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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Calcite

This fancy cut calcite from Mexico exhibits a pale pink color as well as the double refraction and dispersion typically seen in calcite gems.
Photo by Greg Polley. Click to zoom.
Catalog Number NMNH G11682-00
Locality Mexico
Weight 27.95 ct

Gift of Tiffany & Co. Foundation in 2018.

Calcite is a very common and widespread mineral with many forms and colors. Typically it is transparent to opaque and white or colorless, however due to impurities, it can occur in shades of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, brown, gray and even black. Found in most geologic settings in one form or another, it is most common as massive material in sedimentary rocks such as limestone. Because calcite, a calcium carbonate, is relatively fragile and soft (3 on the Mohs scale of hardness), it is not usually an important gem mineral but more of a collector’s stone. This fancy cut calcite from Mexico exhibits a pale pink color as well as the double refraction and dispersion typically seen in calcite gems.

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