Muscovite Gemstone: Properties, Meanings, Value & More

muscovite gemstoneMuscovite is a colorless to tan, often sparkling mica gemstone. Industrial uses of muscovite date back hundreds of years, primarily for its shiny luster. 

Is muscovite rare or common? Muscovite is very abundant — it’s the most common mica mineral beside biotite

What is unique about muscovite? We’ll tell you as we cover all of muscovite’s characteristics, healing properties, prices, and history. 

muscovite gemstone

About Muscovite Stone

Muscovite is an abundant and important mineral in the mica family. Other nicknames and monikers for muscovite include:

  • White mica

  • Common mica

  • Potash mica

  • Isinglass

There are also a number of alternative historical names for muscovite, but we’ll cover those in the history section. 

Astrologically, muscovite is a zodiac stone for Leo signs. It also harmonizes with the number one in numerology. 

Muscovite Uses

Some of the unique properties of this mineral include the pearly muscovite luster and its resistance to corrosion, weathering, and heat.

Given all these valuable properties, what is muscovite used for? The mineral has a variety of applications, such as:

  • Shiny car paints

  • Silky wallpaper

  • Radar and lasers

  • Drilling mud

  • Lubricants

  • Joint cement

  • Welding rods

  • Mold release agent in tires

  • Electrical insulators (e.g. electronic chips)

  • High-temperature glass substitute

  • Filler for paints, plastics, and rubber

  • Shimmery make-up and cosmetics

  • Insulating and fireproofing drywall and gypsum wallboard

What are the characteristics that give muscovite mica so many uses? 

muscovite gemstone rough with blue fluorite crystals

Muscovite Specifications & Characteristics

As a hydrated potassium aluminum hydroxide fluoride phyllosilicate, the muscovite formula is written as KAl2(AlSi3O10)(F,OH)2 as (KF)2(Al2O3)3(SiO2)6(H2O). Impurities are common, though. 

Potassium may be substituted with caesium, sodium, or rubidium. Aluminum may be substituted with vanadium, titanium, iron, magnesium, lithium, or chromium. Lastly, hydroxide may be substituted with chlorine or fluorine.  

Some substitutions can lead to different minerals. One example is the mineral phengite, which has more silica than aluminum and the aluminum is partly replaced by iron or magnesium. 

Like all mica minerals, muscovite’s crystal system is monoclinic.

Usually, the muscovite mineral forms in a massive to platy crystal habit. You’ll usually see massive amalgamations of thinly layered crystalline sheets called “books,” along with shiny grains or flakes within rocks. 

Muscovite can also take fascinating shapes, like star-shaped crystal aggregates referred to as “star muscovite.” When radiating table-like crystals form spherical aggregates, it’s called “astrolite.” 

Compact forms of muscovite are called “gilbertite,” while compact, serpentine-like muscovites with very fine-grained structures are called “damourite.” 

Below are the remaining muscovite properties:

  • Mohs hardness: 2-2.5 parallel to [001], 4 perpendicular to [001]

  • Color: Colorless, white, silver; Can be pink, yellow, green, light brown

  • Crystal structure: Monoclinic

  • Luster: Pearly, silky, or vitreous (glassy); Pearly on cleavage faces

  • Transparency: Transparent to opaque

  • Refractive index: 1.552-1.618

  • Density: 2.76-3.00

  • Cleavage: Perfect basal on [001]

  • Fracture: Micaceous

  • Streak: White

  • Luminescence: None

  • Pleochroism: Present but weak in colored specimens

  • Birefringence: 0.035-0.042

Types of Muscovite

Though muscovite isn’t as common as an individual gemstone, it has a few more common semi-precious gemstone varieties. We’ll cover those below, along with the mineral varieties seen less often in the gemstone realm. 

lepidolite gemstonePictured above: Lepidolite carving

Gemstone Varieties

One example is fuchsite. Fuchsite, or “chrome mica,” is a gorgeous, glittery green muscovite variety rich in chromium. It’s also called “green muscovite.” 

Another chromium-rich variety is mariposite, which often gives dolomite stones a green color. Its name comes from its occurrence in Mariposa, California, USA. 

A variety related to fuchsite is verdite, a rock mostly composed of fuchsite that’s used as an ornamental stone. The famously South African stone also contains albite, rutile, talc, quartz, corundum, chlorite, margarite, and diaspore

Another gemstone variety is lepidolite, a lithium-rich stone with rose, lilac-gray, or violet coloring. It’s commonly carved into decor or figurines. Some consider lepidolite simply a mica variety, while others consider it a muscovite sub-type.

Other Muscovite Mineral Varieties

Below, we’ll go over all the muscovite varieties seen more in minerals than gemstones. 

A few of them will mention illite, a light gray, silver, or greenish-gray mica mineral considered a potassium-deficient form of muscovite. 

Here are the remaining varieties:

  • Avalite: Chrome-rich illite variety

  • Barium-Vanadium Muscovite: Variety containing barium and vanadium

  • Barium-bearing Muscovite: Barium-rich variety

  • Barium- and Chromium-bearing Muscovite: Variety containing barium and chromium

  • Batchelorite: Green, slaty, slightly chromium-bearing variety 

  • Chacaltaîte: Green variety similar to chlorite

  • Illite Jade: Dense illite variety with hematite inclusions creating red color-banding

  • Iron-Bearing Muscovite: Variety containing iron (Fe2)

  • Lithium Muscovite: Variety containing 3-4 percent lithium oxide

  • Nickel- and Chromium-Rich Illite: Nickel-dominant illite variety containing up to almost 23 percent nickel oxide and up to 11 percent chromium oxide

  • Rubidium-bearing Muscovite: Variety composed of 1 percent or more rubidium oxide

  • Schernikite: Pink variety

  • Sericite: Fine-grained aggregates of white to light green mica, usually muscovite but rarely paragonite

  • Vanadium-bearing Muscovite: Aluminum-dominant variety containing vanadium

  • Wilsonite: Manganese-bearing sericite or scapolite and muscovite pseudomorph

  • Zinc-bearing Muscovite: Variety containing zinc

Phew, that’s a lot of varieties! Let’s take a break from the minerals to look at muscovite’s meaning and significance throughout time.

muscovite gemstone rough on quartz crystal

Muscovite Meaning & History

Muscovite symbolizes self-reflection and introspection. It also represents enlightenment, inspiration, and new perspectives. 

In metaphysical spirituality, muscovite is believed to bring out any talents for astral travel, intuition, and foresight. It’s also said to facilitate spiritual awakening and communication with higher beings.

History

The current name of muscovite derives from Muscovy glass, a Russian glass created using muscovite named after the Russian state of Muscovy. This area was the primary source of muscovite for the glass during the 1300s, and the glass was mostly used to see inside furnaces.

Fittingly, Muscovite (when capitalized) also refers to a native of Moscow, Russia.

Before the mineral was called muscovite, it went by “isinglass.” Isinglass, or eisenglass, translates to “iron glass” in German, and referred to the clear window material similar to present-day tempered glass.

Though the glass was popular during medieval times (400-1400 AD), the name didn’t come until the Elizabethan era (1558 to 1603 AD). The first record of this name appears in letters from 1568 between George Turberville, an English poet to secretary to English ambassador to Russia Thomas Randolph, and Ivan the Terrible. 

That said, muscovite wasn’t the established name yet. It became official when it was published by German mineralogist Johann Gottfried Schmeisser in his 1794 work System of Mineralogy

Besides “Muscovy glass,” other names used for muscovite were:

  • Cat silver

  • Lapis specularis (Latin for “stone mirror”)

  • Glimmer

  • Isinglass

  • Antonite

  • Didymite

  • Muscowitow

  • Oncosine

  • Ammochrysos

  • Amphilogite

  • Sandbergerite

Today, muscovite provides shimmer to various beauty products, and it’s used in crystal healing!

muscovite healing crystal

Muscovite Healing Properties

Muscovite, like all gemstones, can be used as a healing stone, with some of its powers influenced by its coloring. Like other white gemstones, white or colorless muscovite can increase concentration and amplify the powers of other crystals. 

Moreover, white stones like muscovite are powerful chakra stones for the crown chakra, the highest energy center. When muscovite opens this chakra, it allows for complete spiritual awareness and communication.

Physical Healing

Physically, muscovite is said to treat:

  • Insomnia

  • Vertigo

  • Chronic pain

  • Cognitive difficulties

  • Headaches

  • Weight maintenance

Emotional Healing

Emotionally, muscovite is believed to help calm you down and dispel negative emotions like anger, self-doubt, and anxiety. It’s also said to help you understand and express your emotions with ease. 

Muscovite Gemstone Properties

The value of muscovite stones depends on their color, cut, transparency, and luster.

  • Color: Despite the “white mica” nickname, muscovite’s color ranges beyond colorless, white, and silvery hues. Impurities can create pink, green, yellow, and brown hues. 

  • Cut: Because muscovite hardness is so low on the Mohs mineral hardness scale and its cleavage is perfect, it’s not faceted into a gemstone. It may be carved or sold uncut as raw specimens.

  • Transparency: Transparent muscovite specimens are most valuable, while opaque specimens are least valuable.

  • Luster: A pearly or silky luster is more valuable for muscovite than a vitreous luster.

Size doesn’t affect muscovite’s value much because the stone can be huge. Some of the largest muscovite sheets, found in India, measured 16.5 feet by 10 feet (5 meters by 3 meters). 

muscovite mica gemstone rough specimen

Muscovite Formation & Sources

Muscovite often forms when clay-rich rocks undergo regional metamorphism, a transformation process due to high heat and pressure. Clay minerals inside the rocks alter into small mica grains, which gradually grow larger. 

It can also form when non-clay minerals undergo similar alteration, such as feldspar, kyanite, or topaz

You’ll find muscovite in schists, pegmatites, granites, and gneisses. The mineral is also fundamental to peraluminous rocks, or igneous rocks dominant in aluminum oxide. 

Mining Locations

Where is muscovite found in the world? Muscovite is found all over the world, so we won’t list every single locality. Some significant sources of muscovite include:

  • Brazil

  • Canada

  • India

  • Pakistan

  • Peru

  • Switzerland

  • USA (Arizona, California, Connecticut, Maine, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas)

Now, how much is muscovite worth?

muscovite mica gemstone rough specimen

Muscovite Price & Value

Luckily, muscovite’s abundance makes it an affordable stone. 

Rough muscovite, the most common option, usually costs around $10 for slabs that don’t contain other gems. Muscovite combined with other gems range based on the value of the gems inside.

The gemstone varieties of muscovite are slightly higher but still affordable. Small, cut fuchsite stones cost between $3 to $6. Verdite rough and cabochons are under $1 per carat, and lepidolite cabochons are around $0.50 per carat.

Muscovite Care and Maintenance

Muscovite isn’t brittle, but it is soft. Combined with its perfect cleavage, these traits make gentle gemstone care for muscovite crucial. Jewelry with any of muscovite’s varieties should have protective settings

It’s important to avoid soaking muscovite in water, as it will absorb the liquid and start to break down inside. The best, safest method is by using a soft-bristled, dry, electric toothbrush. 

Keep muscovite away from other gemstones to avoid scratches. 

Marveling at Muscovite?

You probably have muscovite in your home, be it in your cosmetics or drywall. But muscovite gems offer more spiritual benefits, and their sparkle can bring out your own inner shine!

Buy muscovite gemstones today!

Was this article helpful?

Search the Gemstone Encyclopedia

A-Z Of Gemstones

A-Z Of Gemstones

A-Z Of Gemstones
377 articles
Additional Gemstone Information

Additional Gemstone Information

Additional Gemstone Information
60 articles
Did You Know?

Did You Know?

Did You Know?
78 articles
Drawing Design Awards

Drawing Design Awards

Drawing Design Awards
2 articles
Gem Rock Auctions Verified Sellers

Gem Rock Auctions Verified Sellers

Gem Rock Auctions Verified Sellers
3 articles
Holistic Gemstone Information

Holistic Gemstone Information

Holistic Gemstone Information
34 articles
How To's

How To's

How To's is where you will find helpful articles from gem Rock Auctions on how to cut gemstones, select gemstones and buy gemstones.
9 articles
News

News

News and events on Gem Rock Auctions
48 articles
Technical Information on Gemstones

Technical Information on Gemstones

Technical Information on Gemstones
30 articles