Meaning and Properties


Calcite, also called limespar, is a very common rock-forming mineral. The word calcite comes from the Latin calx and the Greek chalix, which means lime. Calcite has more uses than almost any other mineral. It is used as a construction material (in the form of limestone and marble), pigment, agricultural soil treatment, pharmaceutical, acid neutralizer in the chemical industry and more. Calcite is an effective abrasive cleaning agent that will not harm kitchen and bathroom surfaces. High-grade optical calcite was used in World War II for gun sights, bomb sights and anti-aircraft weaponry. A specific form a calcite is used for calibration in mass spectrometry.

Metaphysical Properties

Calcite is commonly believed to increase and amplify energy--energy of healing, learning and awareness. Calcite is not only an oft-used cleanser in the material word, it is also believed to be a spiritual cleanser that changes perspective and renews commitment to making change. Calcite is also prized for its protection against negative energy as well as physical or psychological attacks.

Geological Properties

Calcite is a carbonate mineral and is found everywhere. It is an extremely common constituent of sedimentary rock, especially limestone. A great deal of calcite is formed from the shells of dead marine organisms. Calcite may also be found in volcanic or mantle-derived rocks. A relatively soft stone, calcite has a Mohs hardness of 3. Calcite is transparent to translucent and may occasionally show phosphorescence or fluorescence.

Mineral Information Carbonate
Chemical Composition Ca[CO3]
Color White, clear, yellow-gold, yellow
Hardness 3 (Mohs)
Specific Gravity 2.69 - 2.71
Refractive Index 1.486 - 1.658

Proper Care of Calcite

Clean calcite jewelry with a soft dry cloth. Wash with warm, soapy water and a soft cloth or soft brush. Dry thoroughly. Because it is a carbonate, calcite is sensitive to acid and can be easily scratched. Do not apply harsh cleaning products that can include bleach and acid. Do not use ultrasonic cleaners or steamers.

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

Designing with Calcite

Because of its understated coloring, yellow calcite matches up nicely with antiqued gold-plated brass. It can be a grounding for more flamboyant colors such as carnelian. Yellow calcite also works well with other primary colors such as the blue in dyed magnesite and crazy lace agate. Used with other neutral shades, you will find calcite fits in to just about any color scheme.

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