Calcite Mineral Properties & History

Information About Calcite

What mineral compound can you easily find inside the classroom, sparkling inside a hot spring, baked in a petrified forest and crawling underneath the sea? If you thought Calcite, you guessed correctly! Calcium carbonate (CaCO2) is not just a dazzling rock mineral but occurs naturally in many forms.

We at Rockology would like to let you in on why the Calcite mineral is such a popular item for rock collectors.

Calcite 101

  • Rocks—Forms with Amethyst, Agate & Quartz stone and Petrified Wood
  • Colors—Streaked with Red, Orange, Green, Violet, Pink, Brown, Grey, Colorless
  • Varieties—Limestone, Marble  & Travertine
  • +300 shapes, more shapes than any other mineral!
  • More than 1000 rock combinations

Calcites through History

The etymology or Calcite mineral name stems from the Greek chalix or “lime”, as it is the main ingredient in limestone and even marble. That is why Calcite is present in fine statuary such as Michelangelo’s “David” with natural crystalline structure that gleams under the light.

Travertine—a material often used in the architecture of the Romans and throughout Italy in fine bathhouses, temples and even the Colosseum—was a material formed from the Calcite mineral with the help of natural hot springs. You may be surprised to know that the rock travertine forms with the help of heated water, steam and evaporation in mineral-rich caves, waterfalls and hot springs. In Pamukkale, Turkey travertine rock deposits flow out over the hillside with the help and heat of the hot springs.

You can imagine why master artists and architects picked a material with such stunning light properties as Calcite, since it holds both a fluorescent and phosphorescent mineral qualities. It emits light when connected to non-visible UV light and when disconnected holds this light with a glow. Like the metal steel, Calcite mineral rock emits light at high temperatures.

Optical calcite is clear with double refractive properties, which means if you were to lay it a slab over a line of text, you would see two lines of text reflected! Iceland spar is a form of Calcite mineral used in optics for the past two hundred years.

Calcium Carbonate—What does it Make?

  • Calcites
  • Limestone
  • Travertine
  • Marble
  • Chalk
  • Sea Creatures

Calcite makes stunning arrangements, when mixed with other rocks. It’s common to see bits of Calcite mineral in some of the most impressive crystalline structures to compliment a rock display.

Calcite forms a solid slab of crystalline beauty, yet sometimes it comes to life in sea creatures! You would be interested to note that Calcite or calcium carbonate forms the very prickly spines of a sea urchin and the body or shell of plankton, sponges and oysters.

Calcite Uses & Benefits

Many believe Calcite holds a range of healing properties, from help with cleansing and settling energies that center out from its hexagonal crystalline structure. Many carry Calcite stones for relief from back pain, emotional and spiritual cleansing or as an antiseptic or detoxifying agent.

You’ve almost definitely held Calcite in your hand, if you’ve ever written on a chalkboard. Teachers use Calcite or calcium carbonate in the classroom that is refined in a powdery variety added to the chalk. Yet you will find Calcite’s other forms much more difficult to break apart.

You may be surprised to know despite its “Hardness of 3”, Calcite mineral rock in one form sets the foundation for most of society. That is, people have been using limestone to burn off the oxygen and create CaO or quicklime to mix up mortar. It’s in cement.

Calcite may be the strength that holds our city streets together, but in its most refined quality, the Calcite mineral reflects its beauty in many crystalline forms with brilliant light that gleams back at the viewer.


Be sure to capture another glimpse at the Calcite rock in which micro-crystals sparkle, colors dazzle, as the whole thing glows with brilliance by the light of day. Calcite is a fine and elegant addition to any and all rock collections.

If you would like to know more about the Calcite minerals, Calcite properties or about other must-have rocks for collectors, be sure to download our free Rocks 101 eBook.

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