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Author Topic: This Azurite is real, correct?  (Read 1426 times)
ValkyrieVixen
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« on: June 13, 2009, 01:55:35 AM »

It's huge, over 2" long and seems to be an old Navajo setting but no marks.
It's so fantastic it almost seems fake but it sure isn't like the green blobs in a blue base that you see being listed as Azurite.






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rocks2dust
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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2009, 04:54:06 AM »

Looks like malachite in azurite.

There is reconstituted stuff with plain green dots, but yours looks to have more structure.
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Jamey S.
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« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2009, 07:20:43 PM »

Asty is right as usual, it is Malachite in Azurite. And yes, it also does appear to look real, but that doesn't mean it is, sadly. See where the part is at the top, that is what was once a crystal vug but that grew closed, if it is natural, you should be able to look at that area under, possibly even just a 10x loupe, magnification and see if the crystals are actually structured or screen printed type deal. Obviously if real structure to them then you most likely have a natural piece, if not, then you have a very nice fake.

I am always just super cautious with turquoise, azurite, and malachite anymore. They are making fakes that fool almost all but those who handle the materials all the time!
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"I cut, therefore I am."-JKS
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ValkyrieVixen
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« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2009, 03:24:33 PM »

I tried getting a better pic with super macro, don't know if this helps.

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Jamey S.
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« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2009, 09:26:42 PM »

As I said above, it looks real from the pic, but can't say for sure without having it in front of me, sorry. Sad. Pic did come out much better this time though!
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« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2009, 07:29:16 PM »

It's gonna be real..the material is so readily available that creating a fake or cabbing a fake would cost just as much time and money as a real piece
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« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2009, 12:26:54 AM »

It's gonna be real..the material is so readily available that creating a fake or cabbing a fake would cost just as much time and money as a real piece
Not necessarily! There is a boat load of fake azurite and malachite on the market! Some of it is quite convincing as well. Not sure why it has been faked, but it has, actually has been for well over a decade, maybe longer, I think. The majority of the fake material is easy to ID though.
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« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2009, 01:50:32 AM »

Most of the faux stuff is super easy to ID, blobs of solid green in a solid blue background, yet it's constantly listed as genuine stone.
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imari3421
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« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2010, 07:55:16 PM »

While searching through the archives here I found this post  It rang a bell--I recalled that I had a silver pendant--probably purchased in the mid 90s or earlier--that reminded me of the photographed stone and some of the descriptions   I never knew what it was and it was capped in a silver bail with filigree that covered much of the stone.  I was able to remove the setting, and then scraped the glue with a scalpel.  In doing so I scraped the surfaces of some of the colored "blobs" and also soaked the top part of the stone in acetone--no change in color although the scrapings had a light blue tinge from the blue areas--the green appeared harder --no scrapings were colored green and in fact the scalpel did not appear to shave the green areas. 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/13297310@N04/?saved=1

THis may be an assembled stone--but I think that colored "blobs" are probably real chunks of azurite and malachite.  Clearly after all the scraping--the color is not just on the surface.  Is it possible that the black part at the top goes beyond blue and either is an attached cap or possibly resin used in either the stabalization or the bonding of the blocks?

Interesting to hear what you think--I had completely forgotted about this one until I saw this post  I think I purchased at a local community antiques fair (though this was certainly no antique) that is held each year in a nearby city.  I know that I had it at least 15 years, and probably did not pay a large amount for it --almost certainly less that 50 dollars and probably much less than that.

Any thoughts will be appreciated.

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rocks2dust
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« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2010, 10:33:27 PM »

If yours is assembled, then it is a better job than most.

That said, acetone will not always remove color, though it will sometimes pick up dye if a dyed stone is rubbed with a white cloth soaked in acetone. Acetone is more useful in detecting some resins, which it will etch or dissolve (you have to remove any surface coating first, however).

Another thing from your description which seemed strange is the comment that you could scratch the surface of the blue, but not the green. Since azurite and malachite have the same hardness, I would think you could easily scratch both. I suppose that the two materials could have absorbed different amounts of silica or hardener, but how likely that would be is questionable. What I see so much of is little more than plastic, with uniform (no banding) areas of green and blue. There is a list of the more common simulants here: http://www.cst.cmich.edu/users/dietr1rv/malachite.htm
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imari3421
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« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2010, 10:55:45 AM »

Thanks for those observations! 

I tried to find some stones for comparison on the web.

Superficially my stone looks somewhat like these(links below)--but not exactly, as the blue areas in my stone are bluer and more distinct from the blacker matrix (or filler/bonding agent--whatever), and the green areas seem to have somewhat less color variation within the "blob", although some have more than others.
 
http://www.oakrocks.net/servlet/the-1206/Azurite-Malachite-Gemstone-Designer/Detail
 
http://www.barlowsgems.net/servlet/the-1044/Azurite-Malachite-Cutstone-Designer/Detail
 
but also somewhat like this (link below), although the photographs are too small.  These stones are called "densefied"!!!!  I did read the other thread on "Artic opal"-- but have not seen a real close up of this so called stone, so do not know if the one I am showing actually looks like the typical "Artic opal" which I understand is at best a ground composite and at worst plastic.
 
http://www.alaskafursandgifts.com/arcticopalbearpawnecklace.aspx
       
THanks again,Astynax
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rocks2dust
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« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2010, 01:44:06 PM »

You might still try the test using a drop of muriatic acid (get it from your local hardware store—it is used to clean bricks). Choose a spot which would be hidden by the setting. Lightly scrape to remove any surface coating, then place a small droplet and watch under a loupe for effervescent reaction.

Both azurite and malachite contain calcium, and you should spot bubbles easily. If the bubbling is not present, then it is likely a simulant (or that Arctic Opal stuff). If you only get a bubble or two, then you can suspect heavy stabilization or powdered stone in a resin binder.

The black veining is something I haven't seen (more often it is whitish calcite). It could be filler, as you mentioned.

The muriatic acid will come in handy for testing any stone which has a calcium content. Just don't get in on the polished surfaces when testing (it will etch some, requiring a repolish). And if you have marble, travertine, concrete or marble countertops or floors, don't spill on those Wow!
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« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2010, 01:57:41 PM »

So, what IS the arctic opal.  From the description in the link, it sounds like stabilized azurite-malachite and not opal at all. Huh?
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imari3421
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« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2010, 02:34:55 PM »

Hi and thanks--I will try the muratic acid test.  Gimmejewels--Apparently, the "opal" label is completely misleading--"Artic opal"  is at best azurite/malachite but can often be plastic imitation.

I will try the "acid" test.  I remember using that stuff to clean bricks after my father laid a floor.  Ugh but it does have its uses!

Astynax--did you notice the red specks in some of the veins?  It is most easily viewed if you click on the flicker photograph of the stone, then above the somewhat larger photo that comes up, click on the "All sizes" tab above the photo--which will give you the largest version of the photo.

THose red specks are really interesting--looks a bit like cuprite, which would be possible with azurite/malachite because of the copper coloration?  But what does these specks suggest (if anything) about the actual composition of the stone? 



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rocks2dust
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« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2010, 03:01:26 PM »

it sounds like stabilized azurite-malachite and not opal at all. Huh?

If it even contains stone at all. Azurite and malachite have been long used as powdered pigments, though those blues and greens are largely synthesized (for consistency) today. So even if there is powdered azurite/malachite in there, it probably didn't come that way from the ground, or from Alaska.

As for the story of "mines" in the Wrangle and/or Chugach Mts., I think that's another bit of mythical window-dressing.

There are some azurite/malachite deposits in eastern Alaska, in association with underground copper mining during the first half of the 20th century. But they're long-closed. Alaska has some opal, too, which you'd expect with its volcanic history. But I'm not aware of any production (with the high costs in Alaska, it better be gold, oil and/or a huge deposit in order to be cost effective).

did you notice the red specks in some of the veins?
Yes, I did see them and agree they might be cuprite. But those can also be a by-product of using copper-based pigments (natural or otherwise) in a manufactured piece. I'm not saying that it is the case in your piece, just that it doesn't provide anything more conclusive in itself. You could look at them under high magnification to see if they have a crystaline structure that matches cuprite. If your piece is as old as you think, then that would be in your favor as to it being natural (perhaps stabilized). The flood of (mostly) Asian plastic imitations didn't start until the 1980s (after the fake turquoise flood of the 1970s).
« Last Edit: June 29, 2010, 03:06:51 PM by Astynax » Logged

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