Amazonite is a translucent or opaque blue-green or green colored gemstone that falls into the Feldspar family (specifically, the Microcline variety). Amazonite can sometimes resemble Jade and is occasionally passed off as it, but the two can be distinguished by their different densities and refractive index numbers. Amazonite can sometimes have uneven coloring, and it is common to see white streaks in the stone.
Etymology & Sources
Amazonite gets its name from the Amazon River in South America – however, there have been no Amazonite deposits found in the Amazon Rainforest, so presumably the stone is either named for the blue-green of the river itself or the green hue of the trees of the Amazon. Whilst it is not found in the Amazon itself, Amazonite can be found in Brazil, as well as in various places in the US, Australia, Russia, and Madagascar.
Amazonite can range from blue-green to deep green, and generally speaking more intense colors and less unevenness in the coloring leads to more valuable gemstones. Amazonite is transluscent to opaque, and displays a vitreous or waxy luster. It is most often cut into cabochons, and is very rarely cut into ‘traditional’ gemstone shapes. Amazonite beads and irregular stone shapes are also popular, particularly with home jewelry makers.
Amazonite has middling hardness, with about a 6 on the Mohs scale. It has a refractive index level of 1.52 to 1.53, and has specific gravity of around 2.57.
Amazonite has only moderate hardness, and as such forms of jewelry like rings or bracelets that will incur daily wear and tear are not ideal, and necklaces, pendants, and earrings are preferable. Amazonite can have great color and is affordable enough that it makes a great stone for hobbyists and smaller scale jewelry makers. Thanks to its similarity in color to Jade, it can also be used as a reasonably good substitute for the more expensive gemstone. Despite not being that common, Amazonite is affordable enough that ornamental carvings of the stone can also be found.
Colorado/Pikes Peak Jade – Not actually Jade at all, this is a trade name for higher quality Amazonite
There are no common industry standard treatments for Amazonite.