Hectorite Hydrous magnesium iron silicate Hector, California.jpg
Hectorite from California
Category Mineral
Chemical formula Na0.4Mg2.7Li0.3Si4O10(OH)2
Color White
Crystal habit Thin laths and aggregates
Crystal system Monoclinic
Cleavage [001] Perfect
Fracture Uneven
Mohs scale hardness 1 - 2
Luster Earthy (dull)
Streak White
Diaphaneity Translucent to Opaque
Specific gravity 2-3 (Avg 2.5)
Optical properties Biaxial - 2V small
Refractive index nα = 1.490 nβ = 1.500 nγ = 1.520
Birefringence δ = 0.030 max.
Pleochroism Colorless
References [1][2][3]

Hectorite is a soft, greasy clay mineral that forms near Hector, California (in San Bernardino County). The mineral is rare in that it is found primarily in one mine. The chemical composition of hectorite includes: sodium, lithium, magnesium, silicon, hydrogen and oxygen. Hectorite is mostly used in the manufacturing of cosmetics, but has uses in chemical and other industrial applications.

Hectorite occurs with bentonite as an alteration product of clinoptilolite from volcanic ash and tuff with a high glass content.[1]


  1. 1,0 1,1 Handbook of Mineralogy
  2. "Hectorite Mineral Data" Mineralology Database. <
  3. Ralph, Jololyn and Ida (2007): "Hectorite" Mineral information and data. Mineralology Database.

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