Bronzite Vs. Axinite

This is another one of those mis-identifications that passes down from seller to vendor to buyer. As you can see, the chemical formula, system, hardness and group identifier are not the same at all. It takes just one person to misidentify to get the ball rolling down the hill.

Bronzite is a ferroan variety of Enstatite. I discovered this misidentification over a decade ago with a wholesale vendor I frequently used. I was so excited to find tumbled Axinite that I ordered an entire pound, even though it was pricey. I was so disappointed when I received the order. It was not Axinite at all, but Bronzite as you see above. I did contact the company to share my disappointment, but they never changed the name. They just sold out and never offered again.

This may have been a one time mistake. However, a customer called me and confirmed she had been sold Bronzite under the name Axinite as well. So, I do feel this misidentification should be shared here as a caution.

Chemical Formula: (Mg,Fe 2+) 2[SiO 3] 2
Crystal System: Orthorhombic
Hardness: 5-6
Member of: Orthopyroxene Subgroup, Pyroxene Group
Name: From the Greek enstates “opponent” for refractory nature under blowpipe flame.

Axinite, as you can see not only does not look like Bronzite, but its chemical formula, crystal system, hardness and group name do not match either.

Chemical Formula: Ca 2Fe 2+Al 2BSi 4O 15 OH
Crystal System: Triclinic
Hardness: 6½ – 7
Member of : Axinite Group
Name: From the Greek (“axina”) for “axe”, in allusion to the common habit of its crystals (unique flattened spatula shaped crystals) and iron dominance in the formula.

Original article written by Kristi Hugs 2009 All Rights Reserved

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