Petalite, also known as Castorite (lithium aluminum tectosilicate - Li Al Si4 O10), is a rare, translucent, gemmy mineral with colors ranging from clear to pale yellow, gray, pink and white. Crystals have an etched surface texture and irregular faces, and are a significant ore of lithium. The name Petalite derives from the Greek petalon, 'leaf', referring to the mineral's perfect cleavage, which causes it to fracture into small, conchoidal (shell or leaf shaped) fragments. Fracture is subconchoidal, luminescense fluorescent, luster is vitreous or pearly, specific gravity is 2.4, refractive index 1.5, streak colorless and hardness is 6 - 6.5 on the Moh Scale.
First identified in 1800, Petalite crystals are very rare because the mineral usually forms as massives (slabs of mineral without individual crystals) among granite pegmatites, often alongside Quartz, Lepidolite and Tourmaline. Petalite is found in Burma, Sweden, Brazil (Minas Gerais), the United States (Massachussetts and Maine) and Afghanistan (Paprok and Konar Provinces). Zimbabwe produces a chatoyant variety known as Petalite-Analcime, and a few specimens with mineral inclusions display a cat's eye effect. New sources of Petalite were discovered in Burma just a few years ago and Burmese Petalite, also known as 'Molo Thalin' or 'Castorite', is exceptionally fine material, with high quality specimens large enough to be cut as gems; cut stones of up to 20 carats have been sold in Burma, but these are very rare, partly because Petalite is so difficult to cut.
Petalite is used in crystal healing for its cleansing and strengthening effect. It is used to treat the lungs, digestive system, muscles and skeleton and some healers use it to help during difficult medical treatments like chemotherapy. Most lithium-rich crystals are said to be useful for treating depression, and Petalite is no exception. It is said to be a helpful part of therapy for long term, chronic depression, anxiety, mood and personality disorders. It can also be used to help treat the physical manifestations of depression and low self esteem, such as compulsive eating, self-harm, addictions and anger.
Petalite is a very spiritual stone. It is often used to relieve stress and calm the mind, and is a helpful crystal for meditation. It is sometimes called 'Stone of the Angels' and is said to have an affinity with angelic energy, helping you to communicate with Angels, Nature Spirits and Guides. Magically it is said to have the same cleansing and strengthening effects it is valued for in crystal healing, strengthening the mind against doubt, fear and criticism while cleansing the heart of selfishness, jealousy and greed. Working with Petalite over time is believed to increase your psychic abilities, including clairvoyance, empathy and the ability to see auras.