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                           Mineral of the Month--April


                                       Hydrous Aluminum Phosphate

                              AlPO4 H2O

                   Variscite: Cousin of Turquoise

               By Ken Casey

Chemistry & Science
Members' Gallery
Article Contributors
Photo & Graphics Credits
Suggested Reading
Invitation to Members
Past Minerals of the Month
VARISC1s.jpg (27157 bytes) variscite3.jpg (206849 bytes)

It has all but the copper of Turquoise...



...yet it rivals its green beauty!

(Top, right): Photo by Ken Casey 2006

(Top, left): Photo by Stan Celestian, Glendale Community College 2006


     In this month's installment, we will pay a brief visit to a bright green favorite: Variscite.
A relative to turquoise, we can appreciate its beauty in a great way by pictures. 

(Note: We have rescheduled Wayne Urion's article for June 2006.  So keep your eyes peeled!)



     Welcome to another Mineral Picfest! 

     This month, we are showing Variscite, a hydrous phosphate cousin to Turquoise.  What is
green, and cabs like turquoise?  Well, Variscite, of course.  Enjoy!


Chemistry & Science

     Green Variscite is akin to turquoise in that both are Aluminum Phosphates.  Turquoise is
a Hydrated Copper Aluminum Phosphate, which. differs from Variscite mainly by the presence
of copper.  It has a chemical formula of CuAl6(PO4)4(OH)8*5(H2O).

     It works much like turquoise.  For example, oil should not be used in cutting this gemstone,
as the porous material can absorb it, thus rendering your material near useless.

     In nature, Variscite can alter to Crandallite, along with other phosphate minerals, which is
seen as a whitish-yellow layering in and on the nodules.  Crandallite is CaAl3(PO4)2(OH)5-H2O.

     I have samples from Farfield, Utah and Australia.  Other famous locales are in Germany and

     A good reference site is:


variscite1.jpg (279917 bytes) variscite2.jpg (347598 bytes)
Close-up of Utah Variscite cut nodule Thumbnail trimmed "cab slabs" from Australia


variscite5.jpg (261090 bytes) variscite4.jpg (360166 bytes)
Rough cross-section of Utah Variscite nodule Cut-away of another Utah Variscite nodule, showing gray Crandallite


variscite6.jpg (268671 bytes) variscite8.jpg (363996 bytes)
Reverse side of rough-hewn Variscite nodule Closer view of Variscite-Crandallite nodule cut-away


variscite9.jpg (309396 bytes) variscite269.jpg (92948 bytes)
Extreme close-up of Variscite-Crandallite nodule

This photo and all in this table above by Ken Casey 2006


Exotic Green Variscite with yellow-tan phosphate matrix from Utah

Photo courtesy of E. M. Taylor 2006

VARISC1J.JPG (154982 bytes)
Variscite nodule



Australian Outback Mining

Variscite and Associated Phosphates from Fairfield, Utah

Fairfield, Oquirrh Mts, Utah Co., Utah, USA Gallery

Variscite and Charoite Pendant-Brooch

Variscite Picture (outstanding!)



     Mainly, Variscite is used in much the same way as Turquoise, as an ornamental stone
and gemstone.


Members' Gallery

Here is where DMS Members can add their Variscite photos to share with us.


Until Next Time

     We hope you have enjoyed our all too short visit to Variscite.  Please join us next month,
when we expect to see a favored green garnet!
     Until then, stay safe, and happy collecting. hardhat2a.gif (5709 bytes)



Article Contributors

Photo & Graphics Credits

I would like to gratefully acknowledge the generous contributions of our fellow variscite
enthusiasts, collectors, authors, curators, professionals, and club members who made this
work possible. 

Stan Celestian, Earth Sciences Department, Glendale Community College, Glendale, Arizona

E. M. Taylor, Professor Emeritus, Oregon State University, Department of Geosciences

2006  All contributions to this article are covered under the copyright protection of this article
and by separate and several copyright protection(s), and are to be used for the sole purposes of
enjoying this scholarly article.  They are used gratefully with express written permission of the
authors, save for generally-accepted scholarly quotes, short in nature, deemed legal to reference
with the appropriate citation and credit.
  Reproduction of this article must be obtained by express
written permission of the author, Kenneth B. Casey, for his contributions, authoring, photos, and
graphics.  Use of all other credited materials requires permission of each contributor separately

Links and general contact information are included in the credits above, and throughout this article.
The advice offered herein are only suggestions; it is the reader's charge to use the information
contained herein responsibly.  DMS is not responsible for misuse or accidents caused from this
article. All opinions, theories, proofs, and views expressed within this article, and in others on this
website, do not necessarily reflect the views of the Delaware Mineralogical Society.

Suggested Reading




KEN.JPG (31503 bytes)

   About the Author:  Ken is current webmaster of the Delaware Mineralogical Society.  He has a diploma in Jewelry Repair, Fabrication & Stonesetting from the Bowman Technical School, Lancaster, PA, and worked as jeweler.  He has also studied geology at the University of Delaware.  And, he is currently a member of the Delaware Mineralogical Society and the Franklin-Ogdensburg Mineralogical Society.  E-mail:

Invitation to Members


Want to see your name in print?  Want to co-author, contribute, or author a whole Mineral of the Month article?  Well, this the forum for you!

And Members, if you have pictures, or a story you would like to share, please feel free to offer.  We'd like to post them for our mutual enjoyment.   Of course, you get full photo and author credit, and a chance to reach other collectors, hobbyists, and scientists.  We only ask that you check your facts, give credit where it is due, keep it wholesome for our Junior Members watching, and keep on topic regarding rockhounding.

You don't even have to be experienced in making a webpage.  We can work together to publish your story.  A handwritten short story with a Polaroid will do.  If you do fancier, a text document with a digital photo will suit, as well.   Sharing is the groundwork from which we can get your story out there.

Our club's webpages can reach any person surfing the net in the world, and even on the International Space Station, if they have a mind to view our website!

We are hoping for a possible tie-in to other informative programs upon which our fellow members might want to collaborate.  Contact any officer or board member with your suggestions.

Our next MOTM will be a surprise.  For 2005-6, we are waiting for your suggestions.  What mineral do you want to know more about?

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Most of the Mineral of the Month selections have come from most recent club fieldtrips and March Show Themes, and from inspriring world locales. thus far.  If you have a suggestion for a future Mineral of the Month, please e-mail me at:, or tell me at our next meeting.



Past Minerals of the Month
March 2006 Mineral of the Month: Petrified Wood, Part II
February 2006 Mineral of the Month: Petrified Wood, Part I
January 2006 Mineral of the Month: Strontianite by Karissa Hendershot
December Mineral of the Month: Clinozoisite
November Mineral of the Month: Bismuth
October Mineral of the Month: Wulfenite by Karissa Hendershot
September Mineral of the Month: Turquoise
August Mineral of the Month: Peridot
July Mineral of the Month: Ruby
June Mineral of the Month: Antarctic Fluorite
May Mineral of the Month: Dolomite, Part 2
April Mineral of the Month: Dolomite, Part 1
March Mineral of the Month: Calcite
February Mineral of the Month: Agate
January Mineral of the Month: Fluorite
December Mineral of the Month: Pyrite
November Mineral of the Month: Stilbite  
October Mineral of the Month: Celestite   

This page last updated:  January 17, 2013 09:16:48 PM




Next Meeting

April Program, Monday, April 8, 2013:

"Destruction of the Fossil Exposures in the Chesapeake Bay Area" presented by Dr. Lauck Ward

General Club Meeting:
April 8, 2013

We are meeting at
Greenbank Mill

Special Meetings:

*Show Committee Meeting, April or May, 2013

*New Home/Lapidary Committee, 2013

*Board Meeting,  April, 2013

Next Field Trips


Past Fieldtrips

Next Show
DMS March Show
March 1-2, 2014 at DelTech Stanton


Our 2013 Show Theme was:
"All That Glitters is as Good as Gold!"

March Show 2013 Report






Fossil Forum

"Dinny, the Dino"

"Belemnites are coming"


MOTM June also commemorates our 50th Show!

It's shiny, yellow, and is a symbol of 50 Years!Can you guess?


Collecting Adventure Stories:

"Sunny Brook Crick Goethite" by Joe Dunleavy