For a stone of frequent mistaken identity, sodalite is unimaginatively named for its sodium content. The more poetic "poor man's lapis" is a common nickname for this beautiful blue-and-white mineral. Sodalite and lapis lazuli can be easily mistaken for each other at first glance; however, lapis contains flecks of pyrite that make the two stones differ upon a closer look. To complicate matters, lapis lazuli (which is technically a rock) may sometimes contain sodalite (which is a mineral in itself). Sodalite is sometimes also confused with azurite, dumortierite and lazulite. Additionally, in Canada, sodalite can be referred to as "Princess Blue" because it was found in Ontario in 1891 during the visit of two members of the British Royal Family.
The stone was known across the Americas before its official entry into Western mineralogy, however: around 2,600 BC, the Caral peoples traded for sodalite in what is now Peru, as did the residents of Tiwanaku in modern Bolivia.
Don't let the unimaginative name fool you; sodalite is a gorgeous gemstone with some interesting--even humorous--history and inspiring design possibilities.
Sodalite Metaphysical Properties
Sodalite is sometimes considered a guardian for heroes and heroines, especially those speaking truth to power. It's believed to have the ability to unite logic with intuition and the drive for truth with the rise of idealism. Practitioners have used sodalite to organize the mind, as it's said to promote rational thought, objectivity and perception. It is sometimes thought to cleanse lymph nodes and boost the immune system. All these balancing abilities are why sodalite is often used in groups with other stones and among multiple users.
Sodalite is assigned to the throat chakra and to the western astrological sign Sagittarius. In feng shui, it is thought to possess water energy.
Sodalite Geological Properties
While blue (with white inclusions) is the most common color of sodalite, this stone can also be found in grey, green, yellow, light red and lavender varieties. (The purple variety of sodalite is called Hackmanite.) Sodalite fluoresces orange under ultraviolet light, except for Hackmanite. That variant displays tenebrescence instead, becoming deeper and richer in color after UV exposure (although the effect fades after time).
Sodalite deposits are found in Afghanistan, Brazil, Greenland and Canada, as well as in Maine and Arkansas within the United States.
Chloric sodium aluminum silicate
Blue with occasional streaks of white
5-1/2 to 6 (Mohs)
2.13 - 2.29
Proper Care of Sodalite
While sodalite is a tough stone (long-lasting and durable), it is not a hard one (can be scratched). It is sensitive to pressure, high temperatures and household cleaners. Avoid exposing sodalite to bleaches or sulfuric acid. Clean with warm, soapy water and a soft cotton cloth.
To learn more about sodalite and other gemstones, order your copy of Walter Schumann's revised and expanded edition of Gemstones of the World.
Designing with Sodalite
Beaders who love deep, rich blue stones can't keep their hands off sodalite. Avoid using sodalite in anklets, bracelets and rings. With its low Mohs hardness, it's recommended to limit its use to jewelry styles that are unlikely to be scratched: earrings, necklaces, pendants, etc.
The violet-blue color of sodalite lets designers play with the same color palettes as designs with lapis lazuli and azurite--at a fraction of the costs. The cool blues of the stone work well with silver, yet contrast beautifully with gold. Different color schemes open up easily with sodalite: a medley of related colors in blues, violets and greys featuring silver, grey moonstone, dumortierite and blue lace agate--as well as being accented by complementary colors of warm copper, fiery orange carnelian and scintillating sunstone.
**Please note that all metaphysical or healing properties listed are collected from various sources. This information is offered as a service and not meant to treat medical conditions. Fire Mountain Gems and Beads® does not guarantee the validity of any of these statements.
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