Azurite is a copper carbonate hydroxide mineral with a distinctive deep blue to violet-blue color. The color “azure” is named after the deep blue evening skies that are frequently seen above deserts and wintery landscapes. Despite the fact that azurite is not a common or abundant mineral, it is extremely beautiful and draws a lot of attention when it is discovered. Azurite has been used as an ornamental stone, gemstone, and copper ore for thousands of years. It is still used for all of these purposes today. Azurite is a secondary mineral that most commonly forms when carbon-dioxide-rich waters descend into the Earth and react with subsurface copper ore. This copper ore is then transported by water to a new environment, where the mineral azurite is formed when the proper environmental conditions are met. As long as the conditions exist, azurite is accumulated and then discovered and used for its beauty.
Precipitation of azurite occurs in porous spaces, fractures, and cavities of subsurface rocks. When this condition is maintained indefinitely, well-formed crystals are discovered.
The deep blue color of Azurite is the most distinguishing feature.
Azurite has a Mohs hardness of only 3.5, making it unusually soft.
It contains copper, which gives it its deep blue color.
On unglazed porcelain, azurite can produce an interesting light blue streak.
Although azurite is not a common mineral and is rarely found in large deposits, it is used in a variety of applications.
Geologists know that azurite can be found in rocks above copper ore deposits. This knowledge enables them to use azurite as an indicator mineral in their search for subsurface copper deposits. Once a copper deposit is discovered, the azurite found there will be diverted and used if it is of high quality and easy to mine.
It was mined by the ancient Egyptians on the Sinai Peninsula and melted down to produce copper.
Because azurite is generally soft, it is simple to cut and shape. This makes it simple to process ornaments, beads, and cabochons.
Although it accepts a bright lustrous polish, its use in jewelry is limited. The most serious concern is the Mohs hardness of only 3.5. When used in jewelry, this softness can cause damage and abrasion, especially in rings, bracelets, and necklaces.
Azurite also weathers easily, resulting in a lightening and greening of the dark blue color.
As a result, Azurite jewelry should be kept in the dark and away from heat. This could be kept in a jewelry box or a drawer.
It is also difficult to clean azurite jewelry. It requires a light cleaning with a sifted rag. Any abrasive has the potential to harm the stone.
Azurite is extremely heat sensitive. Heating causes the stone to turn green or black.
In ancient Egypt, azurite was ground up and used as a pigment in blue paint. This is a more common occurrence nowadays. Today, azurite is mined in France for use as a blue pigment.
What hasn’t changed is Azurite’s popularity among mineral collectors. The rich blue color of the crystals, as well as the intriguing structures, are still sought after. Depending on size, well-formed specimens can easily sell for hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars.