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Afghanite on marble, Sar-e-Sang, Badakhshan, Afghanistan. Size: 3.4 x 3.1 x 2.6 cm.
Category Tectosilicates
(repeating unit)
Strunz classification 9.FB.05
Crystal system Trigonal
Crystal class Ditrigonal pyramidal (3m)
H-M symbol: (3m)
Space group P31c[1]
Unit cell a = 12.796, c = 21.409 [Å]; Z = 1
Color light blue, dark blue
Crystal habit Lath shaped crystals, rounded grains
Cleavage Perfect {1010}
Fracture Conchoidal
Mohs scale hardness 5½ - 6
Luster Vitreous
Streak white
Diaphaneity Transparent
Specific gravity 2.55 - 2.65
Optical properties Uniaxial (+)
Refractive index nω = 1.523 nε = 1.529
Birefringence δ = 0.006
References [2][3][4]

Afghanite, (Na,K)22Ca10[Si24Al24O96](SO4)6Cl6,[1] is a hydrous sodium, calcium, potassium, sulfate, chloride, carbonate alumino-silicate mineral. Afghanite is a feldspathoid of the cancrinite group and typically occurs with sodalite group minerals. It forms blue to colorless, typically massive crystals in the trigonal crystal system. The lowering of the symmetry from typical (for cancrinite group) hexagonal one is due to ordering of Si and Al.[1] It has a Mohs hardness of 5.5 to 6 and a specific gravity of 2.55 to 2.65. It has refractive index values of nω=1.523 and nε=1.529. It has one direction of perfect cleavage and exhibits conchoidal fracture.[3] It fluoresces a bright orange.


It was discovered in 1968 in the Lapis-lazuli Mine, Sar-e-Sang, Badakhshan Province, Afghanistan and takes its name from that country. It has also been described from localities in Germany, Italy, the Pamir Mountains, Tajikistan, near Lake Baikal in Siberia, New York and Newfoundland. It occurs as veinlets in lazurite crystals in the Afghan location and in altered limestone xenoliths within pumice in Pitigliano, Tuscany, Italy.[2]

It is used as a gemstone.[5]