Apatite is a rich source of phosphorus that is used in the production of food supplements, pharmaceuticals, textiles, ceramics, fertilizers, insecticides and explosives. This mineral is also collectible, and it can be cut into gems and fashioned into jewelry pieces. However, due to its brittleness and relatively low hardness, apatite is not regarded as a precious mineral or gemstone.
Apatite is widely distributed across the continents, with an estimated world reserve of 47 billion tons. The state of Florida is the biggest global producer of apatite. In Europe, this mineral is predominantly found in Germany, Austria, Portugal and Russia. Israel, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia also contain significant deposits of apatite.
Apatite comes in a variety of colors, including green, yellow, pink, white, purple, red, blue and brown. It registers a hardness of five on the Mohs' scale, and it has a density that ranges between 3.16 and 3.22. Apatite is primarily composed of calcium and phosphorus. This natural abundance in phosphorus makes apatite a useful mineral in several industries.
The extracted phosphorus from apatite is utilized in the manufacture of pure chemical compounds, such as sodium phosphate, di-calcium phosphate and mono-calcium phosphate. Although it is not considered a valuable gemstone, apatite can be used to make earrings, brooches and pendants. One form of apatite called hydroxylapatite is used to stimulate bone growth on severed bone and body implants.