Amazonite

Amazonite is an attractive blue green variety of the mineral microcline whose color is caused by lead.  Part of the family of rock forming minerals known as feldspar which accounts for over half of the earth’s crust, microcline is one of the most common of all feldspar minerals.

Only blue green varieties of the mineral microcline may correctly be referred to as amazonite. Although named after the Amazon in Brazil, the mineral amazonite is not found anywhere near there.  It’s believed it was mixed up with another green stone that was found there around the same time.  It is believed that the stone that was actually found by the Amazon river was nephrite jade.

Sources for amazonite include Canada, Namibia, Australia, Italy, Minas Gerais in Brazil and the Ural mountains of Russia. Amazonite beads have been found which date as far back as the 5th millennium BC and the stone is still widely used today in items of jewellery.  The Ancient Egyptians used it for carving deities and it was also considered to be a catalyst between the living and the Gods.

During the late 1800’s Colorado became the most important mining source for the finest grade amazonite and gradually replaced Russia as one of the world’s leading suppliers. Amazonite is graded 6 to 6.5 on Mohs scale of mineral hardness. Amazonite is usually cut into cabochons for necklaces and pendants, or used to carve figurines or other ornamental items. Amazonite is found in hydrothermal veins, pegmatites, granite pegmatites, schists and gneisses, and also as grains in sedimentary rocks. It is formed in deep-sea igneous rocks that once cooled very slowly.

This stone requires special care – exposure to water and other chemicals, such as cleaning products or aerosols, will damage it over time. If you polish the stone, use a dry cloth only, or an air duster that does not contain any disinfectant or other chemicals.

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