Albite from Crete, scale = 1 in.
Category plagioclase, feldspar, tectosilicate
(repeating unit)
NaAlSi3O8 or Na1.0–0.9Ca0.0–0.1Al1.0–1.1Si3.0–2.9O8
Strunz classification 9.FA.35
Crystal system Triclinic
Crystal class Pinacoidal (1)
H–M Symbol: (1)
Space group C1
Unit cell a = 8.16, b = 12.87
c = 7.11 [Å]; α = 93.45°
β = 116.4°, γ = 90.28°; Z = 4
Color White to gray, blueish, greenish, reddish; may be chatoyant
Crystal habit Crystals commonly tabular, divergent aggregates, granular, cleavable massive
Twinning Common giving polysynthetic striae on {001} or {010}also contact, simple and multiple
Cleavage Perfect on {001}, very good on {010}, imperfect on {110}
Fracture Uneven to conchoidal
Tenacity Brittle
Mohs scale hardness 6 – 6.5
Luster Vitreous, typically pearly on cleavages
Streak White
Diaphaneity Transparent to translucent
Specific gravity 2.60 - 2.65
Optical properties Biaxial (+)
Refractive index nα = 1.528 – 1.533 nβ = 1.532 – 1.537 nγ = 1.538 – 1.542
Birefringence δ = 0.010
2V angle 85–90° (low); 52–54° (high)
Dispersion r < v weak
Other characteristics Low- and high-temperature structural modifications are recognized
References [1][2][3]

Albite is a plagioclase feldspar mineral. It is the sodium endmember of the plagioclase solid solution series. As such it represents a plagioclase with less than 10% anorthite content. The pure albite endmember has the formula NaAlSi3O8. It is a tectosilicate. Its color is usually pure white, hence its name from Latin albus. It is a common constituent in felsic rocks.


Albite crystallizes with triclinic pinacoidal forms. Its specific gravity is about 2.62 and it has a Mohs hardness of 6 - 6.5. Albite almost always exhibits crystal twinning often as minute parallel striations on the crystal face. Albite often occurs as fine parallel segregations alternating with pink microcline in perthite as a result of exolution on cooling.

There are two variants of albite, which are referred to as low albite and high albite; the latter is also known as analbite. Although both variants are triclinic, they differ in the volume of their unit cell, which is slightly larger for the high form. The high form can be produced from the low form by heating above c. 750 °C (1382 °F).[4] Upon further heating to more than c. 1050 °C the crystal symmetry changes from triclinic to monoclinic; this variant is also known as monalbite.[5]

It occurs in granitic and pegmatite masses, in some hydrothermal vein deposits and forms part of the typical greenschist metamorphic facies for rocks of originally basaltic composition.

It was first reported in 1815 for an occurrence in Finnbo, Falun, Dalarna, Sweden.[2]

It is used as a gemstone.[6]


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Albite.
  1. Handbook of Mineralogy
  2. 1 2
  3. Webmineral data
  4. O.F. Tuttle, N.L. Bowen (1950): High-temperature albite and contiguous feldspars. J. Geol. 58(5), 572–583,
  5. Monalbite on Mindat
  6. Loose Gemstone Guide - Secrets of the Gem Revealed By Pao Nipperkin
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