Azurite Gemstone Information
Azurite isn’t necessarily as widely sought as many other gemstones, but that isn’t a comment on its beauty. In many people’s eyes, azurite is completely captivating, offering up a beautiful coloring and patterning that isn’t easy to find in other gems.
If you’re wondering about the azurite gemstone, including the properties of azurite, the stone’s history, and more, here’s what you need to know.
Azurite stones aren’t technically a gem. Instead, when you look at the physical properties of azurite, specifically its chemical composition, you’ll realize that the stones are copper carbonate hydroxide minerals. It’s also a somewhat rare mineral, as it isn’t widely available and deposits tend to be smaller.
Azurite can be opaque, translucent, or transparent. However, most versions you see in azurite jewelry fall into the translucent category, providing it with a lovely luster that many people favor.
Compared to many other stones, azurite is relatively soft. While this can make azurite fairly easy to work with, particularly in lapidary projects, it also means that the stone can be prone to scratching. If you wear azurite, particularly if you want to don an azurite ring or bracelet, you may need to exercise a bit of caution to ensure the stone doesn’t come into contact with a material that can damage the stone.
Additionally, the softness can make cleaning azurite challenging. Abrasive cleaners, steam, and ultrasonic cleaning may harm the stone. As a result, it’s best to use a gentle cleanser and soft cloths when it comes to care.
Azurite Stone Color
Azurite gets its name from its coloring, as “azure” actually means blue. Usually, most azurite pieces are a deep blue, though some can lean more toward indigo or blue-violet. Additionally, while the bulk of the stone may be darker, there can be lighter-hued segments, coming in closer to cobalt, cornflower, or even sky blue.
Over time, however, the azurite color can fade. With exposure to light, heat, and even air circulation, its shade can slowly shift. Initially, the azurite gemstone will lighten. However, as more time passes, its coloring can begin to move toward green, causing it to resemble malachite more closely.
The History of Azurite
If you’re wondering, “What is azurite used for?” most of the stone’s uses are ornamental. It’s been treated like a gemstone for thousands of years, making appearances in jewelry and other artistic expressions.
Azurite has also been traditionally used as a pigment. Not only was this the case in ancient times, but it is still true today.
Since azurite usually signaled that copper deposits were nearby, it also had a prospecting purpose. People would look for azurite to determine if there could be copper hiding beneath the Earth’s surface, using it as a sign that an area could be a good place to mine.
Where Is Azurite Found?
Since copper is critical for the formation of azurite, the stone is typically found near copper deposits. In most cases, it will form in spaces, cavities, or fractures within rock that sits beneath the Earth’s surface. However, on rare occasions, it may be found in stalactite growths.
Additionally, since malachite is also a copper carbonate mineral, you may find azurite in areas where malachite occurs. Sometimes, they even intertwine, creating azurmalachite, a gemstone that features swirls of the characteristic blue and green hues that each stone is known for best.
With copper being critical to the formation of azurite, many of the more extensive deposits are found in the United States, specifically Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. However, there’s also azurite deposits in Australia, Chile, France, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, and Russia.
Azurite’s striking coloring, as well as its softness, make it popular for jewelry. It’s easy to shape and polish, allowing it to achieve a magnificent shine that’s great for ornamental purposes.
Azurite rings and azurite earrings are both popular. Typically, those feature polished cabochons, though you may occasionally see a faceted stone, azurite druzy, or various azurite raw stone options.
If you’re looking for an azurite bracelet, most will feature strung azurite beads. However, you may also see a series of set cabochons, each connected by small stretches of chain.
For azurite necklaces, you may find bead strands featuring the gemstone or pendants. In some cases, like with bracelets, an azurite necklace might include a series of connected set cabochons, though this is less common than the other options.
It’s important to note that, while many azurite jewelry pieces are genuine azurite, some are actually composite stones. Crushed azurite is mixed with binding materials like resins and may even be blended with other gems to alter the final piece’s coloring. Once the binder sets, the stone is solid and often tougher than raw azurite stones. However, that means the result, while similar in look, isn’t a completely natural stone.
As with most stones, the azurite stone meaning can vary depending on the belief system. Some think that azurite is excellent for bringing balance. Others believe the azurite gemstone meaning focuses on communication, possibly because of its association with the throat chakra’s color.
Finally, certain groups believe the azurite meaning is about releasing negativity and breaking free of patterns that no longer serve the wearer. In some cases, it’s connected to self-love and self-acceptance, as well as spiritual healing and power.
It’s important to note that any azurite stone benefits listed above shouldn’t be considered substitutes for medical care. If you’re experiencing a health issue, it’s always best to seek assistance from a trained medical professional. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t hold, wear, or meditate on azurite gemstones; simply that it shouldn’t be your only form of treatment for a medical condition.
Stones Similar to Azurite
Some stones are similar to azurite, allowing them to serve as reasonable substitutes if you can’t find an azurite jewelry piece that matches your preferences. For example, lapis lazuli is typically royal blue, not unlike some azurite gemstones. Plus, it tends to be translucent or opaque, not transparent. However, lapis lazuli can have pyrite inclusions that may cause it to stand apart.
Certain sodalite stones may also work as azurite substitutes. The blue coloring can be reasonably close. But there is usually one difference that prevents sodalite from being mistaken for azurite. Sodalite can have white streaks, while azurite usually doesn’t.