Selenite is a form of the mineral gypsum, which is a very soft mineral. In fact, selenite is so soft that you could scratch it using just your fingernail! Transparent and colorless, it usually only has traces of color when other minerals are present in it. It is very fragile—in fact, even soap or lukewarm water can degrade selenite! The term "selenite" gets its roots from Greek mythology--the Titan goddess of the moon was called Selene. It is thought that selenite was called this due to its pearly luster, which can very much resemble the moon.
Historically it has usually been ignored, except as a collectible or curiosity item. This has changed in recent years due to the popularity of the New Age movement—the rise in interest of the use of crystals as an alternative form of medicinal therapy or healing has lead to more and more people becoming interested in it! Some people believe it can be used to clarify your mind, access past and even future events, and even improve flexibility! Whatever perspective you subscribe to, selenite is indeed a beautiful and unique rock, one that challenges our normal perception of what constitutes a rock, due to its characteristic fragility.
These selenite specimen are presented as delicate sticks 4-8 inches in length, perfect to pass around the geology classroom!
Great reference card for chemistry and physics students.
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