Friday, February 24, 2012

Rock Review: Sodalite

Today’s rock review features Sodalite.

Geology Buzz

Sodalite is a mottled gemstone that most often has creamy yellow to white tones and royal blue colors mixed throughout the stone in interesting patterns. However, it can also occur in grey, yellow, pink and green if its chemical composition varies. It is named for the element Sodium than can be found in its makeup and belongs to the Feldspar family. It registers at 6 on Moh’s scale of hardness.

Sodalite is usually opaque, although translucent crystals can be found in larger deposits. It takes on a waxy luster when polished. Because of this, Sodalite is often found in beaded and cabochon form in jewelry. Sodalite can often be mistaken for Lapis Lazuli, however it almost never contains pyrite flecks present in Lapis. Also, it’s color is considered “Royal Blue” rather than “Ultramarine”. In streak tests, it will leave a white, rather than blue scrape.

Fun Facts

People began using Sodalite as ornamental decoration in the late 1800’s after a substantial quantity was found in Ontario, Canada in 1891. Bancroft, Ontario is known to produce Sodalite of with notably rich blue color. The mineral also can be found plentifully in Brazil and in China.

Sodalite is popular among individuals who enjoy the metaphysical properties of gems. It is thought to bring calmness and clarity to the mind, encouraging rational thinking, intuition and verbal expression. It also enhances confidence, self esteem and trust.

For care and maintenance, a soft polishing cloth will usually do the trick. A conservative dab of olive oil can also occasionally be used to enhance the luster and loosen dirt. This can be followed up with a quick rinse in warm water. Be sure to pat dry afterward. Because of its porous nature , Sodalite should not be soaked for long periods of time.

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