Lepidolite is an uncommon mica and has only in the past decade become available on the mineral market in large quantities. Lepidolite is an ore of lithium and forms in granitic masses that contain a substantial amount of lithium. The lithium content in lepidolite does vary greatly however and low lithium lepidolite is nearly useless as an ore of lithium. The typical violet to pink color of lepidolite is characteristic and is the only field test available to identify lepidolite from other micas. Pink muscovite or very pale lepidolite may confuse an identification.
Lepidolite, like other micas, has a layered structure of lithium aluminum silicate sheets weakly bonded together by layers of potassium ions. These potassium ion layers produce the perfect cleavage. lepidolite crystals accompany such other lithium bearing minerals such as tourmaline, amblygonite and spodumene and can add greatly to the value of these specimens. A rock made of granular pink lepidolite and red to pink tourmaline is used as an ornamental stone for carving. Single large plates or "books" of lepidolite can have appealling violet color and make attractive mineral specimens.