Apatite is the beautiful imposter of the gemstone world. Transparent to opaque, apatite ranges in color from yellow to green, blue, or violet, with its transparent blue-green variety being the most valuable.


Apatite's existence has been known since ancient times, but it was not formally named until 1786, and only recently has apatite caught the attention of jewelry designers and the public.


At Cerro de Mercado, an iron mine discovered in 1552 and worked for nearly 500 years, an opaque, dull yellow apatite was so abundant that the crystals were brought to market in dynamite boxes. Since apatite represents a perfect five on the Mohs hardness scale, the apatite of this the Cerro de Mercado mine was used for decades in educational geology kits.


Goddess of Deceit

Alluding to its striking similarity to other gemstones such as aquamarine and peridot, apatite is named for the Greek word meaning "cheat" or "deceive." Apate (pronounced ap-at-ay) was the Greek goddess of deceit, benefactor of politicians, and daughter of Nyx the goddess of the night. Apate and her evil sisters were released from Pandora's Box.

See also

aquamarine and peridot


the mineral apatite in its rough form

rough apatite in its most common
color: yellow

polished pebble-shaped
apatite beads

faceted apatite

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