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July-August 2010

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Collector's Guide to the Chlorite Group

Mineral collectors may be forgiven if they have a love/hate relationship with the chlorite group. When a green microscopic or earthy phase is the accessory mineral on something larger, whether it forms highly aesthetic phantoms or an unattractive scummy coating, “chlorite” usually gets the credit (or blame). Minerals of the chlorite group should not, however, be viewed simply as an annoying impurity to be cleaned away whenever possible. The collector who takes the time to become familiar with the chlorite group, and looks for specimens, will discover surprisingly interesting material, including fine crystals suitable for almost any mineral collection.

Robert J. Lauf is a materials scientist who recently retired after twenty-three years at Oak Ridge National Laboratory; he is now a registered patent agent and technology consultant. He is the author of Introduction to Radioactive Minerals, Collector's Guide to the Mica Group, and Collector's Guide to the Epidote Group, which were recently published by Schiffer Books.

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