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Albite Feldspar Mineral Information

(Including the albite feldspar variety Cleavelandite)

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Albite (NaAlSi3O8) is the pure Na (sodium) feldspar. In the earth's crust, feldspars are more abundant than all other minerals combined. The majority of the common feldspars fall into two groups, the alkali feldspars (KAlSi3O8 through NaAlSi3O8 series), and the plagioclase feldspars (NaAlSi3O8 through CaAl2Si2O8 series). Albite is an end member in each of these series.

At high temperatures, the alkali feldspar specimens form a continuous solid solution series, however at medium to low crystalization temperatures the sodium feldspar (albite) and potassium feldspar (microcline or orthoclase) separate forming lattice type exsolution intergrowths, usually as thin layers of albite roughly parallel to {100} in a host crystal of microcline or orthoclase. This is known as perthitic texture. In Adularia, an unusually pure variety of the potassium feldspars microcline and orthoclase, an iridescent luster known as moonstone is is sometimes present. This iridescense (also known as adularescence) is due to diffused light reflection from microscopic parallel intergrowths of albite and orthoclase.

The plagioclase feldspars form in a basically continuous solid solution series from pure sodium to pure calcium end members as follows: albite - oligoclase - andesine - labradorite - bytownite - anorthite. The calcium rich plagioclase feldspars are the first to begin crystalizing from molten rock at higher temperatures, thereby concentrating sodium in the melt as the temperature decreases. Thus, in low temperature final crystaliztion phases (such as granitic pegmatites), the last plagioclase feldspar to crystalize would be the sodium end member albite.

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Cleavelandite Mineral Specimen

Albite is characteristic of low-grade regional and contact metamorphic rocks (greenschist, zeolite, and albite-epidote hornfels facies). It is generally the last of the feldspars to crystalize in igneous rocks. Albite commonly occurs in pegmatites as anhedral to euhedral crystals. It also can form in pegmatites as the platy albite variety cleavelandite, often with smoky quartz, and it is sometimes accompanied by rare, late-stage pegmatitic gem minerals such as tourmalines, spodumenes and beryls (aquamarine, heliodor, and morganite).

Albite can be distinguished from other plagioclase feldspars by its specific gravity and refractive index. Plagioclase feldspars can be distinguished from most other common feldspars by the presence of albite twin striations. In the field, albite is recognizable by its occurance, albite twin striations, crystal habit, color and transparency.

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The name albite comes from the latin word albus meaning white, refering to the mineral's color. Feldspar is derived from the German word feld which means field.

Albite is used commercially in ceramics. It is ground very fine and mixed with kaolin and quartz. Upon heating, the feldspar fuses and acts as a cement binding the materials together. Fused feldspar also is the main constituent in the glaze on porcelain. Sometimes feldspar is also used to supply alumina in the manufacture of glass.

The astrological sign of albite is aquarius.

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Albite is said to enhance clarity of thought and improve one's ability to cooperate with others in a tactful manner. Albite is also said to give courage and confidence when confronting the unknown.

Albite is said to be helpfull in treating eye disorders, circulatory restrictions and muscular ailments.

For more in-depth metaphysical information, see our Metaphysical Books section.

This is the end of our Albite Factsheet and Information page.

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Last Updated: October 15th, 2023
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