Sodalite derives its name from the sodium component in its chemical formula [Na4Al3(SiO4)3Cl]. It is part of the mineral group known as feldspathoids. It is similar to feldspars but contains less SiO. Sodalite has a Mohs hardness of six and is popular in the jewelry trade used as cabochons, beads, and inlay material.
Sodalite is best identified by its royal blue color although it can also be grey, yellow, green, or pink. It is often mottled with white veins or patches. Although rare, when crystals do present, they form in the cubic system usually as dodecahedrons. The fracture is uneven to conchoidal. Sodalite has a specific gravity of 2.3.
Sodalite can sometimes be mistaken for lapis lazuli since both have a beautiful blue color and can be found on blue gems lists. Both are part of the feldspathoids group, but beyond a glance, there are some differences between the two.
• Sodalite is translucent or transparent. Lapis lazuli is opaque.
• Lapis lazuli often has spots or veins of metallic pyrite.
• Lapis lazuli is more fine-grained than sodalite.
Where to Find Sodalite
High-quality massive sodalite is found in Hastings County, Ontario, and in British Columbia. It is also found in the following locations: Afghanistan, Canada, China, Greenland, India, Italy, Mexico, Myanmar, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, United States.
Sodalite is a fluorescent mineral that glows when exposed to ultraviolet light. Syenite rocks containing fluorescent sodalite are one of eight popular rocks found on the Lake Michigan beaches, Lake Superior and even inland. They look innocuous in normal daytime light, gray and drab, but light up orange under ultraviolet light. These rocks go by different names, but the most famous is the Yooperlites of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Sodalite is said to have metaphysical properties that help to boost confidence, enhance communication and intuition, decrease negative thoughts, and increase clear thinking. Sodalite is said to help balance emotions so some carry it in their pocket to stop mood swings throughout the day.
This story about sodalite previously appeared in Rock & Gem magazine. Click here to subscribe. Story by Richard Gross & Pam Freeman.