Cacoxenite is quite a rare mineral that belongs to the class of hydrous phosphates. Its name is connected with the Greek word «kakos» – «bad» and «xenos» – «a bad guest»because the phosphorus content of cacoxenite degrades the quality of iron smelted from the ore containing it. Cacoxenite was first described in 1825.
The mineral’s chemical formula is Fe3+ 24Al(PO4)17O6(OH)12x17H2O. It crystallizes in hexagonal system. Aluminum is a typical admixture. Its Mohs hardness number is 3-4, its density is 2.217 g/cm3. The gem is translucent. It is characterized by visible pleochroism and moderate surface relief. The level of radioactivity is 0. Exposed to the blowpipe flame, it melts easily, turning into a black magnet globule. It is readily soluble in acids.
In nature cacoxenite occurs in yellowish, reddish, brownish yellow, orange and green colorings. The formations are usually represented by acicular crystals. The mineral is formed as magnificent yellowish bundles, inter-grown crystals of divergent structure, also as spherulites, incrustations and fibrous aggregates. Quartz, amethyst, hematite and other minerals often contain minor inclusions of this amazing gem.
As a secondary mineral, cacoxenite is formed as a result of the oxidation of magnetite ores. It can also be formed in phosphorus-rich pegmatites. It seldom occurs in iron-bearing topset beds or soils. The deposits are found mainly in the occurrences of magnetite and limonite iron ores. On the territory of Brazil it is mined as beautiful incrustations in quartz. The rare gem is especially valuable for collectors. Goldsmiths use it to make wonderful jewelry.
The mineral possesses healing properties. It has a beneficial effect on cardiovascular system; it contributes to the normalization of the thyroid. It also helps to fight catarrhal diseases. On top of that the gem stimulates cell regeneration and corrects hormonal failure.
Cacoxenite also has some magical properties. The mineral contributes to one’s spiritual growth moving them to a higher level of consciousness. It is often used for meditations. The charmlike gem helps to get rid of fears and anxiety. It creates the atmosphere of benevolence and trust.