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Bytownite - industrial uses?

Posted by Duncan Hill  
Duncan Hill December 08, 2017 03:10PM
Someone has asked on Wikipedia "Is Bytownite industrially useful in any way?" which struck me as an interesting question. Could anyone help answer it please?
W. Richard Gunter December 08, 2017 04:07PM
Hi Duncan:

Bytownite itself is probably too rare to have any industrial use. As a component of anorthosite (various Ca-Na plagioclases; mostly labradorite) it has been a minor ore of aluminum and a raw material for some ceramic products.
Alfredo Petrov December 09, 2017 12:13AM
Cutting gems is an industry, and the better transparent crystals are cut as gems. Non gemmy material would just have similar uses to those of other feldspars.
Owen Lewis December 09, 2017 02:49AM
There is not enough of it about in gem grade to make a market in it. It's relative rarity is its only appeal as its appearance is quite unremarkable.I have yet to see one showing any of the phenomena that can make any of the An0-70 varieties attractive/unusual as jewellery However, small pieces up to 2ct are cut from time to time for the collector's market. Of the plagioclase varieties of feldspar, only An90-100 is less commonly seen for sale as a cut gem. In non-gem grade, why should anyone care whether or not a piece is bytownite?
Ted Hadley December 09, 2017 03:28AM
It is a feldspar. It can be used as a glaze in ceramics manufacturing.
Dennis Beals December 09, 2017 05:22AM
The material from Casa Grandes, Chihuahua, Mexico produces large stones in abundance. One Chinese dealer came up with a way to surface treat it to a vibrant orange. It sold quite well on one of the gem shows on TV until the truth came out. A small scandal occurred until they found out that it still sold well because of the color.
Duncan Hill December 12, 2017 05:11PM
Thanks everyone, I also found this NGU Bulletin article which discusses potential uses for bytownite rich anorthosite as an alternative to bauxite.
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