Amazonite

Amazonite


Published On: 03-26-2014 02:47pm

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Category: Gemstones

Amazonite (sometimes called "Amazon stone") is a green variety of microcline feldspar.


The feldspars are a fairly homogenous group of rock-forming tectosilicates that make up nearly 60% of the Earth’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 feldspar.


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.  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.


Amazonite 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.

 

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazonite

http://www.gemselect.com/gem-info/amazonite/amazonite-info.php


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