Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mineral of the Day: Okenite

Today's mineral is Okenite, those ever-popular fuzzy white cottonball minerals. Named after the German naturalist Lorenz Oken, they were first discovered in Greenland in 1828.

It is important to note that natural Okenite is WHITE. If you see it in other colors, it has been dyed. The white crystals do not have good contrast with the white matrix, and many sellers use food coloring to make a more colorful specimen, which they then try to pass off as natural.

Okenite is usually associated with zeolites, and is generally found inside basalt geodes. The 'hairs' are someone flexible, but still very fragile.

In my days of doing mineral shows, I found that putting a sign saying "Fragile - do not touch" did not deter every passer by from jamming their finger into my okenites. When I got fed up with smashed and mangled specimens, I put up a different sign that said, "Danger! Sharp needles!". Problem solved. However, they are actually quite soft and harmless to touch, just be very gentle with them.

Most of the Okenite currently in the market comes out of India, particularly Maharashtra Province.


  1. Thanks for sharing! What a beautiful sample!

  2. From the first photo I said to myself "is that white wavelite?" Thank you for clarifying that okenite is white. Now I wonder if my own specimen here is green colored okenite!