Witherite Gemstone & Information | Gemopedia by JTV | Gemopedia™

Witherite

This gem was named in 1790 for William Withering, the English physician and naturalist that first described the mineral. This mineral is rarely faceted due to the scarcity of gem-quality rough and also because witherite dust (a primary component of rat poison) is toxic if inhaled. Cut gems are very small and are typically white or colorless.

Colors

Yellowish-White, Pale Green To Colorless

  • Witherite classification

    CommonName
    Witherite
    Species
    Witherite
    Variety
    Colors
    Yellowish-White, Pale Green To Colorless
    AlternateNames
    GemstoneGroups
    Aragonite
    KeySeparations
    RI and appearance.
    ClassificationComments
    Witherite dust is toxic if inhaled and always wash your hands after handling. Stones are always twinned.
  • Witherite chemistry & crystallography

    ChemicalName
    barium carbonate
    ChemicalFormula
    BaCO3
    Synthesis
    CrystalSystem
    Orthorhombic
    ChemistryClassification
    Carbonate
    Nature
    Natural
    Crystallinity
    Crystalline
    ChemistryComments
  • Witherite optical properties

    Transparency
    Transparent - Opaque
    Dispersion
    Strength: weak fire
    OpticalComments
    RefractiveIndex
    1.529-1.677
    Birefringence
    0.148
    OpticCharacter
    Biaxial
    OpticSign
    Negative
    PolariscopeReaction
    Doubly Refractive (DR)
    Fluorescence
    SWUV: Moderate bluish white or violet
    LWUV: Strong bluish white
    CCFReaction
    Pleochroism
    Unobservable
  • Witherite characteristic physical properties

    Hardness
    3-3.5
    CharacteristicComments
    Streak
    White
    SpecificGravity
    4.27-4.79
    Toughness
    Poor
    Inclusions
    Witherite has a sleepy appearance.
    Luster
    Vitreous
    Stability
    Poor
    Fracture
    Uneven
    Cleavage
    Good, in one direction, Poor, in two directions