The Story of Gems: Amazonite
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The Story of Gems: Amazonite

This story is about the beautiful green stone Amazonite a variety of feldspar used as a gem. The stone gets its green color from a small amount of lead in its crystal structure.

Amazonite that is also cold Amazon stone is a green colored variety of microcline a type of feldspar. It got its name from the Amazon River when certain green stones were formerly obtained from the land surrounding the river although it is doubtful that any of this green feldspar occurs anywhere in the Amazon region.

Although amazonite is a mineral having a limited occurrence it was originally obtained from the Miass district in the Ilman Mountains about 50 miles southwest of Chelyabinsk, Russia. It was found here in granitic rocks in small quantities. It can also be found in the United States as high-quality crystals found in the area of Pike's Peak, Colorado. Some spectacular specimens displaying amazonite along with smoky quartz crystals in a matrix of albite and orthoclase feldspar have been found around Pike’s Peak. Another area where amazonite is found in Colorado is at Crystal Peak in El Paso County. There are other places in the United States were amazonite has been found associated with pegmatites like it is in Colorado.

For many years many people assumed that the bright green color of amazonite was because of copper compounds that are often similarly colored having bright blue or green colors. Recent studies that have been undertaken suggest that the blue-green colors of amazonite are actually caused by a small amount of lead and water as crystal defects in the feldspar.

Amazonite has been used for years when it has been cut and polished as a gemstone, but as gem it is not advisable to use this in the rings because it is brittle and fracture is easily. Because of the ease in which the stone fractures it is better if used in a brooch or pendant.

Aside from finding amazonite in the Pike's Peak District of Colorado it is also found in Brazil and Madagascar. This mineral is also found in many other localities in the United States that include: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin. In all of these states Amazonite is found associated with granitic rocks.

One of the more famous localities on the East Coast of the United States is found that Amelia Courthouse, Virginia although it is found all along the length of the Appalachian Mountains and small deposits. You can find on a geological bedrock map where there are likely looking outcrops of granite that are capable of producing Amazonite.

If you like to read about gems go here

References:

Amazonite, mindat.org, http://www.mindat.org/show.php?id=184&ld=1

Amazonite, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazonite

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