Minerals (Category B)
Apatite is named for the Greek word apate, which means "deceit", since Apatite is similar in appearance to many other minerals. Apatite describes a group of similar isomorphous hexagonal phosphate minerals. The primary Apatite group includes Fluorapatite, Chlorapatite, and Hydroxylapatite. The extended Apatite supergroup describes additional minerals such as Pyromorphite, Mimetite, and Vanadinite, but these are described individually in this guide.
It can be difficult to distinguish between individual members of the primary Apatite group. A designation of the specific Apatite type is not usually made, being called simply "Apatite" by collectors and dealers. However, most of the fine crystals and collector specimens are of the Fluorapatite type, which is by far the most common form of Apatite.
Apatite is the most common phosphate mineral, and is the main source of the phosphorus required by plants. The bones and teeth of most animals, including humans, are composed of calcium phosphate, which is the same material as Apatite. (These biological Apatites are almost exclusively the Hydroxylapatite type.)