|Mohs scale hardness||6-6.5|
|Ultraviolet fluorescence||Weak; olive-green|
|Other characteristics||Radioactive 14.05% (K)|
Amazonite, also known as Amazonstone, is a green tectosilicate mineral, a variety of the potassium feldspar called microcline. Its chemical formula is KAlSi3O8, which is polymorphic to orthoclase.
Its name is taken from that of the Amazon River, from which green stones were formerly obtained, though it is unknown whether those stones were amazonite. Although it has been used for[clarification needed] over two thousand years, as attested by archaeological finds in Egypt and Mesopotamia, no ancient or medieval authority mentions it. It was first described as a distinct mineral only in the 18th century.
Green and greenish-blue varieties of potassium feldspars that are predominantly triclinic are designated as amazonite. It has been described as a "beautiful crystallized variety of a bright verdigris-green" and as possessing a "lively green colour." It is occasionally cut and used as a gemstone.
Amazonite is a mineral of limited occurrence. Formerly[when?] it was obtained almost exclusively from the area of Miass in the Ilmensky Mountains, 50 miles southwest of Chelyabinsk, Russia, where it occurs in granitic rocks.
Amazonite is now known to occur in various places around the globe. Those places are, among others, as follows:
- Mogalakwena, Limpopo Province
- Khâi-Ma, Northern Cape
- Kakamas, Northern Cape
- Ceres Valley, Western Cape
- Deer Trail, Arapahoe County:233
- Custer County:234
- Devils Head, Douglas County:234
- Pine Creek, Douglas County:234
- Crystal Park, El Paso County:234
- Pikes Peak, El Paso County: found in coarse granites or pegmatite
- St. Peter's Dome, El Paso County:234
- Tarryall Mountains, Park County:235
- Crystal Peak, Teller County:235
For many years, the source of amazonite's color was a mystery. Some people assumed the color was due to copper because copper compounds often have blue and green colors. A 1985 study suggest that the blue-green color results from quantities of lead and water in the feldspar. Subsequent 1998 theoretical studies by A. Julg expand on the potential role of aliovalent lead in the color of microcline.
Other studies suggest the colors are associated with the increasing content of lead, rubidium, and thallium ranging in amounts between 0.00X and 0.0X in the feldspars, with even extremely high contents of PbO, lead monoxide, (1% or more) known from the literature. A recent 2010 study also implicated the role of divalent iron in the green coloration. These studies and associated hypotheses indicate the complex nature of the color in amazonite, in other words the aggregate effect of several mutually inclusive and necessary factors.
A 2021 study by the German Institut für Edelsteinprüfung (EPI) found that the amount of lead that leaked from an 11 g (0.39 oz) sample of Amazonite into an acidic solution simulating saliva exceeded European Union standard DIN EN 71-3:2013's recommended amount by five times. This experiment was to simulate a child swallowing Amazonite, and could also apply to new wellness practices such as inserting the mineral into oils or drinking water for days.
Deep lustrous crystal of amazonite, from Take 5 Claim, Crystal Peak, Teller County, Colorado (size: 4.4 x 4 x 3.5 cm).
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