Zeolites are a group of microporous aluminosilicate minerals that are related in structure, habits, and occurrence. They are usually found in zeolite deposits which are of igneous origin. They are hydrous aluminum silicates that contain sodium or calcium, which can replace one another. Natural zeolites form where volcanic rocks and ash layers react with alkaline groundwater. They also crystallize in shallow marine basins over periods of thousands to millions of years. They typically form in the cavities of volcanic rocks, and are the result of very low grade metamorphism. With some zeolites only very small amounts of heat and pressure are needed for this process to occur, yet with others a great deal more is necessary. Naturally occurring zeolites are rarely pure. They are contaminated to varying degrees by other minerals, metals, quartz, and even other zeolites. The zeolite group is in the tectosilicates subdivision of the silicates group.
zeolites are mined in many areas of the world, most commonly in Eastern Europe,
There is a member of the zeolite group which is quite popular and is occasionally seen in the jewelry industry, even though it is
considered to be rare. Thomsonite forms beautiful
nodules which can be polished. When polished some may exhibit a cat's eye, or
chatoyancy. They display concentric rings in combinations of colors. The most
commonly seen colors are shades of black, white, orange, red, pink, and green.
Some of these nodules have inclusions of copper which may be referred to as
"copper eyes," or orbs. These stones are collected along the shores
of Lake Superior in
There are several minerals which are often found with, or are associated with zeolites, but they are only "relatives." They may have similar cage-like framework structures or have other similar properties, but they are not zeolites. Some of these minerals are: Andradite, Apophyllite, Cavansite, Epidote, Gyrolite, Hsianghuaite, Kehoeite, Lovdarite, Maricopaite, Okenite, Pahasapaite, Partheite, Prehnite, Roggianite, Tacharanite, Tiptopite, Tobermorite, and Viseite. Some may even refer to some of these minerals as zeolites, but again, they are not zeolites.
The Zeolite Group Members
Amicite, Analcime, Barrerite, Bellbergite, Bikitaite, Boggsite, Brewsterite, Chabazite, Clinoptilolite, Cowlesite,
Epistilbite, Erionite, Faujasite, Ferrierite, Garronite, Gismondine, Gmelinite, Gobbinsite,
Gonnardite, Goosecreekite, Harmotome, Heulandite, Laumontite, Levyne, Mazzite, Merlinoite,
Mesolite, Montesommaite, Mordenite, Natrolite, Offretite, Paranatrolite, Paulingite,
Pollucite, Scolecite, Sodium Dachiardite, Stellerite, Stilbite, Tetranatrolite, Thomsonite, Tschernichite,
Wairakite, Willhendersonite, and Yugawaralite.
*Pictured at the top of the page is a cluster of beautiful Pearlescent Pink Heulandite crystals on matrix from India.
**If the images and/or text on any of the web pages do not appear evenly spaced and centered on your screen, which commonly occurs with AOL pages, maximize the individual page's window. That should resolve the problem.
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