1 in stock
Desert Rose # 6
Location: Hassi Masshoud,Algeria
Size : 2 1/2″ x 1 ”
Price: $5.00 ( comes with display stand )
Selenite, satin spar, desert rose, and gypsum flower are four varieties of the mineral gypsum; all four varieties show obvious crystalline structure. The four “crystalline” varieties of gypsum are sometimes grouped together and called selenite.
All varieties of gypsum, including selenite and alabaster, are composed of calcium sulfate dihydrate (meaning has two molecules of water), with the chemical formula CaSO4·2H2O. Selenite contains no significant selenium; the similarity of names comes from both substances being named from the Ancient Greek word for the Moon.
The etymology of selenite is through Middle English selinete, from Latin selenites, from Greek selēnitēs (lithos), literally, moonstone or stone of the moon, from selēnē (Moon). The ancients had a belief that certain transparent crystals waxed and waned with the moon. From the 15th century, “selenite” has referred specifically to the variety of gypsum that occurs in transparent crystals or crystalline masses
Though sometimes grouped together as “selenite”, the four crystalline varieties have differences. General identifying descriptions of the related crystalline varieties are:
- rosette shaped gypsum with outer druse of sand or with sand throughout – most often sand colored (in all the colors that sand can exhibit)
- the desert rose name can also be applied to barite desert roses (another related sulfate mineral) – barite is a harder mineral with higher density
- rosette shaped gypsum with spreading fibers – can include outer druse
- the difference between desert roses and gypsum flowers is that desert roses look like roses, whereas gypsum flowers form a myriad of shapes
Because of the long history of the commercial value and use of both gypsum and alabaster, the four crystalline varieties have been somewhat ignored, except as a curiosity or as rock collectibles
Crystal habit refers to the shapes that crystals exhibit
Selenite crystals commonly occur as tabular, reticular, and columnar crystals, often with no imperfections or inclusions, and thereby can appear water or glass-like. Many collectible selenite crystals have interesting inclusions such as, accompanying related minerals, interior druse, dendrites, and fossils. In some rare instances, water was encased as a fluid inclusion when the crystal formed (see Peñoles Mine reference in external links).
Selenite crystals sometimes will also exhibit bladed rosette habit (usually transparent and like desert roses) often with accompanying transparent, columnar crystals. Selenite crystals can be found both attached to a matrix or base rock, but can commonly be found as entire free-floating crystals, often in clay beds (and as can desert roses).
Satin spar is almost always prismatic and fibrous in a parallel crystal habit. Satin spar often occurs in seams, some of them quite long, and is often attached to a matrix or base rock.
Desert roses are most often bladed, exhibiting the familiar shape of a rose, and almost always have an exterior druse. Desert roses are almost always unattached to a matrix or base rock.
Gypsum flowers are most often acicular, scaly, stellate, and lenticular. Gypsum flowers most often exhibit simple twinning (known as contact twins); where parallel, long, needle-like crystals, sometimes having severe curves and bends, will frequently form “ram’s horns”, “fishtail”, “arrow/spear-head”, and “swallowtail” twins. Selenite crystals can also exhibit “arrow/spear-head” as well as “duck-bill” twins. Both selenite crystals and gypsum flowers sometimes form quite densely in acicular mats or nets; and can be quite brittle and fragile. Gypsum flowers are usually attached to a matrix (can be gypsum) or base rock.
Gypsum occurs on every continent and is the most common of all the sulfate minerals.
Gypsum is formed as an evaporative mineral, frequently found in alkaline lake muds, clay beds, evaporated seas, salt flats, salt springs, and caves. Gypsum, also, is frequently found in conjunction with other minerals such as, copper ores, sulfur and sulfides, silver, iron ores, coal, calcite, dolomite, limestone, and opal. Gypsum has been dated to almost every geologic age since the Silurian Period 443.7 ± 1.5 Ma
In dry, desert conditions and arid areas, sand may become trapped both on the inside and the outside of gypsum crystals as they form. Interior inclusion of sand can take on shapes such as, an interior hourglass shape common to selenite crystals of the ancient Great Salt Plains Lake bed, Oklahoma, USA. Exterior inclusion (druse) occurs as embedded sand grains on the surface such as, commonly seen in the familiar desert rose.
When gypsum dehydrates severely, anhydrite is formed. If water is reintroduced, gypsum can and will reform – including as the four crystalline varieties. An example of gypsum crystals reforming in modern times is found at Philips Copper Mine (closed and abandoned), Putnam County, New York, USA where selenite micro crystal coatings are commonly found on numerous surfaces (rock and otherwise) in the cave and in the dump
Whereas geology, mineralogy, and rockhounding groups, clubs, and societies as well as museums usually date (of find and geologic), photograph, and note location of minerals, much of the retail mineral and jewellery trade can be somewhat casual about dates, locations, and descriptive claims.
|Dimensions||2 × 2 × 2 in|