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A transparent to translucent colored Gemstone. Spodumene is composed of lithium aluminum silicate. It can occur as a colorless, gray, green (hiddenite), yellow, pink (kunzite), lavender, or gray crystals. Spudomenes are only found in granite pegmatites. They are mined in Sweden, Ireland, the Malagasy Republic, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. (South Dakota, California, North Carolina). Spudomene is used industrially as a source of Lithium. It is also used in the manufacture of Ceramics, Enamel, and Glass. It undergoes an irreversible expansion from its alpha to beta form at 900C.

Infrared spectrum of spodumene from RRUFF
Raman spectrum of spodumene from RRUFF

Synonyms and Related Terms

hiddenite (green); kunzite (pink to lavender); triphane; Kunzit, Spodumen (Deut.); espodúmeno (Esp.); spodumen (Pol.); espodumena (Port.); spodumen (Ned.); spudomene (sp.)

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Monoclinic system with flat, prismatic, striated crystals
  • Cleavage is good in two directions (87 degrees)
  • Fracture = uneven and splintery
  • Luster = vitreous to pearly
  • Streak = white
  • Fluorescence = inert (spodumene); strong pink to orange in LW (kunzite)
  • Pleochroism = moderate to strong in kunzite; pink, light purple and colorless
  • Inclusions = may have growth tubes or trapped liquid
Composition LiAlSi2O6
Mohs Hardness 6.5 - 7.0
Density 3.03 - 3.23 g/ml
Refractive Index 1.648 - 1.679
Birefringence 0.014 - 0.016

Resources and Citations

  • Gem Identification Lab Manual, Gemological Institute of America, 2016.
  • Mineralogy Database: Spodumene
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Robert Fournier, Illustrated Dictionary of Practical Pottery, Chilton Book Company, Radnor, PA, 1992
  • Encyclopedia Britannica, http://www.britannica.com Comment: "spodumene" [Accessed December 4, 2001]. (tech info)
  • C.W.Chesterman, K.E.Lowe, Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Rocks and Minerals, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1979
  • Wikipedia: Spodumene (Accessed Sept. 17, 2005 and Dec 2022)
  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998

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