HISTORY, NAME, LOCALITIES: Mineralogists first discovered aegirine, pronounced AGE-er-een, in Norway in the 1790s and recognized it as a distinct mineral species in 1835. Its name is derived from Ægir, the Norse god of the seas and all sea creatures. Although aegirine is widespread, localities with collectible specimens are few. Important sources are found in Malawi, Russia, Norway, Canada, and the United States (Arkansas, California). Malawi is the leading source of specimens.
MINERALOGY, PROPERTIES, OCCURRENCE: Aegirine [sodium iron silicate, NaFeSi2O6] is an inosilicate or single-chain silicate that crystallizes in the monoclinic system as long, tapered prismatic crystals that opaque, jet-black, and heavily striated. It has a Mohs hardness of 6.0-6.5, perfect cleavage in two directions, a vitreous luster, and a specific gravity of 3.5-3.6. Its black color and opacity are due to its high iron content. Aegirine occurs primarily in nepheline syenite pegmatites in association with quartz, microcline, and goethite.
METAPHYSICAL PROPERTIES, LORE, USES: According to modern metaphysical practitioners, aegirine protects against negative energy, enhances the ability to cope with group pressure, strengthens personal integrity and convictions, and increases the healing energies of other minerals. Aegirine has no technological uses.
COLLECTOR’S INFORMATION: Aegerine is collected for the rarity of highly developed crystals; the distinctive shape of its long, heavily striated, prismatic crystals; and its jet-black opacity that creates striking color contrasts with matrix minerals.