This is one of my favorite pieces we’ve found on our claim because it indicates the potential our claim has to yield some beautiful specimens. And its from the very first pocket we’ve ever found. Not only is the shape of this piece really neat, it has a small flourite piece in it. The mineral is actually amazonite, the blue/blue-green variety of microcline feldspar. You might be able to see some of the blue in certain areas. The outer color of this piece is due to iron staining. Under that layer of iron staining is the powder blue colored crystals.
This piece is not of much value because the blue color is so pale, so we haven’t put much effort into cleaning off the iron. But the pocket had many different shaped crystals in it. This was the first real pocket we found so we made several mistakes out of ignorance. Fist, I only kept the pieces I thought looked cool. The other terminated crystals I set aside because they were boring. I didn’t realize it was amazonite because it was all so heavily colored with iron. I should have kept everything…in the event the color was better on some of the other pieces, we could have pieced the pocket together like a puzzle and repaired it. It may have been more valuable in that instance. Unfortunately, when we returned our next time out and the rest of the pieces were gone.
I discussed the fragility of flourite in my previous post. Well, because of my ignorance, I put all these crystals together on one bowl to remove the iron. I didn’t think about the nice little flourite piece attached and how it could get damaged by the other pieces. Not only did I damage the flourite, but I damaged several other crystals from banging them together. I’ll know better next time we find a pocket.
Thankfully, our claim is in a known area for finding amazonite. So we’re just waiting patiently to find our first pocket of value! We keep getting teased by finding small cleaved pieces of bright rich blue amazonite around our claim. So I know it’s there. We just need to find a pocket.
Amazonite is most valuable when collected as fine mineral specimens. But the specimens must be impressive for them to be valuable. However, some jewelry makers like to make beads and cabochons from amazonite for jewelry. Amazonite is quite fragile also and cleaves easily, so it’s not really appropriate as a gemstone ring…expecially one meant for every day wear. Earrings and necklaces are more appropriate pieces of jewelry for amazonite.
In my next post, I’ll show you some beautiful amazonite pieces from Colorado…
Author: Michelle M. Rahm is a GIA-trained Graduate Gemologist and is President of Colorado’s Mile High Chapter of the GIA Alumni Association. She has been selling gemstones and jewelry online since 1997. Visit her websites JewelryImpressions.com and OurCustomWeddingRings.com