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Uses and History
Azurite is not a major ore of Copper and is not typically used as an ore. However, finding it usually indicates the presence of other, related Copper ores – particularly Malachite.
It was used as a pigment since antiquity, with some examples being from several thousand years BCE.
It is often polished and used for jewellery, or sold as mineral specimens. However, with both of these uses, it is important to note that Azurite can lose its deep blue colours if exposed to light, heat, or air – so cool, dark storage should ideally be used when the piece is not being worn or viewed.
Azurite has a worldwide distribution, with especially nice specimens from Australia, Austria, Chile, China, DR Congo, France, Germany, Greece, Laos, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Norway, Russia, Slovakia, South Africa, and the USA.
Photos of Azurite
Hazards and Warnings
Azurite is toxic, due to its Copper content. It should not be significantly harmful unless ingested, or unless the dust is inhaled – however, it is good practice to wash your hands after handling.
Almost all rocks, minerals (and, frankly, almost all other substances on earth) can produce toxic dust when cutting, which can cause serious respiratory conditions including silicosis.
When cutting or polishing rocks, minerals, shells, etc, all work should be done wet to minimise the dust, and a suitable respirator or extraction system should be used.
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