Barite - Mineral and Healing Properties

Chemistry: BaSO4, Barium Sulfate

Class: Sulfates

Group: Barite

Uses: Ore of barium

  • Barite Cluster
  • Barite Crystal
  • Barite Rose


Barite is a common mineral and makes very attractive specimens. It often is an accessory mineral to other minerals and can make a nice backdrop to brightly colored crystals. At times bladed or tabular crystals of Barite form a concentric pattern of increasingly larger crystals outward. This has the appearance of a flower and when colored red by iron stains, these formations are called "Desert Roses".

Because Barite is so common, it can be confused for other minerals. Celestite (SrSO4) has the same structure as barite and forms very similar crystals. The two are indistinguishable by ordinary methods, but a flame test can distinguish them. By scrapping the dust of the crystals into a gas flame the color of the flame will confirm the identity of the crystal. If the flame is a pale green it is barite, but if the flame is red it is celestite. The flame test works because the elements barium (Ba) and strontium (Sr) react in the flame and produce those colors.

Dogtooth Barite is shaped like the canine tooth, like a dog's tooth. Barite is a barium sulfate crystal and is often a colorless, white, light blue or green color.

Origin Of The Name

The name Barite is from the Greek word "barys" which means "heavy" referring to the minerals high specific gravity. Several hundred years ago, a massive, variety of barite from Italy was found to phosphoresce when it was lightly heated. It was called Bologna stone from its locale of discovery. It was of great interest to alchemists.

Interesting Facts

Barite is an important commercial mineral. Barite mud is poured into deep oil wells. The heavy mud helps to flush rock chips away from the drilling head and float them to the surface for inspection. The heavy mud also partially supports the enormous weight of the steel drilling tools.

Where Is It Found

Barite occurs in a large number of depositional environments, and is deposited through a large number of processes including biogenic, hydrothermal, and evaporation, among others. Barite commonly occurs in lead-zinc veins in limestone's, in hot spring deposits, and with hematite ore. It is often associated with the minerals anglesite and celestine. It has also been identified in meteorites.

In the USA, barite has been found at locations in Cheshire, Connecticut, De Kalb, New York, Fort Wallace, New Mexico, and is quarried in Arkansas, Connecticut, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Nevada, and Missouri. Localities outside the USA include Baia Sprie, Romania, Westmoreland, Cornwall, Cumberland, Derbyshire, Durham, Muirshiel (where zinc was also retracted), Perthshire, Argyllshire and Surrey in the UK, China, India, Morocco, Peru, Chile, Liberia, Turkey, Thailand, Ireland (where it was actively mined on Benbulben), Canada, Iran, Brazil, Greece, and Barberton Mountain Land, South Africa.

The major barite producers (in thousand tonnes, data for 2010) are as follows: China (3,600), India (1,000), United States (670), Morocco (460), Iran (250), Turkey (150) and Kazakhstan (100).

What Do We Do With It

77% of worldwide barite is used as a weighting agent for drilling fluids in oil and gas exploration to suppress high formation pressures and prevent blowouts.

Other uses are in added-value applications which include filler in paint and plastics, sound reduction in engine compartments, coat of automobile finishes for smoothness and corrosion resistance, friction products for automobiles and trucks, radiation-shielding cement, glass ceramics and medical applications (for example, a barium meal before a contrast CAT scan). Barite is supplied in a variety of forms and the price depends on the amount of processing; filler applications commanding higher prices following intense physical processing by grinding and micronising, and there are further premiums for whiteness and brightness and color.

Historically barite was used for the production of barium hydroxide for sugar refining, and as a white pigment for textiles, paper, and paint.

Metaphysical Uses

The Barite that is commonly called Desert Rose is a strong activator of the Third Eye, allowing access to the hidden senses and intuitive gifts of clairvoyance and clear knowing. It does this by opening pathways between the Third-Eye and the Crown Energy Center.Z

It is the activation of these centers that are directly associated with the functions of the brain that makes it so potent. It allows you to blend your intuition and sensory perceptions with the wisdom you have gained from education, study, passions, pursuits and life experiences. One way you may experience this is by feeling like your mind is clear, and you are not distracted by random thoughts.

Yet, If you allow yourself to connect with your insights, you may find that you are able to envision new things that seem to pop as ah-ha moments. It is easier to see metaphors that allow you to follow a situation much further than before. You are able to envision possible obstacles and outcomes with new clarity.

In addition, Desert Rose physically represents the many layers of any situation and offers a new way to look at them. It is as if you now see each aspect for its own unique feature and can deal with them one at a time or appreciate them as a whole. It is through the ability to see the micro and the macro that alternatives present themselves.

Desert Rose may also be used to support more active dream states, astral travel or astral projection. By keeping it near where you sleep, it can help create a healthy balance between drifting to far away destinations, while feeling tethered to your physical body. This may help you remember aspects or the details of your dreams.

Desert Rose is a reminder of how complex, yet delicate life can be. Each experience is a part of how you have evolved into the person you are today. To often we emphasize or highlight the people or events that either diminish or exaggerate certain parts of our journey. We label them as good or bad, or perhaps replay them over and over until they have taken on a disproportionate weight in our evaluation of our success or happiness. Desert Rose Barite can assist you in looking at who you are today and finding the inner beauty of all the interconnected aspects that make you who you are today.

Physical Characteristics

Color: Variable but is commonly found colorless or white, also blue, green, yellow and red shades.

Luster: Vitreous

Transparency: : Crystals are transparent to translucent.

Crystal System: orthorhombic; 2/m 2/m 2/m

Crystal Habits: Include the bladed crystals that are dominated by two large pinacoid faces top and bottom and small prism faces forming a jutting angle on every side. There are many variations of these faces but the flattened blades and tabular crystals are the most common. If the pinacoid faces become diminished or are absent, the resulting prismatic crystal has a rhombic cross section. Also scaly, lamellar, and even fibrous.

Cleavage: Perfect in one direction, less so in another direction.

Fracture: Conchoidal

Hardness: 3 - 3.5

Specific Gravity: Approximately 4.5 (heavy for translucent minerals)

Streak: White

Associated Minerals: Numerous but significant associations have been with chalcopyrite, calcite, aragonite, sulfur, pyrite, quartz, vanadinite, cerussite and fluorite among many others.

Other Characteristics: Green color in flame test.

Best Field Indicators: Crystal habit, flame test and density.

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