Azurite

Azurite is a deep blue Copper mineral which has been used as an ore, a pigment, and a gemstone since antiquity.

It often occurs alongside Malachite, Chrysocolla, Shattuckite and other Copper ores.

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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.


Locales

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.


Mineralogy

Chemistry
Copper Carbonate – Cu3(CO3)2(OH)2
Colours and Variations
Deep blue, royal blue. Often occurs with green Malachite.
Streak
Light blue
Luster
Vitreous or dull
Fracture
Conchoidal, splintery
Crystal habit
Tabular or prismatic crystals, sometimes striated. Also occurs as massive, crusty, fibrous, radiating, columnar, talactitic, earthy and even round nodules.
Mohs hardness
3.5 – 4.0
Specific Gravity
3.7 – 3.9
Easiest testing method
Deep blue colour, low hardness and high specific gravity.
Common Treatments
None

Photos of Azurite

Azurite, Burra Mine, South Australia
Azurite sur malachite 1(République Démocratique du Congo) ex Zaïre
Azurite from China

Azurite cristallisée (Chine) 3
Azurite, malachite
Azurite, malachite (Maroc)

Azurite-117493
Azurite-140331
Azurite-118244

Azurite-131694
Azurite-120545
Azurite et malachite 2(Maroc)

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.


Translations

Arabic:

  • عازوريت

Hindi:

Portuguese:

  • azurita

Bengali:

Indonesian:

Punjabi:

  • ਅਜ਼ੂਰੀ

English:

Italian:

  • azzurrite

Russian:

  • азурит

French:

Japanese:

  • アズライト

Spanish:

  • azurita

German:

  • Azurit

Korean:

  • 아즈 라이트

Thai:

Gujurati:

Mandarin and Traditional Chinese:

  • 石青

Urdu:

  • آزورائٹ

Further Reading / External Links