Amazonite and aventurine, though distinct, can often be mistaken for one another due to their attractive green hues. Both of them have unique characteristics that set them apart, and let me show you how to tell them apart in this article.
Appearance & Rarity
- Amazonite, also known as amazonstone occasionally, showcases a greenish-blue to green hue. The colour is thought to be from lead impurities, water, radiation, and possibly iron within the stone. However, its colour can be uneven and is often accompanied by a white, streaky pattern. A uniform rich color is the most sought after in amazonite stones.
- Aventurine is a variety of quartz, distinguished by its unique sparkle caused by tiny flake inclusions of mica, giving rise to the term aventurescence. This stone can range from dark green to golden brown, and the sparkling effect gives it a magical appearance. Darker aventurine usually contains more mica inclusions, making it more shimmering.
Origin & Meaning of Their Names
- Amazonite: Named after the Amazon River, where it was supposedly first found, the exact source from the Amazon has never been verified. Amazonite’s name is more representative of its colour than its origin.
- Aventurine: Its name derives from the Italian "a ventura", meaning "by chance". This was inspired by the creation of an artificial shimmering glass named goldstone or aventurine glass, which was invented accidentally in the 18th century.
Composition & Structure
- Amazonite: Belonging to the K-feldspar family, usually microcline, amazonite's greenish hue is believed to be a result of the interaction between its structure and elements like lead and water. It possesses a triclinic crystal symmetry and can appear in prismatic crystals, but these often have fractures. Amazonite's close relatives include other feldspars such as moonstone, labradorite, and orthoclase, which share similar mineral compositions but display distinct colors and optical effects.
- Aventurine: Aventurine is a form of quartz. Although many consider it a macrocrystalline quartz, its granular texture technically classifies it as a rock. Some also label it as cryptocrystalline quartz, but its crystals are larger than microscopic size. Closely related to aventurine are other varieties of quartz like rose quartz, amethyst, and citrine, all of which have their own unique colors and properties despite sharing the same primary mineral structure.
- Amazonite: While not found in the Amazon as its name suggests, amazonite is sourced from several countries, including the USA, India, Brazil, and Russia. In the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, it often appears alongside dark smoky quartz, a combination cherished by collectors.
- Aventurine: It is available from countries like Brazil, India, Russia, and Tanzania. It's a globally-sourced gemstone.
Usage in Jewelry & Ornaments
- Amazonite: Ancient civilizations such as Egypt cherished amazonite, incorporating it in jewelry like collars and rings. Even the famous Pharaoh Tutankhamun's gold mask boasted amazonite inlays. Nowadays, it’s frequently cut into cabochon shapes, set in rings, pendants, or earrings, and is a popular choice for beads due to its attractive colour.
- Aventurine: It's transformed into beads, jewelry, and intricate figurines. Renowned Russian jeweler Fabergé even used aventurine in the creation of his iconic Fabergé eggs.
Care & Maintenance
- Amazonite can be fragile, owing to its perfect cleavage, brittleness, and possible internal fractures. It’s best to wear amazonite in settings that offer protection against knocks. While not typically treated, amazonite might sometimes be dyed to improve colour.
- Aventurine is a relatively durable and hard gemstone, but its abundance of inclusions could weaken the gemstone. It's a popular starter gemstone for collectors due to its affordability. When purchasing, keep in mind that aventurine can sometimes be mistaken for other stones like jade or even man-made materials like goldstone.