Iceland Spar – Gemstones Advisor

Iceland Spar

the stone has excellent transparencyIceland spar or Vikings stone is a transparent coarse-cristalline variety of calcite. Its first name derives from its first major deposit which was discovered on the territory of Iceland, namely near the town of Helgastadir. The mineral started to be referred like that at the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries, when the first samples of the Iceland stone appeared in Europe.

The mineral also got the name Vikings stone due to the glory of the great warriors who used it as a means of navigation. Thus, it helped them see the sun when the weather was foggy. Until recently, it was only a guess based on some tales and legends. However, a unique specimen of Iceland spar was found in 2003 on a ship that sank in the English Channel in 1592. It became a proof that the Vikings virtually used this mineral as a navigational tool.

Properties and Use

If you look through Iceland spar, you will see a doubled image. Transparent and yellow varieties of this mineral are most common in the nature. However, depending on various impurities, such as of magnesium, iron, barium, strontium, or lead, it can be coloured in pink, blue, and even brown.

If you look through Iceland spar, you will see a doubled imageThis unusual stone has excellent transparency in the ultraviolet and visible spectrum regions. Due to this property, the Vikings’ sunstone is widely used in optoelectronic and optical systems, for the light flux control and the light polarization.

This kind of spar is rarely made into decorations. It is typically used to make magical talismans and amulets. It is believed that the mineral greatly protects travelers.

Production and Deposits

Of course, the Vikings’ stone, especially the crystals of optical quality, is produced in Iceland. In addition, there are deposits of Iceland spar in the Caucasus, in Yakutia, as well as in the Republic of South Africa, in Tuva, Mexico, and Central Asia.




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