Axinite gets its name from the sharp-edged, axehead-shaped crystals. Although attractive and hard, they're brittle and rarely flawless, and faceted for collectors only. Brown is the most usual colour, although it occurs in honey-yellow and plum-purple varieties. An uncommon Tanzanian axinite is blue. Axinite is strongly pleochroic.
Axinite is found in cavaties in granite as well as in metamorphic rocks. Localities include New Jersey (USA), where the attractive honey-yellow crystals are found, Mexico, Cornwall (England), France and in the gem gravels of Sri Lanka.
Darker axinite may be wrongly identified as smoky quartz.