They say that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, whereas ladies should rather opt for amazonite instead

Joint project of St.-Petersburg Mining museum and Forpost Nord-West.
Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад / Горный музей

Each and every stylishly dressed women should have jewellery items. What stone to choose though? Most ladies would say that the answer is obvious - diamonds, but in times of the Amazons neither diamonds nor rubies were considered a stone appropriate for women.

In those days, soldierlike Amazonian women preferred to have a a blue-green mineral, with the name of which numerous unfathomable mysteries are associated. Why did they give the stone this name? Where does it come from? What affects its colour? Up to these days, there is no unambiguous answer to any of these questions. The name of this mineral is amazonite, and it is obviously relatable with the name of the world's most water-bearing river. Although there are no deposits of amazone stone near the Amazon river and never were.

Legends say that the gem was able to provide its owner with invulnerability and bravery in battle. That is the reason why so many world’s rulers dreamt of getting their hands on the precious stone. Heracles, in one of his labours, went to fetch the belt of the Amazonian queen Hippolyta due to the whim of the king Eurystheus’s daughter. All because her jewel decorated with green-coloured stones was never left unattended and supposedly gave the woman absolute power. Egyptian pharaohs also believed in the magical properties of this gemstone. They used to take jewels made of amazonite to the afterworld, for they believed that the jewellery would protect their peaceful existence in the afterlife and keep their secrets safe and hidden from the others.

Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад / Горный музей

In the nineteenth century, miners working at the Ural thought that topazes could be found if there were amazone stones in the nearest proximity. It was considered that the greener amazonite was, the nearer chrysolites were to the place of discovery. In Russia, jewels with amazonite were a must-have essential for any young girl soon to be wife. Amazonite was helping future home keepers to learn the tricks of married life.

Unsurprisingly, it was the girls who fancied the stone the most. These days, modern science assures that Amazonite powder can inhibit cell growth. There are known cases when the mineral positively affected swelling thyroid. There is also a popular belief that the stone helps regaining youth if its owner constantly wears a pendant or bead necklace made of it.

The color of Amazonite is a lot similar to that of grass. There is a map of the USSR, made of precious and semiprecious stones, and it is not a coincidence that all the green shades representing flatlands on the map were made of amazonite. The wall-sized map covers an area of twenty-seven square meters and is located in one of the geological museums at St. Petersburg.

Фото © Lech Darski

As a matter of fact, amazonite is not a gemstone, but nonetheless its appearance is quite remarkable. Marking on different stone samples are never alike and under a bright light the stone shines as if it were a diamond. In the nineteenth century, noblemen of St. Petersburg considered it of chic and glamour to face fireplaces in amazonite. As crystals of this stone are rarely found in nature, amazonite turned into a rather expensive vintage material. A French luxury goods conglomerate and one of the world’s most prestigious jewellery manufacturers "Cartier" used amazonite in pair with rubies to create one of its collections. Half of the exhibition was sold out during the first day of the presentation.

The riddle of amazonite's grassy colour is yet to be solved. Some say that copper is the reason, others - the lead, destroying the stone’s crystal lattice. Noteworthy is the fact that crystals subjected to strong heating instantly fade.