Calcite and halite are two very interesting stones and they are both something that many collectors add to their collections.
However, telling them apart can be a bit of a challenge unless you know what to look for.
To help make understanding these stones easier, here is everything that you need to know.
Calcite vs Halite (EXPLAINED)
What Is Calcite?
Calcite is one of the most commonly found rock-forming minerals in the world and it is commonly found in limestone and granite.
Both of these stones make up significant portions of the Earth’s crust and they are some of the largest repositories of carbon dioxide on the planet.
The unique properties of calcite have helped to make it one of the most commonly used minerals, and it has been used in everything from pharmaceuticals and agriculture to construction and pigment creation.
Overall, calcite has more uses than almost any other mineral that you can think of.
Limestone, a sedimentary rock that is composed mainly of calcite, is formed from the precipitation of calcium carbonate and the breakdown of organic matter.
Marble, a metamorphic rock, will have larger calcite crystals depending on how high the levels of metamorphism are.
Generally, the higher the levels, the larger the crystals will be.
Properties of Calcite
Calcite will produce a white streak and it is a relatively soft mineral, ranking only 3.0 on the Mohs hardness scale.
It is typically white, although it can also be grey, red, green, blue, orange, and brown, depending on contributing factors.
It has a vitreous luster and can be either transparent or translucent.
See Also: Can Calcite Scratch Glass?
The Uses of Calcite
Calcite has been used in numerous areas and it is one of the most useful minerals available.
One of its most prevalent uses is in the creation of acid-neutralizing medications.
Calcite has been crushed and used to neutralize acids in both the soil and water for hundreds of years.
For human consumption, it is delivered from high-purity limestone or marble.
When crushed and mixed with color and flavor, calcite can be made into easy-to-chew tablets that help manage stomach acid buildup.
In construction, calcite is favored due to its softness, as it makes working with it and shaping it easier than other materials.
Additionally, it is also fairly hardy and can withstand climates that experience regular freezing and thawing.
It has been used for thousands of years, most notably in the construction of the pyramids, and today it is still used for making statues, stairways, benches, building features, and much more.
What Is Halite?
Halite, most commonly known as salt, is one of the most well-known minerals around any dinner table.
Chemically, it is called sodium chloride, and rocks that are primarily composed of it are known as rock salt.
Halite forms primarily in areas where seawater has evaporated over time.
These are usually arid environments, and over the course of geological time, enormous deposits can be formed, some of which can be thousands of feet thick.
Today, inland lakes such as the Great Salt Lake in North America and the Dead Sea between Israel and Jordan are locations where halite is currently forming.
The Properties of Halite
Halite is usually colorless or white.
However, other colors can occur from impurities such as grey, black, yellow, red, and brown.
It produces a white streak and has a vitreous luster.
In terms of hardness, it is very soft, only ranking a 2.5 on the Mohs hardness scale.
It can be either transparent or translucent.
The Uses of Halite
Salt has numerous uses.
The most common is as a seasoning ingredient in many foods, and it is an essential mineral that most humans and animals need in their diets.
However, it is also used during the winter to help remove accumulations of ice and snow.
Calcite and Halite
Calcite and halite are two significantly different minerals, although they do share a lot of similar properties.
For instance, they both produce white steaks and they are both relatively soft, with calcite only being 0.5 harder than halite.
However, there are some differences that can make them easier to tell apart.
Calcite has perfect, rhombohedral cleavage and when powdered it effervesces weakly in diluted hydrochloric acid.
Halite has perfect cubic cleavage, a salty taste, and it is soluble.
It should be noted, however, that you should never taste a mineral that you are not certain of, as some minerals can be toxic or contaminated due to handling or other people tasting them.
These diagnostic properties can make it easier to tell these two minerals apart, and help you identify which you have in your collection.
Because these two stones have been known about and used for so long, they have developed specific metaphysical properties that people often attribute to them.
Calcite is often associated with intelligence, and the ability to balance your intellect and emotions.
It is also said to be able to bring energetic movement into your life, by removing stagnation and polluted energy that can slow you down.
Calcite is also commonly used in Feng Shui, and adding a calcite stone to your living space is thought to help improve memory, balance emotions, and encourage creativity and bonding.
The colors of calcite also can have significance and certain colors are thought to correlate with the cardinal directions; green for the East and Southeast and yellow for the Southwest, for example.
Similarly, salt has connections with purification and spiritual protection and is often used to help guard against negative energy and negative spiritual influences.
Some people also use salt to trap negative energy by using it in circles around things that they believe hold a negative influence.
Salt has been highly important throughout the centuries, from the spiritual practices to the more practical, such as preserving food or even bodies, as was the case in ancient Egypt.
While none of these properties have much evidence in science, they are still significant in that they have persevered for so long.
This makes it worth knowing when learning about each of these stones.
Two Important and Interesting Stones
Both calcite and halite have been used for centuries and they still stand as some of the most important minerals found today.
Not only are they important, but they can also make for great additions to any serious enthusiast’s collection.
Other articles you might enjoy about calcite:
- Comparing Calcite and Citrine (For Beginners)
- Spotting The Differences Between Calcite and Quartz
- Can You Put Calcite in Water?
- Why Do People Confuse Selenite and Calcite?
- Are Calcite and Aragonite The Same?
- Does Cleaning Calcite With Vinegar Work?