HISTORY, NAME, LOCALITIES: Azurite has served as a blue pigment and pottery glaze since 3500 B.C. and was one of the first ores of copper. It is named for its diagnostic azure color. The word “azure” stems from the Persian lâzhuward, meaning “heaven” or “blue.” Notable collecting localities are located in Mexico, China, Russia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Morocco, Chile, Bolivia, and the United States (Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada).
MINERALOGY, PROPERTIES, OCCURRENCE: Azurite [basic copper carbonate, Cu3(CO3)2(OH)2], pronounced AZH-ur-ite, crystallizes in the monoclinic system and occurs in massive, botryoidal and stalactitic forms as well as tabular and bladed prismatic crystals. It has an intense azure-blue color, a Mohs hardness of 3.5-4.0, near-perfect cleavage in one direction, vitreous luster, and specific gravity of 3.7-3.8. Azurite is a secondary mineral that forms in the shallow, oxidized portions of copper deposits in association with such minerals as malachite, calcite, chalcopyrite, chrysocolla, and linarite.
METAPHYSICAL PROPERTIES, LORE, USES: Metaphysical practitioners believe that azurite helps to identify and dispense with unwanted past beliefs and memories to enable the mind to achieve higher levels of consciousness and intellectual receptivity. When worn, azurite is thought to ease rheumatic pain. Until the early 1900s, azurite was one of the primary ores of copper. Azurite is used extensively in cabochons for jewelry and as a carving medium for decorative objects.
COLLECTORS’ INFORMATION: With its vivid, azure-blue color, unusual crystal habits, and colorful mineralogical associations, azurite is one of the most widely collected minerals and makes superb display specimens.