The most common phosphate mineral is Apatite. It is dubbed the most common due to the fact that this mineral is found in the bones and teeth of all vertebrate animals. Apatite is also theleading source of phosphorus that is required by all plants, which is why one of the most common uses of Apatite today is the manufacturing of fertilizer. In the United States, fertilizer that contains Apatite is mainly used for agricultural crops for supplemented nutrition.
Apatite was given its name in 1786 by German geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner, the name Apatite derives from the Greek word apate which means “to deceit.” Werner saw this name fitting due to the resemblance this mineral has to other gems such as Tourmaline, Peridot, Topaz, and Beryl. It can be found in various places around the world such as Czech Republic, Brazil, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Norway, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Mexico, Spain, Canada, and even the United States. Not only can Apatite come from various places, but it can also come in various colors such as yellow, pink, blue, green, purple, colorless, and multicolored. These mineral specimens are known to have incredible color and clarity. Their colors are contributed by the three minerals that make up Apatite which are Calcium phosphate, Fluorine, and Chlorine or Hydroxyl.
These minerals can be formed under various conditions, but they are mainly found in sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks. Sedimentary rocks in marine and lacustrine environments are where the most important Apatite is found. Fun fact during the Apollo space program the moon rocks that were collected and brought back to Earth contained traces of Apatite. This mineral is a brittle and frail material which means it can be broken easily, which makes it too fragile to use in most types of jewelry. In fact, because of this Apatite is considered to be more popular with gem collectors than it is with jewelers.