Bizbee Azurite - 6006s
from Bisbee, Arizona
The great azurite specimens produced at Bisbee are probably the most sought after azurites by American collectors.
The Copper Queen Mine near Bisbee was a prolific producer until its closure in 1888. It was said the in the older workings of the mine this mineral was abundant, occurring in large and beautiful masses with azurite and calcite in limestone caverns. The walls of these caves were covered with velvety moss-green malachite, and sparkled with the blue crystals of azurite, while from the roofs hung translucent stalactite draperies of calcite, delicately banded and tinted with the salts of copper.
Azurite is a secondary mineral that usually forms when carbon-dioxide-laden waters descend into the Earth and react with subsurface copper ores. The carbonic acid of these waters dissolves small amounts of copper from the ore. The dissolved copper is transported with the water until it reaches a new geochemical environment. This new environment could be a location where water chemistry or temperature changes, or where evaporation occurs. If conditions are right, the mineral azurite might form. 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.