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Amazonite in the Ilmensky Mountains, Russia

The world of gemstones simply wouldn't be what it is today without the gorgeously gentle stone of Amazonite. One of our favourites here at Monica Vinader, it is typically found with a blue-green shade that can range from pale to positively radiant, depending on where it is mined from - indeed, it has been sourced and adored in many countries around the world.

Despite having the kind of name that invokes distinctly South American images of vast river flows, the original source country of Amazonite is actually believed to be thousands of miles away in western Russia. It is here that a greener shade of Amazonite has been unearthed and spread around the world for thousands of years. Discover more about Russia's role in the story of how Amazonite became one of the finest gemstones of the world today in our guide.

The history of Amazonite in the Ilmensky Mountains, Russia

The world-famous Ilmensky Mountains can be found in the Chelyabinsk Oblast and the Southern Urals in western Russia. They have enjoyed the admiration of jewellery and gemstone enthusiasts all over the planet for centuries thanks to their rich deposits of semi-precious stones and metals. One of the most prominent gemstones to come out of this mountain range is the eternally stunning Amazonite. The semi-precious gemstone has been mined in great quantities from the area of Miass, which is approximately 50 miles south west of Chelyabinsk itself.

There is a unique geological significance to this part of the world - so much so that it was submitted for consideration as a UNESCO World Heritage site by the Russian Federation in 2008. It remains on the 'Tentative' list on that front, but there is no denying the surety of the quality of its Amazonite stones - they are regarded as the finest quality Amazonite gemstones in the world. They are found in igneous rocks called pegmatites, which are where many gemstones are naturally formed underground (Amazonite is joined by the likes of Topaz, Emerald and Aquamarine in this group) and the unique formations of such rocks are what make the area so fascinating to geologists.

Like with many gemstones, Amazonite was revered in Ancient Egypt because of its supposed ability to instil god-like confidence in its owners and it is believed that the finest quality stones were sourced from these Russian mountains - quite how they were delivered from Russia to Egypt, however, remains a mystery!

In the 21st century, restrictions on the protected Ilmen Nature Reserve in this area, which is where the mountains lie, mean that the mining of gemstones is no longer allowed, but enough Amazonite has been extracted from the historically high-quality deposits there that it has established an almost unrivalled reputation amongst collectors and admirers alike.

As a relatively rare variety in the feldspar mineral group, which is contrastingly the most abundant in the earth's crust alongside quartz, it is widely considered that Amazonite from these Russian mountains is amongst the most desirable gemstones of the world. Its alluring blue-green appearance is enough to attract even the most passive of admirers of gemstone jewellery.

Where else is Amazonite sourced?

Whilst many people might believe the falsehood that Amazonite was first sourced in the Amazon River Basin itself, it can, in fact, be mined in its home country of Brazil - a number of mines exist in the eastern part of the country, along with rich deposits of other gemstones like Amethyst, Emerald and Sapphire.Other source countries include Canada, Madagascar, Libya and China, where it is highly sought after because of its resemblance to the beautiful mineral of Jade.

Amazonite is one of the rarer known gemstones, so it is highly prized by many people no matter where it was sourced from - it is undeniable, though, that Russian Amazonite is the most distinctive and striking in its rich green appearance.

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