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Gemstones 250x250

The Mineral aegirine

Single Aegirine Clinopinacoid

Aegirine is a member of the pyroxene group, and forms a series with the mineral Augite. It is well known for its long slender crystals with very distinctive terminations, and some of the more lustrous forms of this mineral are true classics. Aegirine was named by Norweigan mineralogist Hans Morten Thrane Esmark (1801–1882). Esmark named this mineral after Aegir, a mythical Norse sea god, in recognition of the discovery of Aegirine near the sea.

Chemical Formula

NaFeSi2O6

Color

Black, brown, dark green, reddish black

Crystal System

Monoclinic

Properties

Streak
Light gray
Hardness
6 - 6.5
Transparency
Opaque. Translucent in thin splinters.
Specific Gravity
3.5 - 3.6
Luster
Vitreous
Cleavage
1,2; Prismatic at cleavage angles of 87º and 93º (characteristic of minerals in the pyroxene group).
May also exhibit parting in one direction.
Fracture
Uneven, splintery
Tenacity
Brittle

Crystal Habits

As long, thin, prismatic or bladed crystals, usually with a pointed pyramid on top (clinopinacoidal), and very often embedded in a matrix. Fibrous masses, radiating acicular sprays, and interlocking thin prismatic crystals are also common. May also be in reticulated masses and in grainy aggregates embedded in a matrix. Crystals are often striated lengthwise, and doubly terminated crystals are occasionally found.

3D Crystal Atlas

Additional Information

Composition
Sodium iron silicate
In Group
Silicates; Inosilicates; Pyroxene Group
Striking Features
Unusually steep crystals and environment
Environment
An important mineral nepheline syenite pegmatites, also in metamorphosed schist and gneiss.

Uses

The steep, prismatic, well-shaped specimens are valued by collectors.

Noteworthy Localities

Aegirine comes from Norway at Ovre Eiker and Kongsberg in Buskerud; and at Langesunfjord in Telemark and Vestfold. Other well-know Aegirine occurrences are the Khibiny Massif in the Kola Peninsula of Russia; Narssarssuk Greenland; and Pocos de Caldas, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Some of the most outstanding crystals of Aegirine, in lustrous slender crystals often perched on a matrix come from Mt. Malosa, Zomba District, Malawi.

In the U.S., the premier Aegirine locality is Magnet Cove, Garland Co., Arkansas, where slender crystals can be found crisscrossing in a light colored matrix. In Canada, outstanding specimens, often associated with rare minerals, comes from the quarries at Mont St. Hilaire, Quebec. Also recently producing fine specimens is the nearby Demix-Varennes quarry in Varennes, Quebec.

Common Mineral Associations

Albite, Nepheline, Quartz, Microcline, Sodalite, Biotite, Augite, Arfvedsonite, Riebeckite, Eudialyte

Distingushing Similar Minerals

Augite - Lacks steep pyramidal crystals.
Tourmaline - Lacks steep pyramidal crystals, harder.
Arfvedsonite - Can be very difficult to distinguish, though lacks steep pyramidal crystals.


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