Light Green Spodumene from Tyrol, Austria
ex. Chet Lemanski
Approximately 33 grams and 1.5″ x 1″ x 1.1″

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Spodumene has a hardness of 6½ – 7 and a specific gravity of 3.1 – 3.2. According to Wikipedia, “Spodumene was first described in 1800 for an occurrence in the type locality in Utö, Södermanland, Sweden. It was discovered by Brazilian naturalist Jose Bonifacio de Andrada e Silva. The name is derived from the Greek spodumenos (σποδούμενος), meaning “burnt to ashes”, owing to the opaque ash-grey appearance of material refined for use in industry.”

According to Mindat, “Spodumene is worked as an ore of lithium, but it is most highly prized as a gem material – the varieties Kunzite (pink) and Hiddenite (green) are especially sought after. It forms crystals to 12 meters in length.” While Wikipedia included that Single crystals of 14.3 m (47 ft) in size are reported from the Black Hills of South Dakota, United States.

While Spodumene is an important ore of Lithium, it only contains around 4% of that element, while the majority of this mineral is Oxygen, at 52%, and Silicon, at 30%, with the remaining 14% consisting of Aluminum, so this makes for a great rock for element collectors!

It’s found in nearly 1,000 recorded localities all over the world, typically in lithium-rich granite pegmatites and aplites, associated with quartz, albite, petalite, eucryptite, lepidolite and beryl. While historically this may not have been a very valuable mineral, with the idea to transition all vehicles to electric, Lithium will soon play a pivotal role, so be sure to keep your eye out for a rock like this on your next hike around pegmatites!


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