White, translucent crystalline mineral composed of sodium aluminum fluoride. Cryolite occurs naturally in Greenland (Ivigtut) with smaller sources located Spain, U.S.(Colorado) and Russia. It may also be made synthetically by fusing sodium fluoride and aluminum fluoride. Cryolite is used as a flux and opacifier in porcelain enamel. It is also used to make opalescent glass.
Synonyms and Related Terms
sodium aluminum fluoride; Greenland spar; icestone; ice stone; criolita (Esp.); cryolite (Fr.); Kryolit (Deut.)
Soluble in concentrated sulfuric acid. Taste is slightly salty.
Monoclinic, prismatic crystals usually occuring in masses or granules.
Fracture = uneven. Luster = vitreous to greasy. Streak = white.
Hazards and Safety
Toxic by ingestion and inhalation. May cause dental and bone defects. Gives off poisonous fluorine gas during firing.
Mineralogy Database: Cryolite