Benitoite is known for its striking blue color, which is due to the presence of rare earth elements, particularly barium. The mineral also has a high refractive index, giving it a unique sparkle and brilliance when cut and polished.
In addition to its beauty, benitoite is also valued for its rarity. It is a relatively scarce mineral, with most of the world's production coming from the Benitoite Gem Mine in California. As a result, benitoite can be quite expensive and is highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts.
Despite its relative obscurity, benitoite has a fascinating history and has played an important role in the development of mineralogy as a scientific discipline. It was initially mistaken for sapphire by its discoverer, but subsequent analysis revealed it to be a completely new mineral species.
Benitoite is a rare and unique mineral with a rich history and enduring appeal. Its rarity and beauty continue to captivate collectors and scientists alike, making it one of the most sought-after minerals in the world.