Dumortierite vs Sodalite: What Are They, And What’s The Difference?

Dumortierite and sodalite are minerals, but with both different and similar properties.

Dumortierite is formed in metamorphic rocks, while sodalite is formed in rocks with little to no silica.

They become incorporated in quartz crystals due to the high pressure and temperatures it takes to form many types of crystals.

In the article that follows, you’ll learn more about these two materials.

Dumortierite vs Sodalite (EXPLAINED)

What Is Dumortierite?

Also known as dumortierite quartz, the rare blue quartz has inclusions of the mineral dumortierite.

Although blue quartz is very rare, it’s the dumortierite that gives the quartz its light to a dark blue color. 

Dumortierite was first cataloged by French paleontologist Eugene Dumortier, so the mineral was named for him in 1881.

The mineral enjoys uses other than as jewelry. It’s also part of the production of ceramics and porcelain.

Due to its unique blue color, dumortierite is often mistaken for sodalite and lapis lazuli.

What Is Sodalite?

Sodalite is a rare mineral belonging to the feldspathoid family.

This means the minerals contain high levels of calcium, sodium, or potassium.

Thus the name sodalite. It forms in igneous rocks rich in sodium-based magma. 

Sodalite is blue to a blue-violet color.

Tiny amounts of sodalite are found in lapis lazuli, which is why the mineral is often confused for the gemstone.

However, if any pyrite is found, it’s not sodalite.

See also: What’s The Difference Between Hackmanite and Sodalite?

How Are Dumortierite and Sodalite Similar?

The two minerals share a range of shades of blue, from light through to the deepest, almost purple, blue.

They’re close to each other on the hardness scale, with dumortierite a seven and sodalite a five and one half to a six.

Both minerals are used in jewelry as cabochons or beads. 

Both minerals are sometimes mistaken for lapis lazuli, itself a beautiful royal blue stone.

However, lapis lazuli contains gold and white flecks similar to sodalite’s white streaks. 

How Are Dumortierite and Sodalite Different?

Dumortierite is fibrous and intense denim blue.

Nothing runs through it.

Sodalite has calcite in it, and is similar to pyrite in lapis.

These make flecks or stripes run through the stone. Sodalite is a deeper blue with flecks or stripes in it.

Why Are The Two Minerals Confused For The Other?

The shades of blue are the main reason one mineral is taken for the other.

The intense blue of sodalite is often confused for lapis lazuli.

Dumortierite runs from a light denim blue through to the deepest darkest blue.

The three minerals are often taken for one of the others.

For What Are Dumortierite and Sodalite Used?

The dark royal blue of sodalite is not only used for cabochon or beads in jewelry.

The mineral is put to exquisite use in inlays, in mosaic tiles for flooring, inlays for walls, and in slabs for countertops. 

Dumortierite isn’t only used in jewelry, either.

The mineral is also found on sculptures, eggs, and balls.

The next time you see an intense blue garden ball, think of dumortierite.

Where Are Dumortierite And Sodalite Found?

Although discovered by a Frenchman in France, dumortierite has been found in Brazil, Canada, Poland, Sri Lanka, Austria, Italy, Namibia, Russia, Madagascar, and Norway.

Sodalite has been found in Greenland, Russia, British Columbia, Namibia, Arkansas, and Maine.

Dumortierite And Sodalite Properties

While primarily found in blue quartz, dumortierite also comes in pink, purple, brown, and gray.

The mineral has a hardness on the Moh’s hardness scale of seven.

Sodalite, with a Moh’s hardness of five and a half to six, comes in its usual rich, deep royal blue, but is also found in violet, green, and yellow.

How To Identify Dumortierite And Sodalite

Most stone lovers aren’t geologists, so they won’t know how to identify dumortierite or sodalite.

Since both are blue, and sometimes intensely so, it falls to the markings, so to speak, to differentiate between stones.

Dumortierite is harder than other blue gemstones.

It will scratch anything lower than itself on the Moh’s scale of hardness.

Additionally, the mineral sports a waxy type of luster (instead of shining.)

The uneven light and dark portions of the mineral often have a whitish streak between them.

Sodalite has a greasy look to it (not shining.)

The mineral fluoresces orange.

It has white veins running through it, whether or not the blue is uneven.

Its place on the Moh’s scale makes the mineral softer than its blue counterparts, so it won’t scratch them. 

A Short History of Sodalite And Dumortierite

Greenland has a place called the Ilimaussaq intrusive complex on its southwest coast.  

It’s an area going back to prehistoric times. It contains several layers (and we’re talking miles deep) of minerals and rare elements.

Sodalite is one of them.

Europeans stumbled across this in 1811, but sodalite use as ornamental didn’t happen until closer to 1900.

A huge find was made in Ontario, Canada.

In ancient history, Collao altiplano is Spanish for high plain or the Andean plateau in South America.

It’s where the Andes are at their widest.

Five thousand years ago, the Caral culture traded sodalite. The culture was located some 200 miles from Peru, through which the Andes pass.
 
Now fast forward to 2,000 years ago in what is now Bolivia.

Ancient civilizations lived, worshipped, and traded in a place called Lukurmata, a ceremonial focal point.

Sodalite was traded here, too, until the point was no longer a focus.

Dumortierite was discovered in the French Alps by paleontologist Eugene Dumortier in 1881.

However, the ancients used it for diagnostic purposes.

They thought it highlighted a patient’s condition, so it could also give insight into a cure.

African legend has it that, since dumortierite is found near water, it would relieve sunburn.

Other Properties of Dumortierite And Sodalite

Dumortierite is believed to be about the mind.

Wearing or carrying the mineral is believed to increase the intellect, and increase mental skills.

Dumortierite is said to calm the mind in intense moments as well as clear it.

Part of the mind also deals with courage and fear.

People carry dumortierite to overcome fear and feel courageous.

They also wear it to deal with stubbornness and selfishness, in addition to other unhealthy mental traits.

Sodalite is thought also to be about the mind but in a different category.

The blue of sodalite is said to represent the heavens, wisdom, and clear thinking.

Final Thoughts

Few minerals are blue.

The intensity and range of the blue in dumortierite and sodalite make the quartz crystals in which they are amalgamated rare and beautiful. 

Dumortierite vs Sodalite