One thing I should address right away is disagreement about the name. Twenty years ago, the pieces we call selenite would not have been called selenite, but only have been called satin spar. A different form of gypsum which is very transparent and not fibrous (in fact, it looks somewhat like a salt crystal) was called selenite. Gemologists in the jewellery, science, and high-end collection markets often still insist that "selenite" only refers to that type of gypsum. However, the definition among every day collectors changed and these days typically refers the satin spar variety. Because this is our market, this is what we call "selenite." The reason for this being that if we stood our ground on not calling it selenite, saying it was satin spar, many customers would misunderstand and think that we did not have the crystal they were looking for! Sometimes, you just gotta change with the times. It's not the first time this has happened either! Throughout history, many different stones were called "selenite," including moonstone!
The Science of Selenite
Selenite, also sometimes called Satin Spar, is a variety of gypsum with at least some translucency. It is distinguished from other varieties of gypsum by its crystal habit, or shape in which it grows. In this case, it grows in long fibrous strands that pack together in clumps, sheets, or star shapes. As a gypsum, it has the chemical structure of CaSO4·2H2O, so there is actually some water trapped within the crystal structure of selenite, which is part of the reason why it is so very water soluble. This chemical structure also means that it is classified as a sulphate mineral. Selenite ranges in hardness from 1.5-3 and has rhombohedral cleavage. It has poor toughness but is fairly stable (meaning it doesn't disintegrate or change character just from being exposed to light or air).
It is typically clear, grey, or pearly white, but mineral impurities may make it pink, peach, orange, yellow, brown, red, or even blue! It can have a waxy, pearly, or vitreous lustre. Because of its fibrous quality, polished selenite often exhibits chatoyancy. It also has the unique ability to transmit light through it, along its fibres, much like a fibre-optic strand. Because it easily breaks apart in water, selenite is rarely died, though it has now begun to have coatings applied to give it more fantastic colours. Selenite can turn cloudy if exposed to heat.
Selenite can be found all over the world. Our selenite is normally sourced from Morocco and occasional Brazil. Our artisan-carved pieces are may be sourced from India, Pakistan, or here in Ontario, depending on the supplier.
History of Selenite
It's the way in which selenite toys with light - as well as its milky, translucent colour - which caused it to be named after Selene, the Greek moon goddess. It was originally called selēnítēs líthos, meaning "moon stone," as was... well, moonstone. They were both thought to reflect moonlight (in different ways) and even to be affected by the phases of the moon. We now know them to be different stones.
Folklore & Mythology
Selenite has long been associated with the moon and is even named for the Greek goddess Selene.
Selenite has an ethereal energy and is thought to instill peace of mind. Selenite is sometimes linked to the energy of angels and thought to help channel their guidance.
Certain witches and occultists like to wear selenite (not advised - jewellery made stones softer than 7 break easily) or use selenite wands on Monday or as part of moon rituals. Some people have used selenite plates or spheres for scrying.
Selenite rods are also commonly used for cleansing. Jess has one that sits in the middle of her display of tarot decks she frequently reads with. She has another on her beside to keep negative energy away while she sleeps. (You can read more about cleansing with selenite at this link.) Selenite can also be used to create a protective boundary around a room or a house.
In new age spirituality, selenite is believed to open the crown and higher crown chakras. Crystal healers believe that selenite can transform or cleanse negative energies and can help with shoulder & spine problems.
It is connected to the zodiac sign of Taurus and the element of water.
8, angels, cleansing, cow, flexible thinking, insight, Moon, peace, Selene, Taurus, tranquility, water