Amazonite is a gemstone variety of green microcline, a feldspar mineral. It is named after the Amazon river in Brazil. Surprisingly, no deposits of it have been found there. The name may refer to the variable green shades of the rainforest along the big river that are reflected in the gemstone. Amazonite is usually cut in cabochon, with a rounded and convex polished surface. In fact a fine quality amazonite can be mistaken for precious jade. Like jade, Amazonite is often carved as well. Amazonite does not undergo any kind of treatment. Its relative softness of 6-6.5 on the Mohs scale makes Amazonite vulnerable to pressure and scratches and requires some care. Amazonite, though not common, is still very affordable.
The History and Background of Amazonite.
A Brazilian legend boasts of the Amazon people giving ”green stones” to the visitors of the region. Europeans were already familiar with green microcline (my-krO-kline) from Russia and assumed the blue-green rock given to them by the Indians of South America was the same stone. As it turns out, Amazonite is not found in the Amazon Basin and the legend was most likely referring to Nephrite (jade). It is believed that Amazonite was first called ”Amazon Stone,” and was later changed to amazonite.
Cleaning and Care
Amazonite is sensitive to chemicals, abrasives, heat, acids, and ammonia. Never use a steamer, hot water or ultrasonic cleaners with this gemstone. Use mild soap and room temperature tap water with a soft cloth so you do not diminish the luster of the gemstone.
Amazonite (also called Amazon Stone and Amazon Jade) is microcline feldspar composed of potassium aluminum silicate (K Al Si3 O8). Its color is due to lead impurities, and the stone can also include cloudy white streaks and patches. Because of its color, Amazonite is sometimes confused with Jade and Turquoise. While sensitive to pressure, it has a Mohs hardness rating of 6 and is suitable for beads, cabochons and in carved cameos.
Mineral Information: Tektosilicate, microcline (fieldspar group)
Chemical Composition: KAlSi3O8
Color: Pastel blue-green, Deep green/blue (Russian)
Specific Gravity: 2.5-2.6
Refractive Index: 1.522-1.530