The purpose of this blog post is to extol the virtues of one of one of my favorite gemstones, Chrysoprase. Chrysoprase is a natural vivid green Chalcedony (cryptocrystalline silica) that can rage is color from a pastel mint green to a deep forrest green- but the most prized material is a translucent apple green. Its is used in jewelry in the form of beads, cabochons and occasionally faceted stones. It is a fantastic natural green alternative to Emerald or Jade, which are much better known in the general public but hugely more expensive per carat.
The most common source for Chrysoprase is Australia, but Russia, Brazil and Poland are also major sources. The formation of the gemstones occurs in veins or nodules rather than individual crystals, and is the result of the weathering or nickel rich Serpentines deep within the earth. The green color is owed to these trace amounts of Nickel in the mineral composition.
I often use Chrysoprase in my own designs, but it does not have a long history of use in jewelry. In fact it does not commonly appear in until its wide used in jewelry in the 1920s and onward. I hope you found this brief discourse on the science and history of this terrific gemstones interesting, and perhaps it will enhance your appreciation of this beautiful stone!
1920s Onyx and Crysoprase Necklace, English.
Faceted Chrysoprase and Amethyst Bracelet Handmade by Clare Thanhauser
Chrysoprase still in the host rock, Candala mine in Marlborough, Australia