Albite is a feldspar mineral that’s often found in other gemstones, sometimes creating unique effects. Is albite a gemstone itself? Yep! Albite gemstones are typically white and translucent.
Is albite a rock or a mineral? It’s a mineral, although feldspars are an essential part of around 60 percent of rocks on Earth’s surface. Albite is among the most abundant feldspar minerals.
Today, we’ll be discussing everything you need to know about albite, includings its symbolism, history, prices, and more!
One gemstone where albite makes an appearance is trapiche emerald, a rare and valuable Colombian emerald variety where albite (or other minerals) causes a six-pointed pattern resembling wheel spokes.
Albite can also make up a portion of verdite, a rock used as a gemstone. The third gemstone you’ll see albite in is amazonite, where it creates white streaks, though these streaks often lower amazonite’s value.
Next, what is albite used for industrially? The most common industrial albite uses are for creating glass, ceramics, abrasives, and refractory products.
Feldspar minerals like albite are also important for soil nutrition. They usually weather at Earth’s surface, providing soil the nutrients needed for successful plant growth. Their weathering also often creates clay minerals that are equally important in agriculture, along with creating abrasives like toothpaste and decor like pottery and ceramics.
Feldspar minerals are split into two overarching series: potassium (or alkali) and plagioclase. The albite mineral is part of the plagioclase feldspar series, also called the anorthite and albite system.
You can tell plagioclase minerals apart by the presence of etched grooves (striations) along one of their two cleavages. They are all sodium calcium aluminosilicates with variations in the amount of sodium and calcium in each.
Albite feldspar is at least 90 percent sodium, but contains almost no calcium. In other words, anorthite (the calcium-rich plagioclase counterpart) makes up less than 10 percent of albite’s composition. The pure albite formula is NaAlSi3O, though most specimens are impure.
If potassium replaces 10 percent or less of the sodium content in albite, the mineral becomes anorthoclase. Anorthoclase is sometimes considered a potassium-rich albite variety.
Other plagioclase minerals include anorthite, andesine, oligoclase, labradorite, and bytownite.
Here are the remaining albite properties:
Mohs hardness: 6-6.5
Color: Colorless, white, pink, red, yellow, green, gray
Crystal structure: Triclinic
Luster: Vitreous (glassy) to pearly, pearly on cleavages
Transparency: Transparent to opaque
Refractive index: 1.52-1.54
Cleavage: Perfect on ; Very good on ; Imperfect/indistinct on 
Fracture: Uneven to conchoidal
Luminescence: Sometimes fluorescent - white in LW-UV; Kenyan material lime green in X-rays
Optical effects: Sometimes chatoyancy
There are a few albite varieties and a few gems that are partly composed of albite, all of which we’ll discuss below.
Image credit: Iridescent Peristerite-Oligoclase Feldspar | Flickr
Peristerite is a white or blue albite variety containing oligoclase, layered to create iridescence and even adularescence (internal glow) occasionally.
Its name comes from the Greek peristera for “pigeon” because the iridescence in pigeon neck feathers resembles peristerite’s iridescence.
Image credit: Parent Géry | Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license
Cleavelandite is a plated albite variety composed of thin, tabular (table-like) sheets stacked together. Former names include “keiselspath” and “granular and radiated albite.”
Moonstone is a commonly whitish-blue gemstone known for its milky translucence, pearly luster, and unique glow. It can also be various other colors like orange, gray, and green (to name a few) but white is most common.
These gems aren’t solely albite, but rather composed of alternating layers of albite and orthoclase feldspar. Besides creating moonstone’s structure, these layers also allow light to appear as if it’s glowing from within the stone through a phenomenon called adularescence.
Labradorite and its full-spectrum Finnish variety spectrolite are composed of 30-50 percent albite and 50-70 percent anorthite. Like prior varieties, the two feldspars layer to create a unique iridescence called labradorescence.
Maw sit sit is a rare, bright green jade-like gemstone with black and dark green veining. It’s a rock composed of albite, jadeite, and other minerals. Trade names include “jade albite” and “chloromelanite,” though chloromelanite is actually a similar-looking jadeite variety.
Albite symbolizes liberation, confidence, and resilience through difficult transitions. The name “albite” derives from the Latin term albus, for “white” after its typically white coloring.
Some historical alternate names for albite include:
The mineral’s official discovery occurred in 1815 when Swedish chemists Johan Gottlieb Gahn and Jöns Jacob Berzelius described specimens from Dalarna, Sweden.
Some varieties, particularly maw sit sit, are more modern finds. Maw sit sit was only discovered in 1963, when Swiss gemologist Edward Gubelin found the mineral in Burma.
Pink albite is also a popular choice, and it joins other pink gemstones in promoting self-love, romantic harmony, and compassion for others.
Now, what does albite provide in the physical, emotional, and chakra realms?
Physical benefits of albite are similar to its emotional benefits in largely revolving around the brain. The albite crystal is believed to improve memory and treat brain illnesses such as dementia, migraines, and strokes.
Plus, feldspar stones in general are said to treat arthritis, hair loss, and skin disorders.
The brain is the center of our emotions, and albite has wonderful mental benefits. It’s known for stimulating the mind and encouraging clearer thinking.
Additionally, albite is said to provide motivation and increase intuition while getting rid of self-doubt, brain fog, or indecisiveness.
Chakra healing involves resolving negative symptoms resulting from a certain energy point (chakra) in your body being blocked. The goal is to open the chakra to restore balance to the entire system.
Albite is a chakra stone for the crown chakra, located just above the head in a swirling crown of energy. This is the highest spiritual center. Feeling close-minded or shut off from the world are symptoms of a blocked crown chakra. Opening it with albite brings in higher awareness and connection with your spiritual power.
Gemstone experts look at where a stone falls on a few different categories to make an overall determination of the stone’s value. In albite’s case, these value properties are color, cut, clarity, and carat weight.
First, what color is albite?
Albite’s color is usually colorless to white, but it can also be pink, gray, red, green, yellow, blue, or even black.
These colors (besides the colorless and white hues of pure albite) are the result of inclusions. For instance, green specimens often get their color from chrome jadeite jade. Sometimes, the stone intergrows with other gems, like ruby in albite often seen as gray with red spots.
Since most white albite is somewhat boring to most buyers, any interesting color will raise the stone’s value.
Though faceted albite isn’t super common, it’s valuable. Most are colorless gems first cut from the very tips of cleavelandite.
Most albite varieties are cut as cabochons, including the ruby in albite stone mentioned above and chatoyant albite. Otherwise, albite crystals are sold raw and uncut.
Clarity describes the amount of visible inclusions in a gemstone. Albite is commonly included, likely giving it a Type II or Type II colored gemstone clarity grade.
While common inclusions like epidote usually lower albite’s value, fibrous inclusions increase value if they give the stone chatoyancy, the “cat’s eye” effect.
Faceted albite gems with good clarity are typically only 1-3 carats. Any gem larger than this would be significantly more valuable.
Chatoyant (cat’s eye) albite stones have been cut at sizes reaching 50 carats.
Before they can be cut or sized, how do albite crystals form?
There are two albite variants depending on its formation: low albite vs. high albite (or analbite). High albite has a greater volume and can form when low albite is heated at temperatures above 1,380 °F (750 °C).
If temperatures go beyond 1,920 °F (1,050 °C), the crystal becomes monoclinic and is classified as monoalbite. Beyond 2,010–2,050 °F (1,100–1,120 °C), albite will melt.
Interestingly, high albite has also been found in meteorite craters!
Overall, albite forms inside igneous rocks as they form at low temperatures. It’s most often in pegmatites, granites, and greenschists.
Where is albite found? Gem-quality albite predominantly comes from Myanmar, Madagascar, and Brazil. Virginia, USA, is also significant for producing high-quality, facetable, colorless crystals. Cleavelandite’s important sources are Brazil and the US states of South Dakota and Virginia.
Other significant albite gemstone sources include:
Canada (albite & peristerite)
Crucial question time: what is the value of albite?
Faceted albite is the rarest, especially when colored, making its prices the steepest. Most faceted pieces are pale pink, and these gems range from $50 to nearly $300 per carat, though most are around $100 per carat.
Most cabochons and tumbled stones featuring albite are ruby in albite, and these range from $5 to $40 each. Moonstone cabochons are similarly priced.
The most expensive variety is maw sit sit (sometimes labeled as chloromelanite or jade albite), with cabochons around $500 to $800 each or $12-$25 per carat.
Albite rough is almost always combined with other stones, meaning the other crystal’s value can influence the price of the rough. For instance, albite with topaz rough can be $0.15-$0.30 per carat, while albite with bright blue or green tourmaline can reach $50 per carat.
Albite requires pretty standard gemstone care, though its cleavages may mean the stone will break upon a hard, sharp impact. To reduce this risk, we recommend buying albite jewelry with protective settings.
Safely clean albite with a soft toothbrush that’s been dipped in a mixture of warm water and mild soap. Rinse away any soapy residue and dry the stone with a soft, microfiber cloth.
Store albite separately from other gems to avoid scratches. It’s best to store them in a dry environment, as moisture may lead to weathering-like deterioration over time for rough specimens.
Though they may not be as sparkling or shiny as other gems, albite stones offer diversity and unique optical effects like iridescence and adularescence. Despite being a common mineral, albite gemstones stand out from the crowd, and they’re sure to catch the eye of any passerby!
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