Bronzite vs Axinite

Incorrect mineral names are passed from miner to buyer to whole seller to you all the time. Many times, it is no ones fault as they are simply passing along the information they received. Let’s look at Bronzite versus Axinite to set the record straight.

Bronzite

Bronzite is a ferroan variety of Enstatite. I discovered this misidentification over a decade ago with a wholesale vendor I frequently used. It was so exciting 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.

common misidentification bronzite
Bronzite

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

Axinite, as you can see looks nothing like Bronzite. Its chemical formula, crystal system, hardness and group name do not match either.

axinite

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.

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