a publication of the International School of Gemology 24.April.2013

Amazing Amazonite!

From the Warrior women who roamed the jungles of the Amazon River.....
amazoniteAt left is one of the most amazingly beautiful gemstones, that is both abundant and affordable. Although named for the Amazon River, according to most sources it is not found anywhere near there. According to the book Exotic Gems by Renée Newman, GG (International Jewelry Publications, 2010, pp 134), one explanation says that it is named for Amazon warrior women from Greek mythology. That sounds pretty good to us so we are going with that one. The others seem far too scientific or historical to be much fun. Somehow warrior women roaming the Amazon River seems more romantic....at least to some of us with rather vivid imaginations and time to day dream. Warrior women, beautiful gemstone, important revenue stream for jewelers. Yep, we think this gemstone is just Amazing Amazonite!


Just to show how affordable amazonite can be, at left is a 1 pound piece of Amazonite that we obtained at a local gem and mineral show for less than US$10.00. And below is a 5 kilo chunk of amazonite rough that we obtained at the Tucson Gem Shows for just a few dollars per kilo. Consider how much finished fine quality, yet very affordable, amazonite jewelry you could create from this piece if put into the hands of your local lapidary. Gemological properties follow below this image...

  • Chemical: potassium aluminum silicate K(AlSi3O8)
  • Refractive Index: 1.522 - 1.530
  • Mohs' Hardness: 6 - 6.5
  • Crystal System: Triclinic although difficult to find in crystal form
  • Specific Gravity: 2.56 - 2.58
  • Opaque to slightly translucent in finer qualities
  • Identification: Easy separation from jade another gem materials based on RI and coloring. Can be slightly reactive to ultraviolet light.
Amazonite is a member of the feldspar family of gemstones, one of the largest gemstone groups to be found on earth. It shares the spotlight with moonstone, Oregon Sunstone, labradorite, sunstone, aventurine and yes....even the Mythical Tibet Andesine that only seems to exist in the minds of a few select individuals who were formally tailors for the Emperors New Clothes. A beautiful specimen of an intergrowth of triclinic amazonite crystals is seen at the top left of this page, from the ISG Student Reference Collection. Below is a polished piece of Amazonite from our ISG collection that demonstrates the beauty of this very affordable and highly profitable gemstone. This specimen also provided us with the image in the banner of today's edition.

The Lapidary Connection

As will be our mantra over the coming year, its all about business...its all about returning this industry to profitability through uncovering new revenue streams. The Thai and Chinese gemstone industries have messed up the ruby-sapphire markets (and many others) to the point that consumer and industry credibility in those gemstones and their producers has become a total train wreck. With so many undisclosed treatments coming out of Hong Kong and Bangkok, far too many jewelers have either significantly curtailed their colored gemstone marketing, or stopped altogether. It is a truly unfortunate situation but not one that you have to participate in....anymore. Think global, buy local. Utilize the production capabilities that are right there in your own area through local gem materials and local cutters and lapidaries.

In the end...its all about business. Revenue streams. Creating revenue streams for yourself and your local gem cutting industry. No matter where you live, from Australia to Austria...Zambia to New Zealand...you can generate your own revenue streams to increase your business and your local economy if you just look for ways to generate revenue streams. It may not make your dreams come true about the Amazon warrior women....but it could make your dreams come true for high profits and future business growth. It can start with the Amazing Amazonite!

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