Gems and Minerals – Baryte #21

About– The mineral Baryte, or barite, (BaSO4) consists of barium sulfate. It is often associated with the minerals Anglesite and Celestine. It has also been identified in meteorites. Baryte is generally colorless however it may take on the color of the host mineral. Most baryte is ground to a small, uniform size and used as a filler or extender, before adding to industrial products or as a weighting agent in the mud used in petroleum drilling. Baryte commonly occurs in limestones lead-zinc veins in hot spring deposits with hematite ore.

History – Baryte has a radiating form referred to as Bologna Stone. The alchemists in the 17th century found phosphorescent specimens near Bologna by Vincenzo Casciarolo. The name baryte comes from the Greek word βαρύς meaning “heavy”. The American spelling of barite was adopted in 1959 by the International Mineralogical Association. It was later recommended by the Mineralogical Society of America to return to the former spelling of Baryte in 1978.

Location- Baryte has been found worldwide in conjunction with other minerals. Large barite crystals have been found in Nevada in the US, in Perthshire, Scotland; and in many of the following locations: Brazil, Nigeria, Canada, Chile, China, India, Greece, Guatemala, Iran, Ireland, Liberia, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Romania, Turkey, South Africa, Thailand, UK. It is also mined stateside in Arkansas, Connecticut, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Nevada and Missouri. Baryte with Cerussite is found in Morocco deep in the ocean.  Baryte has oxygen in its sediments and has been used to help maintain paleotemperatures in the oceanic crust.

Folklore -Folklore – Metaphysically it is believed that barite helps to heal the Earth. It is said to aide in dreamwork eliminating restraint, enhances friendship, harmony, and love.  and Barite is mined extensively as the only source of barium metal and barium compounds.  A native American legend states that Oklahoma rose rocks were formed from the blood of the Indians on the Trail of Tears. In fact, Baryte Rose Rocks date back 250 million years to the Permian Period. At that time western and central Oklahoma was covered by a shallow sea. Barite precipitated out of the water and crystallized around grains of quartz sand as the sea retreated.  Large formations of reddish sandstone were left behind which contained deposits of rose rock.” (From Wikipedia: Desert Rose).  Barite roses are also said to be used to establish a connection to the spiritual realms and in ancestor work.

Care & Uses-Historically Baryte was used to produce barium hydroxide for sugar refining, and pigment for textiles, paper, and paint. Baryte is not considered to be toxic but is a “heavy” metal. It may flake or chip and is often fragile and threadlike. Clean by brushing gently with a soft toothbrush. Do not use cleansers as it may damage the crystals. It should be stored in a jewelry bag to avoid scratches, chipping, and general damage to the crystals. It is very sensitive to heat and prolonged exposure to the sun.

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