Amazonite usually refers to the pale blue to richer blue colors of Amazonite.
Amazonite is commonly further divided as two varieties. Amazonite or Amazonstone is often the pale blue-green colored stone, sometimes a light sky to slightly richer blue color. Russian Amazonite is the variety that has a very rich blue-green color with streaks of white. It has a rather limited occurrence, and is primarily collected in Russia and Colorado (US). It is believed that Amazonite gets its blue-green color from the inclusion of water and lead within its molecular structure.
Russian Amazonite often refers to the richer green/blue-green variety with white striations.
Amazonite has been used throughout history for ornamental decoration for its lovely blue-green colors as well as its play of color (schiller). Amazonite was used by ancient Egyptians in numerous carvings; they possibly considered it a medium between the humans and gods. Some use it for metaphysical purposes, as it is thought to have a calming effect. Today it is commonly used for lapidary/jewelry purposes, though care must be taken as it can fracture easily. A popular form is a combination of Amazonite with other minerals such as Pyrite, black Tourmaline, and varieties of Quartz.
Amazonite makes for a lovely color to add to jewelry. As pictured in the pendant on the left, it is also sold with a combination of minerals including Pyrite, Tourmaline, and/or Quartz.
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Chemical composition: K[AlSi3O8]
Crystal System: Triclinic
Habit: Prismatic, Tabular
Fracture: Irregular/Uneven, Conchoidal
Transparency: Opaque to translucent
Specific Gravity: ~2.55
Occurrence: Worldwide, but most commonly in the US, Madagascar, and Russia
A Guide to Rocks and Fossils by B. Busbey III, R. R. Coenraads, P. Willis, and D. Roots. Published 2002 by Fog City Press. ISBN: 1877019518
Rocks, Minerals, & Fossils of the World by C. Pellant and R. Phillips. Published 1990 by Little, Brown and Co. ISBN: 0316697966
Mindat – Microcline. http://www.mindat.org/min-2704.html
Wikipedia – Amazonite. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazonite