Barite

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Barite (Baryte)
Chemical composition BaSO4
Crystal system Orthorhombic
Habit Tabular parallel to base, fibrous, nodular to massive
Cleavage Perfect cleavage parallel to base and prism faces: {001} Perfect, {210} Perfect, {010} Imperfect
Fracture Irregular/uneven
Hardness 3-3.5
Optic nature biaxial +
Refractive index nα = 1.634–1.637
nβ = 1.636–1.638
nγ = 1.646–1.648
Birefringence 0.012
Specific gravity 4.3–5
Lustre Vitreous to pearly
Diagnostic Features High specific gravity, characteristic cleavage and crystals
Faceted Barite 19.35cts.
Courtesy of Egor Gavrilenko


Barite,(BaSO4) is a mineral consisting of barium sulfate. It is generally white or colorless, and is the main source of barium.
It is never used in jewelry because of it's extremely low hardness and distinct cleavage, which makes it very difficult to fashion as a gem.
Barite (spelled baryte in British publications) was named from the Greek word baros which means weighty, a reference to its unusually high specific gravity.
It can occasionally be found in esoteric gem collections as a rare curiosity.

Barite Crystals with Calcite, Locality: Northunberland, Nye County, NV
Collection of Barbra Voltaire