Nepheline is a rock-forming mineral. It is usually massive and in unattractive specimens, though a handful of localities have produced well-crystallized examples of this mineral. Nepeheline is a primary constituent of nepheline syenite rocks and nepheline syenite pegmatites, forming in alkali-rich plutonic environments often together with a host of rare minerals.
Nepheline is a member of the feldspathoid group of minerals. Minerals whose chemistries are close to that of the alkali feldspars but are poor in silica (SiO2) content, are called feldspathoids. As a result or more correctly as a function of the fact, they are found in silica poor rocks containing other silica poor minerals and no quartz. If quartz were present when the melt was crystallizing, it would react with any feldspathoids and form a feldspar. Localities that have feldspathoids are few.
Nepheline is reactive to acids although it does not bubble like many of the carbonates. If powdered it will dissolve in hydrochloric acid and if clear specimens are dipped in acid they will become cloudy or frosted. This could be helpful in distinguishing nepheline from some similar looking feldspars, scapolite and cryolite.
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