Aragonite is a widespread mineral and a polymorph of Calcite, having the same chemical composition but a different physical structure. The atoms are stacked and configured uniquely, making for distinctly different crystal formations than that of Calcite. It is found in numerous colors including white, brown, orange, red and blue, often occurring in association with Calcite, Quartz, Sulphur and Copper to name a few. This colorful mineral is too soft (3 on the Moh’s hardness scale) for the gem/jewelry trade and has no industrial or practical use, yet because of its many varied crystal forms and colors it is highly collectable.
The crystal system for Aragonite is orthorhombic. The most common crystal habit is pseudo-hexagonal – and since pseudo essentially means “fake,” it is not a truly hexagonal (six-sided) crystal, but rather, three individual crystals that grow together to create a six-sided crystal cluster. Other forms include acicular, radiating, fibrous, columnar, stalactitic, botryoidal and most notably, spherical clusters of radiating pseudo-hexagonal crystals.
Aragonite is found throughout the world. Notable locations in Austria, Greece, Italy, Morocco, Spain and the USA (Arizona, California, New Mexico).