Orthoclase (KAlSi3O8) is an important tectosilicate mineral, which forms igneous rock. It is also known as alkali feldspar and is common in granite and related rocks.
Orthoclase is named based on the Greek for "straight fracture," because its two cleavages are at right angles to each other. Orthoclase crystallizes in the monoclinic crystal system. It has a hardness of 6, a specific gravity of 2.56-2.58, and a vitreous to pearly luster. It can be colored white, gray, yellow, pink, or red; rarely green. Twinned crystals are quite common. Orthoclase is a common constituent of most granites and other felsic igneous rocks and is often found in huge crystals and masses in pegmatite masses.
Adularia (from Adular) is found in low temperature hydrothermal deposits. When pearly and opalescent, orthoclase is called moonstone and is used in jewelry. These opalescent varieties are known to be an intergrowth of orthoclase and albite called perthite. A glassy kind of orthoclase, called sanidine, is typical of felsic volcanic rocks and is found in the trachytes of the Drachenfels, Germany.
Together with the other potassium feldspars orthoclase is a common raw material for the manufacture of some glasses, some ceramics, such as porcelain, and as a constituent of scouring powder.