The Mineral bytownite
Bytownite is a rarer form of feldspar, more commonly seen as a faceted gemstone then as a collectors mineral. It is usually translucent without a crystal form. Some other forms of feldspar, especially the transparent yellow form of Orthoclase, are faceted and incorrectly labeled as Bytownite.
Bytownite belongs to the Plagioclase Feldspar group, an
isomorphous solid solution series. Albite is one member,
containing sodium and no calcium. The other end member, Anorthite,
contains calcium and no sodium. Bytownite is an intermediary
member of this series. Bytownite is considered by some authorities as a
variety of Anorthite rather then a separate mineral. The acclaimed
Dana's System of
Mineralogy lists Bytownite as an individual mineral,
whereas the IMA does not recognize it as individual mineral
species, but rather a sodium-rich variety of Anorthite.
Colorless, white, cream, pale yellow, yellow-brown, brown, gray
6 - 6.5
Transparent to translucent
2.72 - 2.74
Vitreous. Pearly on cleavage surfaces.
2,1 - basal ; 2,1 - prismatic ; 3,1 - pinacoidal. The cleavage angle is about 90º.
Conchoidal to uneven
Rarely occurs in crystals, which are tabular and usually twinned. Most often massive, grainy, and as compact crystal groupings. Also as blocky crystal fragments.
The yellow and brown transparent forms of Bytownite are faceted as a rare feldspar gemstone.
Bytownite is a rare mineral, and occurs in many scattered localities usually lacking specimens of interest. It is named after the locality of Bytown, which was the old name for Ottawa (the capitol of Canada) where this mineral was first described. Only a handful of old specimens are noted from this locality. Bytownite occurrences include the Dorado Mine, Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, Mexico; Santiago Papasquiaro, Durango, Mexico; Plush, Lake Co., Oregon; and the vicinity of Pueblo Creek, Gila National Forest, Catron Co., New Mexico.
Common Mineral Associations
Quartz, Muscovite, Biotite, Hornblende
Distingushing Similar Minerals
Several minerals can be confused with Bytownite, but the localities and cleavage can usually distinguish it from all other minerals.