Phyllite is a metamorphic rock that falls between slate and schist in terms of metamorphic grade. Belonging to the foliated metamorphic rock class, phyllite displays fine-grained, parallel layers that give it a slightly shiny appearance. This sheen, known as a phyllitic luster, results from the reflection of light off the microscopic layers of mica minerals within the rock.

Mineral Makeup

Phyllite primarily consists of tiny crystals of sericite and chlorite, two types of mica minerals. Additionally, it may contain minute amounts of quartz, feldspar, and other accessory minerals, depending on the specific parent rock and metamorphic conditions it has experienced.


Phyllite forms through the metamorphism of fine-grained sedimentary rocks, such as shale or mudstone, under moderate heat and pressure conditions. During metamorphism, clay minerals within the parent rock recrystallize into the microscopic mica crystals that give phyllite its characteristic sheen.


Phyllite can be found in various locations worldwide, often occurring in regions with a history of mountain-building processes and metamorphic activity. Notable occurrences of phyllite include the Appalachian Mountains in the United States, the European Alps, the Scottish Highlands, and the Himalayas in Asia.


Phyllite is believed to hold metaphysical properties related to balance, transformation, and personal growth. It is thought to promote harmony between different aspects of one’s life, facilitating adaptation and change during times of transition. Additionally, phyllite is said to encourage self-reflection, allowing individuals to recognize and release patterns that no longer serve them.

ClassMetamorphic (Foliated) 
MIneral MakeupPrimarily sericite and chlorite, with possible quartz and feldspar 
LusterPhyllitic (slightly shiny) 
Hardness (Mohs)3-4
StreakWhite or colorless
ColorGray, green, or black, often with a silvery sheen 
CleavagePerfect in one direction 
Specific Gravity2.6 to 2.8