Whilst the actual origin of the title of Amazonite is still up for deliberation – some suggest the Amazon itself inspired the name. Although, this mineral has been known and used by man long before the first documented explorations of the river in the 1500s.
According to some accounts, the Amazon River was named by Spanish explorer Francisco de Orellana for the fighting women he claimed to have encountered on his journey, reminiscent of the Amazonian women warriors detailed in Greek Mythology. These powerful and independent women were depicted as having the stature and strength of male soldiers and the courage of the gods.
Myth or fact, the existence of this nation of women is still a point of discussion. Whether or not they are figment of Greek imagination it is likely they were the source of inspiration for the name of this amazing stone.
Known as the stone of courage, perhaps a nod to the great women who may have adorned themselves with this gem, Amazonite is the name given to Microcline Feldspar, a potassium Aluminum Silicate K(AlSi3O8). Identified by distinct verdigris green to blue-green color (due to trace elements of lead), mottled grid-like green and white pattern and a shimmery light effect on the surface due to incipient cleavage cracks.
With a ranking of 6 – 6.5 on MOH’s scale Amazonite is suitable for setting into rings although care must be taken as this gem may part/cleave if impacted at certain angles. For this reason, Amazonite is cut as cabochons as this material is problematic to facet and fine edges are prone to abrasion. Cabochons are favored by most as they best display the rich color and patterning of this opaque gemstone.
Feldspar minerals make up 60% of the Earth’s crust, Microcline is an abundant Potassium Feldspar and is typically found in granitic rocks or pegmatites. Pegmatites are a gemologist’s dream – a course-grained igneous rock formation filled with pure joy. (Pegmatites generally contain large crystals or rare minerals and are a valuable source of gemstones). Although Microcline is commonly found, the green gem variety (Amazonite) is an uncommon occurrence.
Unearthed in many locations around the world, Made in Earth carries two distinctly different grades of Amazonite from two opposing parts of the world. Bunny Bedi, owner and designer at Made in Earth gives the details of these unique gems.
“Amazonite is a staple in our collection, we carry both Russian and Peruvian stones and both show their own interesting characteristics. Our Peruvian cabs are a pale blue with slightly mottled white throughout and we generally have smaller sized stones whilst our Russian cabs are a deep, rich blue-green with distinct white streaks of the sodium feldspar albite and are available in quite large sizes”.
Feldspars, never cease to amaze us with their likes of Moonstones and Labradorite and now the addition of the amazing Amazonite!