Scheelite

SCHEELITE

Scheelite, a WO mineral, is an important ore mineral for the element Tungsten (W). A well-known among collectors for its distinctly colored crystals associated with brilliant fluorescence. It is a calcium tungstate mineral with the formula CaWO4 (calcium, tungsten, and oxygen). Scheelite named after the Swedish chemist Karl Wilhelm Scheele (1742-1786). Scheele known credited with the discovery of tungsten within the Scheelite.

Scheelite Mineral Group

Scheelite itself belongs to the Mineral Group of the same name. This Group is composed of tetragonal molybdates and tungstates with the cation usually being calcium or lead (Ca, Pb) and the anion being molybdenum or tungsten (Mo, W). Other members of this group include powellite, stolzite, and wulfenite. Scheelite forms a series (as the W end-member) with Powellite (the molybdenum (Mo) end-member).

This mineral is rarely seen as faceted gems. With scheelite’s high dispersion and refractive indices, the right gem design can create sparkly gems with high brilliance. However, the combination of low hardness (4.5-5), distinct and good cleavage, and brittle tenacity makes scheelites very difficult to facet.

Scheelite belongs to the Tetragonal Crystal System, Dipyramidal Class. The crystals usually found as dipyramidal or pseudo-octahedral crystals. Crystals often have triangular growth layers. Aggregates forms include encrusting, grainy, and massive. Scheelite is discovered in contact with metamorphic deposits, in granite pegmatites, and in high-temperature veins.

Natural mineral scheelite on a stand on white background

Physical Properties

The color can be bright orange, various shades of yellow, brown, smoky brown, and tan. Rarely white, colorless, grayish-blue, purple, or pink. Scheelite often color-zoned on occasion. Scheelite fluoresces under shortwave ultraviolet light. The mineral glows a bright sky-blue. The presence of molybdenum trace impurities occasionally results in a green glow. Fluorescence of the mineral, sometimes associated with native gold, is used by geologists in the search for gold deposits.

Physical Properties: Hardness is 4.5-5 on the Moh’s Scale. This is heavy with a specific gravity of 5.9-6.1. Luster is adamantine, vitreous, or greasy. Tenacity is brittle.

Where Scheelite is found

Noteworthy Localities: The finest crystals, often as bright orange pseudo-octahedrons on a Muscovite matrix, come from Mt. Xuebaoding, in Pingwu, Sichuan Province, China. Smoky crystals come from the Yaogangxian Mine, Chenzhou, Hunan Province, China. Outstanding sharply crystallized pseudo-octahedral Scheelite crystals came from the Tae Hwa Mine, Neungam-ri, South Korea. Bright orange, sharp crystals, resembling those of Pingwu, at Gharmung, in the Skardu District, Pakistan.

A uniquely colored, dark grayish-blue form of this mineral came from Baia Sprie (Felsöbánya), Maramures, Romania; and fleshy-colored dipyramidal crystals from Traversella, Torino Province, Italy. A deep orange Scheelite came from the Morro Velho Mine, Nova Lima, Minas Gerais, Brazil; and extremely large crystals were found in the Turmalina Mine, Piura, Peru.

In the United States, brownish-orange floater crystals in the Cohen Mine, Cochise County, Arizona. Brown, smoky crystals came from Camp Bird Mine, Ouray, Ouray County, Colorado; and unique white and colorless crystals came from the Greenhorn Mountains, Kern County, California. White to light yellow Scheelite is well-known from Trumbull, Fairfield County, Connecticut.

Metaphysical Properties

(from healingcrystals.com): Scheelite seen to align all the chakras by keeping you grounded through the Root chakra while, at the same time, stimulating the Crown chakra, thereby enhancing your spiritual and mental awareness.  In this way, Scheelite helps balance your higher self with your inner self while bringing a sense of balance between both worlds. The energy of Scheelite is one that instills mental balance. It also covers the body in energy of well-being and mental clarity. It helps to bring energy to the body when you start to feel fatigued and run down.

Scheelite also helps you to understand and get rid of any negative behaviors you may have, helping you to see the bigger picture and understand others and their motives from a place of non-judgment and understanding. Scheelite gives off warm energy to the body – especially the heart – while opening it up to learning how to forgive and accept forgiveness. Well known as a good crystal for emotional balance to keep our emotions in check during times of change and confrontation, helping you to say what needs to be noted while remaining calm and detached from the situation and outcome.

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Article by Bill Jones, Sidewinder Minerals

Scheelite with muscovit mica
Scheelite with muscovit mica
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