Chrysoprase Gemstone Information
When it comes to delightful, uplifting stones, chrysoprase certainly qualifies. It’s vibrant and unique, making it a joy to behold. However, many people miss out on its beauty, mainly because they aren’t aware of this uncommon gem.
If you’re curious about the chrysoprase gemstone and would like to learn more about its properties, meaning, and more, here’s what you need to know.
While many people consider chrysoprase a gemstone, that isn’t the most accurate description. Based on the properties of chrysoprase, it’s actually a variety of chalcedony, which is a type of quartz, a silica mineral.
However, thanks to the presence of nickel, chrysoprase gets a unique coloring. That’s predominately what separates it from the rest of the quartz family, allowing it to be considered its own gemstone.
In most cases, chrysoprase is translucent but not transparent. That gives the gem a lovely shine, making its coloring even more striking.
While many gemstones are always one particular color, that isn’t the case with chrysoprase. Instead, chrysoprase stones come in a range of colors.
The most commonly found version of chrysoprase is bright green. Usually, the hue is both notable and distinct, leading many to consider the shade an apple or spring green. The amount of nickel in the stone does play a role in the color. If chrysoprase stones have a lot of nickel – relatively speaking – they have a stronger green color. When less nickel is present, the hue becomes less intense.
You can also find lemon chrysoprase – also known as citron chrysoprase – which is more yellow, though it tends to have a gentle green tinge. However, some feel a better name for this stone would be lemon magnesite. It’s the presence of magnesium carbonate that gives the stone its color. However, since it’s been called lemon chrysoprase for so long, correcting the name isn’t practical.
It is also important to note that the color of chrysoprase crystals is unstable. If there is prolonged exposure to sunlight, the stone may begin to fade. Similarly, high heat can cause the color to diminish.
For those that own chrysoprase jewelry, taking care of the pieces is a must. Ideally, they should be stored in a dark place away from heat, ensuring the color stays strong.
When cleaning, shaping, or polishing chrysoprase, it’s also crucial to be cautious. Any technique that requires a lot of heat shouldn’t be used, or it may impact the color.
The History of Chrysoprase
While chrysoprase is usually green, the stone’s name is derived from the Greek words for “golden leek” or “golden apple.” The gem has a long-standing history. It’s been found in some ancient Greek and Roman artifacts, making it clear that it was known during that period in history.
Chrysoprase originally rose to prominence in Europe after deposits were found in Poland during the 1700s. It’s largely considered an ornamental stone, featured in jewelry or décor, and isn’t usually used for industrial purposes due to its limited availability.
Where Is Chrysoprase Found?
In many cases, you’ll find chrysoprase alongside serpentine. This is because it typically makes its way into veins and cavities in the serpentine gemstone, causing it to serve as a secondary mineral.
Australia, California, and the Silesia region of Poland have notable deposits of chrysoprase. In addition, there are other sources, including Brazil, Germany, Indonesia, Russia, and Tanzania, as well as the state of Arizona.
However, due to its limited availability, chrysoprase isn’t widely mined today. As a result, supply can be limited, making high-quality specimens more valuable.
The chrysoprase crystal is very popular for jewelry, thanks to its striking hue. However, it isn’t widely available, so you won’t find it in chain jewelry stores. Since it can’t be found with consistent coloring and sizing in large quantities, chrysoprase isn’t ideal for mass-produced pieces.
Instead, independent designers typically use the stone in their creations the most, making them the best source. With a smaller designer, they aren’t concerned about large-scale production. In many cases, they are open to creating small runs of a particular design, causing the limited availability of chrysoprase to be a non-issue.
Since it tends to be translucent – not transparent – the chrysoprase gemstone is more commonly turned into cabochons or beads. With cabochons, pendants, earrings, and rings are usually what’s created. With beads, you’re most likely to see a chrysoprase bracelet or strand necklace.
The chrysoprase stone meaning does vary a bit depending on a person’s belief system. For some, the chrysoprase is linked with happiness, good fortune, and prosperity, both financially and regarding personal relationships. Others connect it to confidence, courage, and self-expression, as well as balance, hope, and truth.
When it comes to chakras, chrysoprase is more commonly associated with the heart chakra. This is largely due to the chrysoprase gemstone’s color, as green is the hue connected to that chakra.
In some cases, chrysoprase is also considered a birthstone. Which month it is associated with depends on the system. For example, Britain’s National Association of Goldsmiths lists chrysoprase as a May birthstone. However, in the traditional or ancient birthstone list, it’s associated with December.
For chrysoprase benefits, some think it’s stimulating and detoxifying, both on a mental and physical level. Others believe the stone promotes relaxation and restfulness, making it a strong choice for anxiety reduction or stress relief.
However, when it comes to chrysoprase healing properties, it’s important to understand that there isn’t any proof that wearing, holding, or meditating on any stone provides any health benefit. As a result, possessing chrysoprase shouldn’t be used as a substitute for actual medical treatment.
However, there also isn’t typically any harm in holding, wearing, or meditating on chrysoprase either. So, if it improves your mood, you can often use it for that purpose without risk.
Stones Similar to Chrysoprase
Due to its coloring, there aren’t many gems that have a strong resemblance to chrysoprase. One of the closest options when it comes to the appearance of the stone is gaspeite. It also has nickel, giving it a vibrant green coloring. However, the gem is soluble in some acids and can cause adverse reactions when worn directly against the skin, making it better suited to being a collector stone instead of one for jewelry. Additionally, it tends to be opaquer, giving it a different look.
In some cases, a piece of jade may be a reasonable substitute, but a high-quality stone can be expensive. Idocrase, also called vesuvianite due to being common near Mt. Vesuvius, may also look like chrysoprase. However, it isn’t widely used, so it can be more challenging to find.
Additionally, greener pieces of turquoise could be a reasonable substitute. However, they tend to be more opaque. Prehnite also comes in an apple green hue, though many pieces aren’t as intensely colored as you find with chrysoprase.
Finally, there is imitation chrysoprase. With that, another chalcedony stone or a piece of agate is effectively dyed by introducing chromium salts or nickel. That causes the chalcedony to achieve a different color, making it highly similar to natural chrysoprase.
In some cases, imitation chrysoprase is marketed as the real thing even though it shouldn’t be. At times, this is because the designer isn’t aware that they have a manufactured version. Instead, they assume that any chalcedony that is the right color is the genuine article, causing them to mislabel their pieces.
However, some do give the imitation stones a unique name. When it comes to the most common labels for the imitation stones, both “chalcedony chrysoprase” or “chrysoprase chalcedony” fall in that category.