industrial purposes.

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    Specimens
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  • Lepidolite Mica
  • Lepidolite Crystal
  • Lepidolite Cluster
  • Lepidolite Tuormaline


Lepidolite is an uncommon mica and has only in the past decade become available on the mineral market in large quantities. Lepidolite is an ore of lithium and forms in granitic masses that contain a substantial amount of lithium. The lithium content in Lepidolite does vary greatly however and low lithium Lepidolite is nearly useless as an ore of lithium. The typical violet to pink color of Lepidolite is characteristic and is the only field test available to identify Lepidolite from other micas. Pink muscovite or very pale Lepidolite may confuse an identification.

Lepidolite, like other micas, has a layered structure of lithium aluminum silicate sheets weakly bonded together by layers of potassium ions. These potassium ion layers produce the perfect cleavage. Lepidolite crystals accompany such other lithium bearing minerals such as tourmaline, amblygonite and spodumene and can add greatly to the value of these specimens. A rock made of granular pink Lepidolite and red to pink tourmaline is used as an ornamental stone for carving. Single large plates or "books" of Lepidolite can have appealing violet color and make attractive mineral specimens.


Origin Of The Name

The name Lepidolite comes from the Greek word "lepidos" which mean "scale". Lepidolite was discovered in the eigtheenth century and was originally known as lilalite (from the Hindu word 'lila' meaning play, game).



Interesting Facts

It is one of the major sources of the rare alkali metals rubidium and caesium. In 1861 Robert Bunsen and Gustav Kirchhoff extracted 150 kg of lepidolite and yielded a few grams of rubidium salts for analysis, and therefore discovered the new element rubidium.

Cleavage sheets are flexible and elastic, meaning they can be bent and will flex back to original shape. Also some specimens may show triboluminescence which is an optical phenomenon in which light is generated when material is pulled apart, ripped, scratched, crushed, or rubbed.



Where Is It Found

It occurs in granite pegmatites, in some high-temperature quartz veins, greisens and granites. Associated minerals include quartz, feldspar, spodumene, amblygonite, tourmaline, columbite, cassiterite, topaz and beryl.

Notable occurrences include Brazil; Ural Mountains, Russia; California, United States; Tanco Mine, Bernic Lake, Manitoba, Canada; and Madagascar.



What Do We Do With It

The lithium content in Lepidolite does vary greatly however and low lithium Lepidolite is nearly useless as an ore of lithium. Lithium-rich lepidolite is a major source of the element lithium, which in turn has many applications. For instance, lithium is used in rechargeable batteries, alloys for aircraft parts, and appliances like toasters and microwave ovens. Lithium compounds are used in mobile phones, air purifiers, high-temperature lubricants, and mood-stabilizing drugs.

In addition, lepidolite varieties that are enriched in rubidium or cesium serve as important sources for these rare alkali metals.

Lepidolite is also used as an ornamental stone and as a heat insulator for industrial purposes. Of course it is also used as a mineral specimen.



Metaphysical Uses

Lepidolite is variety of mica. It is stone of calm, trust, and acceptance. It has a strong relaxing, balancing and calming effect. It brings hope in dark times by lending a sense of balance and calm. Lepidolite is a stone of transformation in that it helps one get through transitions with trust that everything will ultimately turn out for the best. It engenders and enhances self-love, patience, and optimism.

Psychically, lepidolite is used for dreamwork, rebirthing, and is also good for dream recall. It softens the impact of this kind of gnosis so that the information can be recalled calmly. Lepidolite is also a protective stone that brings success in business or career. It can also bring a growing energy to gardening and agriculture. Emotionally, lepidolite is one of the best healers I know. It decreases stress, anxiety, depression, manic-depression, despondency, PTSD, anger, and other traumas, panic attacks, and addictions. It brings gentleness and balanced energy to all these and other emotional issues.

Physically, lepidolite is said to be helpful in crystal healing for glands, immune system, skin, nails, hair, DNA, enzyme balance, addiction and alcoholism recovery, stress and anxiety related illness, PTSD, manic-depression, pregnancy, childbirth, and general healing.

Lepidolite is related primarily to the heart chakra, and also to the third eye and crown chakras.



Physical Characteristics

Color: Violet to pale pink or white and rarely gray or yellow.

Luster: Vitreous to pearly.

Transparency: Crystals are transparent to translucent.

Crystal System: Monoclinic; 2/m

Crystal Habits: Tabular to prismatic crystals with a prominent pinacoid termination. Lepidolite four prism faces and two pinacoid faces form pseudo-hexagonal crystal "books". The sides of the crystal often tend to tapper. Also as micaseous, lamellar or granular rock forming masses.

Cleavage: Perfect in one direction producing thin sheets or flakes.

Fracture: Not readily observed due to cleavage but is uneven.

Hardness: 2.5

Specific Gravity: Approximately 2.8+ (average)

Streak: White

Associated Minerals: Quartz, feldspars, spodumene, ambygonite and tourmaline especially elbaite.

Other Characteristics: Cleavage sheets are flexible and elastic, meaning they can be bent and will flex back to original shape. Also some specimens may show triboluminescence.

Best Field Indicators: Crystal habit, color, cleavage, elastic sheets and associations.



Educational Videos

Lavendar Lepidolite Mica Crystal


Old Lepidolite Mine