Sodalite is a rare rock-forming mineral that occurs in igneous rocks and associated pegmatites. It is sometimes found in contact metamorphosed limestones and dolomites and in rocks ejected from volcanoes. Sodalite-bearing rocks include nepheline syenite, trachyte, and phonolite. Sodalite is primarily blue but can also be found in white, yellow, red, and green hues. It is a tectosilicate mineral that is relatively hard yet fragile. Sodalite is mined in several locations around the world, including Canada, Greenland, Brazil, Afghanistan, Burma, and the United States.
Sodalite gemstones are commonly used for decorative items such as jewelry, crystal healing shapes, and home decor items like countertops and coasters. Sodalite is often fashioned into cabochons and beads for use in necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings, pendants, and brooches. The deep blue hues of sodalite look stunning when pressed against the skin, and it is often set in silver or other metals. Wearing sodalite jewelry is one of the most potent and powerful ways to make the most of its healing nature. Sodalite is also used in crystal healing to promote rational thought, objectivity, and perception.
Sodalite is named after its sodium content and is well known for its blue color. It is believed to bring emotional balance, enhance self-esteem, and encourage rational thought, objectivity, truth, and intuition. It is also believed to balance the metabolism, boost the immune system, and overcome calcium deficiencies. Sodalite is sometimes considered a guardian for heroes and heroines, especially those speaking truth to power.
What is Sodalite?
Sodalite is a rare rock-forming tectosilicate mineral that gets its name from its high sodium content. Its chemical formula is Na4Al3Si3O12Cl and it is part of the feldspathoid group of minerals.
Sodalite primarily forms in igneous rocks and pegmatites associated with highly alkaline intrusions. It also occurs in contact metamorphosed dolomitic limestones and rocks ejected from volcanoes. The main rock types that contain sodalite include nepheline syenite, trachyte, and phonolite.
Sodalite is most famous for its rich royal blue color, however it can also form in hues of blue, green, yellow, red and white. It has a hardness of 5.5 – 6 on the Mohs scale, making it relatively hard, but its crystal structure also makes it fragile and prone to breakage. Sodalite has a white streak and exhibits a vitreous to greasy luster.
Where Sodalite is Found
While somewhat rare, sodalite is mined and produced in many locations around the world. Some of the most significant deposits are located in Canada, Brazil, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Russia, Greenland, India, and the United States.
In Canada, the Bancroft and Ice River regions of Ontario are major producers. Other notable deposits are found in Quebec, Nunavut, Yukon, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. The Princess Blue Mine near Bancroft, Ontario is famous for its intensely blue sodalite.
Brazil, specifically the state of Minas Gerais, mines and produces high quality sodalite. Afghanistan and Myanmar yield deep blue sodalite that is highly valued. Russia has deposits in the Northern Ural mountains. Greenland produces sodalite rock that is carved into sculptures and ornaments. The United States mines sodalite in California, Montana, Maine and Arkansas.
Comparison Table of Sodalite with Other Popular Gemstones
|Price per carat
|Blue, white, green, yellow, red
|5.5 – 6
|$1 – $10
|Ornamental, jewelry, crystal healing
|Blue with gold flecks
|5 – 6
|$50 – $200
|Jewelry, ornamental, pigments
|5 – 6
|$10 – $100
|3.5 – 4
|Copper ore deposits
|$5 – $50
|Jewelry, ornamental, pigments
|3.5 – 4
|Copper ore deposits
|$5 – $100
|Jewelry, ornamental, pigments
|$1 – $100
|Jewelry, ornamental, crystal healing
|$1 – $100
|Jewelry, electronics, optics
|5.5 – 6
|$50 – $1,000+
|6 – 7
|$50 – $3,000+
|Jewelry, ornamental, carvings
Uses of Sodalite Gemstones
Sodalite is a popular ornamental gemstone used for decorative items, crystal healing, and jewelry. The royal blue color is highly prized.
Sodalite’s intense blue hues and vein patterns make it ideal for ornamental carvings, home decor, and sculptures. It is often carved into spheres, pyramids, obelisks and other ornamental shapes. Sodalite’s hardness makes it suitable for items like countertops, tiles, and coasters. The mesoporous structure can also trap anions, allowing it to act as an air filter.
In crystal healing, sodalite is associated with energies that bring inner peace, calm, and emotional balance. It is thought to aid intuition, insight and rational thought. Sodalite helps dispel irrational fears, panic and anxiety. It brings harmony between logical thought and intuition.
Sodalite crystal healing also helps balance body functions like metabolism and calcium intake. It boosts the immune system and overcomes mineral deficiencies. Sodalite promotes self esteem, confidence and truth. It is considered a stone of courage for those speaking out.
Sodalite makes beautiful jewelry due to its intense blue colors. It is fashioned into beads, cabochons, tumbled stones and other cuts that allow its color to stand out.
Sodalite beads are common in necklaces, bracelets and rosaries. Cabochons are used in rings, earrings, pendants and brooches. The blue pops when contrasted with metals like silver, gold or copper.
Wearing sodalite jewelry brings its healing energies into direct contact with the body. Necklaces lie close to the throat chakra, dispelling fear and encouraging truth. Rings ground energies through the hands. Earrings stimulate the mind and enhance intuition.
How Sodalite Forms
Igneous Rock Origins
Sodalite primarily forms in igneous rocks associated with highly alkaline magmas and volatile-rich pegmatites. The sodium and chlorine in sodalite come from this magma source. Sodalite crystallizes in cavities within the igneous rock formations.
Nepheline syenite is an igneous rock containing sodalite along with other feldspathoid minerals like nepheline. Alkaline pegmatites rich in sodium and chlorine also host sodalite. Other igneous sources are trachyte and phonolite lavas.
Another major mode of sodalite formation is from contact metamorphism of dolomitic limestones and marls rich in salts. The heat from nearby igneous intrusions drives off CO2 and causes recrystallization of the minerals into sodalite.
This contact metamorphism results in sodalite-bearing rocks like lapis lydite and greisen. Regional metamorphism of shale-carbonate sequences can also produce sodalite under the right conditions.
Sodalite occurs in some volcanic ejecta, especially from volcanoes releasing alkaline magmas. The eruption brings deeply formed sodalite to the surface as tephra or in lava flows. Sodalite has been found in vesicular basalts from Italy and volcanic breccias in Armenia.
Sodalite’s intense royal blue color is its most obvious identifying trait, especially when contrasted with white calcite veining. Streak, hardness, crystal shape and fluorescence under UV can also aid identification.
True sodalite will have a white streak, since the blue color comes from dispersed sulfur particles rather than a coloring mineral like lazurite. Sodalite’s cubic crystal structure is another giveaway. It fluoresces orange under shortwave UV.
Differences from Lapis Lazuli
Sodalite is often confused with the more valuable lapis lazuli, but there are some key differences. Sodalite lacks pyrite inclusions common in lapis lazuli. Lapis has a deeper ultramarine blue vs. royal blue sodalite. The streak is white for sodalite, pale blue for lapis.
Lapis lazuli is also considerably rarer and more expensive than relatively abundant sodalite. Sodalite sources are more widespread than the few locations lapis is found. Visually they can appear quite similar, so testing hardness, streak and fluorescence is needed.
The Metaphysical Properties of Sodalite
Sodalite is prized in crystal healing for its deep blue color and specific vibrational energies believed to impart tranquility, insight, and truth. Here are some of sodalite’s key metaphysical properties.
Emotional Balance and Inner Peace
Sodalite calms turbulent emotions like fear, anger, panic, anxiety, guilt and grief. It clears confusion and promotes rational thought, objectivity and truth. Sodalite brings balance between logic and intuition. It encourages being true to yourself and standing up for beliefs.
Enhancing Intellect and Communication
By stimulating the throat and brow chakras, sodalite enhances intellect, intuition and communication. It helps absorb new information, analyze rationally and articulate thoughts. Sodalite dispels mental confusion and writer’s block. It clarifies thoughts and unlocks mental potential.
Harmony and Self Esteem
Sodalite promotes harmony within yourself and your relationships with others. It increases self esteem, self acceptance and self trust. Sodalite helps overcome old conditioning and negative thought patterns. It inspires confidence, courage and empowerment.
Physical Healing Properties
In crystal body healing, sodalite balances metabolism, strengthens bones and reduces calcium deficiencies. It stimulates the endocrine system and harmonizes the body’s mineral balance. Sodalite boosts the immune system, cools inflammation and detoxifies the body.
Mining and Availability of Sodalite
While not as rare as precious gemstones, sodalite is still considered a fairly uncommon mineral. Gem quality sodalite is found in economic quantities in only a handful of deposits around the world.
Major Mining Locations
The major sources of sodalite are in Brazil, Canada, Russia, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Greenland. Brazil’s rich deposits account for over 80% of the sodalite on the market. Other key mines are Princess Blue in Ontario and the Ilimaussaq complex in Greenland.
Smaller scale sodalite mining happens in Namibia, France, Romania, Portugal, Bolivia, India and the United States. Exploitable sodalite reserves exist in several African nations like Angola, Malawi and Morocco, but current mining is limited.
Sodalite mining is restricted by the rarity of its host rocks nepheline syenite and phonolite. These only form in highly alkaline igneous environments enriched in volatile elements like fluorine and chlorine. Economically viable sodalite deposits are very uncommon.
Another barrier is that sodalite is rarely found concentrated densely enough for bulk mining. Expensive selective mining is required to extract small volumes of high grade sodalite from the host rock, keeping supply low. Vast quantities are not produced like with common minerals.
FAQs about Sodalite
What causes the blue color in sodalite?
The vivid blue hues of sodalite are caused by the presence of sulfur particles dispersed throughout its crystalline structure. The sulfur ions produce the royal blue coloring.
Does sodalite fade or lose color over time?
Unlike some other blue minerals like azurite, the color in sodalite remains stable and does not easily fade with light or age. As long as it is not subjected to prolonged intense heat, sodalite will retain its blue tones.
Is sodalite expensive?
No, sodalite is an affordable gemstone, typically selling for $1 to $10 per carat. While exotic collector pieces can get higher prices, most sodalite is inexpensive as jewelry or ornamental stones.
Is sodalite toxic or radioactive?
Sodalite is considered a non-toxic mineral safe for use in jewelry and ornamental objects. It does not contain radioactive elements like uranium that can occur in some blue minerals. Basic handling precautions are advised as with any crystalline mineral.
What is the best way to polish and finish sodalite?
The most effective options for bringing out sodalite’s shine and color intensities are tumbling, cabochon cuts, and polishing into smooth spheres and sculptures. Avoid fragile thin edges when cutting.
Where are the best places to buy sodalite jewelry or carvings?
Online mineral shops, gem shows, museum gift shops, and New Age/metaphysical stores are good places to source blue sodalite stones and finished jewelry pieces. For carvings, look for specialty lapidary artists.
How can you tell the difference between sodalite and lapis lazuli?
Sodalite lacks the visible pyrite flecks found in lapis. It has a more uniform royal blue color compared to lapis’ ultramarine tones. Sodalite will fluoresce orange under UV light while lapis is inert.
Final Thoughts on the Beauty and Energy of Sodalite
Sodalite’s stunning royal blue beauty has captivated jewelry wearers and rock collectors for decades. This rare feldspathoid mineral has also developed a strong following in the crystal healing community for its energy properties promoting inner peace, truth and intuition.
While supplies are relatively limited, quality sodalite remains accessible enough for everyone to enjoy its metaphysical benefits. An affordable sodalite pendant or bracelet makes a perfect talisman for courage, harmony and insight. Let the deep blue sodalite inspire the truth within you.