11.15.2009

Gemstone Spotlight - November 09


As someone who is becoming more and more fascinated by stones, I thought I would share my burgeoning passions with all of you...:)

This feature will hopefully be posted once a month whenever I come across something that compels me to write about it. Of course, many of the stones I will highlight will be some of my favorites, but I would be very happy to take suggestions!

Amazonite is my favorite stone. There's just something about it that makes me love it. Perhaps it is the variety the stone comes in. Perhaps it's the beautiful green/aqua hues and amazing texture. Whatever it is, I fell in love with it at first sight...:)

Gorgeous Amazonite & Smokey Quartz crystals from Colorado

A huge deposit of Amazonite & Smokey Quartz crystals from Colorado

PROPERTIES & INFO
Type: feldspar group (alkali family)
Chemical composition: KalSi3O8...Potassium & Aluminum Silicate. Green coloration comes from Iron impurities.
Hardness (Mohs): 6-6.5...vulnerable to pressure and scratches, but good enough to wear everyday. Best for necklaces and earrings.
Colors: varies from pale yellow-green to saturated blue-green (most desirable). Often seen with other stones included such as smokey quartz, schorl (black tourmaline) and albite.
Clarity: Amazonite is opaque to translucent. It is rarely transparent and has a vitreous luster.
Types of cut: Most Amazonite is cut into cabochons or beads. It is rarely faceted.
Locations: The main ones are USA (Colorado especially), Russia, Ethiopia, Norway, Canada (Ontario & Quebec) & China. (There are many more locations as this mineral is spread throughout the globe)
Other names/Misnomers: Amazon Jade, Amazon Stone
Enhancements: Can be impregnated with colorless wax, paraffin or oil, through high temperature heat treatment. This is to enhance the color of the stone and improve it's appearance.
Care: Amazonite jewelry should be stored in a separate container so that it will not be scratched by other harder stones. Do not clean Amazonite jewelry in an ultrasonic or steam device. A soft cloth, mild soap and warm water should suffice to clean the stone.

A gorgeous piece from Ethiopia...This location is considered hot competition for the Colorado Mines

Though Amazonite can be found pretty much anywhere on the world, not much is known about it and it's still considered rare. This can be attested by the lack of information at Mindat.org.

Many people believe that the stone was named after the Amazon river in Brazil but so far, no one has found any Amazonite there, though the stone IS found in Brazil. Another legend is that the Amazon Warrior Women would give the stone to men who passed through their land. For what exactly...not quite sure!

A lovely piece from Norway displaying Schorl (black tourmaline)

A close-up of the Schorl crystals seen in many Norwegian specimens

What is so wonderful about this stone is that location determines it's color, look and stone mates. Russian Amazonite is probably one of the most distinct with it's deep teal tones and defined white striations. Colorado & Ethiopian Amazonite are a clean, bright aqua with the US specimens often found alongside smokey quartz crystals. Norwegian Amazonite seems to be newest on the market in bead form and is almost always seen with black tourmaline and white/pale gold accents in a gorgeous shade of aqua. Canadian Amazonite is comparably softer in color, but has similar striations to it's Russian cousin. China's version leans much more towards green in color and is often seen with muscovite. So far it has been found only in small, but high quality, quantities.

A lovely example of the most commonly known & recognizable coloration of Amazonite from Russia

A much less known & stunning specimen of translucent Russian Amazonite

As with many stones, Amazonite is believed to have mystical healing properties. Amazonite is used to calm emotions and soothe nerves. It is associated with courage and is said to imbue the wearer. It also enhances creativity and the ability to express oneself and the deeper the color, the more it is said to be effective.

An example of the fine quality the Chinese have been finding

A lovely piece showing a soft coloration and white striations from Ontario, Canada

For me, the healing is in just looking at this fascinating and beautiful stone. How can you not be calm while exploring all the little nooks and crannies in a picture or bead? I will definitely be getting a few specimens from different locations when I start my mineral collection...:)

I have several different kinds of Amazonite beads & cabochons waiting to be used and a couple of finished pieces waiting to be shot and posted. This piece is one of my favorites I've made and is currently in shop. Amusing to realize that I paired Amazonite beads with Smokey Quartz before I ever knew they formed together! And I've done it twice as I have another piece with both not yet listed...*lol*

Kiwi Q-T Necklace - the pale green & aqua briolettes are Amazonite

Hopefully you've enjoyed this little segment and will continue to tune in when I host the next one. As I said above, I'd be very happy to take your suggestions on what you'd like to see next!

3 comments:

Flaunt Designs Jewelry on November 16, 2009 at 12:10 AM said...

I too love the cool, milky blue-green of amazonite - it soothes my soul! Funny how you have a picture of a piece naturally co-existing with smoky quartz, as that is a combination that I favour in some of the pieces that I have made; they look fab' together! Great article, very interesting, Gifted ♥

Gifted Designs on November 16, 2009 at 12:40 AM said...

I know...I just realized myself that I put them together in two pieces...before I ever knew they went together...kinda funny how that happens!

Christie Cottage on November 16, 2009 at 10:42 AM said...

Beautiful stones!

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