Amazonite Mineral Specimen
MICROCLINE (var. AMAZONITE)
HISTORY, NAME, LOCALITIES: Amazonite, pronounced AM-ah-zahn-ite, has been fashioned into beads and carved objects since antiquity. It was originally known as “Amazon stone,” which is the root of its name. Mineralogists recognized amazonite as a variety of microcline in 1830. Because of its rarity, amazonite has few collecting localities. Notable sources are located in Russia, Austria, Brazil, and the United States (Colorado).
MINERALOGY, PROPERTIES, OCCURRENCE: Amazonite is the green, gem variety of microcline [potassium aluminum silicate, KALSi3O8] and a member of the feldspar-mineral group. It is a tectosilicate or framework silicate that crystallizes in the triclinic system as equant crystals with square cross sections. It has a Mohs hardness of 6.0-6.5, perfect cleavage in one direction, and a specific gravity of 2.56. Amazonite is usually opaque and its diagnostic green to green-blue color is due to traces of lead and the effects of geophysical radiation. It occurs in granite pegmatites with such other minerals as albite and quartz.
METAPHYSICAL PROPERTIES, LORE, USES: Many ancient cultures attributed talismanic value to amazonite pendants and carvings, while medieval physicians prescribed it to treat skin and eye ailments. As a popular, semi-precious gemstone, amazonite is now fashioned into decorative objects and cabochons. Metaphysical practitioners consider amazonite to be a “hope stone” that inspires hope and increases personal confidence. Amazonite has no technological uses.
COLLECTORS’ INFORMATION: Amazonite, both as individual crystals and composite specimens with albite and smoky quartz, is widely collected because of its distinctive green color, mineralogical associations, and relatively large crystal size.