What Makes Amazonite Green (And White)


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Lead makes amazonite green. Experts aren’t sure why or how small quantities of lead turn amazonite green, but many think the lead interacts with light, absorbing some wavelengths and reflecting the colors green and blue-green.

But there’s a fascinating story behind this tale. Let’s dive deeper into how amazonite forms and becomes green, and what those white streaks are in some amazonite crystals.

In this blog post, you’ll discover:

  • How amazonite forms
  • What makes up amazonite and why it’s green
  • What those white streaks are in amazonite crystals

How Amazonite Forms

Let’s start at the beginning to find out where amazonite comes from.

Amazonite starts off as hot liquid rock

It all starts deep within the Earth, where there is a layer called the mantle. Inside the mantle, there’s an extremely hot liquid called magma.

Diagram showing the Earth's layers including the crust and mantle
All amazonite starts off as hot liquid rock in the Earth’s mantle.

Magma contains all the minerals and elements needed to make rocks and other natural materials, like amazonite crystals.

But these minerals and elements are all mixed together and move around in the magma.

I like to call magma “hot rock soup” because it’s extremely hot liquid with lots of ingredients, and it steams and sprays whenever it gets a gap…   

This liquid rock finds a way onto Earth’s surface

The ground you walk on every day is part of the Earth’s crust, and it’s made of solid rock.

Liquid magma in the mantle puts a lot of pressure on the Earth’s crust, and it’s always looking for a way out.

When this pressure gets too strong or something happens to make the rocks on the crust move or separate, an opening is created for the hot magma to escape.

Magma now has a chance to come up to Earth’s surface through a volcano or other opening, and it either flows like a river of fire or explodes up into the air.

Magma is now called lava because it’s on the Earth’s surface.

The liquid rock starts cooling down

But the Earth’s surface is nowhere near as hot as the Earth’s mantle (thank goodness or we’d all be soup).

It’s time for our runny hot rock soup to turn into thick, cold soup!

Lava quickly cools down when it comes into contact with the cooler air or water on Earth.

Cooled lava now turns to rock

When cooled, lava turns into rocks that contain minerals and elements from the magma.

Cooling and hardening into rock can take several hours or a few days on the Earth’s surface. But this process can take weeks or even millions of years if it happens under the Earth’s surface.

When magma cools down nice and slowly underground like this, it leaves enough time for amazonite crystals to grow inside the rocks.

This happens only if the right minerals and conditions are available to grow amazonite.  

Get a full overview of amazonite crystals and links to my other relevant articles in this guide.

What makes amazonite and turns it green

Now we know how amazonite forms, let’s take a look at what elements need to come from the magma to grow green amazonite crystals inside lava rocks.

Amazonite is a type of microcline feldspar. Feldspars are minerals that form rocks and they make up a big portion of the Earth’s crust.

If amazonite is a microcline feldspar, then it makes sense that it must have all the elements of a microcline feldspar in it.

Microcline feldspar is made up of potassium, aluminum, silicon, and oxygen, and so is amazonite.

But microcline feldspar comes in different colors, depending on what trace elements are in the crystal and the conditions under which it formed.

Each color has a different name. For example, orange microcline feldspar is known as adularia.

When lead is present in trace amounts, microcline feldspar turns green or blue-green. This green microcline feldspar is called amazonite.

This article explains how crystals get their colors if you want to know why lead makes microcline feldspar look blue-green.

Photo of a green amazonite crystal to show the color of real amazonite
Trace amounts of lead and water turn microcline feldspar green or blue-green. When it’s green like the crystal in this photo, it’s called amazonite.

Why there are white markings in amazonite

You might see or own an amazonite crystal with white flecks or streaks in it.

The white markings in amazonite are a different feldspar mineral, called albite.

Amazonite with white albite in it is still a genuine amazonite crystal, but it’s usually worth less than amazonite without albite in it. Here’s how to tell if a crystal is real amazonite or not, with pictures.

Photo of amazonite and labels to show the blue-green from lead and the white from albite
Amazonite may contain white streaks. These white streaks are albite, another type of feldspar. Amazonite gets its green color from trace amounts of lead.

Amazonite gets white streaks or flecks in it through a process called exsolution.

In exsolution, one solid mineral divides into at least two different minerals during its cooling and solidification phases. No minerals or elements are added or taken away during this process.

In the case of amazonite, the growing crystal separates into green amazonite and white albite during exsolution.

It’s almost like some elements want to become amazonite and some want to become albite, so the two different minerals form separately in layers but within the same crystal.  

Monique from Jewel and crystal guide

I’m Monique, and I’m passionate about giving the facts and uncovering the mysteries of jewels and crystals.

I believe there’s a place for both science and mysticism, and this is where the two meet for a cup of coffee and a chat.

Jewel And Crystal Guide participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other affiliate programs. If you buy a product or service through a link, I may receive a small commission from the sale for referring you, at no cost to you. Thank you for your support!

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Monique loves crystals and has been collecting them for many years.

She loves learning about how they form, where they come from, and how they help us in our daily life.

She shares everything that she learns and tests here at Jewel And Crystal Guide.


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