Amazonite, also referred to as Amazon stone, is a green, green and white, or blueish variety of microcline, a feldspar mineral. Like many stones, amazonite forms on the cooling of a molten geological mix of minerals with chemistry close enough to each other to combine into one crystal. One such mineral is albite. During the cooling of the microcline, the albite tends to crystallize separately and appear as spectacular white streaks, a process called exsolution.
Both microcline and albite are white or colorless in their pure state. For amazonite to form, there must be a small percentage of copper or lead atoms trapped in the microcline crystal lattice (structure). Such trace elements are referred to as chromophores and are responsible for the coloration of most fine gem crystals.
Amazonite is mainly found in the Americas (North and South) and also in Russia, but deposits are found in many countries. Amazonite is not synthesized, but fake amazonite—usually glass or quartz—is abundant. Genuine amazonite has a Mohs hardness of 5 to 6 and tends to break easily.
Most so-called Chinese amazonite, a creamy blue-green stone with light mottling, is actually dyed quartz.
Image courtesy of irocks.com
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