Epidote is one of the most highly valued display minerals. The most desirable form of Epidote is in elongated crystals that are quite lustrous and often clustered. It is a calcium iron aluminum silicate mineral, generally some shade of green in color but sometimes might be black. Epidote forms a series with Clinozoisite. In that series, the iron in Epidote is substituted by aluminum toward the Clinozoisite end member. Hardness is 6 – 7 on the Moh’s Scale. Crystals usually have a vitreous luster.
Epidote crystals form in the Monoclinic Crystal System, Prismatic class. Crystals often occur in long slender prismatic or thick tabular shapes. Other habits include columnar reticulated, acicular, radiating, fan-shaped, and wheat sheaf crystal groups. Additionally displays as long, slender fragile interconnected crystal groupings.
Epidote occurs in several different environments. The mineral is found in hornfels and skarns in contact with metamorphic rocks and metamorphosed limestone. Epidote is also located in schists of regional metamorphic rock. It also occurs in igneous rock is basalt and diabase and occasionally in granite pegmatites.
Rock forming epidosite and Unakite
Epidote is also a rock-forming mineral. Two rock types that contain significant amounts of epidote are epidosite and unakite. Epidosite occurs as a metamorphic rock composed mainly of epidote with small amounts of quartz. Unakite is a rock that forms from the metamorphism of granite. Epidote alters Less-resistant minerals in the granite or replaced, with the orthoclase and quartz remaining creating Unakite. It is a popular pink and green-colored rock. Unakite was first discovered in the Unakas Mountains of North Carolina, from which its name is derived. Unakite is popular in the lapidary trade. It is considered to be a semiprecious stone. The bright pink and pistachio green colors are very unusual and attract attention. Unakite is often used to make beads, ornamental objects, and cut into cabochons.
Localities of note
In Europe, the classic Epidote locality is in the Austrian Alps. Those found in Knappenwand in the Untersulzbach Valley, occur as highly regarded large sharp and lustrous crystals. Two other classic localities in the Alps are Wallis, Switzerland; and Le Bourg d’Oisans, Isère, France.
Some of the most outstanding Epidote crystals come from Pakistan, in the Tormiq valley, Skardu District, and in Alchuria and Hachupa in the Shigar Valley. A new location is the Raskoh Mountains, Kharan, in Balochistan Province. There occur Lustrous crystals from a limited find described from Kuh-e Khorram, Zagros Mountains, Markazi Province, Iran. In China, excellent wedge-shaped crystals come from Handan, Hebei Province; and small sparkling grass-green crystals from the Hongquizhen Quarry, Sichuan Province.
Dark crystals associated with Prehnite are abundant in the Kayes Region, Mali; and large sharp crystals came from an undisclosed location in Northeastern Kenya. Small crystals and fan-shaped aggregates are from Imilchil, in the Atlas Mountains, Morocco; and sharp crystal clusters from Rehoboth, Hardap Region, Namibia. Beautiful tapering Epidote crystals come from Capelinha, in the Jequitinhonha valley, Minas Gerais, Brazil; and fine dark sprays from Rosario Mabel, Pampa Blanca, Peru. In Mexico, classic specimens came from San Quintin, Baja California Norte.
The most famous and productive Epidote locality in the United States is Green Monster Mountain. Located on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska, where dark lustrous Epidote crystals occur in very large crystals. Large dark green to nearly black crystals come from Garnet Hill, Calaveras County, California; and good crystals from several deposits in Death Valley, Inyo, California. Other important localities include Hawthorne and the Julie Claim, Mineral County, Nevada; the Calumet Iron Mine, Chaffee County, Colorado; the Oxford Quarry, Warren County, New Jersey; and the Belvidere Mountain quarries, Lowell/Eden, Orleans & Lamoille Counties, Vermont.
Metaphysical Properties (from Book of Stones by Simmons and Ahsian): Epidote is a Water and Earth element that assists one in transmuting density into energy. Epidote assists in releasing patterns of negativity from the emotional body. It can help those who habitually use judgment, sarcasm, or other expressions of negativity to raise the energy of their emotional bodies to more positive, enlightened levels. Epidote can help one find the core patterns behind the physical disease and can assist one in moving into a hopeful and positive emotional state to support general healing. It aids in dissolving blockages, tumors, cysts and other manifestations of energetic density.