Australian Gemstones - Variscite

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Variscite is a hydrated aluminium phosphate mineral (AlPO4•2H2O).It is a relatively rare phosphate mineral. It is sometimes confused with turquoise; however, variscite is usually greener in color and contains little copper.

Variscite is a secondary mineral formed by direct deposition from phosphate-bearing water that has reacted with aluminium-rich rocks in a near-surface environment. It occurs as fine-grained masses in veins, nodules, cavity fillings, and crusts. Variscite often contains white veins of the calcium aluminium phosphate mineral crandallite.

Variscite is most often used as a semi-precious stone, and is popular for cabochons, jewellery, carvings and ornamental use. It was first described in 1837 and named for the type locality of Variscia, the historical name of Vogtland in Germany.

These specimens from Australia are found north of the mining town of Meekatharra in Western Australia.