This month we will be learning about the mineral, Epidote. Epidote is also the name of a group of silicate minerals that have similar compositional and structural characteristics. Epidote is the most common mineral in that group. Since it is a heart chakra stone, it seemed appropriate to have it be the star of the February newsletter!
The mineral, Epidote, is a calcium aluminum iron silicate with a Mohs hardness of 6 -7. Possible colors include yellow, yellowish-green, pistachio, green, greenish-black, and less so dark brown. Iron is what is responsible for the color in Epidote. The crystals occur in a columnar prism shape.
Due to the crystal structure, the mineral is quite fragile and rarely cut into gemstones. Epidote, due to its perfect cleavage, may easily fracture or chip. It is rarely made into rings or bracelets for this reason. Ultrasonic cleaners and steamers are also discouraged where Epidote is concerned.
Epidote has little if any usage other than as gemstones or as part of a mineral collection. It is rare to find gem-quality specimens, but it is considered to be a semiprecious stone. Epidote is sometimes mistaken for Tourmaline. The cleavage of Epidote is however different as Tourmaline has a hexagonal or triangular cross-section. Transparent crystals, which often exhibit pleochroism (appears to have different colors depending on the angle from which it is viewed), are the most valuable. Epidote is typically left untreated and unenhanced.
Epidote was first identified as a separate mineral at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Until that time, it was thought to be the mineral Actinolite. When it combines with Red Felspar, it is given the name Unakite, which was first discovered in the Unakas Mountains of North Carolina. There are also different varieties of Epidote, such as the pink version called Hancockite (also known as Epidote – (Pb)) named after a mineral collector who specialized in New York and New Jersey minerals. Harvard’s Mineralogical Museum bought his collection in 1916 and has loaned it to the New York State Museum in Albany.
Formed during metamorphism and hydrothermal activity, Epidote is commonly found in Basalts and Gabbros that are metamorphosed. It may, however also, be found in Schists and Marbles where it formed as a vug or vein filling. Several Wisconsin counties have Epidote in various forms and combinations. The counties include Ashland, Bayfield, Douglas, Forest, Iron, Marinette, Marathon, Oconto, Oneida, Price, Polk, and Washburn.
Locations, where Epidote is found, include Austria, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, the Czech Republic, China, England, Finland, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Madagascar, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia. Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Russia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Tasmania, and the United States (Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin).
Metaphysical Properties: Epidote is helpful for those who are stuck in cycles of stress, depression, anxiety, hopelessness, self-pity, negative thinking, victim mode, or martyrdom. Since this crystal dissolves stagnant or blocked energies, it helps one feel lighter in body as well as emotionally. This is a stone to ease into using, however, as it is like a mirror. What is in your life will be reflected back to you. If you embody love, you will receive love. However, if you are jealous or judgmental, you will have those things thrown at you. Epidote embodies the saying “no pain, no gain” as it forcefully brings about change. These changes may be key to one having a spiritual awakening by focusing on compassion, positive thoughts, energies, and patterns.