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Mookaite Jasper | Properties and Meaning


eight tumbled mookaite crystals

Mookaite Colourful Lapidary Material

Mookaite is a variety of Australian Jasper that's used primarily for lapidary purposes.  Stones tend to be brightly coloured, take on an exceptional polish and when cut as gemstones are shaped as cabochons.  A cryptocrystalline rock 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 ancient oceans receded they gradually died out and 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 Australia.



Mined in Mooka Creek Western Australia

Although named locally after the area where this variety of jasper is found, the name mookaite has never been officially registered.   It's believed according to locals to come from the aboriginal word "mooka" meaning "running water".  The mookaite deposit is located on private land in Mooka Creek on Mooka Station which was once a sheep farm to the west side of the remote Kennedy Range National Park.  This is the only place in the world where the stone can be found.

Although often called "mookite" the correct way to pronounce the name of this stone is "mooka~ite" because it was named after Mooka Creek.  Rocks and minerals that have been named after people, locations or anything else that may be associated with it are often given the suffix "ite".  The mineral sugilite was named after Professor Kenichi Sugi, haematite is named after "haema" the Greek word for blood, sodalite is named because of its high sodium content and labradorite is named after the coast of Labrador in Canada.  My favourite however is the mineral Englishite which just like mooka~ite  should be pronounced English~ite but rarely ever is. 

The name mookaite is believed to have come from the aboriginal word mooka meaning "running water".   Many articles online refer to mookaite 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 mookaite is in fact a rock because like most varieties of jasper, it's made up of several different minerals and substances.  

The colours 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 relatively hard but the stone is also brittle so will break or fracture quite easily.



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