Monthly Archives: March 2019

Properties and virtues of Aventurine

  • March 8, 2019

The beautifully glittering sun quartz bears the charming name of Aventurine. A shower of golden or silvery dots makes all their appeal and the dull and dull “aventurines” that are sometimes presented to us do not deserve their name. Other minerals have brilliant inclusions, so they can at best be called “adventurized stones”.

It is rare that a natural phenomenon is referred to as a manufactured product, so beautiful and so precious. But the fact is there: the aventurine stone comes out of anonymity around 1600 thanks to an artistic technique and a process of manufacture of the master glassmakers of Murano near Venice.

Mineralogical characteristics of aventurine

Aventurine is a variety of quartz, itself classified in the group of silicates and in the subgroup of tectosilicates. Like the chalcedonies, the aventurine is cryptocrystalline quartz, ie formed of microscopic crystalline granules; this particular composition gives to the mineral an opaque aspect.

Adventurine has other features common to quartz, however its hardness is slightly lower (6.5 instead of 7 on a scale of 10) and its density slightly higher. The presence of mineral or metallic inclusions explains these differences.

The color comes from these inclusions: the more they are abundant (usually 10 to 20% of the matter) the more the aventurine will be colored in a uniform way.

Micaceous inclusions are the most common. Mica, formed of aluminum and potassium, is also a silicate but belongs to another group: phyllosilicates. It comes in several species and subspecies of composition and thus of various colors. The green aventurine, very widespread and appreciated for the intensity of its shades owes its color to the fuchsite, rich chromium mica of the muscovite species.

Other inclusions are possible: brown aventurine is colored by pyrite, red by hematite, goethite or copper, blue by dumorérite or ilmenite.

The aventurine is everywhere; it is formed in the magmatic and metamorphic rocks into multiform aggregates (nodules, stalactites, pebbles …). The main extraction sites are in India (State of Tamil Nadu), Brazil (State of Minas Gerais), Russia (Urals and Siberia), Tanzania, and Tibet, United States (State of Vermont), in Central Europe (Bohemia, Silesia), Spain, Austria, and France (Finistère).

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The aventurescence

This name is given to the shiny and glittery appearance produced by light reflected in mineral or metallic inclusions. This term does not apply only to aventurine. Other minerals have this characteristic: for example, iolite or some feldspar such as sunstone, especially that from Oregon (known as Oregon sunstone), very clear and very colorful with inclusions of copper.

The beautiful adventurines are rarely found and most of those offered for sale have unfortunately an insufficient adventure.  Adventurines without any adventures are mostly brightly colored crystals used for low cost jewelry. A wide range of colors is sure to announce an artificial treatment!

The misleading name “Indian jade  ” sometimes refers to green aventurine. Jade and amazonite are rarer then the aventurine of the same color sometimes replaces them. The vases, cups and other small objects in green aventurine have a beautiful fresh and frosty appearance. Jewelers frequently carve cabochon aventurine to reveal the beauty of this semi-precious stone.

Etymology and meaning of the word “Aventurine”

Aventurine derives from the word “adventure”, a term from the popular Latin adventura (“what must happen”) , from the verb  advenire (“to occur”, “to happen”). In ancient French, the word takes the meaning of “fate, destiny” (meaning that we still find in the phrase “good adventure”). Adventure is finally and also chance, a meaning found in the adverbial phrase “adventure “(if by chance, you go on an adventure, come what may!)

At the beginning of the seventeenth century, a glass worker whose name is unknown would have dropped at random “per aventura  ” flakes of copper or brass filings in the molten glass. Maladresse or will to innovate? No one knows but the result is conclusive. The glass containing a constellation of glittering particles is a great success and becomes the adventurine or aventurine , specialty and monopoly of the Venetian master glassmakers (we speak of “aventurine glass” or avventurina ).

Subsequently, all things are dotted with small bright dots of “adventurine” including natural things as the stone aventurine (pietra venturina).

Some argue for the opposite of this explanation: it might be natural adventurine that gave its name to the artificial. This version is unlikely because there is no trace of this name before. It is also possible that the glassmakers invented the story in response to the curious too interested in their manufacturing secrets. Chance does things well and cannot be explained!

In France, the first written trace of the stone called “aventurine” dates from 1686. We owe this testimony to a very famous lady of this century, Madame de Maintenon: “I found that a rosary that I believed the nuns was calambur and another of aventurine …  “

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Aventurine throughout history

Aventurine in the ancient world

The Egyptians exploited quartz mines and found in Upper Egypt greenish micaceous quartz that might well be aventurine but we do not know the old name or names of the aventurine. Modern naturalists have tried some approximations but without certainty.

According to the descriptions left by Pliny and by other authors of Antiquity, the aventurine could hide, among others, behind these strange minerals:

The coralleachate or coralloagate , a coral red precious stone dotted with small golden dots.

The star or starry stone, so called because “we see the figure of all the stars”, the most beautiful come from Egypt and Arabia; it is the size as opal.

The sandarésus or sandastros , found in India and southern Arabia, a religious stone of the Chaldeans, with an interior fire placed behind a transparent substance shining with stars that seem like drops of gold.

On the other side of the sea, pre-Columbian civilizations have left some concrete evidence and one can see in the British Museum of London, a famous statuette of the very old Olmec civilization. This curious character of about thirty centimeters, is in green aventurine, stocky with a big human or animal head, it dates from 400 BC

Adventurine in the middle Ages

Jean de Mandeville, explorer and naturalist tells us about a stone that could well be the medieval aventurine:

“Stone verde tasted like drops of gold: this stone gives” moult “of goods to the one who wears it. It is good for people who are fearful because it gives boldness, good sense and good countenances grace and honor …  “but it is also specified that this stone being a holy stone, we must avoid lust.

Adventure in modern times

As we have seen, in the 17th century, stones with small bright dots are called aventurines. The difference between minerals is not yet well established. On the one hand there are the stones, natural aventurines, and on the other hand the artificial aventurine, this wonderful glass of Venice with golden particles.

From that time, a third aventurine is very famous: the Chinese and Japanese aventurine lacquer. This vegetable lacquer is obtained from latex derived from Asian softwoods “lacquer tree”. On this lacquer, often black, flakes of mica, bronze or gold are blown.

This very delicate art is very pleasing in France, and the ships of the East India Company bring a number of screens and delightful objects in aventurine lacquer. We try to imitate these complex processes but not possessing trees or know-how, we create very beautiful varnishes (the famous Martin varnishes) with adventurized varieties that will contribute to the renown of the French cabinetmaking under Louis XV.

In the eighteenth century, scholars pondered the fate of the stone aventurine. It is described as a kind of yellowish or yellow-brown gemstone with small gold dots that gives it a lot of brilliance. Diderot in her great Encyclopedia defines her as shimmering and classifies her in precious stones “like agate, lapis and others”.

In 1802, Nicolas Jolyclerc attributes the “label” aventurine to “feldspars sprinkled with small sequins”; he said that the others, the aventurines are “false (although natural)”.

This division into two species, one true feldspar and the other pseudo-aventurine quartz, will persist more or less throughout the nineteenth century. However, some mineralogists, such as Balthazar-George Sage, relate it to the genera of quartz. Today aventurine is definitely a quartz and feldspar that does not belong to the same group can simply be adventurinated.

Russian craftsmen from Yekaterinburg carved an immense basin, in a single block of ocher aventurine extracted on a summit of the Ural around 1830. This imposing work required several years of work, it measures 2.46 m wide and 1.46 m high. It is exposed in the center of the coat of arms of the magnificent Winter Palace of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.

Closer to home, under the dome of the Invalides in Paris, visitors from all nations, disturbed by the extreme solemnity of the place, circulate in silence around an impressive realization in quartzite of red aventurine. The tomb of Napoleon I required twenty years of work before being definitively erected under the dome in 1861. The stone comes from Karelia, Finnish region formerly Russian territory. This choice was not unanimous, the emperor would not he wanted a rock extracted from French soil?

Properties and virtues of aventurine in lithotherapy

A stone of introspection and prosperity, aventurine brings positive solutions and promotes general well-being. It absorbs harmful waves including electromagnetic waves present in our environment.

Adventurine is traditionally associated with the heart chakra. It combines very well with pink quartz. The elixirs of aventurine are excellent for all dermatological conditions (eczema, acne …).

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The benefits of aventurine against physical ailments

  • Soothes dermatoses (eczema and other rashes)
  • Promotes the harmonious growth of young children
  • Regulates heart rate (beneficial action on heart conditions in general)
  • Improves circulatory disorders
  • Activates cellular regeneration
  • Balance the blood pressure
  • Promotes lowering cholesterol
  • Relaxes the muscles
  • Preserves the urogenital system
  • Soothes tired eyes
  • Attenuates headaches
  • Calm nausea (green aventurine)

The benefits of aventurine on the psyche and relational

  • Brings a clear and positive view of events
  • Soothes fears and anxieties (especially of early childhood)
  • Promotes inner tranquility, self-control
  • Boosts decision-making ability
  • Help to complete the projects (patience and perseverance)
  • Calm the anger
  • Stimulates creativity
  • Promotes compassion

Properties and Virtues of the Carnelian

  • March 8, 2019

Carnelian frequently accompanies emerald, turquoise and lapis lazuli in ancient Egypt. This blood-red stone, the color of the rising and setting sun, symbolizes the terrestrial life and the passage in the other world. It also represents the disk of solar gods that will become the halo of new religions. This sacred emblem crowns the god Re, Isis and his falcon-headed son Horus, Uræus the female cobra, and Hathor the horned goddess. A great example is the Tutankhamen breastplate exhibited at the Cairo Museum.

Cornalines must be bright and vibrant. In the 18th century, the great naturalist Buffon writes:

Mineralogical characteristics of carnelian

Carnelian belongs to the family of chalcedonies such as agates, jasper, onyx, sardoine, heliotrope or chrysoprase. This quartz, often brightly colored, consists mainly of silica and aluminum oxide. In the vast group of silicates they belong, by their architectural structure, to the sub-group of tectosilicates. These represent more than half of the mineral kingdom of the earth’s crust.

Carnelian is usually formed at low temperatures in volcanic rock cavities. Mainly composed of micro-crystals agglomerated in rounded masses, one can also observe it in the form of veining traversing other crystals. It holds its red color of iron oxide. The intensity of the hue may vary from red blood, the most esteemed, to russet orange.

Confusions and Possible Frauds

The confusion with sardoine is very frequent because it is very similar to him. However, sardoine (or Sardinian) shows a less translucent appearance and especially a browner coloring. Carnelian pulp is also finer than that of agates and does not usually have pronounced zoning. This united aspect also differentiates it from jasper.

For a long time, it is known to accentuate the hue of cornalines by heating, even by a simple exposure to the sun. A heat treatment “embellisher”, commonly allows more common agates to pass for cornalines the real red cornalines of good quality become rare.

Provenances of the Carnelian

The most famous cornalines come from India, mainly from the region of Pune.  Other extraction sites are found in Brazil, Peru, Uruguay, the United States (in Washington State), Mali, Scotland, Iceland and Romania.

Etymology of the word “Carnelian”

The traditional explanation is that the carnelian would take its name from the reddish fruit of the dogwood, the cornel. This shrub, of the plant family of the cornaceae, grows in the natural state at the edge of the forests and in the hedges of the eastern Mediterranean countries. The Latin origin of dogwood and dogwood is corneolus (“appearance of the horn”) in reference to the hardness of its core.

A less frequent but probably more accurate interpretation indicates that carnelian comes from carneolus (appearance of the flesh) referring to its light red hue. Our carnelian would then belong to the same family as carnation and other predator and carnivore. The word would have been improperly transcribed corneolus . The Romans mean indifferently carnelian and sardoine of the same name sardus or sarda .

The word carnelian probably originated in the middle Ages. At that time, the language used by scholars was Medieval Latin, an altered form of classical Latin. The corneolus form is most often found in ancient lapidaries, and the Frenchized forms become corneol and then corneline . The inventory of John, Duke of Berry, evokes “two grants cornalynes “. From the sixteenth century, the carnelian takes its current form.

It should be noted that large glass balls, beautifully called “agates” in old playgrounds, become “cornalines” in French-speaking Switzerland.

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The Carnelian throughout History

The Carnelian in Antiquity

The earliest concrete testimonies come from Mesopotamia. They date back to around 2700 BC the remains of Queen Pu-abi were found in the tombs of the ancient city of Ur. She wears countless necklaces and a gold lapis lazuli and carnelian headdress (see illustration below from the Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology, USA).

Excavations at a nearby tomb have revealed a kind of little chest, known as Ur’s Standard. Decorated with friezes of warlike adventures, we see characters and horses made of ivory and mother-of-pearl enhanced with Indian red carnelian. It is visible at the British Museum in London.

The Cabinet des Medailles in Paris has a tiny carnelian from the ancient Cretan Minoan civilization. Dating from the second millennium BC, this intaglio, engraved with great dexterity, represents an eagle removing a heron.

In Egypt, the carnelian protects the pharaoh and the solar gods. We find this sacred stone frequently enshrined in royal ornaments.

The Musée de l’Antique in Arles has a jewel representing this trend, in the form of a ram-headed hawk covered with a cloisonne of multicolored precious stones. The red feathers are made of carnelian. This fabulous bird dates from 1550 BC. Auguste Mariette discovered it in the 19th century during excavations at the tombs of the sacred bulls of Saqqara.

Egyptian lithotherapy also uses carnelian for curative purposes which does not seem the case of the Greeks and Romans. It is however one of the most appreciated stones. The sardines should preferably have a bright, intense red like the flesh, without any haze or unsightly filaments.

Pliny the Elder reports that the purest cornalines have “a figure of heart “. These are male stones from the quarries of ancient Babylon already in ruins in the 1st century AD. It also comes from India, Ceylon, Arabia and Paros and Assos in Greece. These, described as females, often have “tones of honey or terra cotta” much less esteemed.

The Romans place under the carnelian a little dull, a thin sheet of gold or silver to enhance their color as is still practiced today. Besides, the manufacture of jewelry and various small objects, the fine material of the carnelian allows beautiful achievements of colored cameos. It is also used for the intaglio engraving of stamps and “annulus signatorius “(rings to be signed).

The Carnelian in the middle Ages

The West of the middle Ages knows and uses carnelian. Bishop Marbode evokes it from the eleventh century: “The horn is stone oscure (obscure), grant virtue has its nature “. Medieval lithotherapy recognizes him with pleasant qualities:

The carnelian, red as the heart, transmits courage on the battlefield. The heart (the cuer ) symbolizes the courage and the virtues warriors, hence the expressions: “heart to the work”, “high hearts” … Logically, it also evokes the color of the blood, and it is recommended to stop haemorrhages of all kinds.

In the East, its tonic and astringent properties are commonly used.  The Chinese exploit another quality of carnelian: its resistance to the heat of the oven. They mix carnelian powder called “ma-nao “with copper oxide to obtain a powerful red for enameling fine porcelain.

The carnelian in the Renaissance

Two types of carnelian are described: one bright red, called “old rock”, comes from the Orient. The other, more ordinary, “cinnabar red”, is commonly found in Germany near the Rhine or in Italy. A scholar, Anselme Boethius Boot distinguishes a third species, very pale, yellow-orange. This Flemish doctor also specifies the indications of carnelian:

Renaissance artists engrave carnelian with great skill. The Cabinet of Medals retains the famous “seal of Michelangelo” that would have belonged to the artist before joining the collection of kings of France.

It is a carnelian of 3, 5 x 2,5cm reproducing intaglio, a scene of finely detailed harvest, populated with fifteen characters and various animals. It has long been thought, as the Egyptologist Auguste Mariette, that this perfectly executed work, dated back to antiquity. In fact, it would be a friend of Michelangelo who would have realized: The famous engraver Pier-Maria de Pescia.

The cathedral of Reims holds a very different treasure, but with the course and history equally interesting. It is the nave of St. Ursula, ship of gold and silver, decorated with carnelian of Japan.

Its history begins in 1500, when the city of Tours offers it to Anne of Brittany. Later, the queen makes it an object of devotion by adding twelve small statuettes: a gold statuette representing St. Ursula and eleven statuettes of holy virgins enamelled silver.

The nave then belonged to Queen Claude of France, then to Henry II, who had it repaired.  In 1574, Henry III offers it to the cathedral of Reims on the occasion of his coronation. The nave of Saint Ursula is visible today at the Palais du Tau located near the cathedral.

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The Carnelian in Modern Times

Thanks to the expansion of trade, carnelian loses some of its rarity in Western countries. From the seventeenth century, the famous stones, “old rocks” arrive in large numbers thanks to the VOC, the Dutch maritime trade. They come primarily from Japan where they usually undergo a treatment to enhance their color. These cornalines are frequently exchanged for German agates called “Oberstein”. Multicolored and often herborised, the Chinese particularly appreciate them.

The carnelian becomes a semi-precious stone, very appreciated in goldsmith’s art and for the creation of small objects of decorative or useful objects such as snuffboxes. The pale, yellowish carnelian is always discarded. Edme-François de Gersaint, a merchant of art and natural curiosities in Paris, wrote in the 18th century that carnelian must present a “bright red color of freshly cut flesh”. For the Swedish mineralogist Wallerius, the beautiful carnelian is “like the serosity of the blood”.

Some scholars, however, are interested in imperfect coralines : stained, milky, or crossed irregularities. Jean-Christian Kundmann, doctor-naturalist and antiquary gives the name of “stone of Saint-Etienne” to a whitish carnelian spotted with blood red.

Louis Daubenton, the first director of the National Museum of Natural History, describes a carnelian-onyx, a winged carnelian and a carnelian carnelian. The latter says he is more beautiful and more esteemed than the simple agate of the same name because “its vibrant colors of several shades of red form a delightful picture of small flowering mosses “. At the same time, we discover, on limestone hills near Le Havre, some curious samples of carnelian alternated with chalcedonies “water color”.

In the gallery of coaches of the Palace of Versailles, one can admire a sumptuous sedan with four windows and inside padded with ivory satin. Named “Carnelian”, it is used for the wedding of Napoleon I with Marie-Louise. She accompanies other ceremonial cars with precious names: Amethyst, Turquoise and Topaz.

Napoleon also has real cornalines. The museum of the Army to the Invalides exposes a small gusset lorgnette made of carnelian, suspended with a chain of gold. The emperor uses this miniature telescope in all his military campaigns.

The Virtues of the Carnelian in Lithotherapy

The carnelian symbolizes blood and vitality. It has always been given positive and protective effects, especially for women, children and the elderly.

The Benefits of Carnelian against Physical Aches

  • Stop bleeding (of all origins)
  • Activates the healing of wounds
  • Relieves rheumatism, osteoarthritis
  • Calm neuralgia, low back pain
  • Strengthens the circulatory system, the heart
  • Purifies the blood, protects the kidneys
  • Relieves stomachaches: colic, colitis, painful menstruation
  • Facilitates digestion and intestinal transit
  • Promotes sexual fulfillment (impotence fight, frigidity)
  • Improves fertility
  • Strengthens bones and ligaments

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The Benefits of Carnelian on Psychism and Relational

  • Restores vitality and energy
  • Transmits the love of life
  • Removes the fear of death
  • Fight against apathetic, depressive states
  • Promotes resolution, success
  • Facilitates adaptation to new situations
  • Stimulates concentration and meditation
  • Strengthens the memory
  • Give confidence to the shy
  • Encourages speaking skills and stimulates speech
  • Increases resistance to adversity, abuse
  • Soothes anger, resentment and jealousy
  • Maintains and stimulates creativity
  • Protects the house

Carnelian essentially activates the root, sacred and solar plexus chakras (in direct contact with the skin). It can be used as a tonic and detoxifying elixir.

Properties and Virtues of Sapphire

  • March 8, 2019

The sapphire possesses the beauty of the thrones of paradise. It shows the hearts of the simple, of those guided by certain hope and of those whose life radiates charity and virtue. Well worthy to be worn by kings, the firmament has the color and its beauty seems the sky and its clarity…

Marbode, author of a famous lapidary of the middle Ages describes the fascinating brilliance of sapphire, limpid and deep at the same time. Of the four precious stones (diamond, emerald, ruby, sapphire), it is usually quoted last. The most beautiful virtues are nevertheless associated with him: purity, justice and fidelity.

Mineralogical Characteristics of Sapphire

Sapphire is corundum like ruby, its twin brother. Chromium gives the color ruby ​​red while titanium and iron transmits blue to sapphire. Sapphire is more abundant but the great specimens are exceptional.

Classified in the group of oxides, sapphire has no cleavage (natural plans of breakage). Its facies (aspect) can be pyramidal, prismatic, tabular or in a cask. Of a great hardness, 9 on a scale of 10, it lines all the bodies except the diamond.

Sapphire is formed in metamorphic rocks (rocks transformed by a sudden rise in temperature or pressure) or magmatic rocks (rocks from the center of the earth propelled to the surface following volcanic eruptions). It is found in silica-poor rocks: nepheline, marble, basalt…

Most often, sapphires come from small alluvial deposits known as secondary deposits: rivers descend from mountains carrying stones at the foot of torrents and in the plains. The extraction methods are usually artisanal: dug wells or simple washing of sand and gravel using pans, traditionally wicker. Primary deposits involve difficult extraction of rocks at higher altitudes.

A sapphire must have a nice shine. The milky appearance of a sapphire, then called “chalcedon”, is undesirable. Microscopic cracks causing an effect of ice or foam devalue sapphire, dots and grains as well. All these defects risk lowering the sapphire to the rank of “fine stone”. On the contrary, a sapphire of perfect blue beauty can be worth a great price.

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The colors of sapphire

The colors of the minerals are determined by the more or less minute presence of certain chemical elements. Chromium, titanium, iron, cobalt, nickel or vanadium combine and color various corundum.

Only red corundum, ruby, and blue corundum, sapphire, are considered gemstones. The others, variously colored, are considered as “fancy sapphires”. Their name “sapphire” must be followed by their color, (yellow sapphire, and green sapphire …). Until the late nineteenth century, their relationship is not clearly established, they are called “Eastern Peridot” (green sapphire), “oriental topaz” (yellow sapphire), “oriental amethyst” (purple sapphire)…

A stone sometimes has several clearly differentiated colors or has reflections such as girasol sapphire. The colorless and transparent corundum is a white sapphire or “leucosaphir”. There is a sapphire with a spectacular coral color. Native to Sri Lanka, this rarity bears the special name of “padparadscha” (lotus flower in Sinhalese).

The color of the sapphires can be perceived differently according to the light sources. Some indigo blue sapphires look almost black in artificial light. Others become purple in the light of the sun. Sapphire also has pleochroic properties: the color varies according to the angle of observation.

Sapphire Size

Traditionally, sapphire is cut with diamond dust. The polishing is carried out using a powdered abrasive based on ordinary corundum and declassified: emery also used in the polishing of optical glasses.

Faceted sizes enhance the sparkle of sapphires. Stones with remarkable inclusions, such as the cat’s eye sapphire (forming a vertical line like the cat’s pupil) or the much sought-after star-shaped sapphire (a six-pointed star), will reveal their beauty after an old-fashioned classic size called “en cabochon “.

Deceitful Appellations and Confusions

There are several misleading names:

  • The “sapphire of Brazil” is a blue topaz often irradiated.
  • The “spinel sapphire” is actually a blue spinel.
  • The “water sapphire”, a cordierite.

The saphirine often found in association with corundum, is actually a silicate. It owes only its name to its blue color similar to that of sapphire.

Of producing synthetic sapphire since 1920. They replace natural sapphires in industrial applications. Jewelery also uses them as well as synthetic star sapphires obtained since 1947.

Heat treatments (around 1700 °) and irradiations aim at modifying or correcting the color and the transparency. The use of these methods must be mentioned.

Provenances of Sapphire

Sri Lanka

The sapphires of the Ratnapura region have been known since ancient times. Gems are extracted from the mauve (blue forget-me-not), rare star sapphires, and colored sapphires including padparadscha . And even today, almost half of the sapphires come from ancient Ceylon. Among these, some celebrities:

Logan 433 carats (more than 85 g). Surrounded by diamonds, it is cut into a cushion. Exceptional purity and brilliance can be admired at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington (below left).

The fabulous 563-carat Indian Star (below) and the Midnight Star, 116-carat (above right), astonishing in its violet-purple color. These two wonders are visible at the Museum of Natural History of New York.

Indian cashmere

It is a rare primary deposit unfortunately almost exhausted for forty years. Sapphires, extracted from kaolinite, come directly from the heights of Kashmir at more than 4500 meters of altitude. Deep blue velvety, they are considered the most beautiful of all. The current sapphires supposedly “Kashmir” usually come from Burma.

Myanmar (Burma)

The region of Mogok, cradle of rubies, also contains beautiful sapphires from the pegmatite. In the past, most oriental sapphires came from the independent kingdom of Pegu, located northeast of the current capital Rangoon.

The Smithsonian Institution in Washington displays a magnificent Burmese star sapphire: the 330-carat Asian Star, medium dark blue.


Extracts of basalt in the Chanthaburi region and the Kanchanaburi region, the sapphires, of good quality, are dark blue or blue-green sometimes starred. There are also colored sapphires.


Sapphires were quarried from Queensland basalt rocks as early as 1870 and from New South Wales mines since 1918. Their quality is often average but rare rare black specimens have been discovered there.

State of Montana (USA)

The exploitation of the deposits, on the Missouri shore near the town of Héléna, began in 1894 and stopped in 1920 before sporadically resuming in 1985.

la France

The historic site of Puy-en-Velay in Haute-Loire is exhausted but it would have long provided Europe with sapphires and garnets. Very recently, a discovery of sapphires at the bottom of a river near Issoire in Puy-de-Dôme triggered an exciting scientific investigation. It is a question of retracing the course of the stones to find the primary origin, their place of birth, among the innumerable volcanoes of Auvergne.

Other producing countries include South Africa, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zimbabwe in Africa; Brazil and Colombia in America; Cambodia and China in Asia.

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Etymology of the name Sapphire

The word sapphire comes from the Latin sapphirus derived from the Greek sappheiros (“precious stone”). Hebrew Sapphire and Syriac Saphilah are certainly the oldest origin of the word. We find in archaic languages ​​the term shapar used to designate first “the things of fire”, then “shiny aspect”, and then by extension “beautiful things”.

One of the Bestiary manuscripts written by the monk-poet Philippe de Thaon around 1120/1130 is written in French, the ancestor of French. It meets for the first time the sapphire in its French form: sapphire. Much later, during the Renaissance, Jean Nicot (famous for the introduction of tobacco in France) published in the dictionary “Thresor of the French language” a slightly different form: sapphir.

The adjective sapphire, or rarer sapphire, characterizes everything from the color of sapphire. There used to be a blue eye drop called sapphire water.

Sapphire throughout history

Sapphire in Antiquity

The Old Testament mentions sapphire several times, especially in Exodus. It is often said that the Tables of the Law would have been sapphire. In reality, sapphire does not refer at all to the material of Tables. It concerns the vision of God by Moses and his companions:

The evocation of the sapphire is more understandable as well and allows noting the antiquity of the symbolism of the stone. The sapphire blue is always associated with celestial power: Indra in India, Zeus or Jupiter among the Greeks and Romans.

Antique sapphire does not always match blue corundum. The sapphires of the Greek scholar Theophrastus (- 300 BC) and the Pliny the Elder sapphires (1st century AD) are perplexing. Their descriptions of golden dots on a blue background rather evoke lapis lazuli. Ceylon corundum, known for at least 800 BC, is more related to cyanus, aeroids of the Romans, or hyakinthos than  to the Greeks.

In ancient times, the intensity of the colors is attributed to the so-called sex of the stones. For example, a dark blue sapphire is considered to be a male, while a little pale yellow sapphire is labeled as female.

There are few antique engraved sapphires. The Department of Antiquities of the National Library retains an Egyptian intaglio (intaglio engraving) of the 2nd century BC representing the curly head of a Ptolemaic queen or princess. We also see an intaglio representing the Roman emperor Pertinax who reigned three months in the year 193.

In terms of benefits, sapphire relieves headaches and soothes the eyes (virtues often attributed to blue stones). Dioscoride, doctor and pharmacist Greek (1st century AD), precursor lithotherapy, recommends sapphire powder, mixed with milk to heal boils and other infected wounds.

Sapphire in the middle Ages

From the 4th century, the hordes of Franks, Visigoths, and other invaders settle in our country and bring their know-how. They master a complex goldsmith technique already used in Egypt at the time of the pharaohs: cloisonné. This process consists of creating thin compartments using copper or gold to house various colored stones. This technique will persist in Merovingian and Carolingian art. One can admire at the Abbey of Saint-Maurice, in Switzerland, the reliquary box of Teudéric, the ewer said of Charlemagne, and the vase said of Saint-Martin, all adorned with sapphires.

From the twelfth century, medieval medicine confirms the virtues of sapphire recognized since ancient times:

“To be chaste, pure and clean, without any stain on him when one is wearing it “are the conditions required to enjoy these benefits.

Sapphire is also a stone of freedom if the prisoner is lucky enough to have it in his prison.  It suffices then to rub the stone on its irons and on all four sides of the prison. This ancient belief is to be compared to the secret world of alchemists who consider the sapphire as the stone of the air. Does the expression “plays the girl of the air” come from there?

Christendom adopts heavenly sapphire. Symbol of purity, it is frequently associated with the Virgin Mary. The cardinals carry it on the right hand. The pious king of England, Edward the Confessor does the same. According to legend, he would have offered his ring decorated with a beautiful sapphire to a beggar. This poor man would be St. John the Evangelist returned to earth to experience it. In the Holy Land, Saint John entrusts the ring to two pilgrims who bring it back to the English sovereign.

The king is canonized in the 12th century. At the opening of his tomb, the sapphire is removed from him. Enshrined in a Maltese cross, the “Saint Edward’s Sapphire” overcomes since 1838 the imperial crown of Queen Victoria and her successors.

In Italy, the Santa Casa de Loreto (Holy House of Loreto) would be truly the house of Mary. In Nazareth, the place is converted into a chapel since the Apostles. The Crusaders, driven out of Palestine, organize the translation of the house in Italy, by boat, between 1291 and 1294. The three stone walls become a rich basilica and over the centuries, the offerings of the pilgrims constitute a real treasure.

In a story of 1786 for Madame Elizabeth sister of Louis XVI, the Abbot of Binos reports having contemplated a wonderful sapphire. It measured, it seems, a foot and a half high on a base of two feet (pyramid of about 45cm x 60cm). Exaggeration or reality? No one knows because the treasure has totally disappeared today.

The Louvre exhibits a religious work decorated with sapphires dating from the fifteenth century: “the Table of the Trinity.” It is a kind of mounted piece set with precious stones. The sapphires predominate, the largest is intaglio engraved probably effigy of Jeanne de Navarre, Queen of England in 1403. She offers this present to the Duke of Brittany, his son. Anne of Brittany transmits the inheritance to the Royal Treasury of France by her marriage with Charles VIII.

Sapphires adorn jewelry and utilitarian objects. The hanaps (large glass vase-shaped with a lid) are richly provided: golden silver hanap sitting on a fountain-shaped foot garnished with two garnets and eleven sapphires … Hanap or, with a fretelet (button shaped fruit or flower) trimmed with a rose gold and pearls with a large sapphire in the middle. These sapphires encountered in royal inventories do not all come from the East.

Modern Times and Sapphire

The property-named “Grand Saphir” appears in the collections of Louis XIV in 1669. In the absence of written transaction in the records, it is generally considered that it is a gift. This magnificent present, blue velvet color with violet reflections weighs 135 carats and comes from Ceylon. The Grand Saphir comes out a few times from its chest to dazzle prestigious visitors. He is then placed in a gold frame alongside his friend, the blue diamond.

It was long believed that this jewel was a rough stone. In 1801, the mineralogist René-Just Haüy notes that the stone has been the subject of a careful faceting carefully respecting its natural symmetry and its original shape of rhombus. Since its acquisition, Grand Saphir has never undergone other scrap. It is visible at the Museum of Natural Histories of Paris.

The Grand Sapphire is frequently confused with the sapphire of “Ruspoli” but it is about two different gems. The Ruspoli has an almost identical weight, but it is cut differently (cushion-shaped). He also comes from Ceylon where, according to tradition, a poor man, a wooden spooner, would have discovered him. It owes its name to the Italian prince Francesco Ruspoli, one of the first known owners. This sapphire knows an eventful route: sold to a French jeweler, it then successively belongs to the fortunate Harry Hope, to the Royal Treasury of Russia and then to the Romanian Crown. Finally sold to an American buyer around 1950, we do not know what has become of him since.

The origin of the famous sapphire set of Queen Marie-Amélie, wife of Louis-Philippe is also full of mystery. Louis-Philippe, still Duke of Orleans, buys these jewels to Queen Hortense, daughter of the Empress Josephine and adopted daughter of Napoleon I. No writing, no portrait has allowed to explain the origin of the ornament visible in the Louvre since 1985.

In 1938, a young boy found in Australia a black stone with a pretty appearance of more than 200 g. The stone stays in the house for years, it is said to be used as a door-lock. The father, minor, will eventually discover that it is a black sapphire.

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The benefits of sapphire against physical wounds

  • Relieves migraines and headaches
  • Soothes rheumatic pains, sciatica
  • Regenerates skin, nails and hair
  • Treats fever and inflammation
  • Strengthens the venous system
  • Regulates blood effusions
  • Relieves sinusitis, bronchitis
  • Improves vision disorders, especially conjunctivitis
  • Stimulates vitality

It is used as an elixir to relieve headaches and ear pain, purify the skin, fight against acne and strengthen the nails and hair.

The Benefits of Sapphire on Psychism and Relational

  • Promotes spiritual elevation, inspiration and meditation
  • Calm mental activity
  • Soothes anger
  • Encourages dynamism
  • Raise fear
  • Stimulates concentration, creativity
  • Soothes depressive states
  • Restores joie de vivre, enthusiasm
  • Develops self-confidence and perseverance
  • Regulates hyper-activity
  • Increase the passions
  • Strengthens the will, the courage
  • Promotes sleep and positive dreams

Reload Lithotherapy Stones and Crystals

  • March 8, 2019

After purifying and cleaning your stones, it is important to recharge them. This step allows your minerals to regain optimal energy balance, so you can continue to use them and enjoy all the benefits.

There are different ways to recharge lithotherapy minerals. It should be noted that not all will be suitable for all minerals. When reloading your stones, be attentive to their specificity and find out beforehand to avoid any risk of damaging them.

In this article, we will begin by detailing each of the main methods to recharge your minerals: exposure to the sun, exposure to the lunar light, charge in an amethyst geode or on a crystalline mass. We will then detail the techniques to use for some of the most popular stones.

Reload Stones to Sunlight

It is, by far, the most common technique for energizing a mineral. This popularity is related to three things:

  • The refilling in the sunlight is  efficient and fast
  • This charging technique is simple to implement
  • The energy we lavish on the sun is free and requires no investment (unlike recharging in a geode for example)

How to recharge your stones in the light of the sun? Very simply, you just need to deposit your minerals on a window sill directly exposed to the sun (and not through the glass) and leave them there for a few hours. Your stone will gorge with sunlight, transform and store its energy, then return it to you when you wear it or work with it.

The amount of time you have to let it load depends on several factors:  natural load of the stone, appearance of the sky but also your location on the planet.

The natural energy load of your stone

Some stones are naturally “stronger” than others, and we need a longer reloading time to be at their full potential. A transparent stone like selenite will recharge in the sun much faster than hematite for example. While you can leave the first 1 hour in the sun (preferably in the morning), the second will easily spend several hours or even a whole afternoon.

The appearance of the sky

Is the sky overcast or sunny? This aspect is relatively marginal because, even under a cloudy sky, the sunlight remains extremely powerful and the reloading of your stones will take place. This will nevertheless determine how long you want to leave your stones in the sun.  When the temperature is high and the sun hits hard, reloading your stones will be faster than under a gray and rainy sky.

The place where you are on the planet

In the same vein, consider the intensity of solar radiation where you live. Here again, it is a marginal difference, but it is this very slight variation at the astronomical level that creates the great diversity of climates on earth. If you are in Oceania, you naturally have a solar radiation more intense than in northern Europe for example. The reloading of your stone in the light of the sun will thus also be carried out more quickly.

So, how long do you need to recharge your stones in the sunlight? According to the different conditions mentioned above, we could answer “between 1 hour and 1 day”. As you will understand, there is no standard measure that would apply to all your stones in exactly the same way. In the end, it is by getting to know your stones that you will feel when they are recharged and when they need a little more time.

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Reload the Stones in the Light of the Moon

The lunar star does not of course project its own light since it only reflects that of the sun. This reflection has the characteristic of providing a much softer and subtle light, while retaining its original energy. For this reason, it is recommended as a preferred reloading method for more delicate stones that do not tolerate direct exposure to the sun.

How to recharge your stones in the light of the moon? Again, it’s very simple: you just have to put your minerals on a window sill directly exposed to the light of the moon. Again, it is important that this exposure be direct: if you leave your stone behind a closed window, reloading will not happen as well or so quickly.

Even more than in direct exposure to sunlight, the appearance of the sky will play an important role. If the sky is overcast and it is dark, the reloading of your stones will not be able to take place.

Observe the Lunar Cycle

The visible part of the moon will play on the effectiveness of the refill. On a moonless night (what is called in astronomy the “new moon” or “new moon”), you cannot logically benefit from the lunar light to recharge your minerals … Similarly, if you are at first or last crescent and that only a small part of the moon is lit, reloading will not be as effective as during the full moon.

Reloading Stones to the Full Moon

The ideal moon phase for recharging your stones and crystals is therefore the full moon. It is at this moment that the moon reflects, with all its lighted face, the light of the solar star. If in addition the sky is clear, it’s a great way to recharge, not only the more fragile stones that deteriorate in direct sunlight, but all your minerals. Do not deprive yourself of exposing them from time to time; it can only be beneficial to them.

How long to recharge your stones in the light of the moon?  In any case, you can leave them for the whole night. If the sky is particularly cloudy or you are in a less enlightened lunar phase and you feel that your rock still needs recharging, you can of course repeat the exposure.

Reload Stones in an Amethyst or Quartz Geode

This technique is certainly powerful, and even ideal, but it involves having a geode or a good size cluster available, which is not always the case. But if you have the chance to use this reloading technique, it’s also the simplest of them all. Just drop your stone in the geode and let it rest for a whole day.

The shape of the geode, which allows the stone to be surrounded and bathe in the energy it provides, is perfect for this type of recharge. Amethyst and quartz geodes are the most appropriate, but it is also possible to use a crystalline cluster. In this case, we will favor the rock crystal. Here too, all you have to do is lay your stone at the top of the pile and leave it there for a whole day.

It is not necessary to expose the geode or cluster in direct sunlight, and this is one of the reasons why this reloading technique can be used with all stones. If you are looking for geodes, you can find some on our online mineral shop.

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Some Popular Stones and Methods for Reloading

Finally, here is a list of some of the most popular minerals and recommended ways to purify and reload them:


Purification: running water, glass of distilled or salted water, incense

Recharging: sunlight, amethyst geode, quartz cluster

Yellow Amber

Purification: running water, glass of water

Reloading: moonlight, amethyst geode, quartz cluster


Purification: sunlight

Reloading: moonlight (ideally full moon), quartz geode

Amethyst Geode

Purification: sunlight

Reloading: moonlight (ideally full moon)


Purification: water, incense, burial

Recharging: sunlight, amethyst geode, quartz cluster


Purification: glass of distilled or salted water

Reloading: sunlight (morning), moonlight, amethyst geode, quartz cluster


Purification: running water

Recharging: sunlight, amethyst geode, quartz cluster


Purification: running water, glass of water during the night

Reloading: moonlight, amethyst geode, quartz cluster


Purification: running water, glass of water during the night

Recharging: sunlight, amethyst geode, quartz cluster

Rock Crystal (quartz)

Purification: running water, glass of water

Reloading: sunlight, amethyst geode


Purification: glass of distilled or demineralized water

Reloading: sunlight (morning), amethyst geode, quartz cluster


Purification: glass of water

Recharging: sunlight, amethyst geode, quartz cluster


Purification: glass of distilled or slightly salted water

Recharging: sunlight, amethyst geode, quartz cluster


Purification: glass of water

Recharging: sunlight, amethyst geode, quartz cluster

Lapis lazuli

Purification: running water, glass of water

Reloading: moonlight, amethyst geode, quartz cluster


Purification: running water, incense

Reloading: sunlight (morning), amethyst geode, quartz cluster


Purification: running water

Recharging: sunlight, amethyst geode, quartz cluster

Eye of tiger

Purification: glass of distilled or salted water

Reloading: sunlight (morning), moonlight, amethyst geode, quartz cluster


Purification: glass of distilled or salted water

Reloading: sunlight, moonlight, amethyst geode, quartz cluster

Moon stone

Purification: running water, glass of demineralised water

Reloading: moonlight, amethyst geode, quartz cluster

Rose Quartz

Purification: running water, glass of distilled and slightly salted water

Reloading: sunlight (morning), moonlight, amethyst geode


Purification: glass of salt water, distilled water or deionized water

Recharging: sunlight, amethyst geode, quartz cluster


Purification: glass of salt water, distilled water or deionized water

Reloading: sunlight, moonlight, amethyst geode, quartz cluster


Purification: spring water, demineralized water, running water

Reloading: moonlight, amethyst geode, quartz cluster


Purification: running water, glass of distilled or salt water

Recharging: sunlight, amethyst geode, quartz cluster


Purification: running water, glass of distilled or salt water

Reloading: sunlight (the brighter it is, the more exposure will have to be moderate), moonlight (for translucent tourmalines), amethyst geode, quartz clusters


Purification: sea salt

Reloading: moonlight, amethyst geode, quartz cluster

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Properties and Virtues of Sodalite

  • March 8, 2019

Sodalite, a deep blue veined with white, seduced by its appearance of soft snowy night but it is often considered with a little condescension: it often passes for a poor relative of the magnificent lapis lazuli whose ancient history amazes us. However, sodalite, it is true more discreet, can surprise us and sometimes hides wonderful powers.

Mineralogical Characteristics of Sodalite

In the great group of silicates, sodalite ranks in feldspathoid tectosilicates. It is a subgroup close to feldspars but with different physical and chemical properties: their low silica content makes them much less dense minerals. Aluminum comes into abundance in their composition, hence the scientific designation “aluminosilicate”. In addition, sodalite is characterized by a very high sodium content accompanied by chlorine.

Sodalite enters the family of “outremers”. This name evokes the Mediterranean origin of lapis lazuli. Lapis lazuli is a combination of several minerals. There is mainly lazurite, also classified in overseas, sometimes accompanied by other similar minerals: haüyne and sodalite. Calcite and pyrite also enter into its composition. Pyrite, which gives golden reflections to lapis lazuli, is very rarely present in sodalite.

Sodalite is found in rocky, silica-poor environments that arise from volcanic activity: in magmatic rocks such as syenite or in ejections from volcanoes during eruptions. It is also present in meteorites. It occurs most often in grains isolated in the rock or in massive aggregates, quite rarely in the form of separate crystals.

The colors of Sodalite

Ornamental stones, statuettes and cabochon or faceted gemstones are usually pale blue to midnight blue, often veined with white limestone giving a cloudy or filamentous appearance. Sodalites can also be white, pink, yellowish, greenish or reddish, more rarely colorless.

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The Provenances of Sodalite

There are quarries in these different countries and regions:

  • Canada, Province of Ontario: Bancroft, Dungannon, Hastings. Province of Quebec: Mont Saint-Hilaire.
  • USA, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Arkansas.
  • Brazil, State of Ebahi: Blue quarries from Fazenda-Hiassu to Itaju do Colonia.
  • Russia, kola Peninsula in eastern Finland, Urals.
  • Afghanistan, Badakhshan Province (hackmanite).
  • Burma, Surroundings of Mogok (hackmanite).
  • India, State of Madhya Pradesh.
  • Pakistan (rare presence of crystals with pyrite).
  • Tasmania
  • Australia
  • Namibia (transparent crystals).
  • West Germany, Eifel Mountains.
  • Denmark, South Greenland: Illimaussacq
  • Italy, Campania: Somma-Vesuvius complex
  • France, Cantal: Menet.

The Darkness of Sodalite

Sodalite has a rare luminescence phenomenon called darkness or reversible photochromism. This characteristic can be seen even more in a pink variety called hackmanite , named after the Finnish mineralogist Victor Hackmann. Afghanistan’s hackmanite is pale pink in ordinary light, but becomes intense pink in bright sunlight or under an ultraviolet lamp.

Placed in the dark, it keeps the same luster for a few moments or a few days thanks to the phenomenon of phosphorescence. Then, it loses its spectacular color like a rose that fades. The process is repeated at each experiment on the same specimen.

The opposite phenomenon is observed with the hackmanite of Mont Saint-Hilaire in Canada: its beautiful pink turns greenish under the UV some sodalites coming from India or Burma turn orange and take mauve reflections to the extinction of the lamps.

The atoms of the mineral absorb the ultraviolet rays and then send them back in this surprising way. This phenomenon, almost magical, is very random, it can be observed in some sodalites while others appearing identical and coming from the same place will not produce it.

Other Sodalites

  • Sodalite ” alomite  ” is sometimes called  Charles Allom, a large quarry owner in the early 20th century in Bancroft, Canada.
  • The ditroïte is a rock composed among other sodalite so very rich in sodium. It owes its name to its source: Ditro in Romania.
  • The molybdosodalite is an Italian sodalite containing molybdenum oxide (metal used in the metal).
  • The synthetic sodalite is marketed since 1975.

Etymology of the word “Sodalite”

In 1811 Thomas Thomson of the Royal Society of Edinburgh gave his name to Sodalite and published his scientific memoir:

The name Sodalite is thus composed of “soda” (“soda” in English) and ” lite” (of lithos , Greek word designating the rock or the rock). The English word soda comes from the same medieval Latin word soda , itself derived from the Arabic surwad designating a plant whose ash was used to make soda. The soda, a soft drink, is for its part, and for the record, the abbreviation of ” soda-water ” (“water of soda”).

Sodalite through history

Sodalite in ancient times

Sodalite was discovered and described in the early nineteenth century. But that does not mean she was unknown before. The lapis lazuli of antiquity, used in abundance by Egyptians and other Mediterranean civilizations, comes from the Badakshan mines in Afghanistan from where sodalite is still extracted today.

One may think that sodalite is not particularly sought after because ancient texts do not speak about it. Pliny the Elder thus describes only two blue stones: on the one hand, the sapphirus with small golden spots which certainly relates to lapis lazuli with its inclusions of pyrite. On the other hand, cyanus mimicking the blue sky that would be the sapphire.

However, the Romans knew very well a variety of sodalite but this one is not of a remarkable blue color. Often greyish or greenish; it can sometimes show great clarity. This is the sodalite of Vesuvius. 17,000 years ago the volcano “mother” Somma collapses and gives birth to Vesuvius. The sodalite present in the lava rejected by Vesuvius is the result of this great reshuffle.

The eruption of 79 CE Vesuvius that buried Pompeii and Herculaneum was fatal to Pliny the Elder. The naturalist writer, victim of his indefatigable curiosity, perished for approaching the volcano too closely and shared the fate of thousands of victims.

In the 19th century, grained sodalites, identical to those of Vesuvius, were discovered on the shores of Lake Albano, near Rome. The mountain that encloses this lake is certainly an old volcano. Taquin le Superbe, the last king of Rome had a temple dedicated to Jupiter built at 500 BC. There are still some remains but the mountain of Albano also keeps other memories: the place is covered with volcanic minerals.

Livy, Roman historian of the 1st century AD, reports an event that would have occurred long before him and that seems to evoke the sodalite: “the earth opened at this place forming a horrible pit. From the sky there fell stones in the form of rain, the lake flooded all the countryside …“

Sodalite in Pre-Columbian Civilizations

In 2000 BC JC, the civilization of Caral in the north of Peru uses sodalite in its rituals. On the archaeological site, offerings were found composed of fragments of sodalite, quartz and uncooked clay figurines.

Much later (1st to 800 AD), the Mochica civilization left amazing gold jewelry where sodalite, turquoise and chrysocolla make up tiny mosaics. At the Larco Museum in Lima, you can see earrings depicting warrior birds on a shade of blue. Others are adorned with alternating tiny lizards of gold and sodalite.

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Sodalite in the middle Ages and the Renaissance

From the fourteenth century, lazurite was first extracted from lapis lazuli and transformed into ultramarine blue pigment. The translucent blue color of sodalite is unusable and is therefore useless for this use. Sodalite remains very discreet at this time.

Sodalite in the Modern Period

In 1806, Karl Ludwig Giesecke, a Danish mineralogist, reports various minerals from a trip to Greenland, among which is the future Sodalite. A few years later, Thomas Thomson also gets samples of this mineral, analyzes it and gives it its name.

At the same time, Polish Count Stanislaw Dunin-Borkowski studied the Sodalite of Vesuvius that he picked up on the slope named Fosse Grande. He immerses fragments of this stone of great clarity in nitric acid and finds that a white bark forms on their surface. Powdered, sodalite gels in acids.

After comparing the analyzes and the experiments, the Greenland stone and the Vesuvius stone are declared to be of the same species.

Canadian Sodalite

In 1901, the Princess of Wales Mary, wife of the future George V, visited Buffalo World’s Fair and particularly admired the sodalite of Bancroft, Canada’s mineral capital . 130 tons of rock is shipped to England to decorate the princely home at Marlborough (now the seat of the Commonwealth Secretariat). Since then, Bancroft’s sodalite careers have been called “The Princess’s Mines”.

It seems that the nickname “Blue Princess” was given as a tribute to another member of the British royal family at the time: Princess Patricia, Queen Victoria’s granddaughter, who is particularly popular in Canada. From this time, blue sodalite becomes fashionable, watchmaking for example; it is often used for the dial of luxury watches.

Since 1961, the Bancroft quarries have been open to the public. The “Farm Rock” is a very nice place of the site. Like farms offering free picking of fruits and vegetables, this place allows everyone to harvest sodalite for an affordable price by weight. You choose and extract your treasures yourself: small collection samples or large pieces to decorate the garden. The bucket is provided; the only obligation is to have good closed shoes!

The Virtues of Sodalite in Lithotherapy

In the middle Ages, sodanum, probably extracted from a plant, was a soda remedy used against headache. Lithotherapy finds this beneficent effect with sodalite. It helps to lighten thoughts, soothes tensions and useless feelings of guilt. By removing the pain, it favors meditation and satisfies in harmony our search for ideal and our thirst for truth.

The Benefits of Sodalite against Physical Injuries

  • Stimulates the functioning of the brain
  • Balance the blood pressure
  • Regulates the endocrine balance: Favorable action on the thyroid, the production of insulin …
  • Attenuates calcium deficiencies (spasmophilia)
  • Calm panic attacks and phobias
  • Promotes sleep of babies
  • Removes stress from pets
  • Soothes digestive disorders
  • Calm the hoarseness
  • Increases vitality
  • Neutralizes electro-magnetic pollution

The Benefits of Sodalite on Psychism and Relational

  • Organizes the logic of thought
  • Promotes concentration and meditation
  • Helps to control emotions and excess sensitivity
  • Facilitates speech
  • Promotes self-knowledge
  • Restores humility or on the contrary removes feelings of inferiority
  • Facilitates group work
  • Develop solidarity and altruism
  • Reinforces loyalty to one’s convictions

Sodalite is associated, in priority, with the 6th chakra, the chakra of the 3rd eye (seat of consciousness).

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Purification and Reloading of Sodalite

The spring water, demineralized or simply running water will suit perfectly. Avoid salt or use it very occasionally.

For reloading, no sun: prefer the light of the moon to recharge the sodalite or place it inside an amethyst geode.