Azurite is a lusciously faceted vitreous crystal with a beautiful deep midnight-blue color that is stunningly unparalleled in the crystal world. Since the beginning of documentation people have associated this stone’s riveting hues with the low-humidity desert where it is found. Pliny the Elder spoke of the beholden properties of Azurite in Natural History as early as AD 77.
There are over 45 well-known forms of Azurite in the crystal world, and over 100 documented; there is quite a lot of variety. Azurite appears in copper matrices, and is often found in copper mines mingling alongside with the eye-catching mineral Malachite forming Azurmalachite, which ranges from a light green that looks almost like the light filtering through water to a dark forest green color.
Azurite can often appear with Chrysocolla as well! Because of the correlation, Azurite sightings have been used as potential copper vein indications for hundreds of years.
CAUTION* Azurite is not a suitable stone for consumption in Elixirs or ritual baths, due to its delicate nature and metal toxicity. The raw form of the stone is also a possible source of particles that are toxic if inhaled. Work exclusively with polished stones if you are going to make physical contact.
HOW DOES AZURITE GET ITS COLOR?
The shimmering vibrant colors of blues and greens expressed by crystals such as Azurite, Malachite, and Chrysocolla are characteristic of copper (II) crystalline complexes. Chemically if you're curious, this color results from a d orbital low energy transition associated with the metal centers.
Geographically, these minerals are usually a result of carbon dioxide laden waters washing into the mines and subsurface deposits and interacting with the copper. This creates carbonic acid which dissolves a small bit of the copper ore into the water, which leeches into subsurface crevices and cracks where if the environmental conditions are just right, one of these beautiful gems will be formed over time.
WANT TO KNOW HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR AZURITE CRYSTAL?
Because Azurite is a molecularly sensitive substance and yields to the formation of Malachite when exposed to air, it is important to take proper care of your Azurite. Heat and high-humidity will also dull the stone, giving it a greenish-black color. Azurite is especially sensitive to heat, despite its reputation as a desert stone!
Exercise *caution* when trying to clean your Azurite crystal and don’t expose them to any harsh cleaners. Avoid steam cleaning and ultrasonic cleaning processes, as they will cause damage. Cool soapy water should do the trick, or simply a gentle soft cloth or toothbrush. It is important to make sure there is no soap residue left as it air dries, as this could potentially change the color.
Heating through any process will cause your crystal to green or blacken, due to a chemical process called oxidation.
If you have a valuable specimen, it is wise to invest in a closed specimen drawer that limits air circulation, light, where the temperatures can be monitored at a cool, stable temperature. Azurite is also a soft stone and it would be wise to wrap Azurite in a soft cloth, and exercise particular *caution* when packing. Yours would not be the first Azurite stone to crumble and what a tragedy that would be!
WHAT IS MOHS HARDNESS OF AZURITE?
Azurite is a soft stone measuring 3.5 - 4 on Mohs scale of hardness. This does not lend itself to a lot of jewelry out there, though it exists, more often than not using a composite binding material as a stabilizer. More frequently in history this stone has been used in ornamental statues and as a paint pigment.
Though this is a commonly-sought stone, it is rare. This is because of Azurite’s fragility and tendency to oxidize into it’s copper-cousin, the more available Malachite.
Color Variation and Origin
WHERE IS AZURITE MINED?
There is an association with Azurite and the high heat, low humidity deserts that these crystalline beauties often come from. Major deposits of Azurite crystals are found in Morocco, Namibia, USA, Australia, and Mexico.
There have also been Azurite crystal deposits mined out of Scandinavia, Greece, China, France and Italy.
In the older geographic locations you are more likely to find a greater concentration of mixed samples of Azurite and Malachite, called Azurmalachite. It is possible to find Azurite in combination with other crystals too, besides Chyrsocolla and Malachite.
AKA: Name Variations and Lookalikes
WHAT OTHER NAMES DOES AZURITE CRYSTAL GO BY?
Azurite used to be named “Chessylite” for the Chessy-les-mines in France. It was renamed Azurite in 1824 by Francois Sulpice Beudant, for the Arabic version of the Persian word lazhward, generally meaning ‘blue!’
Pliny the Elder a Roman naturalist and philosopher who detailed many of the curative uses of nature, wrote about Azurite using the greek word “kuanos” meaning ‘deep blue’ and the latin “caeruleum” which pertains to rivers, creeks, or anything having a blue-green hue.
WHAT ELSE LOOKS LIKE AZURITE CRYSTAL?
There are not many crystals that exhibit a color so rare and sublime as the sparkling Azurite! There is only one major look alike; the Persian word lazhward, was actually a word referring to the gemstone Lapis Lazuli. This would never be confused with Azurite in real life though, due to the crumbling nature of Azurite. Lapis is a great deal more stable and has lent beauty suitably to jewelers craft over the years, it is much more commonly seen as jewelry.
We hope this adds to your love and knowledge of the ancient and alluring Azurite crystal! For more articles on Azurite Crystal: