To the untrained eye, Amazonite and Jade (Nephrite or Jadeite) look similar and have been mistaken for a long time by people who do not know their gemstones.
The two are in fact as opposite as night and day, except in general appearance.
Let’s take a closer look at these two gemstones to determine in what ways they differ.
Amazonite vs Jade (EXPLAINED)
What Is Amazonite?
Amazonite is a semi-opaque blue-green type of microcline feldspar that is also referred to as “Amazon stone.”
Amazonite is a rare mineral found in portions of Brazil, Colorado, and Virginia states in the United States, as well as Australia and Madagascar, among others.
Amazonite is a generally opaque stone with striping or cloudiness varying between light green and greenish blue to deep green/blue.
The hue of amazonite is similar to that of nephrite and jadeite.
Amazonite has a matrix, mottled, white, and green design that makes it stand out.
Amazonite’s hue is caused by the existence of lead inside the stone, and color fluctuation inside a single stone is possible.
Amazonite may grow to be the biggest crystals of any gemstone or mineral and has been mistaken for turquoise and jade throughout history.
What Is Jade?
It wasn’t until 1863 that the French mineralogist Alexis Damour discovered that what was formerly thought to be ‘jade’ may really be one of two minerals: nephrite or jadeite.
Jadeite is pyroxene that is high in sodium and aluminum.
Jadeite is an arrangement of crystals with a microcrystalline interlocking makeup, and it is the most valuable kind of jade and not a fibrous matrix like Nephrite is.
Its chemical potential is NaAlSi2O6.
Nephrite is a magnesium, calcium, and iron-rich amphibole mineral that is similar to tremolite or actinolite.
Ca2(Mg, Fe)5Si8O22(OH)2 is the chemical potential for nephrite.
For the purpose of this post, we will refer to Jadeite as Jade.
Similarities between Amazonite and Jade (Jadeite)
Amazonite does not have much in common with Jade except for the fact that they seem like they are the same stone to people who do not know what to look for.
Because they are both similar in color in their optical properties, the untrained eye will identify Amazonite as Jade.
Any person with a bit of knowledge will know the difference.
Jade tends to be a deep green color whereas Amazonite tends to have a bluer and lighter hue.
Because of its similarities to jade, amazonite is often known as “Pikes Peak jade” or “Colorado jade.”
Amazonite is often light green, although it may also be blue-green, turquoise, or yellow-green, with white streaks.
In terms of metaphysical properties, Amazonite gemstones are also said to have incredible healing properties.
Amazonite, like jade, is linked to wealth, good fortune, and general prosperity.
Differences Between Amazonite and Jade (Jadeite)
Amazonite and Jade are two different stones.
As seen above, their chemical formulas are vastly different.
Even their closest physical properties in their observable colors are different.
In terms of hardness, jade is a touch harder than Amazonite with a reading of 6-7 MOH, whereas Amazonite is measured at 6-6.5 MOH.
The difference is, however, not substantial.
Another difference between the two gemstones is their cleavage or their crack pattern if they were to be placed under pressure.
Because of its splintery fracture and tiny grain size, it is seldom observed in Jade.
With Amazonite, Its cleavage occurs perfectly in two ways.
Cleavage planes frequently meet at a 90-degree angle or near to it.
Close observation of certain specimens may be required to determine cleavage faces.
Another difference between the two stones is their specific gravity or relative density readings.
Jade’s is between 3.3 to 3.5 while that of Amazonite is 2.6 to 2.8.
That means that jade is denser than Amazonite.
The major difference between the two is probably their crystal systems.
Jade is monoclinic while Amazonite is triclinic.
The distinction between monoclinic and triclinic crystallography is that triclinic has three uneven axes all meeting at oblique angles, while monoclinic has three unequal axes comprising two parallel and one oblique junction.
Why the confusion?
Jade is a word that is a big part of popular culture.
That means that, for the layman, any gemstone that is green may be referenced as Jade instead of the less known Amazonite.
Only those who have a working knowledge of the existence of Amazonite would know what to look for.
Like people who read articles such as this one.
Amazonite is not only confused with Jade, but Turquoise as well.
Where are these stones found?
Metamorphism produces minerals like jadeite and nephrite.
They’re most often encountered in metamorphic rocks around subduction zones.
Most nephrite and jadeite formations are found around the edges of plate boundaries, incorporating the oceanic lithosphere, which is either present or geologically old.
Jadeite is more common than nephrite in rocks with a higher pressure origin.
This usually separates nephrite and jadeite deposits geographically.
Amazonite may be found in minor concentrations all over the globe.
Afghanistan, Australia, the United States, Brazil, China, Canada, Ethiopia, Namibia, Norway, Poland, Madagascar, Russia, and Sweden are all reported to have deposits.
Amazonite crystals that are well-formed are often found in veins, pegmatites, and other cavities.
These are subsurface locations where mineral crystals may develop unhindered.
Amazonite granite can only be found in a few places.
It’s mined and utilized as a decorative stone or a dimensional stone on occasion.
While mining pegmatite, small particles of amazonite are occasionally discovered.
These are used to make tumbling stones, cutting cabochons, and making beads.
Jade is used to make tools, jewelry, ornaments, weapons, and they are used as decorative gemstones.
Amazonite is used to make cabochons, tumbling stones, and other lapidary products.
Amazonite has been utilized as a decorative stone in rare igneous rocks that contain considerable concentrations of the mineral.
Both Amazonite and Jade are beautiful stones and their chemical composition does not matter to most people.
But if you are serious about geology, then knowing the difference is important.
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