What on Earth Is Iceland Spar?

Iceland spar is a fascinating stone that you’ve likely seen on TV if you’ve watched the first episodes of History’s TV show Vikings. In those times, it was called the sunstone, but let’s see what we know about it today!

The Physical Properties of Iceland Spar

Iceland spar is an optically clear variety of calcite, containing mainly carbon, calcium, and oxygen. It’s colorless and transparent, and it has been used in optics and even for navigational technology in the Vikings’ days. On the Mohs hardness scale, the hardness of Iceland spar is 3.

This stone has a strong, visible doubling and might show adularescence. Iceland spar also has a perfect cleavage quality and vitreous luster, as well as a trigonal crystal system. As a transparent stone, it might not possess stunning color combinations, but Iceland spar certainly is beautiful in its own right.

The History of Iceland Spar

Iceland spar was first discovered in the Helgustadir Mine in Eskifjord, Iceland, but it has quite a long history. The Vikings called it “sunstone,” and they used its unique properties for demonstrating the polarization of light to find the sun in cloudy conditions, helping them navigate the seas. It was also found aboard the “Alderney” shipwreck of 1592, which suggests it was used for navigation after the invention of the magnetic compass.

The Lore of Iceland Spar

As sunstone, Iceland spar has its eternal place in Viking lore, and it is mentioned in the Hrafnas saga: “The weather was thick and stormy… the king looked about and saw no blue sky… then the king took the sunstone and held it up, and then he saw where [the Sun] beamed from the stone.”

As far as magical lore goes, it is said Iceland spar can double the strength of spells and draw light into the soul. While on the subject of light, it might be worth noting that Iceland spar not only helped mankind invent optics, but it also assisted in crafting our first scientific theories of light as a wave.

The Metaphysical Properties of Iceland Spar

The metaphysical properties of Iceland spar are just as fascinating as its history and scientific uses. As with most other clear stones, Iceland spar is said to be able to amplify intent, which means you can use it for different, very specific purposes. However, it might be most useful for clearing away stagnant, blocking energies and providing clarity that will help you chart your future course.

It’s one of the rare stones that is said to be able to activate all of the chakras by improving the overall flow of energy through the body and amplifying positive influences. It’s a stone of optimism and banishing fear and of sailing bravely into the unknown.

Furthermore, Iceland spar is also considered to be useful in treating migraines and helping with eye problems, and it can amplify the efficiency of other crystals.

Whether you’re after Iceland spar for its history and scientific significance or beauty and metaphysical properties, it’s certainly worthy of its place in your crystal collection.


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