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Elbaite
General
Category Silicate mineral
Chemical formula Na(LiAl)3Al6Si6O18(BO 3)3(OH)4
Identification
Color Green, red to pink, blue, orange, yellow, colorless, multicolored
Crystal habit Prismatic; striated
Crystal system Trigonal
Cleavage Poor/Indistinct on {1120} and {1011}
Fracture Sub Conchoidal
Mohs scale hardness
Luster Vitreous
Streak White
Diaphaneity Transparent to opaque
Density 2.9 - 3.2
Optical properties Uniaxial (-)
Refractive index nω = 1.635 - 1.650 nε = 1.615 - 1.632
Birefringence δ = 0.020
References [1][2]
Major varieties
Achroite colorless
Indicolite blue
Rubellite red to pink
Verdelite green

Elbaite, a sodium, lithium, aluminium boro-silicate, is a mineral species belonging to the tourmaline group. Elbaite forms three series, with dravite, with liddicoatite, and with schorl. Due to these series specimens with the ideal end-member formula are not found occurring natually.

As a gemstone, elbaite is a desirable member of the tourmaline group because of the variety and depth of its colours and quality of the crystals. Originally discovered on the Island of Elba, Italy in 1913 it has since been found in many parts of the world. In 1994 a major locality was discovered in Canada, at O'Grady Lakes in the Yukon.

Elbaite forms in igneous and metamorphic rocks and veins in association with lepidolite, microcline, and spodumene in granite pegmatites; with andalusite and biotite in schist; and with molybdenite and cassiterite in massive hydrothermal replacement deposits.

References


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