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