There are a lot of similarities between lapis lazuli and sodalite.
As a result, many people find it difficult to tell the difference between the two stones.
But if we take a moment with each, we’ll start noticing some critical differences between them.
Lapis Lazuli vs Sodalite: How to Compare The Two Stones?
To differentiate them quickly, it helps initially to check and see if the stones you are looking at have the same finish. That way, the differences can be more noticeable.
Beyond that, first, you need to take a close look at tumbled sodalite and a tumbled lapis lazuli.
See if you can tell the difference between these two.
You can then go ahead and compare rough sodalite with rough lapis lazuli.
When you are done noting the differences, move on to comparing stones that have a different finish.
At this stage, you should now know what to look for without comparing the stones.
Before you can tell the stones apart, it might also be helpful to start by checking out the similarities between them.
You will notice that both stones are blue, and they each have distinct white markings or veins.
Most people mistake them for each other because they have a similar mineral structure.
We have taken some time to search the internet and noticed that there are a lot of sellers advertising sodalite as lapis lazuli and lapis lazuli as sodalite.
This only goes to show just how similar these two stones are. Even the sellers themselves advertise them incorrectly.
Lapis Lazuli vs Sodalite: Similarities and Differences In Appearance
When you first look at them, lapis lazuli and sodalite are pretty similar.
Because of this, they have confused a lot of crystal enthusiasts.
Both stones have a captivating blue color.
This striking feature can easily draw in both your eyes and spirit.
However, if you pay closer attention, you will notice that sodalite is a little darker in color. It has a deep and mystical tone, whereas lapis lazuli features a royal blue finish.
Another key difference between these two stones is the specks of gold found throughout lapis lazuli.
Once you notice them, the pyrite inclusions will become a tell-tale sign that helps you distinguish it from sodalite.
However, in some instances, you might not notice these gold freckles. They are usually absent from the stone when it is in its raw form.
While both these stones feature white calcite elements, you will come to notice that sodalite has white veins that are part of its structure.
On the other hand, lapis lazuli has a somewhat granular appearance.
If you manage to carefully study the appearance of these stones, you’ll get to appreciate their captivating beauty even more.
Their stunning pigments and unique markings are a beautiful sight, and they will, without doubt, add significant value to your crystal collection.
Lapis Lazuli and Sodalite: What They Are Made Of
This crystal is made up of three primary minerals.
These are lazurite, calcite, and pyrite.
Lapis lazuli gets its blue color from lazurite.
The white streaks and specs that are on the crystal come from calcite.
However, it is important to note that the best lapis lazuli specimens usually don’t have visible calcite.
Pyrite, the last of the three minerals, is glittery, and it shows up as flecks and veins.
Sodalite is part of a mineral group known as “feldspathoids.”
These are rare aluminosilicate minerals containing a lot of calcium, potassium, and sodium.
Sodalite is found in rocks that crystallize from sodium-rich magmas.
Some of these rocks include nepheline, syenite and trachyte.
These are scarce rocks, and they are pretty difficult to encounter in the field.
Physical Properties Of Lapis Lazuli And Sodalite
Physical Properties of Sodalite
Sodalite is a blue crystal that is usually translucent.
It has a vitreous luster and Mohs hardness of 5.5 to 6.
Due to its white veining, sodalite is often confused with lapis lazuli.
Small amounts of sodalite can be found in specimens of lapis lazuli.
However, you should note that if there is a significant amount of pyrite in the stone, it’s likely not sodalite.
While sodalite is a member of the cubic crystal system, it’s very rare to find fully-formed crystals.
Technically, lapis lazuli is a rock rather than a mineral.
This is because it’s made up of various other minerals.
You can think of this rock as a product of a chemical reaction between nepheline and sodium chloride.
This reaction is driven by the heat supplied by magma.
Since it’s a rock, lapis lazuli doesn’t have a uniform hardness and cleavage/fracture characteristics.
Each of the minerals that make up this rock has its hardiness, specific gravity, and color.
This is why the hardness ranges from a Mohs 3 (calcite) to 6.5 (pyrite).
Where Lapis Lazuli And Sodalite Are Found
The first known sightings of sodalite were documented in 1811 in Narsaq, West Greenland.
Occurring typically in massive form, you will find sodalite as vein fillings in plutonic igneous rocks like nepheline syenites.
This mineral is generally located near leucite, cancrinite, and natrolite.
There are a few areas that carry significant amounts of sodalite.
You can find it in places like Bancroft, and Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Quebec, in Canada.
In the United States, sodalite is commonly found in Litchfield, and Magnet Cove, Arkansas.
When you go to British Columbia, most of the significant deposits will be in the Ice River complex.
South America also has some small deposits. In northern Namibia, you can find some transparent crystals.
Most of the lapis lazuli that is mined today is found in Afghanistan. There are also some deposits that you can find in Chile, Siberia, the United States, and Myanmar.
Afghanistan was the primary source of lapis lazuli for the ancient Egyptians.
Greeks and Romans used to source it from there as well. This material was mainly obtained through trading activities with the Mesopotamians.
Uses Of Lapis Lazuli And Sodalite
Uses of Sodalite
High-quality sodalite is used as a gemstone.
Blue is not a common color for rocks and minerals and that is why sodalite found a market.
Its color and the fact that it can serve as a gem material make it somewhat unique.
But, sodalite is not usually found in the finished jewelry.
Not many people are familiar with it, so only a few people ask for it in stores.
Your best chance of finding sodalite would be to look for it in craft and lapidary stores and shows.
Another reason why most commercial jewelers don’t use it is that cut cabochons vary so much in appearance.
Therefore it’s not easy to create a standardized product line.
Other uses of sodalite are as a sculptural material and an architectural stone.
Healing With Sodalite
Crystal enthusiasts claim that sodalite can bring order and calmness to the mind.
It’s said that it encourages rational thought, objectivity, truth, and intuition.
Below is a list of the other benefits of sodalite:
- Encourages emotional balance
- Calms panic attacks
- Boosts self-esteem, self-acceptance, and self-trust.
- Valances metabolism
- Immune booster
- Alleviates calcium deficiencies
- Combats radiation damage
- Treatment of vocal cords,
- Lowers blood pressure.
There are many claims about the benefits of sodalite, but these claims are not backed by scientific evidence.
Uses Of Lapis Lazuli
This opaque gemstone is a popular material for cutting into cabochons and beads. Other people also use it in inlay or mosaic projects. Another use of lapis lazuli would be in small sculptures.
It is one of the most popular opaque blue gemstones.
The Hidden Powers of Lapis Lazuli
Lapis Lazuli has symbolic meaning.
It is said to represent deep honor and royalty.
It is also thought to be connected to cosmic energies.
People believe that lapis lazuli can shield the wearer from negative influences.
There are other reports that the rock can activate a life of more intelligence, success and induce inner balance.
Lapis Lazuli is a highly sought-after stone.
Therefore, most people fake it by selling sodalite in its place.
To successfully tell the difference between the two, pay attention to the color uniformity and the tell-tale gold flecks of Fool’s Gold found in lapis lazuli.