Selenite is a variety of the mineral gypsum, composed of calcium sulfate dihydrate (CaSO4·2H2O). The term selenite comes from the Greek selene for “moon”, referring to the stone’s pearly lustre on cleavage surfaces. Some of the largest crystals found in the world are selenite, with specimens in the Cave of the Crystals being over 12 metres long.
Have you wondered whether selenite can go in the water? In this article, we are going to discuss just that. We will begin with the properties of selenite. Then we will look at its interaction with water, salt, and sunlight. Finally, we will discuss how to clean selenite.
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Can Selenite Get Wet?
No, selenite cannot go in the water. It has a value of 2.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, which is well below the minimum value required for minerals to survive underwater. Selenite will dissolve in water. Even for harder minerals, it is not recommended to soak them in water for long.
Mohs Hardness Scale is a measure of the relative resistance of minerals to scratching. It also indicates a mineral’s relationship with water. Usually, a value above 5.0 means that the mineral is safe to go underwater.
Selenite is one of the softest minerals, which can even be scratched by a fingernail. Because of its softness, it will dissolve in water. Therefore, it should not be soaked. Keep reading to find out about cleaning selenite crystals in the right way.
Properties of Selenite
These are the properties of selenite:
- Appearance: Selenite is used to refer to gypsum crystals that are transparent and colorless. These crystals can sometimes show opacity or color due to the presence of other minerals such as druse. Selenite has a subvitreous or pearly lustre on cleavages.
- Structure: Selenite has a monoclinic crystal system. It mostly has tabular, prismatic, or acicular crystals, often with no inclusions. Twinning is common and it usually takes the form of “swallow tail” twins. Selenite has perfect cleavage and an uneven fracture.
- Hardness: Selenite has a value of 2.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, making it an extremely soft mineral that can even be scratched by a fingernail. Because of its softness, selenite is rarely used as jewelry. It can also not be immersed in water.
- Composition: Selenite is made up of calcium sulfate dihydrate and has the chemical formula of CaSO4·2H2O. It occurs in sedimentary rocks when water evaporates from mineral-rich soil environments. It can also be produced synthetically by capturing sulfur from the emissions of factories and power plants.
- Optical Properties: Gypsum crystals sometimes show fluorescence and phosphorescence. They show a range of colors in shortwave and longwave light, mostly bluish, orange-yellow, and brownish. Selenite often exhibits “hourglass” fluorescence that can be visible in ordinary light.
Besides these, selenite is also said to have spiritual properties. It is considered that the crystal promotes peace and calm, providing clarity.
Why Shouldn’t Selenite Get Wet?
Selenite is not safe to go underwater because it has a value of 2.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, which is well below the minimum value required for minerals to survive underwater. Because of its softness, selenite will dissolve in water. Even with harder crystals, it is not recommended to soak them in water for long.
Selenite is one of the softest crystals available. It is an abundant mineral, but because of its softness, it cannot generally be used for jewelry. Instead, it is used in sculptures and decorative objects.
It is soft enough to be dissolved in water, which is why it should never be soaked. The dissolving may not happen immediately, and if your stone has a sealant, it can take even longer. However, the water will slowly damage the crystal.
Even for other stones, it is not recommended to let them be soaked in water for a long time. Water seeps into the cracks of the stones and widens them. These fissures may not be visible at first but can slowly damage the structure of the stone, making it more brittle.
Water can also dull the appearance of crystals. By stripping off their polish, it makes their color look faded. Moreover, the fissures encouraged by water can change the way light bounces inside the crystals. This can ruin the optical properties of the stone, reducing its value.
Is Selenite Toxic When Wet?
No, selenite is not toxic when wet. Many people put crystals into the water, believing that the crystal will purify the water. However, it is not recommended to put selenite in water because it has an extremely low hardness. With a value of 2.0 on the Mohs Scale, it will get dissolved in water.
Unlike minerals like malachite, selenite is not toxic. But while cutting or polishing selenite, tiny (powdery) particles of the crystals should not be breathed in. You should also avoid getting the raw material in your eyes or other sensitive parts. This is true for all crystals in their powdered form.
Some people like to drink “crystal-infused water”, which is water that has been in contact with a crystal. However, this is certainly not recommended for selenite. It is an extremely soft mineral which will dissolve easily in water. These particles will then be present in water and you will end up consuming them.
Can Selenite go in the Sun?
Yes, selenite can be placed in the sun. It is quite a soft mineral but it can still be put out in sunlight, which is a common method of recharging crystals. However, like all stones, they should not be immersed for too long, as prolonged exposure can damage the stone.
Placing crystals in the light of the sun is a common way of recharging them. For selenite, you can place it on a windowsill, and the glass will work as a protective layer against harmful UV rays. You can also try keeping the stone out during the early morning hours when sunlight is gentle.
However, keep in mind that no stone should be left out for long. Excessive sunlight can fade the color of the stone and even make it brittle. This is especially true for softer minerals like selenite. So, make sure you leave it out only for a few hours.
Besides sunlight, you can also try putting selenite out in the moonlight. Simply place it in a safe location outside or on a windowsill, and let it stay there overnight. It will absorb the energies of moonlight.
How to Clean and Take Care of Selenite?
This is how you can clean selenite:
- Because of its extremely low hardness (2.0), selenite should not be soaked in water. Instead, you can wipe it with a dry cloth to clean it.
- You can also try wiping it with a polish compound like aluminum oxide.
- You can lightly sprinkle water on the stone. Then you can dry it with a dry cloth.
If your selenite is still showing stains, then you can consider taking it to a professional. Remember to never use mechanical systems (which use heat or vibrations) to clean selenite. You should not let the stone come in contact with any detergent or chemicals.
Because of its softness, selenite is best for displaying in a mineral or gem collection. It is rarely used in jewelry. When cleaning the crystal, make sure you rub it very softly, otherwise, its surface can get scratched.
Besides cleaning, if you are looking to recharge your stone, then you can try keeping it out in moonlight or burying it in the earth. You can let the stone rest on a bed of dry salt or brown rice. Placing the crystal next to water can also be one of the ways.
In this article, we looked at selenite’s interaction with water. Given its value of 2.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, selenite should not be soaked in water because it will dissolve. We looked at the properties of selenite, amongst which its softness is the most distinguishing one. We talked about selenite’s relationship with salt and sunlight. We finally looked at ways of cleaning selenite.