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Azurite

The name Azurite is from the ancient Persian lazhward, meaning "blue" -- changed to azurite in 1824 by Francois Sulpice Beudant.

 

ï  Mineral: Azurite

ï  Chemistry: Cu3(CO3)2(OH)2

ï  Class: Carbonate

ï  Crystal system: Monoclinic

ï  Color: Azure blue, blue, light blue, or dark blue; light blue in transmitted light

ï  Refractive index:  1.720 to 1.850

ï  Luster: Vitreous

ï  Specific gravity: 3.7-3.9

ï  Mohs Hardness: 3.5-4

ï  Streak: Blue, lighter than the color

ï  Cleavage: Indistinct

ï  Fracture: Conchoidal

 

Azurite crystallizes forming masses, nodular concretions, stalactites, botryoidal formations, films, stains, and more rarely, transparent to translucent tabular and/or short prismatic crystals.  There are over 45 well-known forms, and over 100 crystal faces have been described.  Azurite is often pseudomorphed to Malachite, and the two are very frequently found together.

Small crystals of azurite can be produced by rapidly stirring a few drops of copper sulphate solution into a saturated solution of sodium carbonate and allowing the solution to stand overnight. 


The optical properties (color, intensity) of these minerals are characteristic of copper(II). . 


Azurite is unstable in open air compared to malachite, and so often is pseudomorphically replaced by malachite. This weathering process involves the replacement of some of the carbon dioxide (CO2) units with water (H2O), changing the carbonate:hydroxide ratio of azurite from 1:1 to the 1:2 ratio of malachite.


While not a major ore of copper itself, the presence of azurite is a good surface indicator of the presence of weathered copper sulfide ores.  It is usually found in association with malachite, producing a striking color combination of deep blue and bright green that is strongly indicative of the presence of copper ores.  Malachite is more common than azurite. 

Both of these copper carbonates occur as common secondary minerals in the oxidation zone of copper ore deposits, where the water table and hydrothermal fluids provide the means for chemical precipitation, especially with copper deposits around limestones, the source of the carbonate.

Azurite and Malachite are often intergrown with each other along with turquoise and  chrysocolla.

Azurite and Malachite have been used as ornamental stones and in jewelry. Both minerals were used as mineral pigment in the past.  Heating destroys azurite easily, so all mounting of azurite specimens must be done at room temperature.   Azurite and Malachite dust is toxic and must not be inhaled when cutting and polishing.

Some of the locales from which specimens of Azurite & Malachite are available at Taos Rockers are:

Arizona

New Mexico

Utah

Mexico

China


Melody, in her book Love Is In The Earth, says “Azurite is known as a "stone of heaven".  It stimulates the pursuit of the heavenly...allowing for precise verbalization of psychic experiences.  It enhances creative ability and helps to eliminate indecision and worries which are quietly agitating in the "back of ones mind".  One simply holds the Azurite and asks to have the troublesome thoughts evaporate.

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