Appreciation for colorful minerals, rocks, and crystals is a story as old as time.
Let’s focus our fascination with such wonders on two specific types: Aventurine and Amazonite.
We will explore both the similarities and differences between them.
Aventurine vs Amazonite (EXPLAINED)
Gazing at pieces of aventurine and amazonite side-by-side, it would be easy to confuse the two at first glance.
However, even though both appear green or blue in color, their chemical structures tell another story.
If you were to bring a sample of each mineral to a laboratory, you would find out that their chemistries are quite different from one another.
Your aventurine sample would yield Silicone Dioxide (SiO2), better known as the common formula for common quartz, which aventurine essentially is by its chemical nature.
Amazonite, however, would show a much different result.
It hails from the Orthoclase class of tectosilicate minerals (KAlSi3O8).
And unlike hard quartz, or aventurine in our case, amazonite is quite brittle in comparison.
Specifically, when considering the MOHS hardness scale, aventurine lists as 6.5-7 while Amazonite registers as a lower 6-6.5.
If you’re looking to purchase some jewelry with either of these two stones, consider using aventurine over amazonite, as aventurine is more resistant to wear and tear, and also the cheaper option.
In certain cases, amazonite can be used for pendants and earrings, or any type of jewelry that won’t be exposed to impact and abrasion.
Where each mineral commonly comes in green, the reason for their coloring differs from one another.
Aventurine commonly derives its green and blue beauty from having a chrome-bearing fuchsite inclusion within its structure, while amazonite usually contains trace amounts of lead to give its appearance instead of the previously assumed copper.
Whereas that particular mineral can only come in shades of blue and green, aventurine has also known to appear in orange, brown, and even pink, to list a few examples.
Another way to tell the two apart is judging their cleavage.
Aventurine is listed as having none, or a conchoidal fracture to be specific.
If your sample of aventurine were to have mica inclusions within the stone, it could easily be broken apart.
Amazonite has perfect cleavage in two directions.
These cleavage planes tend to intersect very close or at an exact 90-degree angle.
Out of the two, amazonite takes the prize for having the common shape associated with natural crystals.
Aside from jewelry, these two minerals have other uses.
For example, both aventurine and amazonite are used in the new age market as “healing crystals.”
However, any such healing properties of either have yet to be scientifically demonstrated.
Aventurine can also be used to produce cabochons or beads.
The mineral is also fashioned into vases, small sculptures, tumbled stones, or even bowls.
In some cases, aventurine can be used as a cheaper substitute for jade.
When hunting for aventurine to add to your collection, buyers beware, as some rocks are labeled as such without the necessary properties that make the mineral what it is.
Instead of possessing a natural “aventurescence,” or glittering appearance due to grains of metal and/or minerals within the stone, some stones are mixed with bright dyes in attempt to fool collectors into believing that the genuine product is before them.
Watch out for any “aventurine” that comes in outrageous colors.
If there’s a significant lack of aventurescence, and the stone looks too colorful to be true, it’s probably because it is.
Amazonite, however, is limited in its uses, and is a much rarer mineral to find.
If you want some amazonite for your collection, try visiting a rock shop, mineral show, a lapidary show, a crystal store, or even online marketplaces such as Etsy.
If you want to find either some amazonite or aventurine in the wild, you will have to look in very different places to locate your prizes.
Aventurine is most commonly found in India, where it is commercially produced the most.
Brazil comes in second regarding those categories, and the follow-up countries include Tanzania, Spain, Austria, and Russia.
Whereas commercial production of amazonite is not nearly as common, it can be found in multiple pegmatites, cavities, and veins across the globe.
Some of those locations include Mongolia, China, Libya, South Africa, and even specific US states such as Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Should you wish for the best quality amazonite crystals, try visiting Teller County, Colorado, where this mineral is often found alongside smoky quartz formations.
Some other known formations associated with amazonite are quartz, schorl tourmaline, cleavelandite, and albite feldspar.
Where large amazonite crystals can be priced at thousands of dollars, consider purchasing much smaller samples if you’re on a budget.
The name for amazonite derives from the Amazon River itself, despite the mineral not being known for naturally forming there.
Even though green stones were obtained from the area, it’s not well-known if those rocks were specifically amazonite.
Even so, the name has stuck with us ever since the 18th century.
Like amazonite, aventurine was also named around that time.
Its label derives from the Italian word “aventura,” or “all’avventura,” which means “by chance” when translated to English.
It happened when a 1700’s worker dropped some metal filings into a vat of melting glass by accident.
Once cooled, the glass was used to make beautiful jewelry known as “Aventurine glass” or even “Goldstone,” due to its shimmering properties.
After gaining popularity, the name “aventurine” eventually attached itself to the mineral we know today.
Looking further back in history, we will discover that amazonite first came into the spotlight.
Samples of this mineral in the form of gemstones have been found in excavations of ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, dating back well over 2000 years.
Some other specific excavation locations include modern-day Turkey, Iraq, Kuwait, and Syria.
And thus concludes our little window into what both of these unique minerals have to offer.
Whether it’s wearing a blue-green stone around your neck or simply adding an interesting, shiny new rock to your collection, both aventurine and amazonite are pleasant treats for our eyes and curious minds.