The Different Types Of Calcite And What They All Look Like

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

| Updated

The Different Types Of Calcite And What They All Look Like

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

Updated

Calcite comes in many different forms, each with its own special features. Some great examples of calcite include Iceland spar, honey calcite, and feather calcite. 

Exploring the diverse types of calcite is like going on an adventure through the world of minerals. Every kind of calcite has a unique story, from how it forms to where it can be found.

Understanding these different types of calcite helps us appreciate the beauty and complexity of the Earth. Each variety of calcite can teach us something new about the planet we live on.

The 12 Different Types Of Calcite And What They Look Like

Calcite is a fascinating mineral that comes in a wide array of forms and colors. Each type has its own unique appearance, ranging from crystal clear to richly colored varieties. 

These diverse forms of calcite are not just beautiful to look at, but also offer a glimpse into the various ways minerals can develop. Understanding their appearance helps in identifying them and appreciating their natural beauty.

Iceland Spar

translucent Iceland spar block
Iceland spar provided by RockNLaser

Iceland spar is a type of calcite that’s really clear and transparent. It’s known for its ability to split light into two rays, a property called double refraction.

This mineral often forms large, perfect crystals that are colorless or have just a hint of color. Its clarity is so remarkable that you can see through it as if looking through glass.

The cool thing about Iceland spar is that when you look through it, objects appear doubled because of its optical properties. This makes it a fascinating specimen for anyone interested in how light interacts with minerals.

The value of calcite can vary. Generally, calcite is affordable, but the price can change based on size, quality, and rarity of the specific type.

Where you can find Iceland spar

Iceland spar, a clear form of calcite, was first discovered in Iceland, which is how it got its name. Today, it can also be found in other parts of the world, including Mexico and the United States.

Dogtooth Spar

pointed yellowish dogtooth spar crystal cluster
Dogtooth spar provided by Fossilera

Dogtooth spar is a really interesting type of calcite that looks like the sharp teeth of a dog, which is how it got its name. It forms in pointy, elongated crystals that are often white or colorless, but can also have shades of yellow, orange, or brown.

These crystals typically have a shiny, glass-like surface which makes them stand out among different types of calcite. They often grow in clusters that look like a mouthful of canine teeth, adding to their unique appearance.

Dogtooth spar can vary in size, from small crystals that can fit in your hand to larger ones that are several inches long.

Where you can find dogtooth spar

Dogtooth spar, a striking form of calcite, is often found in limestone caves where water deposits the mineral over time. It can also be discovered in hot spring areas, where the mineral-rich waters help form these unique crystals.

Dragon Scale Calcite

dark gray dragon scale calcite crystals
Dragon scale calcite provided by Fossilera

Dragon scale calcite is a unique and visually stunning mineral that gets its name from its scale-like appearance. It’s filled with chalcopyrite, which gives it an extra shimmer and adds to its distinct look.

Each “scale” in dragon scale calcite is an individual calcite crystal that has grown and overlapped the one before it, creating a layered effect.

This mineral forms in a beautifully unique way, with each layer resembling the scales of a dragon. The overlapping calcites create a pattern that’s both intricate and fascinating. 

The appearance of dragon scale calcite is characterized by its texture and the way light interacts with the chalcopyrite and calcite. When light hits the scales, it highlights the mineral’s unique structure.

Where you can find dragon scale calcite

Dragon scale calcite is a relatively newcomer in the world of minerals. This unique variety of calcite can only be found in Sweetwater Mine in Reynolds, Missouri.

If you’re interested in finding dragon scale calcite, check out our guide on where to go rockhounding. This guide offers great tips and locations for finding various minerals.

Travertine

beige travertine sphere
Travertine provided by HaandCraft

Travertine is a type of limestone that forms through mineral deposits, especially in and around hot springs. It often has a fibrous or concentric appearance, which gives it a unique and interesting texture.

This rock usually comes in shades of white, tan, cream-colored, and even rusty varieties. Its surface is typically pitted with holes or troughs, which are created as water flows through and over it.

Travertine is used a lot in construction, especially for floors, walls, and in outdoor gardens. Its durability and attractive appearance make it a popular choice for both indoor and outdoor designs.

Where you can find travertine

Travertine is typically found in areas with mineral-rich spring waters, where it forms as a result of the precipitation of calcium carbonate. Famous sites for travertine include Yellowstone Park in the USA and Pamukkale in Turkey.

Banded Calcite

yellow, black, and white banded calcite
Banded calcite provided by Emovendo

Banded calcite is a fascinating type of calcite that stands out because of its layered appearance. It forms when different layers of calcite deposit over time, creating distinct bands or stripes in the rock. 

These bands can vary in color, often showing a mix of white, cream, light brown, and even pink or red hues. This variety in what calcite looks like makes banded calcite particularly eye-catching, as the colors contrast and complement each other.

This type of calcite is usually found in large, solid masses that can be cut and polished to reveal the beautiful banding.

Where you can find banded calcite

Banded calcite is often discovered in areas where geological activities have led to the repeated layering of mineral deposits. This can include regions with extensive cave systems or places where hot spring activity is prevalent.

Manganoan Calcite

pale pink manganoan calcite crystal
Manganoan calcite provided by Spirifer Minerals

Manganoan calcite is a special kind of calcite that gets its pink color from manganese in its structure. The more manganese it has, the pinker it looks, which makes it really stand out among other minerals.

This type of calcite often forms in well-shaped crystals that can be transparent to translucent. These crystals can sometimes glow or fluoresce under ultraviolet light, which is a cool feature not seen in all minerals.

Manganoan calcite’s color can range from a very light, almost pastel pink to a deeper, more vibrant hue.

Where you can find manganoan calcite

Manganoan calcite was first reported from the Banská Štiavnica Mining District in the Slovak Republic and has now been found around the world. Notable locations include the Cave of Swords at Naica, Chihuahua, Mexico, and regions in Bulgaria.

Caribbean Calcite

Caribbean calcite is a recent discovery in the world of minerals, notable for its unique combination of blue calcite and white and light brown aragonite. This combination creates a stunning visual effect, reminiscent of a serene ocean scene. 

The blue calcite in Caribbean calcite often has a soft, tranquil hue, much like clear, shallow waters. It contrasts beautifully with the white aragonite, which adds a wave-like or cloud-like quality to the mineral. 

Meanwhile, the light brown aragonite in Caribbean calcite provides a grounding touch, similar to sandy beaches.

Where you can find Caribbean calcite

Caribbean calcite, a recently discovered mineral, is exclusively found in Pakistan. It was first identified in 2019, adding a new and unique variety to the world of minerals.

Cobaltoan Calcite

fuchsia pink druzy cobaltoan calcite crystals
Cobaltoan calcite provided by MapuMinerals

Cobaltoan calcite is a unique type of calcite that gets its striking pink to red color from cobalt. This mineral is quite eye-catching due to its vibrant hues, which are not commonly seen in other calcite varieties. 

It often forms in small, sparkling crystals that can cluster together, creating a beautiful, druzy surface. The crystals can range from very small, almost like a sugar coating, to larger, more distinct crystal shapes.

This colorful calcite is typically found in a range of pinks, from light, almost pastel shades to deep, rich magenta. Its vivid color and crystal formations make cobaltoan calcite a fascinating subject for anyone interested in the diversity of minerals.

Where you can find cobaltoan calcite

Cobaltoan calcite was first discovered in the Calamita mine in Tuscany, Italy. Since then, it has also been found in other locations such as Morocco, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and California.

Pagoda Calcite

dark brown pagoda calcite crystals
Pagoda calcite provided by LaLunaCrystalss

Pagoda calcite is a fascinating type of calcite known for its unique stacked, layered structure. Its appearance resembles the tiers of a pagoda, a traditional Asian temple, hence the name. 

This mineral forms in a step-like pattern, with each layer sitting atop the previous one like steps or floors of a building. The edges of these layers are often sharp and well-defined, creating a striking geometric appearance.

The color of pagoda calcite varies, but it commonly exhibits shades of white, cream, or even light brown. The contrast between the different layers adds to its visual appeal, making it a captivating mineral to observe and study.

Where you can find pagoda calcite

Pagoda calcite is typically found in mines located in China.

Limestone

white and gray limestone chunk
Limestone provided by saharagems

Limestone is a rock mainly made of the mineral calcite, which comes from the remains of marine organisms like corals and shells. Over millions of years, these remains build up and compress on the ocean floor, forming limestone. 

This rock can vary in color, typically ranging from white to gray, but it can also have shades of yellow, green, or even black.

Limestone often contains visible fossils of the ancient sea creatures that contributed to its formation, making each piece a natural history book.

Limestone is generally soft and can be easily worked with, which is why it’s commonly used in construction and architecture. Its texture can be fine and smooth or, in some cases, coarser, depending on the size of the calcite grains in the rock.

Where you can find limestone

Limestone is commonly found in areas that were once covered by oceans or seas, where the remains of marine organisms accumulated over time. It’s also present in mountain regions, where it forms large deposits that can span vast areas.

If you want to explore and find minerals like limestone, check out our guide on where to find crystals. This resource provides valuable information and tips on crystal and gem mining.

Honey Calcite

translucent yellow-orange honey calcite cube
Honey calcite provided by Kuramana

Honey calcite is a type of calcite that gets its name from its warm, honey-like color. It can range from pale yellow to a rich golden hue, making it quite eye-catching. 

This mineral typically forms in transparent to translucent masses, often with a glossy or glassy appearance. Its crystals can be large and well-shaped, displaying their natural beauty clearly.

Honey calcite has a smooth texture and can be polished to a high shine. This polishing brings out its sunny color and makes it even more striking to look at, especially when the light catches it just right.

Where you can find honey calcite

Honey calcite is located mainly in Mexico, where it is found in various mineral-rich regions.

Feather Calcite

white feather calcite crystals
Feather calcite provided by MoonlitInspirations

Feather calcite is a unique type of calcite known for its delicate, feather-like appearance. Its structure resembles the soft, fine texture of a bird’s feather, making it a visually interesting mineral.

This mineral often forms in thin, plate-like crystals that layer over each other, much like feathers do on a bird. The layers can be translucent to opaque, giving feather calcite a depth and complexity in its appearance.

The color of feather calcite usually ranges from clear to white, sometimes with hints of other colors depending on the mineral impurities present.

Where you can find feather calcite

Feather calcite can be found in several countries around the world, including China, Bulgaria, and Mexico.

About Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

Keith Jackson is an avid rockhound who is constantly exploring new sites to expand his collection. He has worked as a professional Geologist for over 20 years and holds a PhD in Geology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a Masters Degree in Geology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a Bachelors Degree in Geology from the University of Connecticut.

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