Earth Treasures: Adamite
By Chisom Ibemere
The name Adamite, is gotten from the French mineralogist Gilbert-Joseph Adam (1795-1881), who first identified and described the mineral.
It was first discovered in the silver mines of the Hilarion area near Laurium, Greece, in the mid-1800s. Adamite may be found in various locations around the world, including Mexico, Germany, Bolivia, Chile, and the United States.
Adamite is known as a secondary mineral which are formed in oxidation zone of ore deposits, that are often associated with other minerals including limonite, smithsonite, calcite, and various sulfides.
It is basically found in oxidized zinc and copper ore deposits. The mineral can occur as stalactitic, botryoidal, crusty, or granular aggregates within these deposits.
Adamite is a collector’s mineral due to its vibrant colors and crystal formations. It is used in lapidary projects to create polished stones or cabochons for use in jewelry. Adamite can be also used for ornamental purposes or displayed in mineral collections. It is used as a gemstone in limited quantity as a result of its relatively low hardness and fragile nature.
Adamite is a complex arsenate mineral which usually occurs in shades of colours such as yellow, green, or blue-green, with rare occurrences of pink and purple. It is lrelatively soft, with a hardness of 3.5-4 on the Mohs scale.
It has a vitreous to resinous luster and can exhibit a fluorescent or phosphorescent glow under UV light. It has a varied crystal structure with common forms including elongated prismatic crystals or botryoidal aggregates.
The value of adamite in the global market is relatively modest compared to more popular gemstones. It is primarily sought after by mineral collectors and enthusiasts who appreciate its vibrant colors and unique crystal formations.
Its value is based on several factors such as color intensity, crystal size, transparency, and overall specimen quality. It is great to note that adamite is not as widely recognized or commercially valuable as gemstones like diamonds or emeralds.