If you’re a rockhound or outdoors explorer, chances are that you’re always on the hunt for new and interesting stones to collect.
One of these is Blue Anhydrite.
Often called angel stone, anhydrite is a soft, pale blue stone, sometimes confused with other materials, and a relatively recent newcomer to the world of gems and minerals.
Check out these 8 ways to find, identify, use, and care for Blue Anhydrite.
Blue Anhydrite: Your Guide
What is Blue Anhydrite?
Blue Anhydrite, also known as Angelite, is a rare rock-forming mineral that has a distinctive, glacier-blue or light, lilac-blue color.
Anhydrite is a soft vitreous stone with a lustrous, white center and snowy crystal flecks.
You might also find that it often has brown or rusty inclusions.
Very rarely, Blue Anhydrite color can verge towards pale green, with a similar look and color as Malachite.
Where is Blue Anhydrite Found?
First discovered in Peru in 1987, this crystal develops in arid climates.
It is located in limestone, gypsum beds, or halite rock salt deposits.
If you’re hunting for Blue Anhydrite, it’s a good idea to check out basalt cavities, hydrothermal veins, or other kinds of traprocks in your area.
When Anhydrite dissolves in traprock, it leaves a hollow cast in its original shape.
If you don’t happen to live in a region that has these types of natural deposit beds, there are several places to check out around the United States.
These include the cap rocks in the Louisiana and Texas salt domes where the Red River flows near the Texas-Oklahoma border.
These aboveground salt deposits rise above the coastal plain at the Damon Mound near Houston and the “five islands”, Jefferson Island, Belle Isle, Avery Island, Weeks Island, and Cote Blanche.
Another place to scout for Blue Anhydrite is in areas where you can see evaporite deposits near caves, dolomites, or limestone beds in rivers and streams.
If you’re an intrepid rockhound and can safely and legally access these locations, Anhydrite is also present as a gangue mineral in natural ore veins.
Although it’s possible to find blue anhydrite in these areas, it’s rare to find a good quality specimen.
How to Identify Blue Anhydrite
So, you’ve found a pale blue stone that resembles Anhydrite.
First, you’ll want to check out if your discovery is the real deal.
One way to identify Blue Angelite crystal is to examine it for color.
Angelite typically presents a pale or medium blue color.
Keep in mind that some specimens can have a pale bluish-white color.
Genuine Blue Angelite stones almost always have small, rusty red hematite inclusions or streaks in the stone.
You’re more likely to locate smaller, but fine pieces of Blue Anhydrite in salt deposit areas.
A crystal expert can authenticate your stone if you want to officially confirm your find.
How to Tell the Difference Between Blue Anhydrite and Other Stones
It’s easy to mistake raw Anhydrite, particularly pale blue specimens, for quartz or Blue Calcite.
The best way to tell the difference between Blue Anhydrite and other types of rocks is weight.
For instance, Celestite, Angelite, and Blue Anhydrite all weigh heavier than their look-alikes.
Celestite usually weighs 1.5 times more than Blue Calcite specimens.
Anhydrite’s chemical composition is sulfate of strontium.
It’s a member of the barite group.
Meanwhile, Calcite will present as a chalkier substance since it’s a calcium carbonate belonging to the calcite group.
A good way to tell the difference between Blue Anhydrite, calcite, and quartz is by examining the rock’s surface.
Like some quartzes, Blue Anhydrite will have cleavage shapes.
Anhydrite also has a geometrically shaped cleavage that rises in three directions to create tabular or prismatic crystal formations.
Anhydrite also has a lustrous surface that can range from vitreous to resinous or dull, while quartz carries a glassy to a vitreous surface, and calcite can appear cloudier.
You can also hold the stone to the flame. It the flame glows pale green, then the stone belongs to the barite group and is likely Anhydrite.
What is Blue Anhydrite Used For?
With its icy tones and pearly, translucent quality, this beautiful stone is sometimes used for wire-wrapped crystal pendants.
Because it’s softer than other gemstones, scratches, and shatters into fragments easily, Anhydrite typically isn’t good for making traditional jewelry like earrings, bracelets, or necklaces that require drilling into the stone.
When artisans use electroforming to craft polished or raw Blue Anhydrite into jewelry, the results are often stunning.
It’s common to find traces of powdered anhydrite in paint, plaster, and various types of varnishes.
Anhydrite works as a drying agent in these compounds.
Construction industries are known to utilize anhydrite mixed with gypsum to create plaster, wallboard, joint compound, and other drying and binding agents for structural products.
Anhydrite also plays a role as a sulfur source for sulfuric acid producers.
What is Blue Anhydrite’s Meaning?
This lovely stone has both physical and purported metaphysical uses.
The name’s literal meaning comes from the Greek word anhydrous, without water.
While many people believe that the crystal has calming or healing properties due to its spiritual association with angelic forces, it is also used for practical purposes such as an organic compound in household materials.
How to Care for Blue Anhydrite
It’s important to store your Anhydrite minerals in a cool, dry area.
Wet conditions causes physical damage to Anhydrites so don’t soak the material for extended periods or leave it in damp areas (like the shower).
How to Polish Blue Anhydrite
One of the best ways to polish Blue Anhydrite is to run them through a rock tumbler.
This will tumble the raw, rough edges to give the stones a smooth, shining surface.
If you’re a rock enthusiast, consider adding Blue Anhydrite to your list of rare crystals to track down.
With an icy blue or pale blue color, these stones appear in dry places that tend towards gypsum, salt, or limestone surfaces.
With any luck, you’ll be able to identify this unusual mineral formation and add it to your collection.
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