Vanadinite forms as vibrant, ruby-red, orange and/or brown crystals in oxidation zones of lead deposits. It forms barrel-shaped, hexagonal crystals that can be both tabular and slightly elongated, and in some cases it can form hair-like crystals. Beautiful, Vanadinite specimens frequently are found in Morocco and Arizona.
Vanadinite forms as a secondary mineral in the oxidation zones of lead deposits. Some of the known deposits of vanadinite include localities within South Africa, the United States, Mexico, Morocco, Austria, Namibia, Scotland and Spain.
Mibladen, Morocco is a well known for its vanadinite deposits. The crystals that are produced in this location range from red to brown in color and are also known for their size. This area is said to produce the most beautiful vanadinite crystals compared to anywhere else in the world.
The Western Union Mine in Mohave County, Arizona (United States) produces elongated vanadinite crystals that display a prismatic, bi-pyramidal structure and are typically red-orange in color. Their color and luster doesn't necessarily compare to the crystals out of Morocco, however their structure is definitely unique.
Crystals Similar To Vanadinite
Arsenatian Vanadinite - A variety of vanadinite that contains a combination of both arsenic and vanadium within the crystal lattice. These crystals are typically brown, tan, brown-yellow or dull orange in color.
Pyromorphite - Very similar to vanadinite in crystal structure, though these crystals are typically vibrant green, yellow, orange-yellow, brown and in rare cases colorless. The chemical formula, while very similar to vanadinite (Pb5(VO4)3Cl), substitutes phosphorous in place of vanadium (Pb5(PO4)3Cl).
Mimetite - A yellow to green (sometimes colorless) mineral that has a very similar crystal structure and formula to vanadinite. Mimetite has arsenic substituted for vanadium in the crystal's structure, yielding the chemical formula Pb5(AsO4)3Cl.
Is Vanadinite Toxic?
The lead and vanadium in the vanadinite can be harmful if absorbed into the blood stream by inhalation or ingestion, so the grinding of vanadinite into dust (often occurring naturally during the mining process) is quite dangerous. A specimen of vanadinite sitting on your shelf is not going to pose a health hazard. But, it would be recommended to wash your hands after handling the material, and please refrain from licking it no matter how tempting it may be.
Does The Color Of Vanadinite Fade?
Vanadinite from some localities has been known to fade and darken when exposed to excessive sunlight. While not all vanadinite crystals react the same way, it's suggested that they should be kept in a shaded location that doesn't receive too much sunlight throughout the day.
Other Information About Vanadinite.
Vanadinite is composed of roughly 73.2% Lead(Pb), 10.8% Vanadium(V), 13.5% Oxygen(O) and 2.5% Chlorine(Cl).
The chemical formula of vanadinite is Pb5(VO4)3Cl.
While vanadium and lead can be extracted from vanadinite crystals, their value is primarily based on their aesthetics.
Earns its name from vanadium, an element that makes up a portion of the crystal's chemical composition.
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