I didn’t know when I first touched Apophyllite. My father brought a piece home and asked if I wanted to have it. He placed the dazzling piece in my little hands and I fell in love with it immediately. I needed to know more about this gorgeous luminescent crystal that sparkles even in a dark closet. So often we read about a crystal, then buy it. How lucky I was to feel the crystal before knowing anything about Apophyllite, it was such a thrill!
What is Apophyllite?
The world’s best Apophyllite crystals come from Maharashtra Province of India, where the crystals are usually prismatic with pyramidal terminations or in cubic shape with modified corners, less often in flattened tabular shape like those from Fengjiashan Mine (Daye Copper Mine) of China. The faces of the prism are often striated vertically. It is a complex Potassium-Calcium Silicate, forms in association with other minerals in basaltic rocks harnessing the power of ancient molten lava streams. Apophyllite is actually a group of three minerals with similar compositions – Fluorapophyllite, Hydroxyapophyllite and Natroapophyllite. Those from India belong to the Fluorapophyllite group as they contain more fluorine “fluor” than hydroxide compared to the other two groups of minerals in the Apophyllite family. Apophyllite grows in the cavities of volcanic rocks, and hydrothermal veins, and is often located together with Stilbite, Calcite, Quartz and other Zeolites.
Why are they named “fish eyes”?
Apophyllite had formerly been called ichthyophthalmite, a Greek word represents “fish” and “eye”. It owes its name to the Greek apophullos (which loses its leaves) because of its exfoliation under the heat of a blowtorch, and its pearly white appearance similar to boiled fish eyes.
High-end Colorless Apophyllite
We all know that Apophyllite stands in the form of radiating sprays or rounded groupings resembling disco balls with an intense apple-green color are rarities (and very expensive, too!), what we don’t know is the colorless ones can also be as valuable as the green ones. You may say India Apophyllites are common on the market, but those well-formed, very fine quality ones are NOT common at all! Here are some examples:
Apophyllite is striking in appearance due to its vitreous and pearly luster, and therefore makes a great ornament in a home. Coming in numerous variations of colors, ranging from colorless, white, green, brown, yellow, grey and rarely pink or red. This mineral stone is also suitable for direct contact with water and can be placed anywhere in a home. It has beauty, a vitreous luster, gorgeous colors, interesting well-formed habits forms in association with other exotic minerals. What more could a collector want in a mineral?