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Often used in jewelry and decorative items, sodalite is a beautiful and abundant mineral that’s also very affordable. It’s known for its stunning blue color and is perfect in a range of jewelry types.
While not a mainstream gemstone, sodalite is valued by collectors and gemstone lovers. Here’s a rundown of everything you need to know about sodalite.
What Is Sodalite?
Sodalite is a member of a rather interesting mineral group that includes the likes of lazurite, nosean, hauyne, and hackmanite, with the latter being a sulfur-rich variety of sodalite. All of these are typically blue with lazurite being a more ultramarine blue due to its pyrite inclusions while the standard sodalite is more royal blue.
There is no pyrite in sodalite but instead, there is high sodium content which is where the mineral gets its name from. Sodalite also often includes hydrogen sulfide which is why when cut it typically releases a rotten eggs smell due to the presence of water and sulfur.
Sodalite has quite a lot of different impurities and inclusions that can be present in the stone, depending on where it’s been sourced from. It can often be pinkish or violet, as well as even gray or white. Sodalite is also typically fluorescent. Most sodalite stones will luminesce in bright pale pink or yellow-orange.
Where is Sodalite Mined From?
Sodalite was first discovered in Greenland in the early years of the 19th century. However, it was in 1891 when large deposits were found in Ontario, Canada that the mineral became popular as an ornamentation stone.
Today, sodalite is mined all over the world – many Canadian provinces, most prominently Ontario and British Columbia produce large quantities of sodalite. Ohopoho, Namibia is another popular mining site for sodalite because of the extremely intense and solid blue minerals that come from there.
The U.S. also has quite a few sodalite mining sites in Arkansas, Maine, Colorado, New Hampshire, South Dakota, and several other states. Other countries such as Greenland, Brazil, Bolivia, Afghanistan, India, Myanmar, Scotland, Russia, Norway, and others also mine sodalite quite frequently.
The fact that sodalite is so common throughout the world is also why it’s so inexpensive. For example, here’s a genuine pair of sodalite stones costing only $4.50 . These inexpensive prices are why sodalite is often called the “poor man’s lazurite” even though the two are quite different if you know what to look for.
How To Evaluate Sodalite Quality
Blue and white marbled sodalite is a common occurrence. See these here.
Richness and color and the potential transparency of each individual piece are what usually determines the quality of sodalite. The color of sodalite stones can vary greatly based on their origin, exposure to sunlight, and impurities, Sodalite stones from Canada and Greenland, for example, tend to be pinker or violet when first mined. After some time in the sun, however, they often fade to grayish white or pure white. Reversely, hackmanites (the variety of sodalite that changes color when exposed to light) from Afghanistan and Myanmar usually start white but turn pink or violet after some sunlight exposure. What’s more, darkness tends to reverse that color-change process.
As this mineral can vary in color, blue stones are greatly preferred over most others. Sodalite is very rarely transparent and is usually more opaque but even opaque sodalites can be viewed as high-quality pieces if the color is uniform and deep, and if they are of a size and consistency that are suitable for cutting.
Of course, even the highest quality sodalite won’t be expensive, it’s just that common of a mineral. However, it’s still a great thing to find because of its beauty and captivating properties.
Mostly an ornamental mineral, sodalite is widely used for various statuettes, figurines, and other decorative items. In jewelry, it’s sometimes used for artisan pieces such as bead or cabochon necklaces, bracelets, and earrings.
Striking blue sodalite ring. See it here.
Sodalite can even make for gorgeous and affordable rings. However, the relatively low durability of sodalite makes it less suitable for jewelry pieces than other minerals and gemstones. Earrings are probably the best-suited jewelry type for sodalite stones as they are less prone to get hit or scratched over time.
Sodalite and wood wedding ring. See it here.
Sodalite inlays are also an excellent way to incorporate the beauty of the stone without making it the focus. These are perfect in wedding rings for both men and women.
Whether you want sodalite jewelry or ornamentation, look for deep blue and uniform colors, as well as a setting that offers protection to the stone. However, even if you’re sodalite jewelry gets damaged, replacing it is not costly.
Sodalite vs. Lapis Lazuli
Both sodalite and lapis lazuli belong to the same mineral group and tend to come in blue. However, they are quite different in many other regards.
Lapis lazuli or sodalite? See them here.
- Lapis lazuli is much rarer than sodalite which serves to drive its price up.
- On average, lapis lazuli is about two times more expensive than sodalite. Still, sodalite is sometimes used as an inexpensive imitation for lapis lazuli. Always ask about the origin of the gemstone before you purchase.
- Sodalite and lapis lazuli are usually easy to distinguish from one another as the lapis lazuli’s blue color is lighter.
- Both sodalite and lapis lazuli can contain white calcite inclusions but only lapis lazuli contains pyrite. You can also make use of ultraviolet testing to easily differentiate between the two.
Just because sodalite is inexpensive doesn’t mean that it holds no value. Sodalite is a favorite mineral among many gemology hobbyists because of its rich color and because of how easy it is to cut and carve into various intricate shapes.
It’s the color and potential transparency that are the main driving forces of sodalite’s quality. Deep blue stones that are at least partly transparent tend to be the most valued by cutters and collectors.
How To Care For Sodalite
Sodalite has a relatively low hardness of 5.5 – 6 on the Mohs scale so it can get easily scratched by most other gemstones. Even household dust can eventually scratch sodalite over time as its own hardness is between 7 and 7.5.
To make sure you’ll avoid scratching, store sodalite pieces and jewelry away from other jewelry. If you have to store them together, make sure that they are well-wrapped in cloth.
Also, periodically cleaning sodalite jewelry is strongly recommended as it will prevent scratches from dust and dirt.
Lastly, remember to set your sodalite stones in protective jewelry settings to further minimize the risk of knocks and scratches, especially when it comes to rings.
Sodalite Meaning And Symbolism
Known as “The Harmonizer”, sodalite is supposed to drastically improve your intuition. It’s said to help drive people to good and smart choices when everything else is pushing them the other way. It’s an often-recommended stone for addicts who are trying to quit their bad habits, as well as for people who have anger issues as it’s meant to help guide people to calmness and peace of mind.
This is what makes it an excellent stone for those who want creativity and focus. Sodalite is valued by writers for this characteristic, and it’s often called the Poet’s Stone or the Stone of Truth.
It helps to promote understanding and awareness, which in turn fosters relationships and promotes communication.
*Disclaimer: Jewelry Shopping Guide does not guarantee or validate any of the claims related to the metaphysical and alternative healing powers of this or any other gemstone. This information should in no way be used as a substitute for medical advice.
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