HISTORY, NAME, LOCALITIES: Mineralogists recognized stellerite, pronounced STELL-er-ite, as a mineral species in 1903 and named it for the German naturalist Georg Wilhelm Steller (1709-1746). Stellerite is rare; although widely distributed, it has few sources of fine specimens. The finest specimens come from India’s Maharashtra state. Other localities are found in Russia, Japan, Australia, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, and the United States (Maine, New Mexico, Oregon, California, New Jersey).
MINERALOGY, PROPERTIES, OCCURRENCE: Stellerite [hydrous calcium aluminosilicate, Ca4(Al8Si28O72)·28H2O] is a zeolite mineral that crystallizes in the orthorhombic system, usually as radiating, rounded nodules or sheaf-like aggregates of thin, platy, dipyramidal crystals. It has a Mohs hardness of 4.5, perfect cleavage in one direction, and a specific gravity of 2.2. Stellerite is a secondary mineral that occurs almost exclusively in the amygdaloidal cavities of basaltic, volcanic rocks. It is translucent to transparent and usually white or colorless, although impurities can impart a range of pale hues.
METAPHYSICAL PROPERTIES, LORE, USES: Metaphysical practitioners believe that stellerite and other zeolite minerals temper negative energy with happiness, encourage stable connections between emotions and intellect, decrease brashness and laziness, and enhance mental clarity. Because of its rarity, stellerite has no technological uses. Because of its softness and small crystal size, it has no use as a gemstone.
COLLECTORS’ INFORMATION: Collectors value stellerite because of its rarity, unusual crystal habits, and occasional occurrence in composite specimens with other zeolite minerals.