Staff member
Jun 3, 2020
Apatite is a group of phosphate minerals with similar chemical compositions and physical properties. It is often mistaken for other minerals. It has a consistent hardness and is used as an index mineral for hardness 5 in Mohs scale. Apatite forms under wide variety of conditions and is found in igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. The most important deposits are in sedimentary rocks formed in marine and lacustrine environments. Moon rocks collected by astronauts during the Apollo program contain traces of apatite.

Apatite is an important constituent of phosphorite rock which is mined for its phosphorous content. The phosphorous is used to make fertilizers, animal feed supplements, acids and chemicals. Over 75% of the world's reserves of phosphate rock are located in Morocco and Western Sahara. Phosphate rock is the only material that can be used to produce enough fertilizer to satisfy world demand and in turn help farmers to produce enough food. Apatite is also used as gems. The specimens with good color and translucence are cut as Cabochons.


Physical Properties
Crystal SystemHexagonal
ColorGreen, brown, blue, yellow, violet, pink, colorless.
LusterVitreous to subresinous
CleavagePoor to indistinct
Mohs Scale Hardness5
DiaphaneityTransparent to translucent
Specific Gravity3.1 to 3.3
Chemical CompositionCa5(PO4)3(F,Cl,OH)
Diagnostic PropertiesColor, crystal form, and hardness.


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