Microlite

Big Photo

Mozambique
0.60 carats
© Rarestone.com

Microlite is named from Greek "mikro" - small, alluding to the minute size of the crystals in the original sample, that was found in Chesterfield, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, USA.

Microlite forms opaque to translucent pale yellow to brown, reddish or green crystals. Crystals up to 2 cms have been found. The material is often slightly radioactive because of the presence of rare earth elements in its composition.

Facet rough is seldom available. Attractive gems have been cut from orange-red material. A transparent garnet-red specimen found in 1885 was faceted into a stone resembling red zircon (Arem, Color Encyclopedia of Gemstones, second edition, 1987).

In mineralogy, microlite is the name given to a group of related minerals, themselves part of the larger pyrochlore supergroup.

Microlite Gemstones by Colour

This table shows the variety of hues this gemstone can be found in. Click on a photo for more information.
 
 
 

Microlite Gemstones by Size

This table shows distribution of Microlite gemstone sizes that are listed on this site. This can give a good indication as to the general availability of this gemstone in different sizes.
Contributed photos
Lightest:0.45 cts
Heaviest:0.66 cts
Average:0.55 cts
Total photos:6
Do you have a larger Microlite? Why not upload a photo?
0.45ct to 0.47ct0.47ct to 0.49ct0.49ct to 0.51ct0.51ct to 0.53ct0.53ct to 0.56ct0.56ct to 0.58ct0.58ct to 0.60ct0.60ct to 0.62ct0.62ct to 0.64ct0.64ct to 0.66ct
General Information
Other Names/Trade Names:
Chemical Formula
(Ca,Na)
 
2
Ta
 
2
O
 
6
(O,OH,F)
Michael O’Donoghue, Gems, Sixth Edition (2006)
More from other references
Photos of natural/un-cut material from mindat.org
Physical Properties of Microlite
Mohs Hardness5 to 5.5
Michael O’Donoghue, Gems, Sixth Edition (2006)
More from other references
Specific Gravity5.5
Michael O’Donoghue, Gems, Sixth Edition (2006) Normally about 5.5More from other references
Cleavage QualityIndistinct
Arthur Thomas, Gemstones (2009)
FractureSub-Conchoidal
Arthur Thomas, Gemstones (2009)
Optical Properties of Microlite
Refractive Index1.993 to 2.02
Michael O’Donoghue, Gems, Sixth Edition (2006)
More from other references
Optical CharacterIsotropic
Arthur Thomas, Gemstones (2009)
DispersionNil
Arthur Thomas, Gemstones (2009)
Colour
Colour (General)Pale yellow to brown, reddish or green
Michael O’Donoghue, Gems, Sixth Edition (2006)
More from other references
TransparencyTranslucent,Opaque
Michael O’Donoghue, Gems, Sixth Edition (2006)
More from other references
LustreVitreous,Resinous
Arthur Thomas, Gemstones (2009)
Crystallography of Microlite
Crystal SystemIsometric
Michael O’Donoghue, Gems, Sixth Edition (2006)
More from other references
HabitOctahedral
Michael O’Donoghue, Gems, Sixth Edition (2006)
More from other references
Geological Environment
Where found:Microlite occurs as a primary mineral in lithium-bearing granite pegmatites.
Michael O’Donoghue, Gems, Sixth Edition (2006)
Further Information
Mineral information:Microlite information at mindat.org
Significant Gem Localities
USA
 
  • Virginia
    • Amelia Co.
      • Amelia (Amelia Court House)
Gems, Sixth Edition, Michael O’Donoghue, 2006, p. 429
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