Sodalite

Sodalite is a deep colored crystal named  for its sodium content. Often confused with lapis lazuli because of its blue intense, rich color, earliest known stories demonstrate that it was used by ancient Bolivian and Peruvian traders as early as 2,500 B.C. Despite being discovered by Europeans in 1811 at the Ilimaussaq in Greenland, sodalite only became popular in 1891 when it was found in Ontario, Canada. Bancroft, Dungannon Township and Hastings County, Ontario, Canada are still the major sources of Sodalite supply, while other deposits have been found in US, Bahia in Brazil, Bolivia, Kola Peninsula in Russia, Romania, Portugal, India, Namibia and Burma.

Formation

Sodalite is a feldspathoid formed in a rare type of igneous rocks derived from sodium-rich magmas. In these magmas, silicon and aluminum were so limited that there is no quartz formed, nor feldspar minerals. Sodalite is probably the best known among its group, which also includes Nepheline, Leucite, Noseean, Hauyne, Lazurite, Cancrinite, and Melilite. Stones like sodalite do not belong on the surface. Volcanic activity usually brings it up from the deepest level of the earth and it is found as a mass within igneous rocks. The volcano Vesuvius in Italy has produced twelve-sided crystals of sodalite, which are very rare.

Properties

The majority of Sodalite on the market is blue, however it can also be grey, yellow, green, or pink hues. It is usually spotted with white veins or patches of calcite that give sodalite its distinctive appearance. Although sodalite can contain some pyrite, just like Lapis Lazuli, its color is usually royal blue, not ultramarine. An opaque to semi-translucent stone with a hardness of 5.5-6 on Mohs scale, it has see six visible directions of cleavage that can look like as incipient cracks. Almost all sodalite fluoresces orange when exposed to ultraviolet light.

Symbolism

Communication. Element: Wind

Legends

In the 1800’s, Princess Margaret visited Bancroft, Canada and learned about Sodalite. The Princess  fell in love at first sight with the blue gem, and she ordered a very large quantity for decorating her residence Marlborough House, which is why sodalite is sometimes called Princess Blue.


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