Sodalite Stone | Properties and Meaning
About the Mineral Sodalite
Sodalite is mostly known as a royal blue coloured mineral that's often mistaken for lapis lazuli. Unlike this ancient blue coloured metamorphic rock however it's never included with iron pyrite but can often be found as a constituent of lapis along with several other minerals. The first documentation relating to sodalite dates back to 1806 when a large quantity was sent during the Napoleonic war from Greenland to Denmark. At some point during the journey it caught the attention of the British who had it examined by Glasgow chemist Thomas Thomson who subsequently named it after its high sodium content. It remained relatively unknown until 1891 when huge deposits were discovered in Bancroft Ontario and in 1893 several pieces of sodalite went on display at an exposition in Chicago.
Bancroft Ontario, Ice River British Columbia, Litchfield in Maine USA and Brazil are home to the largest commercial deposits but it can also be found in smaller quantities in Greenland, Russia, Montana and India. Stones from Greenland have a very different appearance and are mainly grey or yellow but other vibrant colours such as blue, white, pink, green and red are also known. Some varieties fluoresce under UV light whilst others are tenebrescent which means they change colour when exposed to sunlight. Although the exceptional grade of some of these rocks would make them suitable for polishing, they rarely end up being polished because they're far too rare. The varieties of sodalite which exhibit the reversible optical phenomenon of tenebrescence are known as hackmanite. More recently a deposit with exceptionally fine grade material was discovered in Quebec in Canada and a few polished stones from this locality are now beginning to appear on the market.
Although believed to have been a relatively new find, we have seen articles which state sodalite was being used thousands of years ago by ancient civilizations in South America. In the 1870's a German geologist found blue beads along with quartz and obsidian arrowheads in the ruins of Tiahuanaco, a pre-Columbian city on Lake Titicaca in Bolivia and the beads were later confirmed to be sodalite.
Sodalite Favoured by Royalty
It's widely reported in various articles that in 1901 during a visit to Canada the Prince and Princess of Wales who later became King George V and Queen Mary, fell in love with sodalite and subsequently had one hundred and thirty tons of it shipped to the UK to decorate their home. Although we have found shipping records from Ontario which confirm the shipment took place, we cannot find any other documentation to confirm that it was ever used in Marlborough House. Not long after their visit the quarry where the stone was mined became known as the Princess Sodalite Quarry. The Princess of Wales subsequently gave her husband an exquisite letter opener with a sodalite handle and gold blade which also featured several other gemstones. There was also a crown on the top of the handle. A note in her records shows that Queen Mary as she later became, also had a pair of urns made to order whilst she was still Princess of Wales.
Sodalite Tumbled Stones
Sodalite in Crystal Healing
Sodalite tumbled stones are popular for use in alternative therapies including crystal healing and in Judy Hall's Crystal Bible it states that it's great for endurance and energy even during the most challenging situations. She says it can be used to increase confidence, enhance creativity and that it has a balancing effect on emotions and the mental state. Other uses include helping to alleviate fear, bringing clarity of mind and it's may also be used for psychic protection.
More Sodalite Facts
On Mohs scale of mineral hardness sodalite grades 5½ to 6. It's generally cut as a cabochon when used for jewellery and takes on a high polish. It occurs mostly as a navy blue coloured stone that's patterned with inclusions of white or orange calcite but is also known to occur in other colours as well. Today it's mainly used as a lapidary material. Deposits can be found in Brazil, Bolivia, Afghanistan, Canada, Namibia, Greenland, Portugal, Romania, Burma, Russia and the USA
The photo at the of this article (courtesy of James St. John) features sodalite from Brazil. The photo is clickable and redirects to the original image. The photo of the sodalite tumbled stones is also clickable.
Our Collection of Sodalite