Azurite owes its name to its beautiful azure-blue colour, which makes it a very popular and well-known mineral. Azurite is formed from the oxidation of copper ores. Over time, as it absorbs water, it changes into the mineral malachite.
Azurite is found in many locations in the world. The most famous sources are theUSA (Utah, Arizona and New Mexico), Mexico, Namibia, the Congo, Morocco and Australia. At one time outstanding azurite specimens were found in Chessy near Lyon, France and French azurite was sometimes referred to as chessylite.
What was azurite used for in ancient times?
Azurite was ground and used as a pigment in blue paint as early as ancient Egypt. Through time, its use became much more common. During the Middle Ages and Renaissance, it was the most important blue pigment used in Europe. Much of the azurite used to make the pigment was mined in France.