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20th Sep 2013 19:07 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

A number of people claim that the blue material in the lapidary rough called K2 is azurite. This makes no sense to me. Has it been verified by chemical analysis? If the analytical work has been done, can someone point me to the published report?

People who work this material tell me the blue of equal hardness with the matrix, an observation that is inconsistent with azurite. Lazulite, lazurite or blue sodalite make more sense to me.


21st Sep 2013 01:20 UTCLeor Goldberg

I've not seen any formal analysis, though I do recall lazurite being thrown around as a possibility. I just did some quick research and this came up: http://www.etsy.com/listing/154264117/blue-moon-k2-blue-100-natural-hand-cut Looks like they are getting some analyzed. Granted they have a "healing" properties section and spelled x-ray incorrectly, but what they are suggesting makes sense. They think it is scorzalite, and after looking at it it looks awfully similar, right down to the matrix.

21st Sep 2013 02:10 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

That makes some sense, given the analytical data I've seen.

21st Sep 2013 03:14 UTCDoug Daniels

Strange how it is perfectly circular in all the specimens, and retains all the characteristics (except color) of the surrounding material.

21st Sep 2013 04:27 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

I don't think it's dyed.

21st Sep 2013 05:49 UTCRalph Bottrill Manager

From the etsy pictures given, if it's not dyed or somehow irradiated I will eat my hat!

21st Sep 2013 07:00 UTCDoug Daniels

They better have a good explanation of how the x-ray data was obtained, assuming it appears. Like, photos of the specimen analyzed, how the sample was extracted, and so forth. Interesting that the attribute for azurite (the first ID) is "physical awareness"...we want to be physically aware of what it is, mayhaps?

21st Sep 2013 16:54 UTCDonald Peck

I am with Ralph. Those circles look as though they are painted on common granite. The granitic structure is even apparent within the circles.

21st Sep 2013 17:18 UTCStephanie Martin

I think it is natural, polishing it brings out the intense colour, they do resemble azurite suns but until testing confirms it is just a guess, although scorzalite does seem to be a better fit.

Check out photos of rough:




stephanie :))

21st Sep 2013 17:45 UTCRob Woodside Manager

Sure looks like blue ink.

21st Sep 2013 18:21 UTCStephanie Martin

Look at these photos of rough, photo 3 and 4 clearly show raised surface aggregates of the blue material in host.



stephanie :-)

21st Sep 2013 18:30 UTCFranz Bernhard Expert

The cab is a fine grained granitic rock througout for sure! However, the blue dots could be ink or some kind of natural impregnation, e.g. around a weathered primary copper mineral.

I had a somewhat similar specimen about 15 years ago. A friend showed gave me a slab of a fine grained, white gneiss from Hohe Tauern, Austria, with blue spots, which he believed to be lazulite. However, they were imprägnations of a copper mineral, most probable azurite (only Cu detected on grain boundaries with SEM-EDS).

"photo 3 and 4 clearly show raised surface aggregates of the blue material in host"

They appear to me to be just random elavations.

Franz Bernhard

21st Sep 2013 18:47 UTCStephanie Martin

yes, exactly, not dyed or inked.

and at least we know they are NOT mythical blue garnets ;-)

22nd Sep 2013 00:14 UTCJohn Oostenryk

Hello all!

Before this thread goes futher astray from Steve's analysis data inquiry... He is NOT saying anything is fake or contrived!

As he points out he isn't questioning that~. Several others(and myself) do not see fakery(ink whatever...)

I do not know the Etsy person Leor listed first, but I AM familiar with the ebay seller (Stoneclouds) that has been referenced further down this post. He is an experienced lapidarist and I will vouch for his input. I contacted him to request his commentary on cutting/crossection.

Please consider I invited him as a guest for polite comment RE: cross section appearance when he is cutting. (ie:that it is sound/not contrived)

I am hopeful he can/will post a pic or piclink to a rough edge oblique view so a cross-section is observable. That should help direct this thread back on track topically:)

Ralph~ I know you are sharp cookie and enjoy your knowledge contributions! However, today;),I would surely say goodbye to your hat-EXCEPT, you are probably safe as your comment was in regard to the "polished" piece. Unless someone buys it for destructive testing? (Do you have enemies or ornery friends watching your posts? LOL:) I trust you enjoy some humor!

Anyhoo-back on topic- Wish I could answer the original request beyond passing messages...

I do agree that hopefully there will be a reputable testing source attached to the pending XRD indicated on the Etsy page:)-

Patience and time will tell.

Best regards,


23rd Sep 2013 02:39 UTCDoug Daniels

Looking at the photos of the rough, it does seem to be natural. Again, a true analysis of it would be nice, if only to shut us "experts" up.....:-S It definitely isn't a jasper, as suggested on one of the sites; the matrix is too crystalline. And, all of the spots aren't spherical, some are a bit oval. But why does the underlying texture continue from not-blue into the blue.... An interesting beastie, to be sure.

29th Sep 2013 23:20 UTCSteve Sorrell Expert

Ralph Bottrill Wrote:


> From the etsy pictures given, if it's not dyed or somehow irradiated I will eat my hat!

Let me know if you get a taste for those hard hats Ralph. Mine are probably outside their use by date now, and it is one way to recycle them!




30th Sep 2013 01:28 UTCHenry Barwood Expert

Been following this thread with interest. A simple acid test would eliminate azurite.The stuff looks like a granite with some sort of blue mineral that formed spherulites.

30th Sep 2013 04:38 UTCStephanie Martin


The seller of the rough pieces above indicates on his website that the material was tested, the matrix was identified as quartz, albite and microcline (black mineral not identified). No surprise there. Further the blue material was as follows taken verbatim from the website:

"The LAB has Identified the Blue Orbs as AZURITE, with Manganese, Titanium, Strontium, and Chromium, as Secondary Minerals of Concentration."

I inquired about the type of testing and if he could post it here, he replied he didn't have a copy of the results from the lab in England. He didn't really have time to discuss as he was leaving for a field/road trip and would not be back until Nov. So no luck pinning down the scientific data just yet.

Another seller offers that the material was tested by a certified gemologist (a gemologist!) and that the azurite has not oxidized and turned black due to the cool dry climate where it was discovered.

So looks like we have to wait a little longer to get published data.


stephanie :-)

30th Sep 2013 08:49 UTCHarjo Neutkens Manager

" and that the azurite has not oxidized and turned black due to the cool dry climate where it was discovered."


30th Sep 2013 14:14 UTCStephanie Martin

Yes Harjo, I agree, that's what I thought too. Some of the rough pieces have green patches which I suspect would be malachite, if anything.


Stephanie :-)

1st Oct 2013 01:07 UTCOwen Lewis

I'm going moonbeam-catching tonight. Anyone want to come?

1st Oct 2013 05:28 UTCStephanie Martin

I'm in, if they are blue moonbeams. :-D

1st Oct 2013 20:49 UTCMichael Hatskel

Azurite in this material doesn't have much sense to me either.

One of the possibilities is that it is an amazonite-bearing granite and the blue grains are blue amazonite.

Such granites are known in Mongolia, China, and former Soviet Central Asia, in particular.

1st Oct 2013 21:08 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

To me, amazonite doesn't make sense. The color is much too azure, and the spot size too round and too regular.

1st Oct 2013 21:11 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

Perhaps I would be more convinced of the material's natural origins if there were pictures of the material in situ. All I've seen is cabbing rough or completed cabs.

1st Oct 2013 22:28 UTCMichael Hatskel


I realize that it may be hard to believe that such blue, "green-free" amazonite can exist, but it does. I wish I had a picture to post as a proof, but I don't have a specimen in my collection - I just remember seeing them. Cool stuff!

Maybe Pavel Kartashov or someone else has one from Russia or Mongolia.

If you look at the ebay pics from the links provided in Stephanie's post of Sept 21, you may agree that the blue grains look like a rock-forming mineral grains, rather than the alteration product or the accessory mineral. The blue grains sitting on the edges of the rock pieces are especially interesting: you can see that they are translucent.

1st Oct 2013 23:02 UTCHarjo Neutkens Manager

Something is very odd. The orientation of the mica seems to continue in the blue area the same way it does in the host rock. Similar to the "flow" of a schist or granite that continues its "flow" through a porphyroblast crystal. But, on the other hand the shape of these blue circles doesn't look like they could be porphyroblasts. It looks more like a dyed area than a porphyroblast. The only other viable explanation I have read here would be a secondary mineral formed around an ore crystal, or around the relics of one. On the pictures however there is nothing indicating an ore mineral or that one has been there before (oxidation tends to leave it's traces, in most cases not just the resulting mineral).

Looks dyed to me, but I can be wrong (and have been in many cases...)

1st Oct 2013 23:48 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

I didn't say blue amazonite was not possible. It certainly is possible, but how common is it? K2 is available in hundreds of kilos; I doubt blue amazonite of such very consistent color would occur anywhere in such quantity.

1st Oct 2013 23:53 UTCMichael Beck

I run a small lapidary and saw this material for the first time after Munich last fall. I have been wondering about this as well. I have cut 3 or 4 hundred cabs of this material in the past year and can attest to the fact that this is not dyed. I have been given the material in large pieces greater than 10 pounds and slabbed it. The orbs run through out in nowhere close to a consistent manner their are areas with orbs grouped together and areas with no orbs. I have seen a couple pieces where the color of the orbs grade to a blue green. This rough is going for well under 50 dollars a pound so its not particularly expensive stuff. The hardness is consistent throughout as well as the pattern of the underlying granite. The gentleman I am cabbing this for has had it tested twice I believe it was his test referred to in a previous post the one with the strontium and magnesium. I will be seeing him in the next few days and see if I can get the info from the testings. Thanks alot and have a great day everyone.

1st Oct 2013 23:58 UTCHenry Barwood Expert

Strictly based on my experience with similar structures (not color) I will be very surprised if it is not an alkali granite or even a quartz syenite. The blue areas appear to be relict spherulitic xenocrysts. As to the color, could be just about anything.

2nd Oct 2013 00:11 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

if someone will supply me with a sample or two of authentic K2, I'll foot the bill for analysis at a reputable service, and report the results here.

2nd Oct 2013 00:17 UTCMichael Beck

Heres a photo of the pieces I'm working on right now. I will also post some photos of the slabs when I'm done cutting them. There does seem to be some sort of sub metallic specks running through this material as well definitely not the biotite . My personal feelings on the subject are secondary staining from these sub metallic specks ( possibly chalcocite) but I'm just a rock cutter with a few 2and 3 hundred level geology courses under his belt.

2nd Oct 2013 00:26 UTCStephanie Martin

Steve, if necessary I will send you a piece if we don't get a resolution here. I was thinking if getting it tested myself but not sure when I would get around to that.


Stephanie :-)

2nd Oct 2013 01:08 UTCIbrahim Jameel Expert

The discussion may have already moved past this, but I just wanted to reiterate that the stuff is definitely not faked. I saw some in Skardu on a trip back in 2006-- a local dealer had a 2 foot boulder of the stuff, he just whacked off the corner and gave it to me-- sure enough it had the same blue spots. At the time they had no use for it (they were only looking for specimens) but it appears they found a way to market it....

2nd Oct 2013 01:27 UTCDean Allum Expert

I've seen stuff like this before:


It is surprising that there are no signs of malachite.

3rd Oct 2013 03:50 UTCMichael Beck

Photo of slabs

3rd Oct 2013 07:04 UTCStephanie Martin

Hi Dean,

Yes I believe there are signs of malachite but it depends on the piece. There are some green edges on some of Michaels's slabs above. One of my pieces appears to be a weathered portion that shows green patches which I assumed were malachite. I finally had a chance to snap a couple photos. I haven't looked at them under the scope but I think I see some small sprays in the close-up.

overall slab approx. 9.0 x 8.0 cm

FOV aaprox 1.5 cm


stephanie :-)

3rd Oct 2013 08:12 UTCHarjo Neutkens Manager

After Michael and Ibrahims posts I stand corrected ;-) The presence of metallic crystals noted by Micheal explains a lot, and the rough seen by Ibrahim on the site explains the rest. Thanks!

3rd Oct 2013 08:14 UTCMichael Beck

This is the green area taken through a 10x loupe on my phone at 2mp. Someone mentioned putting a loupe over a lens in some other thread. Thanks for the great idea.

3rd Oct 2013 08:32 UTCMichael Beck

This is the inside surface of the fracture from the previous slab the piece popped off maybe its helpful. It looks like standard malachite staining in a fracture. I really don't see to much of this on most of the material I cut but their it is anyways. I did not make it to the post office today Mr Hardinger but I will make sure I put this in as well.

3rd Oct 2013 16:33 UTCDonald Peck

Michael's and Stefanie's recent photos have made me revise my thinking. I now think the material is natural. Before, I was convinced it was a fake with dyed spots.

3rd Oct 2013 16:35 UTCRob Woodside Manager


3rd Oct 2013 16:50 UTCMichael Hatskel

While the former nonbelievers in large numbers are switching their opinions, could someone who has the stuff in their possession just find a moment to drop an acid on it and report if it will fizz or not? and/or report if a knife will scratch the blue spot or not? ;-)

3rd Oct 2013 17:31 UTCStephanie Martin

I'll try and scrape some off from an exposed fractured edge to test, but I won't be able to do it until much later today as I'm stuck at work for another 10 hours - so if someone else can do it sooner then go for it. I was reluctant to damage my pieces but I should be able to literally find a small spot to sacrifice.


stephanie :))

3rd Oct 2013 23:19 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

People I've talked to who have worked this material tell me the blue grinds, cuts, and polishes the same as the white. In other words, the blue has the same hardness as the white. If the blue was azurite (or more precisely more than just an azurite stain) then it would wear away and become concave during polishing.

4th Oct 2013 01:02 UTCHenry Barwood Expert

Dumortierite? Green may be a mica?

4th Oct 2013 01:39 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

I don't think its dumortierite, because the blue spots do not have any fibrous character. In photos they sometimes appear a bit grainy, so I can understand why they might be compared to azurite 'blueberries', which are often grainy or sandy.

4th Oct 2013 02:05 UTCMichael Beck

This material is very consistent through out. I cut a great deal of the "coppers" and materials with varying hardnesses. It really seems like some sort of staining after the fact. The biotite specks are on both sides of the boarders of the blue orbs.

4th Oct 2013 03:16 UTCAlfredo Petrov Manager

I have some blue japanese dumortierites that are so fine-grained that they look homogeneous, no fibrous structure visible, although I imagine it would be visible under a SEM.

I also have some granite from Antarctica with 3-dimensional copper staining - Either the granite is more porous than it looks, or the penetrative staining power of tiny amounts of secondary copper minerals is quite astonishing. Naturally, with staining like this, a lapidarist is not going to notice any hardness difference between the stained and unstained "feldspar".

So I fear none of the possibilities mentioned so far in this thread has been scientifically eliminated yet, and analyses will be required.

4th Oct 2013 03:53 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

Alfredo, could you post pictures to enlighten the rest of us?

4th Oct 2013 04:17 UTCAlfredo Petrov Manager

I will, Steve, although this topic may well have been concluded or died already when I get home to my collection (after Munich show).

4th Oct 2013 06:17 UTCStephanie Martin

The material is very grainy as mentioned and I did not think a hardness test or acid test would really solve the issue but tried anyway. I managed to scrape some grains off to try some acid. It did not really scratch with a knife, but rather just loosened some grains. I put the scrapings in Muriatic acid and not too much happened, except that the colour washed out a bit. I did not see any dramatic fizzing but then many of the grains were small and may have not been big enough to notice a slight reaction. There seemed to be a slight haziness around the grains initially. The grains were still in the dish after the test meaning they did not dissolve.

here's a few more photos:



4th Oct 2013 13:12 UTCHenry Barwood Expert


If you have a small piece you can send me, I will prepare a thin section and let you know what type of rock this is and make an attempt at identifying the blue material.

4th Oct 2013 14:39 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

Alfredo, I'm hoping the topic remains alive at least until I'm posted the analytical results. Haven't received a sample yet.

5th Oct 2013 16:18 UTCBill Cordua Manager

I ran a little experiment, as shown by the photos. I took several white granites and put on blue food color then spread it to look like a circular spots. The effects looked a lot like the K-2 material pictured. About an hour later I used my trusty hammer to break through one of the spots and found that the food color had penetrated about a centimeter into the granite, giving a 3-D stain (sorry about the focus). I know my material is a fake, and I suspect that on the market is too. With better techniques and more time I'm certain I can duplicate the results I've seen. Really never thought the textures and reported compositions made geological or geochemical sense.

5th Oct 2013 17:41 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

Bill, you've done the experiment I've been thinking about. Now what geological analytical technique would be used to prove that the blue spots is 'real' K2 are organic (food coloring) and not mineralogical?

5th Oct 2013 19:12 UTCBill Cordua Manager


If you can see the original mineral textures beneath the blue - or whatever color - that's enough for me. For analytical proof, X-ray the blue stained feldspar and show it's still feldspar. - Bill

5th Oct 2013 19:34 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

I'm waiting to receive samples for analysis...

5th Oct 2013 20:30 UTCMichael Hatskel


I would assume that the food colorant be extracted from the rock using the same solvent that was used in applying it (water or alcohol). Do you observe that?

5th Oct 2013 21:23 UTCBill Cordua Manager

Actually Steve it was food coloring right off the shelf from the grocery store. I just dropped some on and smoothed it out with a paint brush. Didn't take much food coloring either. I don't have the bottles at home to see if it says what the ingredients are. My sense in using this in the past (for many of my oceanography lab exercises) is that it doesn't come off with water very well. Hands at least. If I used red coloring and wasn't careful, my hands look like a prop from Carrie for a day or two.:-)

5th Oct 2013 21:47 UTCCA

If this material were dyed how would they be able to get the dye spots distributed thoughout the center of the rough. I've cut about 75 pounds of larger pieces into smaller, more saleable pieces and the blue balls, what ever they are, are distributed randomly thoughout the center of all of the material that I cut. Doesn't look dyed at all. That would be one neat trick to get the blue balls of dye deep into the rough.

6th Oct 2013 01:45 UTCAlfredo Petrov Manager

X-ray won't help to determine whether a stain is natural or not. A tiny amount of azurite can stain a lot of rock in Nature, and XRD is just going to show the patterm of the groundmass feldspar, the azurite lost in the background noise. Inconclusive.

If it is just organic dye, could one test it with bleach?

6th Oct 2013 02:09 UTCHenry Barwood Expert

I offered to prepare a thin section which would tell the petrology, mineralogy and condition of any staining, natural or human induced, but no takers. I am looking into purchasing a fragment on ePay and may just do it myself to settle this nonsense.

6th Oct 2013 03:02 UTCJohn Oostenryk

I just HAVE to say all this~ Others wondered the same thingS...

Uh - Bill C?

Did you actually check the pics here and on Ebay and elsewhere and REALLY look at them??

If faked, how do they get the spherical blue spots inside massive rough? On second thought- don't bother answering that, it is a waste of time.

I was amused by your attempting to fake a blue stain. Go ahead- see what you can create:)
However, until you have actually physically investigated the true material you have visually snap judged, you are doing science and yourself a major disservice declaring fraud via the failed reasoning process applied:(

Looking at something in a picture, then deciding to take a similar colored/textured rock (you don't know what the host material REALLY is either.)*

Next taking your closest convenient blue colorant. (Why not ink or paint-they are blue too?!)

Then imitating bad art and finally declaring the dissimilar result to be proof that your initial baseless claim is correct is just compunding bad to worse to worst...

Gadzooks! When you really look at your comparison, you have steaks and oranges, or somesuch, both food but that is it.

Nuff said, I will shut up now~

I DO look forward to lab results from one of the generous offers presented by our fellow members:) It IS mineralization, likely something simple, We should be so lucky if it is complex. Which = "even more interesting!"~lol)

*Thank you Henry for angling for thin section ID- Heck Yeah! Having experience doing that is awesome, you rock!:) I wish my petrology course hadn't been so short. Course, it was sorta painful too, so after wasn't all bad~LOL.

6th Oct 2013 04:40 UTCStephanie Martin


Sorry I couldn't respond sooner, I will send you a PM.


stephanie :-)

6th Oct 2013 04:46 UTCCA

Henry: What size piece do you need to make the thin section analyses? Let me know and email me your mailing address.



6th Oct 2013 11:16 UTCMichael Beck

Mr Hardinger I apologize I'm at a show this weekend I'll get a piece in the mail first thing on Monday morning hopefully your tests can bring some actual scientific conclusions and not just baseless speculation.

6th Oct 2013 14:26 UTCBill Cordua Manager

To John and others,

Yes, I have looked at the photos, and they don't convince me. Next time I get to a rock show and I will be quite curious to see some " in person", as clearly a better alternative to seeing photos. I also look forward to thin section and other creditable analyses by someone like Henry. However I did prove that some granitic rock is porous enough to take a stain in 3-D using a common, readily accesible substance. I never said I had proved the K-2 material is a fake, merely voiced my suspicion based on my observations. As you all know there are a lot of modified, misrepresented and faked materials on the market today, so it makes sense to me to be skeptical. Caveat emptor.

6th Oct 2013 19:06 UTCRob Woodside Manager

Metallics, possibly chalcopyrite, have been observed in this granite. Both Blue and green, possible Cu, oxidation products have been observed. Bill has shown that granites are sufficiently porous to diffuse staining. So if a thin section showed chalcopyrite that hadn't completely oxidised we would have the explanation for these blue diffusions deep in the granite.

6th Oct 2013 19:52 UTCAmanda Hawkins

Doug Daniels Wrote:



> that the attribute for azurite (the first ID) is

> "physical awareness"...we want to be physically

> aware of what it is, mayhaps?

lost me

6th Oct 2013 23:38 UTCHarjo Neutkens Manager

Great! I think this topic is exactly what a mineralogy forum should be. People discussing, having second thoughts, people offering material to others for analysis. Combined effort and combined knowledge, great!

At the moment I'm putting my money on it being natural, despite my previous doubts. I can't wait to see the analysis results.

p.s. Amanda, I think nobody here cares about which moment you lost it.

7th Oct 2013 00:02 UTCDoug Daniels

Amanda - don't worry, poor attempt at a joke. Right now, I'm like the rest, waiting to see the results of the various analyses that may soon happen. Should be interesting.

7th Oct 2013 09:08 UTCAmanda Hawkins


7th Oct 2013 15:18 UTCBill Cordua Manager

Rob's idea about alteration haloes around an accessory copper mineral has merit - the equivalent to oxidation-reduction halos we sometimes see in red bed sandstones involving iron oxides. I would think that the fluids causing the alteration would also cause alteration in the surrounding feldspars, a fact that should be visible in thin section.

Also, I noticed some vendors linking the K2 name with jasper! Ouch! Whatever this turns out to be - it is not jasper.

7th Oct 2013 15:30 UTCChester S. Lemanski, Jr. Manager

Please note that on the specimen photo Stephanie posted some time back (& up) in this thread, that the blue color is visible along the top surface of the piece and would appear linear versus spherical. Just another observation.

7th Oct 2013 17:46 UTCStephanie Martin

Bill - we know it is not jasper, but they are calling it jasper to market it, obviously thinking this is a better marketing moniker than granite. As it stands it is tedious to google search for this material since there are so many hits with K2. I know they are trying to capitalize on the name but it just makes it harder to find.

Chet, I can assure you that they are not just on the surface, although in the photo it may appear that way.


stephanie :-)

14th Oct 2013 04:25 UTCHenry Barwood Expert

I've received two pieces of the K2 material and will be preparing thin sections to determine what I can about this material. A couple of observations (at 30X):

Material appears to be a quartz-mica (muscovite) schist, rather than a granite. There are grains of "biotite" throughout. Likely some feldspar also.Won't be able to tell more until I can examine under a petrographic scope.

The green mineral is in flat flakes that do not show a pronounced cleavage, nor fibrosity as would be expected with malachite. Definitely occurs along fracture surfaces and is not dispersed within the sample.

The blue grains are translucent and contain some darker areas of blue internally. Could be a stain, but broken grains show a uniform blue color instead of a darker rim. The grains appear to be quartz and muscovite with a strange colorant.

The material does not appear to be a product of dispersed copper mineralization, but could be. For one thing, there is no accompanying Fe staining from something like chalcopyrite. There is also no evidence of significant weathering or hydrothermal alteration of the rock.

All in all an oddity.

Hope to have more information in a week or so.

14th Oct 2013 04:54 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert


I have received a few samples of K2 for analysis, but if you'd like to take the lead, by all means please do so. You've more experience along these lines than I.

My samples do have some of the earthy, powdery green material. This material dissolves with effervesence in dilute HCl at room temperature, so I'm guessing it might actually be malachite.

14th Oct 2013 12:25 UTCHenry Barwood Expert


All I'm doing is some petrographic work. Please proceed with your analyses. Since this does appear to be some copper mineralization, I have to tell you that it is weird.

14th Oct 2013 14:53 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

My SWAG for the green stuff malachite (definitely copper), but I don't believe the blue is a copper mineral. (I have a hunch but I'll keep that quiet until I'm proven wrong.) Will proceed with the analyses.

15th Oct 2013 04:28 UTCTim Jokela Jr

OOOOOH the suspense!

Thanks for your analytical work, boys.

Anybody care to recommend a good source for this material, I'd like a few pounds.

15th Oct 2013 05:53 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

I'm confident I could fake a few pounds for you. But that's another part of the research...

17th Oct 2013 04:16 UTCMichael Hatskel

To fill the pause while Steve and Henry are doing their tests:

"Raindow calsilica"... What is that? http://www.ebay.com/itm/Rainbow-calsilica-lapidary-slab-85-grams-for-cabochons-0728E-/141053193775?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item20d76cee2f

For the K2 material I had at least some assumptions, but not for this one...


17th Oct 2013 04:50 UTCStephanie Martin

Hi Michael,

It is definitely man made. I believe it is some type of glass with opaque colouring in banded layers. I have a number of pieces but don't think it is worth testing since I know it's not natural. But it sure is colourful. Part of my fakes collection (sub-collection?).


stephanie :-)

17th Oct 2013 14:18 UTCMichael Hatskel

Thanks, Stephanie. I feel that it is not natural, but HOW did they do it? :-)

The border lines between the bands look so sharp, and that it not easy to achieve in glasses.

17th Oct 2013 17:43 UTCReiner Mielke Expert

Looks like layers of paint off a ventilation duct from a paint shop.

17th Oct 2013 19:55 UTCStephanie Martin

I have seen it described as paint from auto assembly lines, but I don't think this material is paint. The paint material is also known as "Fordite" in lapidary circles and I have some of that as well. It actually has a higher polish than the calsilica. And for another thing, the colour layers are too well ordered in calsilica to be random from paint processes. They are quite deliberate. Fordite does not always show the most appealing colour combinations, as you would expect from a by-product. Just my two cents.

Michael, there are other things mixed in with the glass, supposedly one of them is calcite (calcium?), suggesting where they got the name "cal-silica". Maybe this makes the layers adhere better?

edit - in the ebay listing they indicate that this was confirmed to be a natural material - however it does not indicate who tested it and how (meaning lab or qualified person) , and I have never seen photos of this material in situ, or even boulder chunks for that matter (only slabs and cabs).


stephanie :))

18th Oct 2013 22:12 UTCCA

Tim Jokela: I have 75 pounds of K2. Very little of it has come into the US and it is very expensive. Don't know if the price has been driven by rarity or greed, but I paid a kings ransom. I sell it for $80/pound for pieces of about a pound or under. I have a few larger pieces that would require owning a 18 inch or larger lapidary saw, and those go for $65/pound. Just so you know, my prices include my markup, which is $10/pound. Contact me if interested.



18th Oct 2013 23:43 UTCHenry Barwood Expert

Cut off the blocks this afternoon and now have to grind the thin sections to proper thickness. Hope I can get to it tomorrow. Pretty obvious from looking at the mounted blocks that this material is some sort of schist. Lots of micas ("biotite" and muscovite?) in a quartz matrix. Won't know about feldspar until I can take a look on the scope. The blue coloration is distributed as tiny, intense blue grains throughout the blue areas. Sparse green grains surround the blue areas and sporadically throughout the rock. Certainly does not appear man-made, but an origin defies me at the moment. Can't believe I'm spending time looking at this stuff. Got to stop being so curious about everything!

19th Oct 2013 15:39 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

Henry, it might help to know one of my key observations so far: Soaking a piece of K2 in dilute HCl causes the blue color to irreversibly bleach out after a few hours. Also results in a fairly strong yellowing of the HCl solution. Very very tiny to no bubbling upon dissolution.

I have some guesses as to the nature of the blue stuff, but I'm going to hold them until my own analytical work is done.

19th Oct 2013 16:09 UTCHenry Barwood Expert

Steve, you results certainly suggest a copper carbonate. Have you tried adding a few drops of ammonia solution to the leachate to see if it turns blue or precipitates any copper complexes? So far there is no evidence of a precursor copper mineral. Very odd stuff indeed.

19th Oct 2013 16:43 UTCDonald Peck

Steve, it sounds like copper carbonate to me, also; but I would check the leachate for iron, too. Yellowing of HCl often indicates iron III.

19th Oct 2013 18:07 UTCStephanie Martin


Glad your results were such as mine. I forgot to mention that the HCL did turn a more yellow. I only let mine sit for about 5 minutes as I was looking for a carbonate reaction, which was not easily detected. After I drained the acid and let the grains air dry they were looking more bleached out.



19th Oct 2013 18:55 UTCDoug Daniels

Just a wild idea - when you add acid to a solution of sodium vanadate, it turns yellow. Maybe the blue is a vanadyl compound? Just another wild idea, as I said.

20th Oct 2013 03:57 UTCTim Jokela Jr

Can confirm that the brightly colored, thin layered material called "rainbow calsilica" is in fact man made. A minute's search will turn up all the info you could want.

Not to be confused with the old and now hard to find and quite valuable "fordite", produced by the overspray from big auto plant paint operations. The latter isn't just from Detroit; some has been saved from Toronto area plants, and presumably others as well.

20th Oct 2013 04:34 UTCStephanie Martin

Thanks Tim. I had never bothered to look it up since it was obviously fake, but after doing so it would seem it is not glass but layered pigmented calcite bonded with resin, making the "silica" part of the name a misnomer. Found a supplier site that shows the material as one of their manufactured products.


stephanie :-)

20th Oct 2013 05:51 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

My dilute HCl tests were made with hardware store brand muriatic acid -- far from pure. It's quite common for this material to turn yellow when exposed to (insert name of almost anything here). So I would read too much into this color change.

20th Oct 2013 06:07 UTCStephanie Martin

Mine was the same, store brand muriatic acid, and I didn't mention it for the reason you indicated. Didn't read much into it.

20th Oct 2013 07:00 UTCDoug Daniels

As Henry mentioned - anyone done the ammonia test to the leachate? Copper will give a definite result. My idea with vanadium, while about 10,000 miles out there, is a possibility - I've done the test with store-bought muriatic acid (ok, I just happened to have sodium vanadate - the solution goes from colorless to yellow). I'm still thinking copper is in there somehow (maybe a silicate?), but just tossing some other ideas for this oddity.

20th Oct 2013 08:54 UTCAlfredo Petrov Manager

Wow! This discussion has gone on for 5 pages now and we're still in the guesses and speculations stage, with hardly any concrete facts about "K2" - Perhaps this is a record for the message boards? :-S

20th Oct 2013 12:51 UTCReiner Mielke Expert

Well as long as we are having fun:)-D

20th Oct 2013 16:30 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

I plan to have microprobe data in the near future, so (hopefully) we can stop speculating. Perhaps between Henry's data and mine, the question will be definitively answered.

20th Oct 2013 16:58 UTCDonald Peck

The ammonia test for copper is not very sensitive, especially in dilute solutions. It would be a good idea to boil the acid solution to dryness and then add a small amount of ammonium hydroxide. As the acid solution approaches a few drops, GO SLOW, to avoid spattering and let the residual heat in the glassware complete the evaporation. WEAR GOGGLES.

20th Oct 2013 17:00 UTCHenry Barwood Expert


I took about 5 minutes and looked at the thin sections this morning. The coloration is bright blue, irregular grains embedded in a matrix of microcline, quartz, biotite muscovite, and perhaps a plagioclase feldspar (not twinned significantly). The grains have a high birefringence and it is hard to tell extinction patterns. Could be azurite. I'll have more when I can sit down and really examine them. I'll post some images as I have time. The basic rock is apparently a granite gneiss or possibly a grano-diorite that has been metamorphosed. I did see some sausseritization of the feldspars.

20th Oct 2013 18:28 UTCRob Woodside Manager

Thanks Henry. Our glossary says ":sausseritization" is:

"The replacement, esp. of plagioclase in basalts and gabbros, by a fine-grained aggregate of zoisite, epidote, albite, calcite, sericite, and zeolites. It is a metamorphic or deuteric process and is frequently accompanied by chloritization of the ferromagnesian minerals.

I knew the glossary would be useful!!!

20th Oct 2013 18:38 UTCHenry Barwood Expert

Hi Rob, Most Sausseritization shows up as cloudy inclusions of zoisite in plagioclases. Lots of that in these samples. Probably means some sort of hydrothermal alteration which would fit with an ore zone.

As I said previously: Spending may more time on this crud than is warranted.

20th Oct 2013 18:54 UTCRob Woodside Manager

Thanks again Henry. It is very kind of you to spend time on this. We are very close to a final answer.

21st Oct 2013 05:15 UTCMichael Beck

here is the lab report I was given from the gentleman I am cutting the material for. hope it is helpful. thank you to everyone out there who is making an effort to figure this out. I am very grateful for the time and effort you are all expending.

21st Oct 2013 13:55 UTCHenry Barwood Expert


Some problems I have with this analysis:

Assuming oxides, and not elements, were reported, it sums to 116.55%. If indeed elements were reported, the sum would be even more outlandish.

I'm assuming that the acid digestion removed silicon as SiF4 during digestion, so this reports the composition of the non-volatile residue.

Looking at the thin section, you can account for a modest amount of iron from the biotite, but the level reported is way out of line with what I'm seeing.

The Al, Ca and Ba levels are really high. It is possible that you are seeing a high alumina mineral, and barian orthoclase (or even celsian or hyalophane) would not be unreasonable.Other than that, the analysis makes no sense for this type of rock, at least based on the thin section.

Something is definitely out of whack here.

21st Oct 2013 15:08 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

Henry, I've seen that exact report, and rejected it for the percentage issue. The analyst at this "lab" should be flogged.

21st Oct 2013 16:48 UTCDoug Daniels

In addition, what part of the sample was analyzed - the blue stuff, or just the surrounding "normal" material?

21st Oct 2013 20:22 UTCJim Robison

I do not know the analyst who did the work stated above, and therefore can't comment as to his qualifications. Simply want to say that while there are many very competent analysts in the state of Arizona, the state procedure for being licensed as an assayer is, in my opinion, and based on past experience, less that rigorous. I am being generous is this statement.

21st Oct 2013 20:45 UTCHenry Barwood Expert

I'm going to try and post an image of one of the blue grains making up the blue spots in K2:

I so seldom post anything, I've forgotten how to make it active in the post.

This is a typical irregular grain at 100X. Surrounded by quartz and orthoclase ? Does not look like azurite to me.

21st Oct 2013 21:47 UTCEvan Johnson

You'll forgive me, but is the matrix relatively stable to heat? If so, what would prevent a simple porcelain glaze of some sort being injected and heated? Have seen some comments along these lines, but even if relatively Cu-rich, well, that's in some glazes as well, isn't it? Should also be permeable and able to form a "nucleus", I'd think, which is particularly compelling in the absence of any primaries, as far as I can tell.

21st Oct 2013 22:48 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

Although I haven't made a specific test, I believe the blue spots are heat-stable. The samples I have were saw cut with water coolant, so they've certainly been heated. I see no difference in the blue mystery spots before and after cutting.

As for the matrix question, it's not porcelain because the matrix is heterogeneous: It contains white areas (feldspar?) flecked at random with small silvery to gray to black specks (muscovite or biotite?).

21st Oct 2013 22:54 UTCBill Cordua Manager

Henry - the photo came through very well. I find it interesting that you can see through the blue to the underlying grains - the clear feldspar(?) and biotite mineral. I also find it interesting that the color is along grain boundaries. Are these things typical of other blue regions in the slide?

21st Oct 2013 22:56 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

Henry, is it time to add electron microscopy to our to-do list?

21st Oct 2013 23:40 UTCHenry Barwood Expert

Steve, here is a view of two grains that seems to show dichroism (100X):

Here is a field of the grains at 40X

22nd Oct 2013 04:21 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

Henry, is the grain color in the photomicrographs accurate? Is the blue really that...blue? Can you draw a comparison to other azurite or other blue mineral specimens you've seen?

22nd Oct 2013 04:38 UTCHenry Barwood Expert

Steve, it matches my visual observation. They are very blue grains. Under oblique lighting the blue circular spots are visible in the thin section indicating that they have an overall compositional difference from the rest of the rock. Sodalite grains appear this blue, but are isotopic which these grains are not.. I checked the specimen for luminescence using SW, LW and 405nm laser and got nothing, BTW.

22nd Oct 2013 06:04 UTCDon Windeler

OK, I apologize for diving into Beavis & Butthead territory on a topic that I've been following with considerable curiousity, but I'm not quite that mature...

Michael Beck passed along a lab report in a message above:

---- Scank2labreport.pdf

I realize it was probably written as

---- Scan k2 lab report.pdf

...but considering the universal disdain in which the results seem to be held, is it wrong that the first few times my brain saw it as

---- Scank 2 lab report.pdf ? :-D

Eagerly awaiting the results of all this sleuthing, as I've seen a little as well and wondered what the heck was going on. Part of me has wondered a bit about the blue datolites found at the Centennial Mine in the Keweenaw (which I vaguely seem to recall were aurichalcite possibly related to weathering of copper) or my own idle speculations about the larimar of the DR, but this stuff just looks so weirdly regular it makes you wonder what's happening!



22nd Oct 2013 12:19 UTCStephanie Martin

Don, you are not alone! I just thought it was my "Freudian myopia" to blame again.

For example, with those TV advisories that say: "Contains violence, viewer discretion is advised".

my brain scrambles it and becomes "Viewer desertion is advised".


stephanie :-)

22nd Oct 2013 12:58 UTCHenry Barwood Expert

OK, out of curiosity, is there any real information on a locality and/or geological setting fo this stuff, or is it one of those mystery rocks so often marketed for the gem trade?

22nd Oct 2013 15:19 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

Henry, that's one of the things I hope to track down, if the effort is warranted (i.e, if results are publishable).

22nd Oct 2013 17:26 UTCChris Araujo

I've started to slab some of the larger pieces of K2, using an 18" lapidary saw with oil as the coolant and have been very unhappy with end results. After being slabed and washed, the slabs display fractures that were not at all visible on the un cut rough, prior to cutting. These slabs are easily broken, by hand, along the fracture lines. These types of fractures, in my 30 years of non-scientific rock cutting, are indicative of rough that has been blasted out during mining. I appreciate the interesting work that Henry Barwood has done on the samples that I sent him.

22nd Oct 2013 21:38 UTCMichael Beck

Hey guys again I would like to offer my thanks to everyone putting in the time and effort to figure this out. I apologized for posting those lab results I never checked the numbers and thought I would pass along what I was given. For what it is worth it is a lesson learned on paying closer attention to detail. As far as locality info I have heard Pakistan on the second page of the thread Mr Ibrahim Jameel mentions seeing the material on a trip to skardu maybe he can enlighten us further thats the closest I have heard of some one actually seeing material "in country" .

22nd Oct 2013 21:48 UTCHenry Barwood Expert

I've been so busy, I forgot to thank Chris for sending the samples. My apology, Chris.

23rd Oct 2013 19:31 UTCChris

Henry: No thanks or apology needed. I'm just pleased that you're willing to use some of your valuable time to look at this material.

31st Oct 2013 14:51 UTCChris

Henry: Did you get a chance to look at the thin section of this material? Just curious if you noted anything else?



1st Nov 2013 01:44 UTCHenry Barwood Expert

Chris, I did but have been away at the GSA meeting in Denver. AS soon as I have a chance to recover, I'll post what I've found so far.

1st Nov 2013 13:29 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

Henry, I'd like to share notes. By PM or email would be better (for the moment) than this forum.

1st Nov 2013 14:03 UTCHenry Barwood Expert

Steve, contact me at:


4th Nov 2013 00:32 UTCHenry Barwood Expert

Biotite in K-2 Plain Polarized light (PPL)

Biotite in K-2 Cross polarized light (XPL), showing high birefringence of the biotite

Pale green chlorite, PPL. There is not much of this in K-2. These may also be what appear to be flakes that look sort of like malachite on the fracture faces.

4th Nov 2013 00:37 UTCHenry Barwood Expert

K-2 sample showing typical microcline (XPL) showing tartan twinning.

Perthite in K-2 showing typical albite twinning (XPL).

Muscovite in K-2 showing typical high birefringence (XPL)

4th Nov 2013 00:41 UTCHenry Barwood Expert

The matrix of K-2 appears to be a Quartz-microcline-perthite rock with minor mica (muscovite, biotite and chlorite). Small number of apatite and zircon inclusions. There is minor foliation so the rock could be a meta-granite or a meta-diorite. I didn't detect anything exotic except the blue grains with this quick examination.

4th Nov 2013 05:26 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

The microprobe results I have agree, but they don't shed any light on the blue spots. I have a few ideas for further testing along this line, however.

5th Nov 2013 04:35 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

Henry, sent you an email so we can compare notes.

8th Nov 2013 00:21 UTCChris Araujo

So after all of the energy and intellectual power aimed at this project, there's still no idea as to what makes up the blue spots. Wow! I know that I've cut pieces as large as 20 pounds and the blue dots were randomly distributed though out all of the rough that I've cut, so the likelihood of it being some dye is pretty low.

It's apparent that there appears to be private speculation, but nothing for public consumption.

8th Nov 2013 00:47 UTCHenry Barwood Expert


I will not have access to EDS or XRD until later in the year. At that time I may be able to shed some light on what they are, but since this is not a research topic of mine, I've just been chipping away at the edges. Problem is that there is no context for the samples. We have no clue as to their exact origin or the geology of that origin. Such information would be of great use in interpreting what the stuff is. All I know at this point is that it is a granitoid rock with oddly distributed blue spots that have been identified previously as a copper carbonate. The presence of sausserite in the feldspars indicates that some hydrothermal alteration has taken place. It is possible that some copper minerals have developed from a copper bearing feldspar, possibly spherulitic in nature. This, of course, is entirely speculation on my part.

8th Nov 2013 14:40 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

Henry, We haven't ruled out aliens or lemurs yet, but the evidence for those is still very weak.

8th Nov 2013 15:48 UTCLeor Goldberg

Has there been a chemical analysis of the blue mystery mineral?

8th Nov 2013 19:51 UTCLeor Goldberg

By somebody in the forum of course.

17th Nov 2013 05:51 UTCStephanie Martin

Ok, so while we are waiting for the seemingly eternal drumroll, I thought I would offer some musings if you would indulge me:

Phosphorus is not one of the minerals listed in the "analysis" that Michael kindly posted. The aluminum content is listed and is a fair amount.

The recent request in the forum for the confirmation of the hardness of trolleite got me to thinking. Typically I wouldn't think of trolleite forming spheres, but then I ran across this material:


Now I realize this is included in quartz, but I couldn't help but notice a striking similarity. The darker blues could/would suggest a lazulite or scorazlite component. Just thinking out loud.

now that I got that out, back to the drumroll...


Stephanie :-)

17th Nov 2013 14:25 UTCHenry Barwood Expert

Stephanie, one of the first things I thought about was lazulite, but the supposed Copper analyses ruled that out. The material is birefringent and that rules out the sodalite group. I've been so busy, I haven't had time to conduct any additional tests. Petrographically, I would not suspect trolleite since this is not a high rank metamorphic.

17th Nov 2013 16:26 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

Stephanie, simple, entire-sample chemical analysis is meaningless for K2. The material is not homogeneous, so no single spot is representative of the entire sample. And no single chemical formula is possible.

The material has at least three distinct phases, and here's what's known so far.

White phase: A feldspar. Dark spots: A mica, probably biotite. Blue spots: Contain copper, but in what form...? Well, therein lies the difficulty.

17th Nov 2013 17:57 UTCStephanie Martin

Thanks guys,

I know it didn't make sense... but then a lot of this doesn't. I know the analysis "report" was not that helpful. I was just throwing it out there, outside the box.


stephanie :-)

7th Dec 2013 18:52 UTCChris Araujo

I guess I should just give up wondering what the blue dots are and go with the original speculation that it's azurite balls, as no one seems to know any different. I gave a sample to Dr. Carter at UTD who was going to look at it, and let me know at the last Dallas Gem and Mineral Society meeting, but he was a no show. I guess it really doesn't make a difference what it is, as it's been selling very well without a definitive answer.

7th Dec 2013 21:07 UTCHenry Barwood Expert


I've got it on my list of to-do's, but will have to wait for time on an SEM/EDS analyzer. Since this is not my primary research area, it has to wait until I have time on the instrument. As you say, most people could care less what the pretty rock really is.

BTW, there are services where you can send a grain and get a qualitative analysis using EDAX for around $10.

7th Dec 2013 22:38 UTCReiner Mielke Expert

Hello Chris,

Wow 8 pages and still no answer! If you send me a small grain ( 0.1-0.5mm) of the blue stuff taped to a Christmas card I will do some chemical tests for you. However I will only be able to tell you if it is a carbonate or not and if it contains copper. I would suggest also sending a small grain ( about 0.5mm or less) to Kerry Day for EDS. He will be able to tell you if there is more than just copper in it. The cost is only $10 for EDS see: http://kaygeedeeminerals.com/sem-eds_service

8th Dec 2013 04:53 UTCFranz Bernhard Expert

I think, we already know what "K2" is. Summing up the information provided in this thread:

"K2" is a granitic/syenitic, slightly hydrothermally altered gneiss. The blue balls are the same stuff as the matrix, except that they contain additionally a small amount (< 5%) of very small (< 50 Mikrometer) grains of azurite, giving it the blue color. Correct?

Franz Bernhard

8th Dec 2013 12:52 UTCReiner Mielke Expert

Hello Franz,

I don't think that azurite has been positively established ( unless you see something in this thread I missed). There is doubt as to whether the blue is even a carbonate or if it even contains copper? It seems people have started to work on the problem but have never completed the work for whatever reason. However I tend to agree with your conclusions but that still has to be proven.

8th Dec 2013 16:33 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

Microprobe has shown that the blue spots definitely contain copper. However, the copper-containing grains and quite tiny so other methods (so far) have failed to give a definitive identification. So it might be azurite, or it might be some other copper mineral. Or it might be a mixture of copper minerals, so that positive identification of a single species will not be possible.

8th Dec 2013 16:54 UTCReiner Mielke Expert

Hello Steve,

Thanks for clarifying that. Did the microprobe show anything else present such as Al, Si etc.? How about the anion? Was there any S present? The acid tests did not seem to be conclusive with respect to carbonate being present? Looks like XRD is needed which should be able to Id a mixture.

8th Dec 2013 16:57 UTCHenry Barwood Expert

I'm fascinated that so much effort is being directed to a material that does not even have a defined location or any hint as to the geology of that location.

8th Dec 2013 22:40 UTCDoug Daniels

It was dropped here by the space people to confuse us and divert our attention from the more important problems of the world.....

8th Dec 2013 23:39 UTCReiner Mielke Expert

What can be more important then blue spots on a rock?

9th Dec 2013 05:26 UTCRock Currier Expert

Red spots in the rock!

9th Dec 2013 14:33 UTCReiner Mielke Expert

You are right Rock! It would be more in season. :)-D

10th Dec 2013 02:11 UTCJames Cheshire

I've occasionally found rocks covered with brilliant red spots. This was always after I cut my hand on the outcrop, or smashed my thumb with my hammer, etc.


10th Dec 2013 12:28 UTCRock Currier Expert

Yes, me too. I hate it when that happens!

10th Dec 2013 14:18 UTCReiner Mielke Expert

I few times I noticed bright red spots on rocks but they moved and had legs! http://www.omg-facts.com/Science/The-Tiny-Red-Bugs-Commonly-Found-On-Conc/52822

10th Dec 2013 19:59 UTCRock Currier Expert

I was collecting artinite up in San Benito Co, California once and it must have been in the middle of a lady bug migration or something, because there were countless thousands of thousands of the little red devils crawling over everything including me. I never thought much of it, but the little suckers can bite! Not bad, but ouch. Got some nice artinite specimens however.

Artinite minus lady bugs

11th Dec 2013 01:26 UTCReiner Mielke Expert

I think if lady bugs got on those they would leave trails in them. LOL Amazing they came out undamaged, they look awesome!

18th Dec 2013 21:07 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

Breaking news!

I've just heard some K2 analysis news from John Attard. He was able to isolate a grain of blue material and run EDX. The EDX confirms this material to be azurite. The EDX spectrum is attached.

Thanks, John, for your work on this material.

Now that its composition is confirmed, it's time to debate it's origin.

18th Dec 2013 21:18 UTCHenry Barwood Expert

Glad to hear this. Done with "K2" research finally.

18th Dec 2013 21:45 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

I should mention that once again John Attard when above and beyond to get this done. He had to tease out a microscopic speck of pure blue material. My thanks again to John for an excellent job! He's my go-to guy for any sort of analytical work.

And now I've looking for more specific locality information. Does anyone have a precise locality for the K2 deposit, or maybe can put me in touch with somone who might have this information?

19th Dec 2013 01:07 UTCReiner Mielke Expert

Good thing it wasn't something unusual or it might have taken 10 pages! LOL

19th Dec 2013 05:27 UTCStephanie Martin

Thanks everyone for all their hard work on this. Even though it turned out to be azurite afterall, at least it also confirms they weren't faked.


stephanie :-)

19th Dec 2013 05:53 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

I believe that fakes can be made. That's another project I'm working on.

19th Dec 2013 09:19 UTCJohn Oostenryk

Oh Steve, you ol' fakir! What ya got conjurin on the back burner? You aren't switchin to the "dark side" are ya?! Oh Noes! :()?

Just teasin of course, lol...

That is great that Mr. Attard was able to get you(and everyone) a definitive answer. Cool!

As to the second portion: Locale!

~ Back on page 2- Ibrahim Jameel of Khyber Minerals said he had seen a dealer with a big chunk in Skardu, Pakistan, in 2006... I'd suggest dropping him a PM or an email via his web shop. Possibly he could direct you to that contact?


19th Dec 2013 17:47 UTCReiner Mielke Expert

Steve, could you work on producing one with red dots?

20th Dec 2013 08:53 UTCMichael Beck

Thanks and happy holidays to all involved . Now back to getting ready for Tucson.

16th Jan 2014 06:44 UTCPaul Gomez

Stephanie Martin Wrote:


> I think it is natural, polishing it brings out the

> intense colour, they do resemble azurite suns but

> until testing confirms it is just a guess,

> although scorzalite does seem to be a better fit.



> Check out photos of rough:


> http://www.ebay.ca/itm/K2-blue-jasper-pakistan-7-7

> 8-lbs-/171121424645?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=ite

> m27d7a1b905


> http://www.ebay.ca/itm/K2-blue-jasper-pakistan-3-2

> 8-lbs-/300957958506?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=ite

> m46127e016a


> regards,

> stephanie :))

16th Jan 2014 07:08 UTCPaul Gomez

I am surprised that many people thought that K2 may not be a natural stone... I have found rock while collecting,with similar inclusions that were a reddish brown color and were in a granitic rock.

16th Jan 2014 14:42 UTCBill Cordua Manager

Paul - your red areas are probably garnet crystals, and to my eye they look quite different in form from the K-2 blue spheres. In the blue K-2 material you can easily see the underlying minerals through the color - even in thin section. The original minerals are still there - the blue is a penetrating stain, not a replacement of the micas and feldspar. Your red garnet grains have a nice equant morphology against the enclosing minerals, and interlock with the other rock-forming minerals - not at all unusual for the garnets in granite. I do accept that the blue in K-2 is azurite based on evidence presented here, but am still skeptical that the material is natural. No, I can't explain how it could be "faked" but that doesn't mean somebody couldn't figure out a technique. I reserve the right to my skepticism. I look forward to seeing some of this material "in person".

20th Jan 2014 15:01 UTCDan Costian

I would like to inform everybody (who had not in hand this mysterious K-2) that the blue dots in K2 rock are not azurite: the streak is colorless as for sodalite and it does not react as a carbonate when treated with acid.

Dr. James Carter from UTD confirmed that as a fact.

20th Jan 2014 15:04 UTCDan Costian

I fully agree with Steve who was the first to make this claim: the blue dots in K2 rock are not azurite.


20th Jan 2014 16:45 UTCReiner Mielke Expert

The mystery continues! How do you explain the EDX results by John Attard? Two different types of dots or two different sources of similar looking material?

20th Jan 2014 16:53 UTCReiner Mielke Expert

http://www.mindat.org/photo-587533.html OK so which is it?

20th Jan 2014 17:09 UTCAlfredo Petrov Manager

The blue dots are a stain on silicate host rock. It takes only a trace of azurite, far less than required to fizz in acid, to make that much blue color. One would not expect to see either fizzing nor a streak. As one of my geology professors warned, "It takes only a penny's worth of copper to stain a whole cliff green and blue, so don't think you've found a copper mine!"

20th Jan 2014 17:13 UTCDan Costian

Alfredo, in my case there are not stains but crystals and the host rock is igneous.

Please see my http://www.mindat.org/photo-587533.html mentioned by Reiner.

My guess is that John Attard worked on a different stuff also called "K-2".

20th Jan 2014 18:04 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert


The blue material is microcrystalline at best; tiny blue specks localized within the matrix so that they appear to be sphere or crystals on cursory inspection.

When immersed in dilute HCl, gas is released from the specimen. Very tiny amounts from across the entire surface (as liquid displaces air pockets in the matrix) but visibly more vigorously from the blue pods. Within a few minutes, all the outgassing stops and the blue pods have been leached.

Sodalite, lazurite, and related suggestions wouldn't give this extra effervescence. Nor would they be consistent with the XRD data.

Of all the guesses made so far as to the mineralogical identity of the blue pods, the only one consistent with all the observations -- and the only one consistent with the best test applied so far (XRD) is azurite.

Azurite has been questioned because the genesis seems wrong. I agree it's weird, but I seem to recall something about the shaving equipment of a certain Occam, and accepting unusual conclusions.

20th Jan 2014 18:40 UTCDan Costian

Hi Steve,

My blue stuff on matrix (which I bought as K-2) does not fizz at all with HCl 10%. Maybe we are talking about different materials, I cannot explain otherwise the confusion.

Here is a photo of my K-2 (which I am firmly convinced it's sodalite - besides non fizzing, the white streak and hardness etc confirming it) and below a photo of real azurite (with some red spots of cuprite) concretions on matrix.


20th Jan 2014 19:11 UTCBill Cordua Manager

Dan - notice on your upper photo, you can see the original igneous minerals under the blue stain, while in the lower photo the underlying rock does not show through the azurite. This is a significant difference in paragenesis. Your white streak and hardness likely reflects the underlying feldspar. Re the sodalite hypothesis- if the granitic rock contains quartz, then the chemical environment is incompatible with sodalite. Plus sodalite does not form as a secondary stain - it's a high temperature mineral found in alkali-rich silica-poor igneous rocks such as syenite and phonolite. I think also John Attard got an azurite XRD pattern from some painfully extracted tiny grains. If this is natural stuff (you know I still think if) the best hypothesis I've seen is that these are azurite alteration haloes around tiny grains of a primary copper mineral such as chalcopyrite.

20th Jan 2014 23:40 UTCJosé Zendrera Expert

Sometimes one insists on something guided by a kind of intuition, and even with compelling reasons against it is difficult to recognize the error. I say this because has happened to me more than once.

The azurite hypothesis has an analisys to support itself.

Has the sodalite hypothesis any homologable evidence?

I think that analitic results are more reliable than a naked-eye examination, even from expert people.

In other hand, there is an important issue which has yet pointed by Bill: sodalite is exclusively formed in alkaline rocks, never in acid rocks as granitoids. Conversely, azurite is not rarely found in granites as secondary mineral.

There is not alkaline rocks around Baltoro Glacier where K2 rock is found.

Trango Towers seen from Baltoro Glacier.

Terrain around Baltoro Glacier is conformed by materials from the Baltoro Plutonic Unit (granodiorites and monzo and leucogranites) with minor zones of gneiss, all of them are acid rocks non-compatible with sodalite genesis.:

These granite mountains are known as The Cathedral, seen from Concordia, the center of Baltoro Glacier:

Here for sure the blue is not sodalite (nor azurite!)

21st Jan 2014 01:52 UTCMichael Hatskel

From what I can see in my specimen of K2, which looks as the same material shown on Dan Costian's photo of K2, the blue coloration is caused by sky blue inclusions in the feldspar grains forming the blue spots. Some of the colored grains may contain one of more of such inclusions in a relatively pale colored feldspar, while other colored feldspar grains are colored uniformly with no visible inclusions and could be from totally transparent to opaque. (When I say "visible", I am talking up to 100x magnification available in my scope.)

I am surprised that there were no microphotographs of the "blue stuff" posted in this thread, so I am posting my own quick and dirty pics taken through the scope ocular. One pic shows separate inclusions, the other shows something like microcrystalline grains of both blue and green color.

I was able to expose some larger inclusions and extract then from the feldspar. When brought in contact with HCl on a white plastic surface, the blue component disappears (gets dissolved) within 1-3 seconds, depending on the particle size. As Alfredo correctly stated (when was he wrong? :-)), the amount of the mineral was not enough to produce visible gas bubbles - again, visible at 70-100x magnification. However, the mineral particles were moving very fast and chaotically inside the acid drop, which typically points to the gas evolution propelling the particles.

In summary, my observations seem to support the "K2 Blue" identification as azurite.

I was actually hoping that it was some copper silicate, based on its residence inside the feldspar.

Some additional comments:

1. The "spots" are actually 3-dimensional aggregates of the colored feldspar grains, not flat 2-dimensional spots.

2. No residual metallic grains were observed in my specimen.

3. No distribution pattern was observed for the spots distribution in hand specimens. I have inspected a full crate of very large K2 rocks, and could not devise any system pattern.

4. None of the bright blue inclusions had any discernible shape: they are basically anhedral grains or flakes or shapeless aggregates.

21st Jan 2014 17:25 UTCReiner Mielke Expert

From the micro photos it appears that there is another mineral present besides the azurite. In the second photo I can see turquoise colored patches. Maybe some sort of copper sulphate such as langite? If so that would support the possibility of altered disseminated chalcopyrite causing the spots. It is difficult to imagine the azurite being primary.

21st Jan 2014 19:12 UTCMichael Hatskel


Those green patches are very rare in my specimen - just in 2 or 3 of the blue spots. All of the coloration is absolutely predominantly blue. I included the second photo just because of the green presence there, but it is not characteristic or widespread at all.

21st Jan 2014 21:50 UTCHenry Barwood Expert

Absent stains of Fe-oxides, a chalcopyrite origin of secondary copper minerals in this stuff is highly unlikely. It might be from alteration of primary Cu containing feldspars, but other than that no other copper source is immediately likely given the nature of the parent rock. The rock is granite, but certainly has alkaline affinities. Would still like to see a picture of the stuff in place in the quarry.

21st Jan 2014 22:25 UTCAlfredo Petrov Manager

Instead of chalcopyrite, could we be dealing with oxidation of microscopic inclusions of native copper in the feldspar? That would explain the absence of secondary iron oxides.

Metallic (uncombined) copper is soluble in feldspar-rich silicate melts and exsolves during crystallization of the feldspar (as ones sees in "Oregon sunstone" gems, for example).

21st Jan 2014 22:32 UTCMichael Hatskel

How would the inclusions get chemically altered without the alteration of the enclosing mineral? And how would the CO2 get to it?

One of the possibilities is that the enclosing feldspar is a recrystallized product of the metamorphism which also brought in the CO2 to create a carbonate.

21st Jan 2014 22:57 UTCHenry Barwood Expert

As I said, this is not, petrographically, a "normal" granite, but has alkaline affinities. It probably is similar to a fenite and was subjected to alkaline solutions (Na, etc as carbonate complexes). The sauseritized feldspars indicate that a lot of fluids moved through the rock. Not difficult to go from there to alteration of the Cu-feldspars to what you see.

I can't believe this thread is still stumbling along!

22nd Jan 2014 00:09 UTCAlfredo Petrov Manager

Michael, Any mineral that is mechanically stressed by tectonic movements, rapid temperature changes, etc., can develop invisible sub-microscopic fissures that allow oxidation of inclusions. One even occasionally sees oxidation of pyrite inclusions in quartz crystals, without any fractures that are obvious under a scope, and that can happen even more easily in a feldspar full of incipient cleavage planes. I can't say that's what happened here, only that it might have happened. Study of thin sections might help.

22nd Jan 2014 00:54 UTCReiner Mielke Expert

I wouldn't expect any iron oxides if the iron is tied up in a carbonate such as ankerite, maybe we are dealing with altered disseminated chalcocite instead? However native copper would also explain it but how common would that be? No mention of much carbonate in the thin section work that Henry did ( see page 7). I would have expected some other carbonates besides azurite.

22nd Jan 2014 01:15 UTCHenry Barwood Expert

I did not see any identifiable carbonates in the thin sections, but remember I had a limited set of sample (two slices). I wasn't able to test the amphiboles to see if they were alkali, but there was significant chlorite alteration of the biotite.

Recently Julian Gray of the Tellus Museum in Georgia has discovered interesting carbonates (calcite and REE carbonates) associated with the granites that host the amethyst localities in central Georgia. I have also found significant calcite present in zoisite containing granodiorites from Alabama. Carbonates are likely more common than recognized in granites and leuocogranites.

22nd Jan 2014 05:43 UTCFranz Bernhard Expert

Some backscattered electron images of a polished section would be very helpfull...

Franz Bernhard

12th Mar 2014 18:56 UTCshah

After reading all the comments am glad to see such professional people elaborating this mineral.i am basically from Gilgit Baltistan and felt a bit related to this issue as i personally know the main source of this material and supplier which is my close relative. As i have myself possess some samples and we are basically supplying this material through different middle man across the world as per demand. Beside all the research i am planning to bring some sample to Australia for testing and targeting market as we are dealing in different gemstone and minerals.Thanks for all interesting comments and information guys cheers

Ps: these are some pics i have got.It is also known as Raindrop Azurite and jasper k2 azurite(jasper not make sense but its more famous name) and it has some Malachite spots as well in it which i have seen in some of the pieces personally.

12th Mar 2014 20:34 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

There is one rather large assumption being made by several participants in this conversation; an assumption that no one has proven (or disproven); an assumption that is a false extension of my original observations.

I stated that gas was released upon immersion in acid, but I did not state the nature of the gas. Perhaps it was CO2 or maybe just entrained air.

Until the chemical composition of the gas is verified, we cannot use its composition as evidence for or against any carbonates.

In addition, I did not say that gas was released from many samples; I tested only one. Perhaps the gas is entrained air, and is not present in all samples.

23rd May 2014 19:19 UTCJames K. C. Huang

Hi Everyone,

To see a long discussion here, I cannot eliminate curiosity on this interesting rock,

so I obtain a small sample which I did some SEM work to see if we can get some further info on this rock,

and Hope this help to resolves the nature of the K2 Blue.

I found several features of K2 Blue sample:

(1) The blue mineral are found as copper carbonate (azurite) as indicated by EDS data.

(2) Azurite occur as micron sized veins in and around quartz or K-feldspar grains (Size range around 2-5um in width) or as small pockets (5-20um) in plagioclase which I suspect them as dissolution voids formed during hydrothermal alteration.

(3) Plagioclase which hosts void filling copper carbonates has composition close towards albite, which supports Dr. Barwood's observation.

(4) Very minor amount of Sulfur was detected in these secondary copper mineral, makes me wonder the possibility of pre-existing copper sulfides in the rock, which got alterated by late stage CO2 rich fluid event.

Overall, I think it explains why these blue spots seem overprinting the original rock textures of the granitoid, because they formed later than the rock matrix minerals. This can be evident by occurrence as veins and void filling.

Due to very small nature of these blue minerals, it will be difficult to see bubbling reactions with HCl, and it will be hard to tell base on hardness or other physical test.


Ko-Chun Huang

Lab of Micro-Nano Mineral Science

Department of Earth Sciences

National Cheng Kung University

Tainan, Taiwan.

23rd May 2014 19:31 UTCRob Woodside Manager

Thanks so much James. You have nailed it!!!

24th May 2014 01:20 UTCReiner Mielke Expert

Excellent work James! Can this be placed into the Azurite database as a description of a sample of this material? otherwise it will get buried in the forum.

25th May 2014 15:30 UTCJames K. C. Huang

I was so interested in mineralogy and microtexture of the blue,

even intended to do EBSD structure determination (which would need more time).

But I think so far to all the experts here answered, my result is pointing to the same direction, and I am happy with that.

Thanks Rob, I am happy that I can help.

Thanks for the suggestion Reiner Mielke, I will prepare a better one to put on mindat soon.

BTW, does anyone actually know where it come from??

Ko-Chun Huang

Lab of Micro-Nano Mineral Science

Department of Earth Sciences

National Cheng Kung University

Tainan, Taiwan.

25th Sep 2014 03:30 UTCbre

I am dying to know where it came from... :)

22nd Apr 2016 05:35 UTCTJ Taylor

I too have been wondering about the K2 Blue Azurite. There is a California Seller on eBay that have been selling jewelry with that label. It would be interesting to know how they concluded it was Azurite. I included a picture of one of the pieces offered. This seems to be the only seller on eBay with this item.

22nd Apr 2016 06:19 UTCAlfredo Petrov Manager

This stuff has been sufficiently well studied now that we can be sure it is: 1) azurite, and 2) natural. I've seen no credible evidence for anything else. As for where it's from, I think somewhere in "Pakistan", vague as that is, and perhaps maybe possibly indeed from somewhere in the general region of the mountain known as K2 - hence the name - but I don't know whether anyone except the miners knows for sure.

22nd Apr 2016 15:11 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

I concluded it was azurite because I had it analyzed perhaps two tears ago.

22nd Apr 2016 16:22 UTCRob Woodside Manager

Some of us knew what it was from the photos and were not surprised by the analysis. What was surprising and pleasing was the way people pulled together and did all the analysis to leave zero doubt as to what it is.

23rd Apr 2016 17:28 UTCFlorian Baur

I just read the whole thread and found it very interesting. Thanks for sharing all that information!

Regarding to the origin, there's a post by someone saying he's a close relative to the main (only?) supplier of the material:


For some reason there was no reaction to that post. Maybe the author can be contacted?

2nd Jun 2016 15:07 UTCAmy

I know this is an old thread but I have tried to find this information in so many places. I have several pieces of K2 and they are all from different and reputable sources. I use them in jewelry and the ones I wear the most, especially those against my skin have turned dark, some almost black. My guess is that it's from my skin's oils. The lighter colors of the whitish part of the granite is so dark it's difficult to distinguish where the azurite begins. Some pieces, the azurite stains have dark streaks appearing on them, in line with the darker grains on the lighter parts that have intensified. Is there something I can do to get these stones back to the original color? Leach my skin oils out? Should I apply a sealant of some sort to the other specimens this hasn't happened to? I am just starting to learn about geology, I'm an autistic woman living in Utah where I find azurite, malachite and granite (not altoghether like the K2) in abundance and can't get enough of it. The look and feel of my K2 helps calm panic attacks in me, don't know why, but it's like a security blanket almost and having my favorite pieces change color on me, is really freaking me out. I'd be grateful for any information anyone can give me. Thank you.

2nd Jun 2016 15:42 UTCAlfredo Petrov Manager

The rock must be slightly porous, as shown by the fact that the copper-bearing solutions that deposited the interstitial azurite were able to migrate outwards from their tiny primary precursor grains. If copper-bearing solutions can migrate through it, so can skin oils.

Anything used to remove the oils must not affect azurite. You could try an organic solvent like gasoline, but it might take a very very long soak. This is a case where an ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure. Best just make sure a sealant is applied to any future pieces you acquire, Amy.

2nd Jun 2016 19:25 UTCRob Woodside Manager

Acetone (nail polish remover) or Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol should work too.

4th Jun 2016 17:01 UTCAmy

Thank you so much, I'll do that right away. May I ask though, what type of sealant is best? There are a lot of commercial sealants for granite counters and floors and I have polyurethane for wood working. Would any of those work? Thank you!

5th Jun 2016 16:57 UTCD. Peck


I have used diluted epoxy to seal rock chips from which I have cut thin sections for study. In those cases, I soaked the chip for 24 hours, removed it from the solution and heated it for another 24 hours.

I would think that epoxy diluted with toluene (what I used, 5 parts toluene to 1 part epoxy), would work for you. The diluted epoxy soaks into minute voids and cracks that open to the outside. The heating sets the epoxy and drives off the toluene. It does not have to be real hot, just a good warm place will do. I have never used acetone to dilute the epoxy, but I think it would work and it is easier to get. If you try this, be careful with the acetone or toluene, it is highly flamable.

6th Jun 2016 08:50 UTCAmy

Thank you so much!

6th Jun 2016 18:36 UTCDana Morong

Be careful about heating anything with epoxy, as burnt epoxy fumes can be toxic. Acetone is so volatile that it can evaporate before one gets the chance to use it, in some cases.

Amy, I was going to send a PM (Private Message) re ASD but you don't have PM (may not be registered on mindat.org?).

Anyhow, enjoy your minerals. They can be therapeutic, but I'd be careful of the volatile chemicals sometimes used in cleaning or treating them.

14th Dec 2016 15:39 UTCAnonymous User

Copyright © mindat.org

Anybody willing to get this stone may contact us at: thestonerspk@yahoo.com

The FOB Karachi (Pakistan) rate is US$60.00 per Kg in rough shape boulders upto 30Kg in weight. MOQ is 20Kg.


Ahmed Anwar Amin

Cell: +92-313-2753209 (WhatsApp / Viber)


14th Dec 2016 15:44 UTCAnonymous User


The interesting articles on this stone are:



Hope these will be read-worthy for those who are interested in this stone.



16th Dec 2016 05:36 UTCGregg Little

WIBD (well I'll be damned). As a field geologist who has seen his fair share of rocks from hand lens to petrographic microscope, I followed this discussion with much skepticism. I watched from the weeds to see where this would lead. The most "misleading" curve mother nature threw me was the lack of alteration in this intrusive. After having seen much porphyry copper mineralization one gets use to the classic potassic, phyllic, propylitic and argillic alteration zones and the accompanying mineralizations. This "K2 Granite" is highly unusual in that it lacks any significant alteration. Congratulations to all who beat this one into ID submission.

26th Dec 2016 02:10 UTCRalph Bottrill Manager

Yes, it really needs a lot more explanation yet - it seems to be a solid, unaltered granitic rock, wtith no veining, but somehow copper minerals are growing within it and there is no indication of whether its replacing something or maybe infilling some unexplained porosity. If its replacing chalcopyrite then you might expect some iron oxides. I keep hoping to see something published in a refereed journal.

10th Mar 2017 00:11 UTCAnonymous User

Copyright © mindat.org
Hi Guys, I know I'm probably a bit late to this post, but I'm really interested to find out your results from the K2 samples. My father works for the local council in Victoria, Australia, and found this sample in a quarry that produces crushed rock for roads in the local area. It seems to have some very similar properties to the K2 rock, but also appears to contain some Iron. With my limited knowledge it appears to have some alteration halos around some quartz like crystal. and there is a significat blue colour which we assume to be azurite. Any ideas? one picture shows a rough side, and the other a polished side.


10th Mar 2017 03:51 UTCSteve Hardinger Expert

Based on both my own tests and some microanalytical work, I concluded the blue spots in so-called "K2" are azurite.

10th Mar 2017 05:43 UTCGregg Little

Matthew; Your rock is much more altered than the K2 rock. There appears to be quartz (grey) replacing the interiors of the feldspars (pale brown) and there is a darker brownish mineral forming alteration rims around some of the larger crystals as well as altering the ground mass (finer background) throughout. The rusty spots could be oxidized pyrite or other iron bearing sulfide like chalcopyrite which would also source the copper if the blue is azurite.

We'll see what others chime in with but in the mean time try some dilute HCl on the blue mineral to see if it effervesces, under magnification if necessary.

9th Apr 2017 20:19 UTCShah Abbas

This material is mainly from skardu which is main city (nearest to mine) in Baltistan northern area of pakistan. Somehow mines are far into khaplu valley somewhere and yes it is mined near K2 mountain. not everyone is familiar with this stuff there so only we have main stock of it. This material has been supplied and sold in america in bulk quantity long time ago through a middle man but still alot of this stuff is in market available now almost everywhere. If any of you guys need free samples please feel free to message me as i am going back to Pakistan in May. Thanks for all the detail information on K2 azurite.



28th Apr 2018 17:54 UTCsteve m johnson

I saw the material in real life just recently and was indeed shocked by the unusual geometry and distribution of the blue stained granite. On polished corners and surfaces I could see there were indeed intact mineral aggregates within the blue field so indeed it was a stain not a mineral...which is strongly affirmed in the blog.

Close look showed the stain was not always controlled by mineral edges or aggregates. Clearly the stain crosscut borders. In posted pictures posted I could see signs of two distinct mineral staining events that seemed exclusive...one, the earlier was cloudy green and looked like several coloration fronts had merged into a larger one with stronger colors clearly present along an irregular and diffuse pseudo bulbous "frontier" with a crude center that appeared depleted of coloration. Apparently superposed on it was the darker blue forming the distinct separate splotchy features. Most of the blue could be associated with tiny dark deep blue aggregations at 5x magnification. The specks seemed irregular and no signs of a radiating or acicular structure were obvious. Blue speck centers did not host any particular mineral and the distribution of small dark granules seemed irregular within the blue color field. Anyone with a dropper bottle of sulfuric acid and a nail could demonstrate the presence of copper with a few drops on the blue field and scratching the wetted spot with a nail or even the tip of a rock hammer. The presence of copper would be indicated immediately by copper plating on the steel. That test seems to have been ignored in favor of many exotic tests some of which showed copper percentages exceeding 1%. Such concentrations of Copper are considered Very high....as mining in Chile, where I work proceeds at levels averaging 0.65% Cu down to as low as about 0.35% Cu. There were no signs of sulfide mineralization in any of the polished specimens I observed, clearly suggesting that we were well within the hematite mineral field but the lack of hematite staining and the presence of quartz, biotite and feldspars were surprising, suggesting exposure was so rapid that weathering had not proceeded significantly. The granites are hard and show no signs of clay or even significant argillic alteration. The granophytric textures exhibit a noticeable foliation in many specimens but with few obvious signs of fractures, veins or other typical signs of resurgent shallow intrusion such as healed straight brittle failure veins or even bent veins that were plasticized through re-heating. Given the presence of the tartan plaid twinning and some of the rock analyses I am inclined to make the case that the granitic material with the blue splotches reflects rapid exposure of the potassic core of a differentiated igneous intrusion that has been so oxidized that sulfides have been entirely transformed to oxide zone minerals. The oxide zone minerals are most likely found as azurite/malachite probably after chalcocite and maybe after primary bornite (!) in my opinion (given the way chalcocite shows up in my area in Chile...tiny spots of roundish sectile material after Covellite after Chalcopyrite).

The apparent lack of sulfides and the lack of any sort of yellow or brown coloration associated with iron staining from alteration of chalcopyrite and other iron phases. The carbonate bearing granitic assemblage appears well within chlorite/propylitic zones and is probably associated with a carbonate rich phase of core potassic alteration.

Carbonate phases are entirely stable within the core of a cu porphyry system depending on the particulars of the geochemical system. In this case, assuming the material represents a magmatic system, which I strongly suspect, the parameters are oxide rich and..apparently...very low sulfidization. The association with porphyry core mineral aggregations, biotite and k-spar without clays or obvious silica flooding is supportive of the chance that intrusive projections...dikes/sills and plugs etc formed where silica saturation was well balanced. The mineral mix may have still been within the solution solubility of the melt. (Veins would be expectable only during strong silica oversaturation.) Because of the lack of veins, the material separated into disseminated metal phases that were not transported much and the material was emplaced in the plastic zone...below the zone of brittle failure.

The apparently simple lithology presented in the specimens posted suggests the K2 Jasper material may be a one event "shoot" coming out of a larger body that has not been recognized yet.. No signs of incorporation of fragments from the larger body within the Shoot are reported or visible in photos but several 1+ cm xtls of k-spar were visible in hand samples suggesting something is present within the magmatic system that we know nothing about but which deserves consideration. The even distribution of small colored grains, green and blue (azurite and malachite probably) ignoring the distribution and extent stained areas suggests the colored grains may very well reflect the remains of so called primary igneous disseminations (probably sulfides) formed during solidification. Overall, the samples suggest the geological exposure of parts of a mineralized system. The presence of muscovite and biotite are consistent with potassic associations and the presence of microcline/k-spars certainly appear diagnostic.

I would attribute the green and then the blue staining to "diffusion" within a "hard" water system at depth. Then, rapid uplift during mountain would change things. My guess is that the system went dry several times during uplift. The dry conditions arrested diffusive ion migration and froze the spheroidal geometry of the leading edge of the stains. The presence of weak hexagonal or pentagonal stain outlines is present but inspection shows the outlines are not obviously associated with mineral edges. I speculate that the outlines may be the result of "mechanical" influences. I propose that the "edged" geometric features visible on some samples reflect geomechanical ion transport. The system I suggest to explain some oddities is the result of some sort of mechanical stress/strain activity, likely during heating and cooling events during crystallization of particular phases underground. Crystallization releases heat right? Anyway, the process I propose in porphyry granite systems undergoing solidification are a shrink/swell pattern that is similar to freeze/thaw cycles that are responsible for "patterned ground" at the surface in relict tundra/cryokarst areas. My bet is that the unusual diffusion occurs in well preserved "porphyry granite" core material with somewhat unusual lithogeochemistry while the hot melt rock is "breathing" a bit.

The distinct dark to light pseudo spherical blue stains reflect the latest ion migration event and from what it appears...that phase was arrested before it dispersed as much as the green tinted cloud-front migration event that is sometimes visible.

I could go on a bit but I want to go buy a few samples to show to my friends and see if they can come up with a better story.

28th Apr 2018 22:11 UTCGregg Little

Thanks Steve Johnson;

I find genesis endlessly fascinating. The apparent oxygen activity in an igneous melt is really unusual especially when we usually think of copper carbonates in the oxide zone of mineral deposits. I am very curious about what your friends will come up with.

28th Apr 2018 23:59 UTCRalph Bottrill Manager

Good work Steve. It’s fascinating stuff, crying out for a serious geological as well as mineralogical investigation. It would be interesting to know the distribution of the material in the igneous body. It usually doesn’t seem to have any typical signs of hydrothermal or supergene alteration, no signs of sulphides, weathering, iron oxides, veining or even fracturing. The azurite appears to be dispersed through a micro porosity that’s hard to explain. You can get native copper extolling as micro inclusions in feldspars, which could explain the lack or iron oxides you get from oxidising chalcopyrite, bornite etc. It reminds me of tourmalinisation in some granites that can form nodular structures during sub solidus conditions, ie. after the granite has crystallised but still contains hot fluids. I had thoughts of doing some thin section studies, but without a site investigation you could only get part of the story and I thought that surely somebody local has visited and is doing some research on it?

29th Apr 2018 02:23 UTCsteve m johnson

The existence of native Copper within feldspars sounds strange.

The alteration associated with the K2 Jasper is right in front of your eyes. Thin sections are not very helpful in my opinion but field relatios are. Take some sodium cobaltinitrate and stain the material. Chances are you will not only see the big k-spars get altered but the interstitial material. The ICP work showing a few percent K is strange given the observation of microcline in some thin sections. Anyway, microcline is the key....you don't need much to signal core material is present just a consistent paragenesis showing the right minerals co-exist. It is entirely possible to miss extreme potassic alteration on casual inspection. Biotites and feldspars can look fresh as can be and boom...the rock runs 14% potassium. The potassic zone is typified by biotite and k-spars not argyllization of minerals. Interestingly, the discovery of primary bornite in core is now considered to indicate important things... Whole exploration programs have been started in chile just because of the discovery of primary bornite in "condemnation cores". The discovery is called Escondita North I believe. It was recently reported in a small abstract. For what it's worth, the stability field of carbonates extends to great depth...essentially to mantle or lower mantle depths. Those are the depths of carbonatite genesis...very deep. Phosphates are stable at very deep levels. I am plagued by the presence of microscopic covellite that nobody noticed. I went over core using 30x and 40x and saw stuff that nobody even noticed even though they found big chunks on the surface. After looking things over in plain light at 40x or so Then maybe thin section...but really, in 25 years of mineral exploration, I have never seen much use of thin sections for anything but mineral processing. For example, where I am, conditions are so dry we are seeing blue chalchanthite seeping out of the rocks, probably from a perched exotic copper/supergene deposit sitting at 16,000 ft or so where access is limited. (Strangely, there is as strong a topographic anomaly were I am in Chile as at K2. My property runs to 18,000 ft...and is...you guessed it...right on the watershed crest between Argentina and Chile as are many other mines. Of course, K2 is right on the divide between China and Pakistan. Strange...these hydrological anomalies. There ought to be porphyry systems in the Himalayas.

Regarding tourmalinization....the company Teck has some nice samples from core at one of their mines showing extensive tourmaline is fractures. I have never seen any work relating the existence of tourmaline with actual copper mineral segregation but Borax is good at separating gold from its matrix...maybe tourmaline plays a similar role.

29th Apr 2018 02:32 UTCsteve m johnson

Regarding carbonate phases. I do not know any primary phase copper carbonates in magmas but there might be some...Look at some of the recent literature and you will find carbonate phases have been added to deep mineral assemblages in published phase diagrams. Carbonates are oxide phases...so is apatite so any melt with excess carbonate might form primary copper carbonates...but I would not be thinking malachite and Azurite.

Basically sulfide rich melts have a solubility for copper that is...what 100x...1000x? Obviously copper carbonates might exist but I do not think the hydrated ones are stable at depth. If a system doesn't have enough sulfur to hold copper the system is expected to be barren. Mafic rock contains much more sulfur than silicic rock by about 100x. The process of separation of copper requires a magma that can soak up and expel its load of metals. I do not think there is much work on carbonate systems so I just have to guess that the disseminations in the K2 Jasper are replacement phases from sulfides. Where I come from you want to see hornblende being destroyed to make a fertile system. The hornblende provides the water and maybe some of the metals. The transformation from hornblende to biotite is one of the indicators of vectoring toward the potassic core. I did notice a few unidentified black minerals within the k2 jasper pieces. I did not take the time to see if they had distinguishable features but if they were hornblendes, I would not be surprised. If they were pyroxenes...I would be very surprised.

29th Apr 2018 04:16 UTCMatt Neuzil Expert

As described on oregon sunstone page, the effect os caused by enstatite and copper nanocrystals. Copper in #feldspar is possible.

29th Apr 2018 11:22 UTCReiner Mielke Expert

Copper in feldspar example https://www.mindat.org/photo-484940.html

29th Apr 2018 13:46 UTCAlfredo Petrov Manager

"The existence of native Copper within feldspars sounds strange."

And, in addition to the one pointed out by Reiner, here are a couple more localities for primary native copper included in magmatic feldspars:

https://www.mindat.org/photo-587489.html (as Matt already noted)



It seems that copper exsolves from feldspar on cooling.

29th Apr 2018 14:42 UTCGregg Little

I think the puzzling aspect brought to light by the K2 azurite/malachite occurrence is not the presence of copper in basically unaltered intrusive but the presence of hydrated copper carbonates in that intrusive.

One of Steve's very interesting observations is the altitude at which this azurite staining occurs both in his area and at the K2 azurite site. The relative humidity of very cold air can be high. Further, as Steve indicated, field work needs to be done to figure out the deposit's spacial relations. One unanswered question about the K2 copper carbonate staining is whether it is superficial or pervasive with depth. Supergene enrichment at high altitudes could have a whole different character from those typically encountered at lower altitudes.

30th Apr 2018 20:51 UTCsteve m johnson

Mostly high altitude supergene enrichment would be eroded away and only the roots would be left. Is the "K2 Jasper" merely a root? Given the disseminated character of the Azurite/Malachite it does not seem consistent with downward migration. I would expect to see sulfates somewhere. Question...can anyone find "barite" or "tourmaline" crystals in the mix. I would expect discovery of such minerals to be indicative if not diagnostic of a deep source for the rock matrix. Tourmaline and barite minerals would be consistent with the unusual azurite/malachite material at hand representing carbonate altered replacement of disseminated primary mineralization found in the potassic core of a mineralized system whose outer shells have not been recognized or found.

Thin sections would be OK but I bet you could find black specks of tourmaline in that rock at 40x. Polished faces should eventually reveal the existence of some sulfide...but if that sulfide is covellite and blue...you might not even see it. Careful examination might show the paragenesis of azurite after covellite after ....bornite. Usually covellite suggests high sulfidization but in fact, covellite can form surficially. It has been identified as a kind of "rust" on some tools.

For what its worth, eroded out supergene material does not go away. The copper does not just disappear, it can and has be captured naturally and accumulated as "exotic copper accumulations". I think there are several places where that has taken place where I work, except it is Digenite way up high, flushed out down where the drill roads are as chalcanthite. Wish my project area were lower and not half a world away but then someone else would have grabbed it before me. Anywhere there are several examples of folks failing to recognize the potential of "exotic" copper concentrations in the literature but one interesting one has to do with Richard Sillitoe's recommendation to explore a flat area adjacent to an active mine, probably in Chile. On his say there was a lot of supergene copper discovered at shallow depths in the flats using blast hole drills. Apparently geologists and mine personnel had driven past the deposit every day for some 60 years without even thinking about the possibility.

Attached is an example of the covellite after chalcopyrite from an online image, the other image shows my area with what I have evidence of... a perched supergene deposit.leaking abundant blue copper mineralization from space shots. On the ground .we identified lots of blue stuff in the field as calcanthite probably after chalcocite or possibly supergene digenite. Some samples in the field ran 69% Cu!.


30th Apr 2018 23:14 UTCGregg Little


Is that the drill pad and road on the left to upper left of the photo? I can't see the rock hammer for scale. Treeless slopes really are the explorationist's friend.

1st May 2018 01:30 UTCsteve m johnson

yes it is.......and this is not even the Atacama...it is on the edge.

Like in "farewell to tarwathy" by Judy Collins....like the cold coast of greenland....in Chile

the winds blow through passes that are three miles high...

but the air is so thin it is as worthless as breathing the sea


there are no song birds in Chile to sing to the whale....and there is no habitation for a man to live there

but we all hope to find riches a hunting the whale.



1st May 2018 07:27 UTCsteve m johnson

Proposed K2-Jasper source: Google earth imagery around K2 shows no mining no access, only graywacke, ice and rotten black sooty ice glaciers. Some distance away where the rotting ice becomes a braided stream/river there is a forward camp called Jhola. There is no road access there but it may extend up to within a few miles before the road gets cliffed out. At Jhola there are two helipads and lots of signs of activity. Ground photos show some interesting things...but the main thing is that there isn't all that much granite to be had in the whole K2 area. Most of the area is made up of ice and greywacke. The glaciers and rock faces are positively black in those areas. Where you can actually see white material we have the Baldu pseudo river all rotten ice and black sooty covering, but on the edges there is a distinct morainal train of white granite that makes up the sides of the rotten ice glacier. Along the cliffs there are extensive signs of granite intrusion along with some interesting iron stained units and some rounded pebble "cataclasites" in bedrock along with some walkers approaching Jhola. I'm betting the riverbed contains some of these dew drop azurite rocks and that there are other places where folks have just hand picked the stuff. No sign of excavation can be found anywhere really. It's always possible that the dew drop rocks are actually fragments from within the reddish cataclasite in the foreground. Trails lead off from the camp itself and go all the way to ice. Upstream of the camp there are several miles of white river bed alluvium with big granite dikes and sills on the canyon sidewalls. As you approach Jhola camp you can see lots of interesting lithologies in rounded river rock and on the cliffs. Where exactly that blue stained material comes from is a mystery but I'll bet if you were there you'd find its source. My bet is that all the interesting stained material in circulation is virtually hand cobbed and hand carried from within a few miles of Jhola camp to road end. All that fresh leucogranite sure looks like the parent material of the so called K2 Jasper. I can't figure out the mineral system but my guess is that it represents dike material from the larger body intruding the system. Obviously where there is so much glaciation there isn't much chance of seeing other facies of the hydrothermal/magmatic system but you can probably find a little here and there in the fines.



1st May 2018 08:07 UTCAlfredo Petrov Manager

We might have to look at a wider area. We are only told that the locality is "near" K2 and there's a lot of fuzziness built into the word "near". I've heard the word "near" used before for a mountain just because one could see it in the distance ;))

1st May 2018 11:57 UTCJosé Zendrera Expert

While the exact location remains a mystery, after reading many information available about this material and knowing personally the Skardu area, I tend to believe Shah Abbas in his message above in this thread: K2 blue dotted gneiss comes from Khaplu area, 60 Km east from Skardu and 80 Km south from K2 peak.


3rd May 2018 07:28 UTCsteve m johnson

And here is a nice granite intrusion for you all. Perhaps you will notice it is a photo of K2!. It is the best I could find that appears to clearly show white granite wth a shell of greywacke.... the geology of K2 appears to be a big granite spire. Looks a bit like something in Patagonia. I saw another set of granite spires at nearby Trango Towers just upstream of the last set of images along Bailto River(sic)...if I got the name right. So, we have another little piece of the big picture. I noticed that K2 sits in a strange structural/topographic position...astride the margin of a 10 mile wide, I guess large, semicircular Subsidence feature. I like to think of the geomechanics of a toothpaste tube that got dropped on the floor and stepped on. The weight of the downdropped subsidence feature skooshed the underlying material and up popped K2...right on the edge along the detachment Surface itself. So there are granite apophysees to be found! Next thing we know someone will post an image of the source of this dew drop rock and it's potassic alteration suite and I'll have set off another "gold rush"...my third. Sigh.

6th Nov 2018 00:52 UTCTim Jokela Jr

Five years later, any reports? Did you analyze it, Steve?

6th Nov 2018 02:03 UTCFrank K. Mazdab Manager

Hi Tim,

I analyzed it... it's my thin section FKM-105 (https://www.rockptx.com/fkm-101-to-fkm-125/#FKM-105).

The blue sunbursts do contain tiny scattered azurite, but not very much. If one looks closely, it's possible to see tiny darker blue specks within the larger blue sunbursts. Those tiny blue specks are the azurite.

As for the rest of the blue material, most of their volume is a fine-grained admixture of albite+quartz with a combined copper content of ~1200 ppm Cu. Because the albite+quartz mixture is intergrown on a such a fine scale (1-5 microns, comparable to that of the microprobe beam diameter), it was difficult to get an albite-only (or quartz-only) analysis, although from the BSE imaging the mixture in my sample appeared to average about 70% albite & 30% quartz. So it's unclear if the 1200 ppm Cu represents solid solution in the one of the minerals, or alternatively the presence of some sub-micron discrete Cu mineral (more azurite?; chrysocolla? something else?) just not visible in the BSE imaging. In any case, that small amount of Cu, whatever its nature, along with the scattered tiny azurites, are enough to color the sunbursts.

What's also interesting is that many of the minerals present contain measurable Cu: muscovite & biotite (~450 ppm Cu), chlorite (~1000 ppm Cu), titanite (~650 ppm Cu) and epidote (Cu not yet measured). There was no evidence of a pre-existing Cu sulfide to source the azurite and other Cu enrichments, although it's possible it was there and was just obliterated during low grade metamorphism or propylitic alteration and then redistributed into the minerals present now.


6th Nov 2018 02:18 UTCKevin Conroy Manager

For what it's worth: https://geology.com/gemstones/k2/


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6th Nov 2018 19:16 UTCTim Jokela Jr

Great info, thanks!

5th Nov 2019 00:41 UTCJosé Zendrera Expert

"K2 granite" can not come from surroundings of K2 mountain simply due to transporting cost. K2 base camp is only accessible after a day long hellish 4x4 track followed by a hard ten days walk. Even with a lower price that is paid by alpine expeditions for equipment porting, this rock could not be offered in Skardu or Karachi by tons for a few dollars/kilo.
In other hand, I've seen many minerals for sale in K2 approach route but never this blue dotted granitoid.

As stated by Shah Abbas up in this thread, the stuff comes from somewhere near Khaplu (or Khapalu), 75 km south from K2 mountain, necessarily in a place not far from a truck accesible piste when is so widely distributed, even in big pieces.

I think K2 is in this case just a commercial name taking advantage from a famous peak and promoting a mystery about his origin that after all has been quite succeful, as proves this long thread itself.

By the way, Khaplu is closer than Skardu from K2 but they profite very little from mountaneering tourism because people in route to K2 and other eighthousanders in the area mostly go from Skardu up the river until Baltoro glacier and only a few on the way back dare to cross Gondogoro Pass returning to Skardu via Khaplu.

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