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Also known as castorite, petalite is a rare silicate that is noted as an important ore for the extraction of lithium. In addition, it is also used as an ingriedient within clay bodies and ceramic glazes, where it helps to protect against thermal shock.

The rarely encountered faceted gemstones are almost always colorless, but material can also be found with very light pink, gray or yellow tints. While crystals from Brazil, Namibia and western Australia can grow to reasonably large sizes and are usually fairly free of inclusions, petalite possesses a perfect cleavage in one direction which negatively impacts both its durability and ease-of-cutting. In fact, this basal cleavage is what gave the mineral its name after its discovery in Sweden during the eighteenth century, with it having been derived from the Greek for “leaf”, petalos.

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