Celestine Mineral Specimen
HISTORY, NAME, LOCALITIES: Celestine, pronounced SELL-ess-teen, has been known since antiquity, but was confused with other evaporite minerals until the late 1700s. Its name comes from the Latin caelestis, meaning “of the sky” or “celestial,” an allusion to its pale blue color. Celestine is widely distributed with notable collecting localities found in Madagascar, England, Mexico, Spain, Canada, and the United States (Ohio, Virginia, New York, Texas, New Mexico).
MINERALOGY, PROPERTIES, OCCURRENCE: Celestine [strontium sulfate, SrSO4] crystallizes in the orthorhombic system as thick-to-thin, tabular or elongate crystals. Crystals are transparent to translucent with a vitreous luster and are usually colored a pale blue with prominent color zoning. Celestine, the most abundant strontium-containing mineral, has a Mohs hardness of 3.0-3.5, perfect cleavage in one direction, and a specific gravity of 3.9-4.0. It is an evaporite mineral that forms in enclosed basins from evaporation of mineral-rich water. It also occurs in disseminated form in limestone.
METAPHYSICAL PROPERTIES, LORE, USES: According to metaphysical tradition, celestine enhances personal creative expression, reduces stress, provides peace of mind, furthers higher states of awareness, and aids in recalling dreams and communicating with the spiritual world. Celestine is the primary ore of strontium. It is occasionally faceted into collectors’ gems.
COLLECTORS’ INFORMATION: Collectors value celestine for its unusual strontium chemistry; soft, blue colors; and distinctive crystal shapes. It is most desirable in composite specimens in association with elemental sulfur.