An exceptionally striking mineral, Vanadinite is marvelled at for its stunning bright-red to orange colours and perfectly formed crystals. It’s a very uncommon mineral which occurs as a consequence of chemical alterations to pre-existing material and is exclusively found in arid climates. This marvellous stone is much appreciated for its capacity to stimulate both creativity and an impetus towards action. This makes it an invaluable aid to those wishing to become more organised so to achieve their goals or, more specifically, to overcome writers’ block.
What is Vanadinite?
Vanadinite is part of the Apatite group of Phosphates. It is an uncommon mineral, which occurs as the result of chemical alterations to pre-existing material, and it’s therefore known as a secondary mineral. It usually forms in arid climates due to the oxidation of primary lead ore deposits. It is typically found in association with Galena (lead sulphide) and other associated minerals include wulfenite, mimetite, pyromorphite, descloizite, mottramite, limonite, barite and a number of iron oxide minerals. Its crystals are similar in appearance and structure to Mimetite and Pyromorphite, and can in fact be partially replaced by either of those minerals.
Characteristics of Vanadinite
One of the most striking characteristics of Vanadinite, which makes it a popular gem among collectors, is its mesmerising colour: usually bright red or orange-red, though it can sometimes be brown, red-brown, grey, yellow or colourless. Its lustre may range from resinous to adamantine and can be opaque, translucent or transparent.
Vanadinite is also much admired by collectors for its spectacular perfectly formed crystals. Its crystals conform to a hexagonal system of symmetry: its internal structure is typically reflected in the hexagonal external shape of the crystals. These eye-catching isomorphous crystals usually form as small, short prisms but can also be found as hexagonal pyramids, crusts or rounded masses. Furthermore, Vanadinite crystals are dense and tend to be unusually heavy for a translucent mineral.
However, Vanadanite is a very delicate stone. For instance, specimens from certain localities may darken and lose their transparency upon prolonged exposure to light. These gems should therefore, ideally, be kept away from bright light. Moreover, it is a very brittle mineral, which, if fractured, produces small, conchoidal fragments. It measures a mere 2.5 – 3.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness, which means it can be scratched by a copper coin.
First discovery of Vanadinite
Vanadinite was first discovered in Mexico in 1801, by the mineralogist Andrés Manuel del Rio, professor at the School of Mines of Mexico, Zimapan. Del Rio initially called the mineral he discovered ‘brown lead’, asserting it contained a new element first identified as Pancromium and later as Erythronium. Subsequently Del Rio believed it not to be a new element at all, but simply an impure form of Chromium.
It was not until 1830 that the Swedish chemist Nils Gabriel Sefström discovered a new element which he named Vanadium. This element was soon revealed to be identical to that contained in the mineral discovered earlier by Del Rio. ‘Brown lead’ was thus renamed Vanadinite because of its high Vanadium content, other names since given to this stunning gem include Johnstonite and Lead Vanadate.
Where can Vanadinite be found?
Since its first discovery in Mexico, over 400 mines have been found across the world. The most notable and striking deposits are those at Touisset and Mibladen in Morocco, truly outstanding locations which have produced a great abundance of the most striking Vanadinite crystals. These are known for their gorgeous blood-red colour and their perfectly formed hexagonal plates.
Other localities of interest on the African continent are Broken Hill in Zambia, Tsumeb and Abenab in Namibia (in the latter location Vanadium occurs in large crystals usually covered in a thick, ugly layer of brown Descloizite coating) and various areas of South Africa.
Mexico also has a few notable deposits such as those of Villa Ahumada in Sierra de Los Lamentos (Chihuahua), where fine brown crystals can be found. Other mines are the Apex Mine in San Carlos (Chihuahua) and the Ojuela Mine in Mapimi (Durango).
The United States also has significant deposits, of particular note are mines found in Arizona, such as the Old Yuma Mine in Pima County, the Apache Mine in Gila County and the J.C. Holmes claim in Santa Cruz County. Further, though minor, deposits of Vanadinite are found in the states of Colorado, New Mexico and South Dakota.
Notable mines are also found near Cordoba in Argentina, in Austria, in Spain and in the Ural Mountains in Russia.
The origin of its name
The name ‘Vanadinite’ derives from ‘Vanadium’, as the mineral presents a high concentration of the element. In turn, upon its discovery in the 1800s, ‘Vanadium’ was named so after Vanadís (Freyja), the Scandinavian goddess of beauty and fertility.
Industrial uses for Vanadinite
Vanadinite gems are one of the main industrials ores of the element Vanadium and, at times, a minor source of lead. Vanadium is usually extracted by roasting and smelting: a common process utilised to extract the Vanadium is heating the gems with sodium carbonate or salt at a temperature of about 850°C (corresponding to roughly 1560°F) in order to produce sodium vanadate. This is in turn dissolved in water and subsequently treated with ammonium chloride to produce ammonium metavanadate, which is then melted to form vanadium pentoxide. Finally, the vanadium pentoxide is reduced with calcium to obtain the pure vanadium.
Properties of Vanadinite
This marvellous stone is known for stimulating creativity and an impetus towards action. It is invaluable in helping increase energy and sharpen one’s thinking in order to achieve one’s goals. Vanadinite is in fact an outstanding crystal for writers who necessitate a little help to overcome writers’ block or who strive for getting a lot done.
Vanadinite also helps be more organized, as it emanates an energy able to assist in managing one’s life better and more effectively. It stimulates the mind in a way that will help with the orderly planning of a day’s activities especially when one is faced by a substantial work load. This gorgeous crystal will help spring into action, take the steps required to do what is needed to achieve one’s goals. It is said that sleeping with a Vanadinite stone under the pillow will help to feel re-energised and ready to get on with one’s daily activities.
Moreover, this beautiful stone promotes thrift, making it an ideal stone to be in contact with if one has a tendency to overspend but would like to curb that proclivity.
On a physical level, this is an excellent healing stone in a number of ways. For instance, it can be of aid to people with breathing difficulties such as asthma or lung problems, or who are experiencing dysfunctions of the bladder. It also aids fatigue by boosting one’s energy and may provide great support when facing changes related to aging, such as the menopause.
Vanadinite is also an exceptional stone to use during meditation, especially when one is learning new meditation techniques. It can help with meditation when one has a specific aim in mind, as it will assist in gaining a greater depth of clarity about what it is one wants to achieve, therefore enabling to stay focused and concentrated on that aim. This beautiful, warm stone can help create an ‘empty mind’ state and block out thoughts that may interrupt one’s meditation. Furthermore, this is a very powerful grounding stone, which will help transition out of mediation without feeling spaced out.
Fabulous Vanadinite resonates with a high level of creative energy, which will fill one’s auric field upon contact with the stone. This will stimulate creativity, prompt action and aid self-expression which will in turn help one be more effective. Furthermore, when the energy released by Vanadinite fills the aura, it gives you the drive, determination and vitality necessary to sustain taking action over a period of time, rather than simply stimulating a short, sharp burst of action.
This brightly coloured stone also enhances one’s creativity by strongly vibrating at the Sacral Chakra (or Second Chakra, Svadhisthana). In fact, this gem has a broad range of functions associated to the chakras located below the heart. It has a great depth of power when associated to the Root Chakra (the First Chakra, Muladhara), for instance, as it helps create a strong resolve. Moreover, when stimulating the Root Chakra, it may exercise a healing action within the solar plexus to aid hormonal imbalances.
Vanadinite however has a strong influence on chakras above the heart too. For instance it may stimulate the Crown Chakra (the Seventh Chakra, Sahasrara), bringing through a powerful spiritual energy which can promote deep peace within oneself. Furthermore, beautiful Vanadinite gems have a strong vibration within the Third Eye Chakra (or Sixth Chakra, Ajna) which may result in mental stimulation or even in the stimulation of physic abilities as the Second Chakra is a highly spiritual area and is connected to the pineal gland, which is where psychic gifts are said to originate
This gorgeous gem also engages the Earth Star Chakra Energy, which helps with physical grounding. The gem’s strong vibration, which stimulates a connection with Mother Earth, allows one to relate in a grounded, organised and methodical way to the elemental forces and beings which exist in the Earth’s realm. This, combined with a strong spiritual grounding, can make one more down-to-earth and pragmatic about what is needed to reach one’s aims and get things done.