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Amazonite is the pale green to bluish green variety of Microcline which is a member of the Feldspar Group of minerals that also includes Albite, Andesine, Anorthite, Bytownite, Hyalophane, Labradorite, Moonstone, Oligoclase, Orthoclase, Sanidine and Sunstone. The color of Amazonite is usually caused by an higher lead (Pb) content of up to 1.2% PbO. However, there are also indications that the green color of some Microcline is caused by divalent Fe (Szuzkiewicz & Körber, 2010). Amazonite is found in shades of pale green to dark green, aqua green and bluish green.
Some of the most beautiful Amazonite crystals have come from the Pike’s Peak and Crystal Peak areas of Colorado, USA. Amazonite from Colorado have been called the best specimens in the world for many years but a new find of Amazonite crystals from Konso, Sidamo-Borana Province, Ethiopia are said to equal or even surpass the crystals from Colorado. The color of these Ethiopian crystals are an intense turquoise blue with outstanding luster.
Amazonite is almost always opaque and makes for beautifully colored cabochons. A find in Mogok, Myanmar (Burma) has produced a small number of extremely rare transparent crystals that have been faceted into gems. Another recent find in Vietnam has produced vivid green crystals that have been faceted into beautiful gems of amazing clarity and color.
Amazonite was first cited in 1701 in French as Pierre des Amazones, meaning stone of the Amazon (referring to the Amazon river), by Nicolas Venette (1633-1698) in his Traité des Pierre (Treatise on Stones); although the name probably goes back even further. It was cited again in 1755 by Antoine-Joseph Dézallier d’Argenville (1680–1765) under the same name in his publication L’Histoire Naturelle. The name was modified to “Amazonite” in 1847 by Johann Friedrich August Breithaupt (1791-1873) for an unspecified type locality near the the Amazon River.