Yes, calcite can go in water. But we don’t recommend that you put calcite in water for extended periods of time.
In the article that follows, we’ll explain.
Why Can Calcite Go In Water? (EXPLAINED)
There are some minerals and crystals that do okay in water, and some that really suffer in water.
And in the middle, there are a lot of materials that can survive water, but really shouldn’t spend too much time there.
Calcite is one of these materials.
Calcite is a carbonate mineral, which is stable and not water soluble.
But it is pretty soft, only scoring a 3 of 10 on the Moh’s Hardness Scale.
This means that calcite is more likely to fall victim to the impact of water (especially salt water) on stones.
Why Is Water Bad For Rocks and Minerals?
When a material is submerged in water, water molecules flood up into the nooks, crannies, and crevices of the material.
This includes fissures in the material that are too small for our eyes to see.
The molecules get into those tiny fissures and encourage them to get just a bit wider.
The slow widening happens over time, over the course of many soaks.
This is why you seek people assuming that their stones are water safe; they do one water bath or one overnight soak and see that everything looks normal, so they don’t worry anymore.
But repeated water baths encourage those fissures to grow, which can result in the creation of a large visible crack or even cleaving.
The widening of those cracks can also change how the light reflects and refracts off the surface, causing the stone to look dull.
Rust can develop deep in these cracks, leaving the stone yellow.
The water can strip off commercial finishes (like oil), and it can also react chemically with the surface of the stone, resulting in a complete color change.
Why Is Water Bad For Calcite?
Calcite is not that hard.
In fact, we’d call it a pretty soft stone.
This means that water molecules will be able to more easily get into the fissures and encourage them to get wider.
This also increases the likelihood of cleaving, and damage to the finish/shine of the stone.
This is the reason we recommend against putting calcite in the water for extended periods of time.
But Can Calcite Get Wet?
Sure! You can definitely clean calcite with water, by dipping it briefly under the faucet before buffing it with a clean cloth.
But it is against long water bath soaks (especially with saltwater) that we recommend against.
But Why Do Crystals Practitioners Recommend Water Baths?
Most likely, this comes back to people’s personal experiences.
They dip a stone in water, and do not observe anything negative, so they assume it is all good.
They don’t realize that the damage is something that will occur over time, and that the damage to a well-loved stone could be avoided by choosing an alternative to a water bath.
But What If My Calcite Has Already Been In Water?
Rockhounds often pick up calcite in creeks and streams.
Or maybe they get a piece of calcite that has often been soaked in saltwater.
We’d treat these pieces with more care.
These are the types of pieces we wouldn’t carry in pockets jumbled up with other rocks or keys.
Definitely avoid dropping them.
We’d be wary of tumbling, or to make sure to tumble them only with stones of like hardness.
And avoid further damage to the stones by avoiding water baths.
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