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Albite - Crete (Kriti) Island, Greece.jpg
  • Albite from Crete
Categoryplagioclase, feldspar, tectosilicate
(repeating unit)
Strunz classification9.FA.35
Crystal systemTriclinic
Crystal class
Space groupC1
ColorWhite to gray, blueish, greenish, reddish; may be chatoyant
Crystal habitCrystals commonly tabular, divergent aggregates, granular, cleavable massive
TwinningCommon giving polysynthetic striae on {001} or {010}also contact, simple and multiple
CleavagePerfect on {001}, very good on {010}, imperfect on {110}
FractureUneven to conchoidal
Mohs scale hardness6-6.5
LusterVitreous, typically pearly on cleavages
DiaphaneityTransparent to translucent
Specific gravity2.60-2.65
Optical propertiesBiaxial (+)
Refractive indexn? = 1.528-1.533 n? = 1.532-1.537 n? = 1.538-1.542
Birefringence? = 0.010
2V angle85-90° (low); 52-54° (high)
Dispersionr < v weak
Melting point1,100-1,120 °C (2,010-2,050 °F)
Other characteristicsLow- and high-temperature structural modifications are recognized

Albite is a plagioclase feldspar mineral. It is the sodium endmember of the plagioclase solid solution series. It represents a plagioclase with less than 10% anorthite content. The pure albite endmember has the formula . It is a tectosilicate. Its color is usually pure white, hence its name from Latin, albus.[4] It is a common constituent in felsic rocks.



Albite crystallizes with triclinic pinacoidal forms. Its specific gravity is about 2.62 and it has a Mohs hardness of 6-6.5. Albite almost always exhibits crystal twinning often as minute parallel striations on the crystal face. Albite often occurs as fine parallel segregations alternating with pink microcline in perthite as a result of exolution on cooling.

There are two variants of albite, which are referred to as 'low albite' and 'high albite'; the latter is also known as 'analbite'. Although both variants are triclinic, they differ in the volume of their unit cell, which is slightly larger for the 'high' form. The 'high' form can be produced from the 'low' form by heating above 750 °C (1,380 °F)[5] High albite can be found in meteor impact craters such as in Winslow, Coconino Co., Arizona, United States.[6] Upon further heating to more than 1,050 °C (1,920 °F) the crystal symmetry changes from triclinic to monoclinic; this variant is also known as 'monalbite'.[7] Albite melts at 1,100-1,120 °C (2,010-2,050 °F).[8]

Oftentimes, potassium can replace the sodium characteristic in albite at amounts of up to 10%. When this is exceeded the mineral is then considered to be anorthoclase.[9]


It occurs in granitic and pegmatite masses (often as the variety Cleavelandite),[10] in some hydrothermal vein deposits, and forms part of the typical greenschist metamorphic facies for rocks of originally basaltic composition. Minerals that albite is often considered associated with in occurrence include biotite, hornblende, orthoclase, muscovite and quartz.[11]


Albite was first reported in 1815 for an occurrence in Finnbo, Falun, Dalarna, Sweden.[2]


Albite is used as a gemstone, albeit semi-precious. Albite is also used by geologists as it is identified as an important rock forming mineral. There is some industrial use for the mineral such as the manufacture of glass and ceramics.[12][13]


  1. ^ Handbook of Mineralogy
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ Webmineral data
  4. ^  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Albite". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  5. ^ O.F. Tuttle, N.L. Bowen (1950): High-temperature albite and contiguous feldspars. J. Geol. 58(5), 572-583,
  6. ^ "High Albite".
  7. ^ Monalbite on Mindat
  8. ^ J.P. Greenwood, P.C. Hess (1998): Congruent melting of albite: theory and experiment. J. Geophysical Research. 103(B12), 29815-29828
  9. ^ "Anorthoclase".
  10. ^ "Cleavelandite".
  11. ^ "Associated minerals".
  12. ^ Loose Gemstone Guide - Secrets of the Gem Revealed By Pao Nipperkin
  13. ^ "Uses of albite". Retrieved 2019.

External links

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