Skip to main content
Geosciences LibreTexts

16.22: Barite

  • Page ID
    4358
  • Barite (Baryte)
    Chemical composition BaSO4
    Crystal system Orthorhombic
    Habit Tabular parallel to base, fibrous, nodular to massive
    Cleavage Perfect cleavage parallel to base and prism faces: {001} Perfect, {210} Perfect, {010} Imperfect
    Fracture Irregular/uneven
    Hardness 3-3.5
    Optic nature biaxial +
    Refractive index nα = 1.634–1.637
    nβ = 1.636–1.638
    nγ = 1.646–1.648
    Birefringence 0.012
    Specific gravity 4.3–5
    Lustre Vitreous to pearly
    Diagnostic Features High specific gravity, characteristic cleavage and crystals

    File:Barite.jpg

    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Faceted Barite 19.35cts.
    Courtesy of Egor Gavrilenko


    Barite,(BaSO4) is a mineral consisting of barium sulfate. It is generally white or colorless, and is the main source of barium.
    It is never used in jewelry because of it's extremely low hardness and distinct cleavage, which makes it very difficult to fashion as a gem.
    Barite (spelled baryte in British publications) was named from the Greek word baros which means weighty, a reference to its unusually high specific gravity.
    It can occasionally be found in esoteric gem collections as a rare curiosity.

    File:Barite xls1.jpg

    Figure \(\PageIndex{2}\): Barite Crystals with Calcite, Locality: Northumberland, Nye County, NV
    Collection of Barbra Voltaire