Baryte is generally colourless to white but yellow, red and brown forms can be found due to the inclusion of bituminous matter. Lustre is vitreous to pearly. Baryte has perfect prismatic cleavage and a hardness of between 3 and 3.5. Crystals are usually tabular or prismatic but massive, fibrous, granular varieties can be found. Baryte tends to occur as a gangue mineral in medium and low temperature hydrothermal veins associated with lead, silver, copper and zinc. It also forms as nodules in limestones and dolomites.
Uses: The main ore of barium. Also used in the drilling industry as a drilling mud, and the paper and rubber industries.