Selenite is a very popular crystal, it is easily obtainable and usually pretty affordable. But did you know that what is usually labelled as Selenite is probably actually a crystal called Satin Spar? These two beautiful crystals are probably the two most mixed up crystals in the entire metaphysical world! They are the same mineral, a form of of gypsum, but they crystallised differently to form either Selenite or Satin Spar. Another form of gypsum is Desert Rose, which is mixed with sand particles, and gypsum can also be found in beautiful tabular crystals.
Selenite is the most famous of the two names, but Selenite crystals are actually much rarer than Satin Spar. Selenite forms in large flat, transparent crystals that are often called “plates” or “windows”. They have very thin sheets and can flake apart. Utah is famous for it's high quality Selenite plates.
Here are some examples of Selenite crystals:
Satin Spar is the lesser known of the two names, but it is the crystal that most people are familiar with, and most of the online world calls Selenite. In fact, because the name Selenite is so popular, many retailers continue to call their Satin Spar by the name of Selenite because it's what their customers are expecting to find, so this furthers the confusion. Satin Spar crystals are fibrous and white, often seen in little mountains, as raw rulers or wands, or polished into palmstones and spheres with a “cats eye” effect. Satin Spar has fibre optic properties, which means light can pass through the crystal in a certain direction. If you take a section of Satin Spar, and polished the ends flat, then you will be able to see through it. Small polished sections are sometimes sold as “TV Rock” to show off this fibre optic property, although there is also a mineral called Ulexite which is also known as TV Rock for the same reason.
Here are some examples of Satin Spar crystals:
You can see when the two crystals look very different when compared directly. They are both beautiful crystals, but remember that many sellers, websites and books won't label them correctly.
Shop Satin Spar crystals here.
Shop Selenite crystals here.
Just for fun, these are the other two main forms you will see Gypsum in:
Beautiful delicate Desert Rose formations, these are formed with grains of sand in the gypsum. They can grow in single "roses", or in impressive clusters.
Shop Desert Rose here.
Tabular Gypsum Crystals, these are often beautifully clear (although remember gypsum is soft so scratches easily), and can sometimes be found with enhydros (bubbles of water/air inside).
Shop Tabular Gypsum here.