Published January 2021  •  Updated June 2022  •  Read Time: 8 minutes
Azurite is a semi-precious gemstone with a brilliant blue color like the sky over the desert or on a winter’s day.  It is rare secondary copper mineral created by the weathering of ore deposits.  It most often forms as a massive opaque mineral, but it can also form beautiful prismatic crystals.  Azurite’s history dates far back into antiquity as a source for copper ore, medicine, jewelry, and as pigment for blue paint.  Azurite is intimately entwined with art history and was the most common source for blue paint in medieval and Renaissance paintings.  This beautiful mineral has also been considering a healing stone for thousands of years.  Pliny the Elder describes it in Natural History as a medicine for hair and eyelashes.  In modern crystal healing, Azurite is a stone of wisdom and truth.  Its energy will benefit anyone who hungers for justice or seeks deep emotional healing.

Azurite

Azurite Meaning

Spiritual Healing Properties

Azurite represents the desire to find and maintain Enlightenment in this lifetime. It increases our connection to the Divine and helps us to act in alignment with our own Highest Self. It encourages us to take control over our own spiritual development and to continue to break through any barriers which hold us back. Azurite stimulates our psychic powers, and increases the accuracy of psychic, tarot, runes, and other readings. It also facilitates meditation and channeling, and helps us to communicate clearly about spiritual matters. When enclosed in a Granite matrix, it helps us to differentiate between what we believe and what we know. It encourages us to stay grounded and keep in mind the big picture.

Metaphysical Properties Azurite
Chakra Third Eye, Crown
Element Wind
Numerology 1
Zodiac Sagittarius

Emotional Healing Properties

Azurite vibrates with a hunger for truth, justice, and courage. As a result, it blows away irrational fears and asks us to regain control of our negative emotions rather than letting them control us. Azurite helps us to understand the root behind our fear, anger, sadness, and other uncomfortable emotions. In particular, Azrurite asks us to entertain the thought that perhaps our emotions are based on beliefs from the past, which might not be true anymore – or may never have been true at all! Having found a deeper understanding of our own emotions, Azurite then challenges us to take the appropriate actions to respond to life’s complex situations in a more mature and kind fashion. Azurite is a fantastic stone to work with when people are struggling to be honest with each other, and want to have a healthier and happier relationship. When enclosed in a Granite matrix, it encourages diplomacy and to deal with negative situations immediately, before they have a chance to grow larger.

Mental Healing Properties

Azurite is a stone which celebrates critical thinking at the highest level. It is a wonderful stone for scientists in every discipline as its energy aligns with tenets of the scientific method and the quest for truth. Azurite increases our hunger for personal experiences and the need to do our own diligent research, rather than relying on the information and opinions of others. Azurite encourages us to be more aware of our self and our impact on others, and to cultivate self-knowledge. It stimulates creativity and encourages life-long learning. When enclosed in a Granite matrix, it balances healthy skepticism with the need to keep an open mind.

Physical Healing Properties

Azurite is used by metaphysical healers to treat disorders and illness in the head and brain, such as migraines, tinnitus, and problems with vertigo. It is also said to stimulate the liver and help the body during detoxes. One of its most successful uses, however, is to explore and cure hypochondria and psychosomatic illnesses.

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Azurite Mineralogy

Where does Azurite come from?

Azurite is mined in copper deposits in numerous locations worldwide.  Some of the more notable deposits are in Australia, Austria, China, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Pakistan, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, United Kingdom and United States.

What is K2?

K2 is a unique variety of Azurite in a granite matrix.  It is found exclusively near the base of K2, the second tallest mountain in the world at over 28,251 ft above sea level. K2 is located on the border between Pakistan and China, but Azurite Granite has thus far been found only on the Pakistani side.

Mining and Treatments

Azurite Placeholder
Azurite

Geologists and prospectors use Azurite as an indictor mineral when looking for copper.  The industrial mental may be directly below the gemstone or simply nearby.  Such deposits are rarely large enough to be worthwhile for industrial copper mining.  But it can be a fantastic opportunity for artisanal miners who can mine both the metal as well as various secondary minerals.  Azurite is usually mined in its primary location, still embedded in the original rock.  It is usually massive or nodular, often growing as a thin layer on top of the matrix rock or combined with other copper minerals. Azurite can also sometimes form as stalactites or beautiful semi-precious gemstones.  When found in crystal form, it can have as many as 100 faces!  But oftentimes, Azurite is only a thin blue mineral growing on top of the matrix rock or combined with other copper-minerals, rather than distinct crystals.  If the Azurite is of sufficiently high quality and is relatively easy to extract, the miners typically sold to the jewelry industry or the collectors’ market.  It is typically enhanced only by cutting and polishing.  However, jewelers may choose to coat the semi-precious gem with a fine resin or other substances to stop the natural weathering process that transforms Azurite into Malachite.   The resin helps to stabilize and protect the natural color.

Mineral Family

Azurite belongs to the Carbonite mineral family.  These minerals are an important part of the Earth’s crust and are located in sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks. Carbonates are minerals which contain the carbonate group CO3 as their basic structural unit. They form in a trigonal system with one Carbon atom centrally located between 3 Oxygen atoms.

Azurite’s energy works well with its family – other Carbonite minerals.  Try it in combination with Aragonite, Calcite, Magnesite, Malachite and Rhodochrosite.

Azurite Formation and Crystal Associates

Azurite is a rare secondary, copper-derive mineral. It is formed when carbon-dioxide-rich water reacts with subsurface copper ores.  The carbonic acid in the waters dissolves some of the copper, which is then transported to another geochemical environment.  If the new location has a hotter temperature, the water will evaporate leaving trace minerals behind which can then form into Azurite and other minerals.  Later on, if Azurite becomes exposed to the open air and allowed to weather, it will transform into green Malachite.  Occasionally, stones are found that capture this process in action, a striking stone known simply as Azurite-Malachite.

Azurite’s energy works well with its “friends” – crystal associates formed in the same geological environment.  Try it in combination with Chrysocolla, Copper and Cuprite

Mineralogy Azurite
Chemical Formula Cu3(Co3)2(OH)2
Cleavage Perfect
Color Blue
Crystal System Monoclinic
Form/Habit Tabular, Prismatic
Fracture  Conchoidal
Hardness – Mohs Scale 3.5 – 4
Luminescence None
Luster Vitreous
Mineral Family Carbonate
Specific Gravity 3.773
Streak Light blue
Transparency Transparent to Opaque

History of Azurite

Azurite has a long historical record that stretches back into antiquity.  For the most part, people thought of it as a source for copper ore and blue pigment, rather than as a talisman with healing properties.  Its name comes from the Persian lazhaward, or “blue”, the same word from which Lapis Lazuli derives.

In antiquity, significant deposits were located in Egypt and Armenia.  The primary use of Azurite was as a source for blue paint, as well as for jewelry and various ornamental purposes.  However, Azurite is relatively soft compared to other gemstones and its color fades over time, so jewelers used it sparingly. The oldest known example of Azurite dates back to the Fourth Dynasty (2613-2494 BCE) in a pyramid complex in lower Egypt. Pliny the Elder’s Historia Naturalis, described Azurite in his book on paintings and colors, referring to it as “Armenium,” meaning a stone from Armenia.

The ancient Egyptians were the first to grind Azurite into a powder and mix it with various liquids to make blue, green and grey paints, dyes and glazes.  The practice soon spread north to Rome and then the rest of Europe.  Azurite deposits in Germany made it a cheap source of blue pigment and so painters frequently used it during the medieval period, the Renaissance and as late as the 17th century.  For example, in this portrait by Hans Holbein the Younger, the background uses Azurite.

The specific shade of blue depends on the purity of the Azurite, as well as how finely it is ground.  Sometimes the paint can be a greenish hue, especially in the case of older Azurites that were in the process of turning into Malachite.  Azurite is better for adding depth to a sea, rather than lightness to a sky.  Azurite was a relatively cheap source of blue dye, compared to paintings made from ultramarine or Lapis Lazuli.  But with its unstable color, paintings that used Azurite fade at a much higher rate than those painted with the more expensive blue pigments.  For example, in this oil painting by Michelangelo the dress of Mary Magdalene (figure on far right) uses Azurite.  Originally the dress would have been a lovely shade of blue, but it has now faded to a sickly shade of olive green.

References:

  1. Azurite, mindat.org
  2. Bonewitz, Ronald (2008). Rock and Gem: The Definitive Guide to Rocks, Minerals, Gemstones and Fossils. New York: DK Publishing Smithsonian. p. 176-182.
  3. Finlay, Victoria (2004). Color: A Natural History of the Palette.  New York: Random House. 287-288
  4. Pliny the Elder, Historia Naturalis, 35:28