Amazonite is often commended for its vivid green-blue color, for its zest. It is a translucent to opaque mineral variety of a group called feldspar. Quarried in limited amounts only, we feel comfortable enough to say it is a stone reserved for those rare, unique occasions.
DID YOU KNOW?
Also called the Amazone stone, its name is taken from the Amazon River. A certain kind of green stones used to be obtained from this big stream, but it is unknown whether these were amazonite indeed. Although associated with the river’s name since the early 18th century, it was the mineralogist August Breithaupt who officially named the gemstone amazonite in 1847.
Did you know?
Amazonite used to be sourced almost exclusively from the region of Miass, Russia, from granitic rocks. More recently the stone has been found in Colorado and Virginia, Madagascar, Canada, Ethiopia, China, Mozambique, Myanmar, Pakistan, and Brazil.
DID YOU KNOW?
For many, many years, the cause of amazonite’s viridescent hues has been unknown. Some assumed its color was a consequence of copper elements, as copper compounds often come in blue and green. Others have suggested that the reason behind it was the quantity of lead and water generally found in feldspar minerals.
Although this has never been confirmed by any medieval authorities or older, amazonite has been used for thousands of years. Archeological finds dating from Ancient Egypt, the Indus Valley, and Mesopotamia attest to this. Ancient Egyptians for instance used it for beads, pendants, inlays, and seals, and quarried it in the mountains of the Eastern Desert. The mummy of the high official Hekaemsaf, whose titles included Seal-Bearer of the King of Lower Egypt, Controller of the Palace, and Overseer of the Storehouse of Refreshments, was adorned with a gold mask, a bead net, and other trappings of gold, lapis lazuli, and amazonite. Only in the 18th century was it first described as a distinct mineral. Today, amazonite is rarely applied in mass-market jewelry as it is not evident to find an adequate supply of this gem material. Therefore it is more often used in one-of-a-kind jewelry.
THE ISLAMIC TRADITION
Amazonite lends its splendor to two of the mosques that occupy a special place in the believer’s heart. The 27 sliding domes of the Prophet’s Mosque in Madina enfold its 27 internal courtyards, shielding worshipers from the sweltering heat. The inner surfaces of the domes are splendidly adorned with Moroccan hand-carved ornaments, decorated with gold leaf highlights and studded with virid amazonite. The finishes of the ceremonial dome of the Grand Mosque of Mecca include awe-inspiring mosaic tiles and marble on the exterior maple veneers, and amazonite inlay, gold frames, and gilded gold and teak profiles on the interior.