Meaning and Properties


Lepidolite was first discovered in 1861 by Robert Bunsen and Gustav Kirchhoff. Originally called "lilalite" because of its lavender color, it was later named "lepidolite" from the Greek "lepidos"--which means "scale"--because of its scaly appearance caused by flakes of lithium.

Lepidolite is mined as a source of the element lithium along with other rare earth elements such as cesium and rubidium. Lepidolite is an important source of lithium, which is the lightest metal in the world. It is used in rechargeable batteries, mobile phones, toasters, microwave ovens, air purifiers, aircraft parts and is well-known as a mood-stabilizing drug. Fine-grained masses of lepidolite have been polished into ornaments such as eggs and animal carvings.

Metaphysical Properties

Lepidolite is sometimes called the "peace stone" or "grandmother stone" because it is thought to have nurturing and calming properties. Within the metaphysical realm, lepidolite aids in overcoming emotional or mental dependency and helps treat addictions and all kinds conditions, including anorexia. It is also thought to help those with bipolar disorder because of its mind-balancing properties. Lepidolite is believed to alleviate feelings of stress or nervous conditions while opening the mind and calming the higher self.

Lepidolite is associated with the zodiac sign of Libra and the 7th chakra in the traditional Hindu belief system. The 7th chakra is positioned on the crown of the head and is linked to the brain and central nervous system.

Geological Properties

Lepidolite is a translucent to transparent rose to purple colored phyllosilicate mineral of the mica group. Lepidolite is associated with other lithium-bearing minerals like spodumene in pegmatite bodies. It is one of the major sources of the rare alkali metals rubidium and cesium. It is found most often as small, scaly crystals in dense aggregates. It is also found in masses and groupings such as foliated, flaky and scaly forms. Large crystals, which are in stubby pseudohexagonal form, are much rarer than the other micas. It is also found in rounded ball-shaped aggregates and in massive form with tiny glittery crystals. Major sources of lepidolite are: Brazil, Russia, Afghanistan, United States (California), Canada and Madagascar.

Mineral Information Basic potassium lithium aluminum fluoro-silicate
Chemical Composition K(Li,Al)3(Al,Si,Rb)4O10(F,OH)2
Color Pink to purple, also lesser-common rose-red, violet-gray, yellowish, white, colorless
Hardness 2-1/2 to 3 (Mohs)
Specific Gravity 2.8 - 2.9
Refractive Index 1.611 - 1.669

Proper Care of Lepidolite

Lepidolite should be kept away from harsh household chemicals. Clean lepidolite with warm, soapy water. Rinse off any soapy residue and wipe using only a soft cloth. It is advisable to remove any lepidolite gems or jewelry before exercising, playing sports or engaging in other vigorous activities such as household chores. To prevent scratches and fractures, lepidolite should be stored separately from other gems and jewelry. For extra protection, wrap lepidolite jewelry using a soft cloth and place into a fabric-lined jewelry box.

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

Designing with Lepidolite

With its variety of hues from pinkish rose to purple along with other shades, lepidolite offers more tonal flexibility that you might think at first glance. For a slight contrast, consider pairing lepidolite with the lighter rose quartz. Complementary colors such as pale green of chrysoprase will produce a light and pleasing palette as seen in a nature-inspired necklace featuring green leaves and pinkish oval-shaped plants.

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