Apatite Meaning and Properties

Apatite History

Apatite is actually the mineral that makes up the teeth and bones of all vertebrate animals. In 1786, the mineral was given its name by German geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner. The name comes from the Greek word apate, which means, "to deceive." Anthropomorphically speaking, apatite could be said to have deceived by allowing itself to be confused with some of the more valuable gems such as tourmaline, olivine, peridot, topaz and beryl.

In manufacturing, apatite is a source of phosphorus for fertilizer. Moon rocks brought back to earth by Apollo astronauts in the late 1960s and early 1970s were found to contain traces of apatite.

Apatite Metaphysical Properties

Apatite is aligned with the zodiac sign of Gemini.The gemstone is believed to decrease appetite (hunger) as well as enhance insight, creativity and learning. It is said that wearing apatite will enhance focus, clarity for concentration, intellect, acceptance and unconditional love. This acceptance and unconditional love relates to the self as well as from others.

Apatite Geological Properties

Apatite is "any group of calcium phosphate minerals occurring variously as hexagonal crystals, as granular masseor in fine-grained masses as the chief constituent of phosphate rock and of bones and teeth; especially: calcium phosphate fluoride," according to Merriam-Webster's dictionary. It is a common phosphate mineral. It is found in igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rock, in phosphorite and in some hydrothermal veins and in iron rich igneous deposits along with feldspar, quartz and iron ores. Apatite is found in Myanmar (Burma), Brazil, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Norway, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Mexico, Canada and the United States.

There are three minerals that actually contribute to apatite, which is the reason for the varied colors and shades of this stone. Apatite is calcium phosphate combined with fluorine, chlorine or hydroxyl. These three minerals are usually found in every specimen but some specimens have been known to have 100% of one or the other. It is often hard to spot the difference between the three minerals in hand samples of this stone. Therefore, they are often considered together in apatite.

Mineral Information Basic fluori- and chloro-calcium phosphate
Chemical Composition Ca5(PO4)3 + (F, Cl, or OH)
Color Colorless, pink, yellow, green, blue, violet, brown, purple
Hardness 5 (Mohs)
Specific Gravity 3.17 - 3.23
Refractive Index 1.628 - 1.65

Proper Care of Apatite

This stone is fragile and very sensitive to chemicals, abrasives, heat, acids, and ammonia. Never use a steamer, hot water or ultrasonic cleaners with this gemstone. Use mild soap and room temperature tap water with a soft cloth so you do not scratch the surface or diminish the luster of the gemstone.

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

Designing with Apatite

The color of apatite is similar to beautiful tropical waters. The sea green brilliance of this stone is easily accentuated with silver beads and/or pearls. This stone is best used in earrings and a necklace because, with its Mohs rating of 5--comparable to the hardness of teeth--it can be easily scratched. Apatite displays an extremely rare chatoyancy, a slit of reflected light resembling a cat's eye. Apatite is brilliant hung from a necklace or earrings. The color reflects wonderful crystal blue resembling water, which is calming, especially in the dining area.

View design inspirations featuring apatite in the Gallery of Designs

Shop for Apatite Items

**Please note that all metaphysical or healing properties listed are collected from various sources. This information is offered as a service and not meant to treat medical conditions. Fire Mountain Gems and Beads® does not guarantee the validity of any of these statements.

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