Amazonite (sometimes called
"Amazon stone") is a green variety of microcline
The feldspars are a fairly
homogenous group of rock-forming tectosilicates that make up nearly 60% of the
Earthâ€™s crust. Followed by quartz, Feldspar is the most common mineral in the
entire world. Despite feldspar's abundance, there are only a few varieties of
feldspars considered to be gemstone quality. The word 'feldspar' originated
from the German words, "Feld"and "Spath", which loosely
translates as "a rock that does contain ore".
For many years, the source of
amazonite's color was a mystery. Naturally, many people assumed the color was
due to copper because copper compounds often have blue and green colors. More recent
studies suggest that the blue-green color results from small quantities of lead and water in the
Amazonite was named after South
America's Amazon River, which partially flows through Brazil. It was believed
that amazonite was found there long ago, but mineralogists claim that no green
deposits of feldspar exist in Brazil's Amazon. As a result, the stones were
later assumed to be nephrite jade and not actually amazonite. Amazonite and
other green feldspars do naturally occur in other areas of Brazil, just not in
the Amazon River.
Amazonite is a light green to light bluish green feldspar. Amazonite's soft and
attractive color closely resembles nephrite and jadeite. It is sometimes
erroneously referred to as 'Colorado jade' or 'Pikes Peak jade' because of the
close resemblance. Amazonite's appearance is very distinctive with its
grid-like, mottled, green and white pattern. The unique color of amazonite is a
result of iron impurities that give it the striking bluish green color.
Specimens with evenly distributed and saturated colors are the most desirable.
Amazonite is best viewed under soft, warm daylight between sunrise and sunset.Â Amazonite is typically opaque to translucent.
Very rarely does it occur in transparent form. It has a vitreous luster and a
waxy-like shine when polished. Although it is a rare stone, amazonite is still
considered a very affordable gem.
is found in only a few locations around the world. Russia's Ilmen mountains were
thought to be the only source for many years, until recent discoveries were
made in the USA (Colorado and Virginia), Australia, Madagascar and Brazil.