Chrysoprase

Text from Gemstone Education

Chrysoprase is a very rare form of quartz. Its most striking attribute is its beautiful color, that of a green apple. However it should be noted that Chrysoprase also comes in a very dark green. Chrysoprase contains traces of nickel; the nickel that is found inside the Chrysoprase is what gives it its color.

One of the reasons that Chrysoprase is so rare is due to the fact that it is a cryptocrystalline, this means that instead of being formed by large six sided crystals, the size of the crystals are extremely small and invisible to the naked eye. This attribute gives is much rarer in nature, as well as more beautiful.

Chrysoprase can come in many sizes. However, since it is rare is usually hard to come by and is generally used for smaller pieces of ornamental jewelry. During the Middle Ages, it was mined in Silesia (Northern Czech Republic and Southern Poland), the Chrysoprase that was mined were used as architectural decorations, mainly in major churches.

Chrysoprase is generally crafted as bead or spherical objects. It is sometimes cut into cabochons which are domed shaped gems, which are cut flat on the back to attach as jewelry. It is popular as a gift for those into astrology and are usually associated with Libra’s Gemini’s and Cancer’s.

One of the more popular places to find Chrysoprase is in Australia where it is mined (Queensland, Western Australia). It is usually sold as Australian Jade, due to its resemblance to this gemstone.

The Uses of Chrysoprase

Chrysoprase is a very rare and beautiful gemstone; it usually has an apple green color or at times takes on a deep green color. Chrysoprase is a type of quartz, it contains a slight amount of nickel which gives it its color and at times is confused with Jade. Chrysoprase is a type of cryptocrystalline, this means that its structure is created from very tiny crystals, instead of larger six sided crystal as most gemstone are. Micro crystalline gemstones are usually rarer and higher in value.

Chrysoprase is mainly used for ornamental jewelry and has been coveted since ancient times. It was used as ornamental jewelry in the forms of cameos and intaglios by the Greeks and Romans and also used as decoration and jewelry for the pharaohs of Ancient Egypt. During the Middle Ages, Europe valued Chrysoprase for its wonderful color and adorned churches and other architectural buildings with it. Chrysoprase has a hardness of about 7 to 8 and is a great gemstone to be shaped into beads or other shapes.

Today, it can be found on many pieces of ornamental jewelry and is popular in Europe, the United States, Australia and Asia. Many people still possess Chrysoprase for its mystical and medicinal qualities. For instance, today in Asia, particularly China, Chrysoprase is used to balance out the yin and yang or Chi. In India, it is said to help mend a broken heart. Chrysoprase is mined in Queensland and is sometimes called Australian Jade. It is sometimes even confused with Imperial Jade.

How and Where is Chrysoprase Formed and Found?

Chrysoprase is a rare mineral gemstone that is categorized as cryptocrystalline. Cryptocrystalline’s are coveted due to their very small crystal structures. Instead of being made from large crystals, these micro crystals are so small; they can only be seen under a microscope. Chrysoprase is a type of quartz and possibly the most valuable of all the quartz’s, it is usually an apple green or dark green and can be confused sometimes with Jade.

Chrysoprase has a hardness of 6 to 7 on the Moh’s hardness scale which makes it a good gemstone to create ornamental jewelry out of. In fact, some of Peter Carl Faberge’s most exotic jewelry pieces included Chrysoprase. During the Middle Ages Chrysoprase was mined in Silesia which is now part of Northern Czech Republic and Southern Poland, it was used to decorate many of the major churches of the time and was in such demand that it was mined until exhaustion. Today, Chrysoprase is no longer found in Silesia.

Chrysoprase is the most prized type of quartz and includes the attributes of nickel which causes its beautiful color. Usually Chrysoprase is formed by deterioration or lateritization of nickeliferous serpentinites, which means that quartz stone with nickel deposits gently corrode and deteriorate causing this exotic gemstone. Usually, Chrysoprase can be found in deep veins that contain magnesite or iron and silica rocks.

While Chrysoprase is rare, it is found in many parts of the world including Queensland, Germany, the Ural Mountains in Russia, Brazil and in the United States, specifically Arizona and California.

Chrysoprase – The History and Origins

Chrysoprase is a very rare and beautiful type of quartz. It has a structure called cryptocrystalline which means that the crystals that form in the mineral are so small they can not be seen with the naked eye. The color of Chrysoprase is an apple green, but it can sometimes be a dark green as well. Attributes that give this gemstone its color is the small quantities of nickel it possesses. It is a fibrous form of quarts called chalcedony and is used today for ornamental jewelry. Chrysoprase is very valuable and can sometimes eclipse fine Jade in price.

Chrysoprase has been known to man since ancient times. The word Chrysoprase comes from Greek, Chrsyo means gold and prase means leek. During ancient times it was valued and formed into cameos and intaglios by the Greeks and Romans. Ancient Egyptians also saw the value of this fine gemstone and it was part of decorations that adorned the pharaohs.

During the Middle Ages Europe used Chrysoprase in jewelry and it was extremely prized and valued. It was mined in Silesia which is now present day Czech Republic until the supplies were exhausted. Peter Carl Faberge created many works using this valuable gemstone.

Besides it being used as ornamental jewelry, it was said to have many mystical and medicinal properties. For instance, during the Middle Ages it was used to reduce internal pain, as well as to strengthen vision. It was also used to mend broken hearts and help one concentrate or meditate. For astrology aficionados, Chrysoprase is given as a gift to Gemini’s, Libra’s and Cancer’s.

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