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Prehnite: South Africa's first documented mineral

Our featured crystal this week is the beautiful prehnite from Tafelkop mountain, Namibia, and I thought it would be fitting to make it the subject of my first blog as it just happens to be South Africa’s very first officially documented mineral.

Prehnite is a calcium aluminium silicate mineral (Ca2, Al2, Si2, O10, (OH)2) of the orthorhombic system, 6-6.5 0n the Mohs scale, and with a vitreous / pearly lustre. It is most commonly apple green in colour, but may also be found as yellow green, orange, blue, grey, white and clear. It can be transparent, translucent or opaque.

Not only was prehinite the first South African mineral to be officially described and documented, it was also the first mineral to have been named after a person. So quite a notable specimen! Prehnite was discovered in South Africa in the eighteenth century in the Craddock district of Cape Province by a Dutch mineralogist, Colonel Hendirk Von Prehn (1733 - 1785). The mineral was officially documented by geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner, who named it after the founder.

The prehnite discovery was found in a dolerite rock of jurassic age, which dates back over 200 million years. Pretty ancient then in our terms! Dolerite is a medium grained non acidic dark hypabyssal igneous rock. Prehnite forms in low temperatures in basalt in veins and cavities.

Prehnite is believed to have originally been found long before the eighteenth century and used by indigenous African shamans for thousands of years.

Prehnite continues to be found in areas of the Eastern and Northern Cape and there is a record of a farmer coming across an unusual find of prehnite ‘in the shape of epimorphs of angel wing calcite up to 50cm across, forming interlocking plates’ (B. Cairncross). A rare orange variety with acicular growth and traces of manganese, was found in the Kalahari manganese field in 2000.

In Zimbabwe, prehnite is found in basalt vugs as botryoidal masses.

Prehnite from the Goboboseb mountains in Namibia, is some of the finest in the world. Well known from the 1990s, but also mined there previously, it is formed in basaltic lavas at Tafelkop mountain to the west of the Brandberg locality famed for its quartz, and in much older rock than the Brandberg complex. It is found as isolated pieces, on plates, and in geodes. It occurs most commonly in spherical, botryoidal, massive, granular and stalactitic habit, but may also more rarely form as prismatic, pyramidal or tabular. It is often associated with calcite and quartz and other less well known minerals, and occasionally with amethyst and epidote.

Prehnite is also found in other parts of the world including Australia, China, Scotland and parts of USA.


Prehnite is a stone of the heart and associated with the heart chakra. It radiates very gentle and soothing energies and can help us to release emotions, communicate and express our feelings, and bring inner peace. It is a stone of hope and joy and therapeutically, it is detoxifying, invigorating and regulating.

Prehnite aids the alignment of our spiritual world with our physical world bringing our energies in to balance and centring them at the heart. From this comes acceptance, self love, and love for others, and a feeling of being loved.

Prehnite can enable us to access the angelic and spirit realms, where we can connect with our higher self, increase our awareness and intuition, and feel more at oneness with the universe.

Prehnite can help us to rediscover our identity, realigning us with our true self and purpose, and help us focus on our goals and intentions. It can reduce feelings of guilt, and may aid the release of behavioural patterns, allowing life changes to happen. It has a stabilising effect and can help us to deal calmly and positively with new situations with greater flexibility. It supports decision making and staying power and it can boost confidence and help reduce fear. Prehnite can encourage a sense of reality, and can aid memory and clarity of mind and thought, and heighten intuition.

On a physical level prehnite is believed to help disperse accumulations and stagnations in the body that may have resulted in indigestion, inflammation, swellings, bruising or sinus congestion. It can aid the different metabolic processes.

Due to the silicate content prehnite aids the healing process following an illness and helps to strengthen the power of regeneration by stimulating energy flow. It also promotes the healing of wounds. It can act as an anti-inflammatory, improve elasticity in blood vessels, benefit the immune system, and help slow premature ageing. It can help fortify skin, hair and nails and is said to aid sensory organs.

Due to the aluminium content, prehnite supports alkaline metabolic processes and can help to relieve stomach acid, gout and rheumatism. Aluminium also supports iron absorption in the intestine. It can help reduce symptoms of weakness, slow perception and even paralysis by normalising nerve conductivity.

Due to the calcium content prehnite encourages metabolism, nutrient absorption and energy use in our cells. It supports growth, firmness and flexibility of bones, teeth and tissue. It helps to regulate the balance of acid and alkali. It also helps to regulate heart rhythm and strengthens the heart.


Apart from being aesthetically beautiful and an ornamental collector’s specimen in a cabinet, prehnite is a valuable healing mineral and can be utilised in various ways to help balance the energies as seen above. Use it for meditations and channelling, in healing layouts, and to aid sleep. Prehnite is also ideal for placing in a healing grid, and in a room.

**Please note: therapeutic healing with crystals and minerals is not a substitute for seeking medical advice. If you have a health problem, please consult your GP.

Many thanks for taking the time to read my blog.

Discussion, comments and questions are welcome in relation to this blog. If you have any further insight on prehnite, please feel free to share here. If you would like to contact me directly, please go to our contact page, or send an email . I will do my best to respond within 24 hours.