Epidote and chlorite are two very different minerals.
The only trait they have in common at first glance is color. They’re both green.
They also don’t have many commercial uses, but this doesn’t mean they’re any less fascinating.
Keep on reading for more information about these two inconspicuous green rocks.
Epidote vs Chlorite (EXPLAINED)
What is Chlorite?
Chlorite minerals look like a group of slit thin sheets of green metamorphic rocks.
They appear in igneous rocks or hydrothermal systems.
How Do You Identify Chlorite?
Chlorite minerals are hard to identify from epidote when they’re the size of pebbles or grains of sand.
But larger pieces make identification much easier.
These humongous specimens allow geologists to see the anomalous interference colors.
These factors are key to their identification.
What Is An Epidote?
Epidotes are more complex than chlorite minerals.
First off, the term epidote refers to 2 different minerals.
One group comprises silicate minerals.
The second one is the most common source of epidote minerals.
What is the Mineral Epidote?
They are the commonly found silicate minerals we see in metamorphic rocks.
We typically associate epidote with feldspar and chlorite.
But it replaces the mineral grains transformed through metamorphism.
They’re typically found in veins of granite.
They also occur as monoclinic crystals and pegmatites.
Yet another form of epidote occurs as if emerging from a cocoon.
Some of these monoclinic crystals turn into marble because of contact metamorphism.
What Color Are Epidote Minerals?
Epidote colors range somewhere between pistachio green to yellowish-green.
But, darker brownish-green or black exists as well.
The larger, crystallized specimens are often translucent. They also have a vitreous luster.
The mineral group epidotes differs from its counterparts.
The members of this mineral group have a crystalline structure.
This comprises both a paired and isolated silica tetrahedral.
The most common form of epidote is both a rock and a mineral.
The rocks refer to the metamorphosed rocks often found in unakite.
Still, these sites are very rare.
How are Epidote and Chlorite Alike?
Both minerals are green.
But, when they’re in tiny, pebble-like quantities, they’re impossible to distinguish.
Both minerals appear light green.
You can’t tell the difference using the naked eye.
The only way to get to the bottom of this conundrum is with a magnifying glass or a microscope.
These powerful magnifiers easily highlight the traits and characteristics that differentiate the two.
How to Identify an Epidote
Epidote is a colorful mineral of metamorphic origin, typically found in places like California.
It has a characteristic pistachio green color and its hardness is akin to the blade of a very sharp knife.
Small grains of epidote are impossible to identify from other minerals like chlorite.
Accurate identification calls for a microscope or a magnifying glass.
However, their crystalline forms are much easier to distinguish.
Plus, they’re usually found with reddish-brown garnet stones.
Epidote appears mainly when fluids and high temperatures from granitic magma metamorphose.
Therefore, it’s so common to have granite rocks and epidotes together.
In fact, you can call them the granite detector.
Epidotes are found in places with large caches of granite rocks.
Still, they have no real commercial value.
But its significance to geologists is huge.
It reveals granite near metamorphic stones.
Physical Properties of Chlorite
Chloride minerals are green monoclinic crystals.
They have perfect cleavage and a foliated appearance.
Plus, they’re often found in rocks with the power to withstand hydrothermal activity and plate collisions for millions of years.
This type of chlorite has a Mohs hardness scale that ranges from 2 to 2.5.
It’s a monoclinic crystal.
This is probably enough for you to realize chlorite is a soft rock.
But, it may surprise you further to know that chlorite doesn’t feel like a rock at all.
Depending on who you ask, some say it feels oily, others say its soapy.
What Are the Commercial Uses of Epidotes?
It’s sad to say, but epidote holds no value for manufacturers.
Not even those in the business of consumer and commercial industries.
Its physical properties are just not worth the extraction costs.
There are a few people, however, that see the hidden beauty in these minerals.
They collected the high-quality transparent crystals and cut them into faceted stones.
While certainly eye-catching, they didn’t gain popularity in the commercial market.
Most of this blame falls on the peridot gems.
For those unfamiliar, it’s another beautiful green gemstone.
It’s quite popular today in many circles.
Still, the peridot’s beauty doesn’t diminish how breathtaking the epidote crystal is when it’s well designed.
They stand out when part of a full collection.
So, even though the average jeweler passes them by, they still hold a place in the hearts of connoisseurs.
Expert gem and mineral collectors often prize these sets.
What are the Commercial Uses of Chlorites?
Chlorites are interesting stones too.
This is mainly because their eye-catching green hues are really something to look at.
But, like epidote, they don’t have many commercial uses.
Even jewelers don’t want to facet them.
The Bottom Line
When you learn the differences between epidote and chlorite, several things happen.
Yes, it’s easier to tell them apart, even when in small quantities.
Careful observation will ensure you have the right mineral in your collection.
This comprehensive examination will also highlight their differences.
The traits that make them special, even if it’s important to one person.
It’s very true epidote and chlorites are about as different as two rocks can get.
The only things remotely similar are their colors when crushed and how useless the manufacturing companies find them.
Still, differences aren’t always a bad thing.
Each mineral has positives that work well for its particular chemical properties.
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