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ionic charge The electrical charge of an ion, created by the gain (negative charge) or loss (positive charge) of one or more electrons from an atom or group of atoms. Ionic charge is important in determining the strength of bonding in minerals (e.g. Fe3+ makes a stronger bond than Fe2+ with similar ions), and also which elements can substitute for each other within a crystal lattice. See also IONIC BOND; IONIC RADIUS; and VALENCY.