Cavansite cluster on matrix, from Wagholi Quarry, Pune (Poonah) District, Maharashtra, India (photo by Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com, distributed under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license)
Crystal System: Orthorhombic
Colors: Blue, Greenish-Blue, Teal
Cavansite is a fairly rare mineral, first discovered in Malheur County, Oregon in 1967. It did not garner much attention at first, though, as the specimens discovered were small and pale, and so not considered to be a very great find. But, when some very pretty, richly hued specimens of the same mineral were discovered in the Poonah District in India in 1973, interest in Cavansite grew. It has since been discovered in New Zealand and Brazil as well, but the best stones are still from India.
Cavansite on Stilbite from Owyhee Dam, Lake Owyhee State Park, Malheur County, Oregon, USA (photo by Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com, distributed under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license)
The name “Cavansite” is derived from the chemical composition of the stone: calcium vanadium silicate. The gorgeous blue color is a result of the vanadium content. It forms in crystal aggregates, most often little spiked balls. It occurs as a secondary mineral in basaltic and andesitic rocks, and is often found on a matrix of zeolites or Apophyllite.
It is somewhat brittle crystal with a vitreous luster, and is found in gorgeous shades of electric blue and blue-green. Because it is somewhat brittle, rare, and not very hard, it is not often used in jewelry. When it is used for jewelry, it is generally a piece of Cavansite in matrix (zeolite, for example) that is used, and, more often than not, it is made into a pendant. Pieces of Cavansite in matrix are also sometimes tumbled or cut and polished as cabochons, usually to be sold at crystal shops for healing purposes.
Unfortunately, because it was discovered so recently, there is not much to tell in the way of history and lore about Cavansite. But, it does have many uses in crystal healing, so be sure to check back for my next post, which will cover the healing and metaphysical properties of Cavansite!