Spodumene is found almost entirely in pegmatite
bodies, where it usually accompanies the lithium mineral lepidolite
as well as colored tourmaline
, which has a small fraction of lithium. This is a typical appearanceopaque, light colored, with excellent pyroxene-style cleavage and strongly striated crystal faces. It is hardness 6.57 on the Mohs scale
and is fluorescent under longwave UV with an orange color. Colors range from lavender and greenish to buff. The mineral alters easily to mica and clay minerals, and even the best gemmy crystals are pitted.
Spodumene is fading in importance as a lithium ore as various salt lakes are being developed that refine lithium from chloride brines.
Transparent spodumene is known as a gemstone under various names. Green spodumene is called hiddenite, and lilac or pink spodumene is kunzite.