Charoite - Encyclopedia

    Class : Silicates
    Subclass : Inosilicates
    Crystal system : Monoclinic
    Chemistry : K5Ca8(Si6O15)2(Si2O7)Si4O9(OH)·3(H2O)
    Rarity : Rare

Charoite is a rare mineral found in a syenite from the Murunskii Massif (Russia) which is intruded into weathered limestones producing a metasomatic potassium feldspar. Discovered in the 1940's, it was only described by the Russian mineralogist, Rogov in 1978. Its name comes from the Chara river which passes close to its locality of discovery. It comes in purple fibers and is always massive, it has a swirling appearance, sometimes chatoyant. Its color varies from intense purple to lavender purple, sometimes gray-brown. It is a rare mineral sought after as an ornamental stone or for jewelry, it is indeed a stone of good hardness and attractive color that is used both in the cut of cabochons and in the carving of objects and trinkets.

40.30 ct charoite from Russia
31.40 ct charoite from Russia
46.45 ct charoite and aegirine from Russia
38.00 ct charoite from Russia

Charoite in the World

The most beautiful masses of charoite come from the Russian Massifs of Murunskii and Patyn where blocks of several tens of kilos of a deep violet were extracted. Officially and to date, these are the only two localities to have produced this mineral

Charoite in France

Charoite is not present in the French underground.

Fakes and scams

Currently found on the market (Chinese and Indian especially) resins which may try to poorly imitate charoite, but they have neither the appearance nor the color of the real one. We do not find in these imitations the black crystals of aegirine sometimes taken in purple fibers nor the complexity of their arrangement. You can also try to heat white the tip of a needle, and apply it on the back of the cabochon, a strong smell of burnt plastic then emerges...

Hardness : 5 to 6
Density : 2.54 to 2.58
Fracture : Conchoidal
Trace : White

TP : Translucent to opaque
IR : 1.550 to 1.559
Birefringence : 0.009
Optical character : Biaxe +
Pleochroism : None
Fluorescence : None

Solubility : Hydrofluoric acid

Magnetism : None
Radioactivity : None