The Mineral vanadinite


Vanadinite is one of the most striking minerals, with its stunning bright-red and orange crystals that are perfectly formed and look almost surreal. This mineral is truly a marvel of nature.

Vanadinite is a member of the Apatite group, a group of isomorphous hexagonal minerals. It is similar in structure and appearance to Pyromorphite and Mimetite, and may be partially replaced by those minerals. The intermediary member between Mimetite and Vanadinite is known as Endlichite.

Vanadinite specimens from some localities may darken and lose transparency upon prolonged exposure to light, so this mineral should ideally be kept away from bright light.

Chemical Formula



Bright red, orange, brown, yellow-brown, yellow, greenish-brown, gray. Crystals may also be multicolored.

Crystal System



Light yellow
2.5 - 3
Transparent to opaque
Specific Gravity
6.7 - 7.2
Greasy to adamantine
Conchoidal to uneven

Crystal Habits

Occurs as prismatic and stubby hexagonal crystals, which are commonly partially hollow or may have a hopper growth pattern. Crystals are occasionally pyramidal. Also occurs as small hexagonal plates, as pyramidal clusters, as groups of bent or rounded crystals, fibrous, crusty, radiating, acicular, reniform, and mammilary.

3D Crystal Atlas

Additional Information

Lead chloro-vanadate. The vanadate radical (VO4) may be partially replaced by an arsenate radical (AsO4), thus forming a series with Mimetite.
In Group
Phosphates; Vanadates
Striking Features
Color and luster, crystal habits, and occurrences
As a secondary mineral in the oxidation zone of lead ore deposits.
Rock Type
Sedimentary, Metamorphic


 -   Intermediary member between Mimetite and Vanadinite. It is usually regarded as an arsenic-rich variety of Vanadinite. Its chemical formula is Pb5([V,As]O4)3Cl.


Vanadinite is an important ore of vanadium, and a minor ore of lead where it occurs with more abundant lead minerals. Its distinctive color makes it a very popular mineral among collectors.

Noteworthy Localities

Vanadinite would hardly be as famous if not for the outstanding locality of Mibladen, Morocco. This locality has by far produced the most outstanding crystals of beautiful color and form, and in great abundance. These crystals are usually dense forms of blood-red hexagonal plates.

Other Moroccan localities are Taouz, where it occurs on Goethite, and Touissit, where it occurs in yellowish crystals. Other African occurrences are Broken Hill, Zambia; and Abenab, Namibia, where it occurs in very large crystals that are coated with a thick ugly coating of brown Descloizite.

In Mexico, fine brown crystals come from Villa Ahumada, Sierra de Los Lamentos, Chihuahua. Also in Chihuahua is the Apex Mine, in San Carlos. Fine Endlichite comes from the Ojuela Mine, Mapimi, Durango.

In the U.S., Vanadinite is only significant in the state of Arizona. Classic Arizona occurrences are the Old Yuma Mine, Pima Co.; the Apache Mine, in the Globe-Miami District, Gila Co.; and the J.C. Holmes Claim, Patagonia, Santa Cruz Co. Other important Arizona localities are the North Geronimo Mine (aka Pure Potential Mine), Trigo Mts, La Paz Co.; the Rowley Mine, Theba, Maricopa Co.; the Mammoth-Saint Anthony Mine, Tiger, Pinal Co.; the Puzzler Mine, Castle Dome District, Yuma Co.; and the Hamburg Mine, Yuma Co.

Common Mineral Associations

Barite, Galena, Wulfenite, Calcite, Descloizite, Limonite, Goethite

Distingushing Similar Minerals

Pyromorphite - Usually greener in color.. Otherwise cannot be distinguished with simple methods.
Mimetite - Usually redder in color. Otherwise cannot be distinguished with simple methods.
Apatite - Harder (5).
Red Beryl - Much harder (7½ - 8), only occurs in one distinctive locality.


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