Barbara discovered lovely large sodalite nuggets in Debbie's collection. The marble-like swirls of blue and white in the gemstone gives it character. Barbara teamed up the sodalite with dark blue bicones and silver filigree balls. She tapered down her design with smaller round beads towards the clasp end. A pretty design for blue fans!

I say this royal blue gemstone is a lapis lazuli wannabee because it is similar to the latter but lacks both the prized ultramarine hue and the goldish streaks of iron pyrite (fool's gold). Many of the sodalite specimens we've bought have white calcite veins.

Sodalite has a northern beginning. It was first discovered in Greenland in 1806 but did not become popular as an ornamental stone until 1891 when large deposits were found in Ontario, Canada. Today, it's also found in other places such as Brazil, Montana, USA, Russia (Urals) and Namibia.

There is more to the Canadian connection. The alternative name to the gemstone which is not in common usage, is the Princess Blue after the beautiful Princess Patricia of Connaught, grand-daughter of Queen Victoria. She lived in Canada for a while when her father, the Duke of Connaught was appointed Governor General of Canada in 1911. She must have made quite an impression for the Canadian Forces regiment, the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry was also named in her honor.

She also chose the gemstone for the interior decoration of Malborough House, London which was built for the first Duchess of Malborough, Sarah Churchill - the ancestor of Lady Diana Spencer.

Beader Design #: 514

Wikipedia : Sodalite
Walter Schumann, Gemstones of the World, 3rd Edition
The Beading Gem's Journal
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