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Bright Blue Azurite Aggregate

The Mineral azurite




Azurite owes its name to its beautiful azure-blue color, which makes it a very popular and well-known mineral. It usually occurs with green Malachite, which may form green stains or specks on Azurite crystals or aggregates. The two minerals sometimes occur admixed or banded together, forming what is called "Azure-malachite" in the gem and mineral trades. A rarer Azurite mixture, known as "Bluebird", is Azurite mixed with dark red Cuprite. Azurite, "Azure-malachite", and "Bluebird" all have gem uses.

In some localities, the Azurite undergoes a chemical change and loses some hydroxyl, altering the Azurite to Malachite, but retaining the crystal shape of the original Azurite. Sometimes, only part of the Azurite is altered to Malachite, while the other part remains as Azurite. Such specimens are green on one end and blue on the other.

Linarite specimens are sometimes mistakenly sold as Azurite, since they both occur in the same locations and may strikingly resemble each other. However, simple tests on physical properties can accurately distinguish the two.
Chemical Formula Cu3(CO3)2(OH)2
Composition Basic copper carbonate
Color Blue to very dark blue
Streak Light blue
Hardness 3.5 - 4
Crystal System Monoclinic
3D Crystal Atlas
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Crystal Forms
and Aggregates
Usually in small crystals, which are in prismatic, tabular, or equidimensional form. Crystals are sometime striated. Other forms are massive, crusty, radiating, fibrous, earthy, columnar, stalactitic, as thin needles, and in ball-like aggregates. Also occurs in dense groups of tabular or prismatic crystals. Azurite may also form as a pseudomorph over other minerals, retaining the original crystal shape of the mineral that it formed a pseudomorph over.
Transparency Opaque. Rarely translucent.
Specific Gravity 3.7 - 3.9
Luster Vitreous or dull
Cleavage 2,1 ; 3,2
Fracture Conchoidal or splintery
Tenacity Brittle
Other ID Marks
Complex Tests Effervesces in hydrochloric acid and soluble in ammonia.
In Group Carbonates
Striking Features Deep blue color, blue streak, and common association with green Malachite
Environment As a secondary mineral in the oxidation zone of copper deposits.
Rock Type Sedimentary, Metamorphic
Popularity (1-4) 2
Prevalence (1-3) 2
Demand (1-3) 1

Azurite ON EBAY
OTHER NAMES
Azure Copper Ore
Chessylite

VARIETIES
 -  Mixture of blue Azurite and green Malachite.

USES
Azurite is very popular mineral among collectors. Bright blue pieces are polished into cabochons and beads, and large masses are sometimes cut into ornamental objects. "Azure-malachite" is also carved as cabochons and beads. Azurite was formerly crushed and used as a blue pigment.

Azurite is also an ore of copper.

NOTEWORTHY LOCALITIES
Fine Azurite specimens have been obtained from numerous places. Some of the largest and best individual crystals have come from Tsumeb, Namibia. Morocco has also produced excellent crystals at Touissit and Kerrouchene. Good specimens have also come from Chessy, France; Laurium, Greece; the Black Forest, Germany; Cornwall, England; Burra Burra, South Australia and Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia. An interesting occurrence of radial Azurite discs on a white Kaolinite matrix is the Malbunka Copper Mine, near Areyonga, Northern Territory, Australia.

In Mexico, Azurite occurs in the San Carlos Mine in Mazapil, Zacatecas; and in the relatively new Milpillas Mine in Cananea, Sonora, which has been providing outstanding crystals to the market.

In the U.S., most fine specimens are from numerous localities in Arizona, which includes the famous and classic locality of Bisbee, in Cochise Co. Other localities in Arizona include Ajo and Tiger, Pinal Co.; and Clifton and Morenci, Greenlee Co. Azurite also occurs in the Rose Mine in Grant Co., New Mexico, and elongated, tabular crystal clusters as well as rounded ball concretions have come from the La Sal District and La Sal Mountains, San Juan Co. and Grand Co., Utah. Also in Utah is the Apex Mine, Jarvis Peak, Washington Co. A recent finding of Azurite crusts has also been discovered in the Passaic Pit in Ogdensburg, Sussex Co., New Jersey.

COMMON MINERAL ASSOCIATIONS
Malachite, Cuprite, Calcite, Chalcocite, Chalcopyrite, Chrysocolla, Copper, Limonite

DISTINGUISHING SIMILAR MINERALS
Linarite - Softer (2½), heavier (5.3 - 5.4), doesn't effervesce in hydrochloric acid.
Lirconite - Lighter and more greenish in color, softer (2½).
Connelite - Occurs in different crystal forms, doesn't effervesce in hydrochloric acid.
Cyanotrichite - Lighter in color.
Cornetite - More greenish in color, doesn't effervesce in hydrochloric acid.
Lazurite and Lazulite - Harder (5 - 6), occur in different mineral environments, and don't effervesce in hydrochloric acid.


azurite PHOTOS
 
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
 
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