Mookaite Jasper | Properties and Meaning
Mookaite Jasper | Popular Lapidary Material
Mookaite is a variety of Australian Jasper used primarily for lapidary purposes. Stones are often brightly coloured, can take on a high polish and when cut as gemstones tend to be shaped as cabochons. A cryptocrystalline stone that's made up predominantly of the microscopic remains of minute aquatic organisms called radiolaria, its scientific name is windalia radiolarite. The radiolaria measured just 0.1 to 0.2 millimetres in size and produced intricate mineral skeletons but as they died as the ancient oceans receded, their skeletal remains slowly transformed into sedimentary rock. Although many different varieties of radiolarite can be found around the world, windalia otherwise known as mookaite can only be found in one location in Western Australia.
Mookaite from Mook Station
Although named locally after the area where this variety of jasper is found, the name mookaite has never been officially registered. Its name comes from Mooka Station which was once a sheep farm located to the west side of the remote and rarely visited Kennedy Range National Park in Western Australia. This is the only place in the world where mookaite has been be found and the deposit is on privately owned land so access is restricted. The name mookaite is often incorrectly spelt and many articles online refer to the stone by different names all of which strangely are quite similar. Some of these include mookalite, mook, mookerite and mook jasper. Although frequently referred to as a mineral it's actually a rock because like most varieties of jasper it's made up of a number of different minerals and substances.
The colours seen in mookaite are caused primarily by the presence of iron and manganese and along with precious opal, it's one of Australia's best known gemstones. On Mohs scale of mineral hardness it grades 6 to 7 which means it's a relatively hard stone but is also brittle so will fracture quite easily.
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