Ajoite in Quartz

Write By: tmmadmin Published In: Mineral Species Created Date: 2014-11-30 Hits: 6118 Comment: 0

6.5" Quartz crystal with ajoite inclusions, Messina, Limpopo Province, South Africa

Ajoite is a very rare copper-related silicate which is sometimes found as inclusions in quartz. Ajoite has a rich turquoise blue color which, at its best, shows well through the natural, unpolished faces of the crystal. Sometimes coatings on the faces of the quartz crystals obscure the ajoite, in which case they are polished to a smooth, transparent finish. Ajoite is named after its main location in the Ajo District of Pima County, Arizona. It is a secondary mineral that forms from the oxidation of other secondary copper minerals. Ajoite's color can range from blue green to light green. The luster is dull to resembling glass, thus it could be transparent to translucent. Its cleavage is perfect with a hardness of 3.5. Its streak is pale greenish white. Ajoite can also be found in at the New Cornelia Mine, Ajo District, Pima County, Wickenburg and Maricopa County within the United States, and the Messina District in South Africa.

2.7" Ajoite in quartz, Messina, Limpopo Province, South Africa

For years, the only known source for clear quartz crystals with ajoite inclusions was the Messina Mine, Messina, Limpopo Province, South Africa. Ajoite became famous as an inclusion in quartz in the 1980's, coming from a depth of over 4000 feet in the mine. When the Messina Mine closed in 1991, and was flooded in 1992, the supply dried up and became increasingly scarce (and expensive) as the years passed.

2.6" Ajoite in quartz, Messina, Limpopo Province, South Africa

Late in 2008, a new find was discovered less than a mile from the old Messina Mine. A large bucket loader was being driven along a dirt road on a farm near the old mine (in some reports it was a truck). Somehow, perhaps due to a hole in the road or driver inattention, the huge piece of equipment tipped over and landed in a pond adjacent to the road. Subsequently, the pond was pumped dry, and the loader was salvaged. The pumping left a ledge exposed on one side of the pond which had previously been underwater. As it sometimes happens, a local mineral collector happened by, noticed the newly exposed ledge, and decided to investigate. Much to his delight, he found a pocket of quartz crystals with ajoite inclusions which are arguably even better than the finest ever extracted from the long-closed Messina Mine. He extracted hundreds of crystals, and sold them to several South African mineral dealers. Later, the farm owner got wind of the discovery and closed the diggings before it could be determined if there was more to be recovered. Right now, the situation is at an impasse, which we hope will be resolved soon.

Micro crystals of ajoite from the New Cornelia Mine, Ajo, Pima Co., Arizona

The new crystals were brought to Tucson for the first time in January, 2009, where they caused a sensation. Compared to crystals from the old Messina Mine, the quality was about equal, and the prices were a little more affordable. Most importantly, they were available again (albeit in limited quantity) for the first time in almost 20 years. Needless to say the competition to buy some of these crystals was intense. The best one I saw from the new find was over 6" tall, with rich, colorful ajoite inclusions. While I was busy admiring it, someone plunked down $24,000 and carried it off, leaving me standing there with my mouth hanging open!

Closeup of ajoite in quartz, Messina, Limpopo Province, South Africa

At the Tucson show in 2010 and again in 2011 we located some excellent crystals from the 2008 find which one of our favorite South African wholesale dealers had brought to sell. Becasue we are regular customers, he offered us first choice of these rare specimens.

Closeup of ajoite in quartz, Messina, Limpopo Province, South Africa

Ajoite in quartz is considered to be one of the most significant of all healing stones. It is used extensively by those interested in the metaphysical aspects of crystals.

To see our current selection of ajoite in quartz, please click here.

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