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Amazonite (sometimes called "Amazon stone") is a green variety of feldspar. A semi-opaque stone that was used extensively by the Egyptians is called the stone of courage and is said to be named after the Amazon women warriors. Some archaeological evidence suggests that the Amazonians were a matriarchal society during the Bronze Age. Another legend says the name "amazonite" comes from the belief that it was found in the Amazon river.
Amazonite is a mineral of limited occurrence. Formerly it was obtained almost exclusively in the Southern Urals, from the area of Miass in the Ilmen mountains, 50 miles southwest of Chelyabinsk, Russia, where it occurs in granite rocks.
More recently, high-quality crystals have been obtained from Pike's Peak, Colorado, where it is found associated with smoky quartz, orthoclase, and albite in a coarse granite or pegmatite. Nevertheless, very often all amazonite crystals are called Russian amazonite.
Crystals of amazonite can also be found in Crystal Park, El Paso County, Colorado. Other localities in the United States, which yield amazonite, include the Morefield Mine in Amelia, Virginia. It is also found in pegmatite in Madagascar and in Brazil.
Because of its bright green color when polished, amazonite is sometimes cut and used as a gemstone, although it is easily fractured. For many years, the source of amazonite color was a mystery. Naturally, many people assumed the color was due to copper because copper compounds often have blue and green colors. More recent studies suggest that the blue-green color results from small quantities of lead and water in the feldspar.