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Variscite

Variscite Washington District of Columbia Geology, Rocks & Minerals
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Stock #: 235612
Type: Postcard
Era: Continental Chrome
City: Washington
State: District of Columbia (DC)
Publisher: Fleetwood
Postmark: 1992 Sep-17
PM City: Washington
PM State: DC
Stamp: 29c
Size: 4" x 5.75" (10.25 x 15 cm)
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No.92-115. Variscite is a phosphate mineral that occurs in glassy nodules, veins, or crusts in near-surface deposits. Formed by the action of phosphate waters on aluminous rocks, this mineral occurs in Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Zaire, Australia and Utah. It is also found on islands where phosphatic solutions from guano--seafowl excrement--have interacted with aluminous igneous rocks. Most gem quality variscite occurs in an extensive deposit in Fairfield, Utah. Commonly known at this location as Utahlite, it is found in nodular masses as much as a foot in diameter. Pale green in color, this semiprecious gemstone is used extensively as an ornamental material in brooches, earrings, and beads. Variscite is often substituted for turquoise, which it closely resembles, but is more porous and tends to absorb body oils which discolor it. Cut into sections, variscite frequently exhibits color variation near the center because of greater density, and may display "eyes" of other phosphate minerals as well