Garnet Silicates and Uvarovite

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Found in the moors of New Mexico, Arizona, and California, Uvarovite is one of the Garnet minerals primarily used in medications. It is used to treat the heart and other organs, emotional imbalance, plant-related allergies, aids in detoxification, and has an anti-inflammatory effect (Crystal Vaults ). Uvarovite is a rare kind of substance with a unique chemical composition that offers a broad range of medications for the well-being of humans.

While it is important to understand the different uses of Uvarovite, it is equally imperative to know the roots of the substance. Garnet minerals are a particular group of silicates (Garnet Supergroup), Nesosilicates that exhibit a similar set of physical properties with varying, if not different, chemical compositions. Nesosilicates are the type of silicates with the basic structural unit being SiO4 with a -4 valency, with the oxygen atoms being shared with octahedral groups with different cations (Silicate Structures, Structural Formula, Neso-, Cyclo-, and Soro- Silicates). The general formula for Garnets is X3Y2(SiO4)3. Garnets are the type of silicate compounds that contain three molecules of the silicon-oxygen tetrahedron with an isometric crystalline arrangement, where X is often either Magnesium (Mg) or Calcium (Ca) and Y is either Aluminum (Al) or Iron (Fe) (Minerals Database). Garnet silicates are primarily used for water filtration (via a process called water jet cutting), as abrasive blasting materials, as abrasive powders, and secondarily as decorative gemstones (Minerals Database).

A particular type of Garnet is Uvarovite. The physical properties of Uvarovite are as follows:

  • It has a glassy or shimmery appearance and is found to be transparent mostly (with translucency being found in some of its variant compounds).
  • It is found in emerald-green, green, and green-black colors.
  • It is brittle, meaning the crystal structure can easily shatter.
  • It has smooth concave and convex-shaped surfaces, along the lines of having a conchoidal fracture.
  • It has a measured density from 3.77 – 3.81 g/cm3

(Uvarovite)

The chemical properties of Uvarovite include:

  • The chemical formula, i.e., the atoms that make up the compound. The formula of the compound is Ca3Cr2(SiO4)3. This means that it contains three atoms of calcium, two atoms of chromium, and 3 molecules of the silicon-oxygen tetrahedron.
  • Like all other compounds, this one too contains certain impurities that mix during formation, such as aluminum, iron, and magnesium.
  • The crystal structure is isometric, with a dodecahedra structure, where every oxygen atom is bonded to an octahedral group containing either Ca2+ or Cr3+.

(Uvarovite)

Uvarovite is an intriguing blend of different atoms which has made a valuable contribution to the chemical studies of elements and the different compounds they are able to form, where even the mere placement of atoms can cause a significant difference in either the chemical or physical properties or both for a compound.

 

Bibliography

Crystal Vaults . n.d. https://www.crystalvaults.com/crystal-encyclopedia/uvarovite/.

Minerals Database. n.d. https://mineralseducationcoalition.org/minerals-database/garnet/.

Silicate Structures, Structural Formula, Neso-, Cyclo-, and Soro- Silicates. 6 November 2014. https://www.tulane.edu/~sanelson/eens211/silicate_structures08.htm.

Uvarovite. n.d. https://www.mindat.org/min-4125.html.

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