Posted by Dakota Stones on 2/17/2020 to
Copper reacts to minerals in many ways, as illustrated by our large variety of stones that get a pastel blue and green color from the mix of copper in the earth. This happens when copper is introduced to water, the most famous example of which can be found on the surface of the Statue of Liberty. If you are confused by the appearance of these stones, don’t panic! While they are similar, each stone has significant differences to set them apart from one another.
All of the stone types featured in this article are pigmented with copper. If you are in search of a mineral that is close to Turquoise and has much of the same coloring, your best bet would be a stone colored with copper, like a chrysocolla. These stones often appear alongside turquoise, and sometimes even mined in the same famous turquoise mines. They exhibit a similar chemical reaction to create its brilliant blue, displays a similar hardness, and comes in several different shades ranging from green to soft blues. These stones also have the advantage of being naturally pigmented, whereas dyed alternatives to Turquoise are not everyone’s cup of tea.
Chrysocolla is a copper silicate, and an ancient material as well. The name “chrysocolla” is of Greek origin, conjoining two terms “chrysos” meaning gold, and “kolla” meaning glue. The reasoning for this is that chrysocolla was used as a soldering mineral, in order to join other minerals with gold (usually to strengthen the material). This method seems to have been pioneered by an ancient biologist and physician by the name of Theophrastus, who was a successor to Aristotle. This stone has been valued for its accessibility and similarity to turquoise in jewelry for thousands of years. Inclusions range from deep green malachites to flecks of red iron.
Phoenix stone is simply a lighter pigmented chrysocolla and is a softer stone when compared to shattuckite or turquoise. It is also called “light blue chrysocolla.” Our phoenix stone round often comes with rust colors, like most other chrysocolla, and this is because trace amounts of iron can be found in the mineral. These give the stones natural earthy tones within, and can balance designs for something more understated.
Peruvian Turquoise comes from ancient mines located in historic Peru, which was the main source of turquoise for the Incas. This civilization was incredibly advanced, and they valued turquoise like many other ancient cultures for its rarity and bright hue. Today, the ancestors of these people still value these stones, and plenty of it goes into adorning traditional clothing of indigenous peoples. These stones are a gentle blue when compared to turquoise mined in Mexico or Africa. Inclusions with these stones tend to be mainly malachite, however many tend not to have any inclusions at all.
Shattuckite is a fairly new mineral, only discovered in 1915, and is incredibly rare. So far, the mineral has been found in Bisbee, Arizona, and has only one dedicated Shattuckite mine in the world. The color of the copper in this mineral is a significantly darker blue when compared to Peruvian turquoise and chrysocolla, which is what makes it so special.
You may have noticed the most common inclusion type tends to be malachite. This is because all these stones can be found among malachite, as the key ingredient which gives malachite its emerald green color is… copper of course! However, malachite is a copper carbonate, not a copper silicate like most other stones previously mentioned, and tends to form in botryoidal formation, which makes it look spherical and bubbly. While it is not quite in the same family as these other stones, it deserves an honorable mention for it’s copper pigments.