Aragonite Meaning and Properties

Aragonite History

Aragonite, pronounced uh-RAG-oh-nite, is also known as tufa and tchazar crystal. This carbonate gemstone has a mellow orange or straw yellow color and has come to symbolize truth and understanding. The Aragon River in Spain, where it was first discovered in 1788, is what the mineral is named after.

Aragonite is a carbonated metamorphous gemstone naturally found in stalactites or around natural hot springs. This form of aragonite is often called floss ferri (“iron flowers”), due to its thin, entwined branch-like crystal formations. Another source of aragonite can be found in the mother-of-pearl lining of mollusk shells. It is secreted by the mantle tissue of mollusks--specifically in pearl oysters--and makes up the layers of nacre that the oyster uses to create the pearl itself. The multiple thin layers of aragonite give the abalone shell the pearl-like luster and beauty that makes it much loved for sage smudging among certain Native American tribes.

The ancient fossilizing qualities of aragonite are especially interesting. Its soluble calcium-like qualities are found to be a key factor in the preservation of many shell, snail and coral fossils. Over time, the aragonite will re-crystallize into a more stable form of calcite to forever preserve the hard materials until their beauty is rediscovered and enjoyed millennia later.

Aragonite Metaphysical Properties

Aragonite is said to foster truth, understanding and an unclouded perception of reality. Believed to be a stone of nurturing, it uplifts your feelings from stressful oppression into freedom and clarity through its ability to enhance tolerance, trust and insight by providing understanding into the root of problems.

Aragonite, with its gentle yellow and warm orange colors, has been traditionally used to make jewelry for young adults to help them learn patience, instill them with responsibility, generate the ability to be punctual and to stave off the habits of procrastination. Through these attributes, aragonite it is said to bring stability and empowerment to the turbulent enthusiasms of adolescence and helps teens channel their energy constructively.

Aragonite increases energy, boosts self-confidence and feelings of self-worth as you learn to place trust in yourself. A wonderful stone for parents and people in tense relationships that test the nerves, aragonite relieves stress, emotional fatigue and anger, bringing patience when it is needed most!

Indeed, aragonite jewelry can improve the time-keeping abilities for the whole family as well as in the workplace. Amazing aragonite can also be used to help motivate procrastinating family members who regularly put off important tasks until tomorrow.

Aragonite also promotes reliability and discipline in people, providing insight into difficult issues, especially in business. At work, aragonite helps clear the mind, stimulates motivation and provides mental energy required to meet professional challenges. For all these edifying qualities, aragonite was also favored by Spanish monks for use in their rosaries.

Aragonite Geological Properties

The crystal structure of aragonite acts like a prism because it is orthorhombic, meaning it has three triangular sides. This prismatic quality, commonly referred to as "orient" in pearls, breaks light into a diffracted spectrum of shimmering color. A Tahitian pearl has the most notorious “orient” due to the many thousands of layers of aragonite that coat the pearl seed.

Gemstone aragonite is a form of stalactite deposit, coming from the encrustations from cave interiors. It was originally found along the Aragon River in the Aragon province of Spain. The most famous and best quality aragonite comes from Karlsbad, Czechoslovakia, which has been known for its medicinal sulfur springs since the 14th century.

Gemstone aragonite is also found in France, UK, Austria, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Namibia, Poland and the U.S.A.

Mineral Information Carbonate, aragonite group
Chemical Composition CaCO3
Color White, yellow, brown, reddish
Hardness 3-1/2 to 4 (Mohs)
Specific Gravity 2.94
Refractive Index 1.530 - 1.685

Proper Care of Aragonite

Fragile aragonite beads can be safely cleaned in warm water and gentle soap. You should protect aragonite jewelry from sharp blows, as they can shatter the stone. Care should also be taken to store aragonite jewelry so that the polish of the soft stone doesn't become scratched.

To learn more about aragonite and other gemstones, order your copy of Walter Schumann's revised and expanded edition of Gemstones of the World.

Designing with Aragonite

Aragonite is an interesting and attractive gemstone that is often overlooked for more flashy gemstones, but the gentle and amiable colors of aragonite can be used to form simple, friendly designs with soft, delicate color. Gorgeous, polished yellow-orange clusters of aragonite beads can be combined with rust-colored beads and bright translucent apple-green chrysoprase gemstone beads to create spectacular, artsy jewelry with designer color.

You can make special pieces of jewelry to give as gifts, or wear yourself, when a little extra emotional support and fortitude or stress relief is needed. The fragile nature of the aragonite gemstone makes it best suitable in jewelry worn in necklaces, brooches and earrings.

View more resources featuring aragonite, including Design Ideas, Videos, Tutorials and more!

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