Colorless, blue and very rarely pink
Optic Character: DR
of Color: Charge
transfer involving Fe and Ti
LW; Strong chalky blue SW
: Concoidal to
Cleavage : One
dispersion, color zoning, strong pleochroism, high birefringence
San Benito County, California, USA
(only known source)
(barium titanium silicate)
is a very rare mineral that was discovered in 1907 in San
Benito County in California. It has never been found elsewhere.
It was originally mistaken for sapphire. Benitoite is very
highly dispersive (the ability to take white light and disperse
it into various components of the spectrum). Benitoite is
associated with other rare minerals such as black-red neptunite,
snow white natrolite and brown-yellow joaquinite. Since
the only source of this rare combination occurres at San
Benito, California, it has been designated the California
state gemstone. Crystals, and cut stones, tend to be small
and quite expensive!
Benitoite is highly fluorescent.
The Gemology Project: Benitoite