Is Prasiolite Green Amethyst?
When it comes to green gemstones, most people focus first on gems like emeralds and peridot. While those stones are undeniably beautiful, it's critical not to overlook prasiolite. With gentle coloring and excellent shine, prasiolite is undoubtedly breathtaking and easily stands out from many other green gems.
In some cases, you may have noticed that certain people use the terms "prasiolite" and "green amethyst" interchangeably. However, it's reasonable to doubt whether it's fair to do so. If you're wondering, "Is prasiolite green amethyst?" or would simply like to learn more about the prasiolite gemstone, here's what you need to know.
Prasiolite Stone: Meaning, Properties & Uses
What Is Prasiolite?
Prasiolite isn't formally labeled a gemstone. Instead, it's a silicon dioxide mineral that's a variety of quartz. As a result, it has many characteristics similar to other types of quartz. For example, it's usually transparent to translucent. What makes prasiolite stand out from different types of quartz is its coloration.
Generally, prasiolite is a jewelry or collector's stone. One key reason is that it doesn't naturally occur in large quantities, so it's ill-suited to widespread use as an industrial material. Additionally, the striking coloring gives it value in the eyes of jewelry wearers and collectors, so it's often reasonably easy to market to those interested in the gem.
Origin and Pronunciation of Prasiolite
Prasiolite was initially discovered in Poland during the early 19th century. Its name is derived from "prason" and "lithos," which are Greek terms that mean "leek" and "stone," respectively.
Generally, prasiolite is pronounced how one would expect. For the consonants, they are all said traditionally. The vowel sounds start with a hard "a." The first "i" is pronounced closer to a hard "e," and that's followed by a hard "o." For the end segment – "lite" – it's said like "light." When taken together, the pronunciation is essentially "prays-ee-oh-light."
What's the Difference Between Prasiolite and Green Amethyst?
Both prasiolite and amethyst are varieties of quartz, which is one of the reasons some people call prasiolite green amethyst. However, referring to prasiolite as green amethyst isn't entirely accurate.
There are some composition differences between prasiolite and amethyst. Prasiolite gets its coloring through significant heat exposure and the inclusion of elements that aren't always present in amethyst. Additionally, one of the defining characteristics of amethyst is its purple coloring. As a result, calling prasiolite amethyst is a misnomer.
Additionally, green amethyst can also refer to heat-treated amethyst. Under heat treatments, amethyst can shift color, making a stone turn green even though it was originally another hue. As a result, not all green amethyst has naturally-occurring color, while prasiolite is specifically a gem that emerged from the earth green.
Similarly, irradiated amethyst can take on a light green coloration. As a result, that type of treated amethyst is also called green amethyst when sold.
Since treated amethysts can have green coloring, purchasing a green amethyst doesn't guarantee you're getting prasiolite. Instead, if you want genuine prasiolite, it's best only to buy stones that are sold under that name and are proven authentic.
Is Prasiolite Rare?
Naturally-occurring prasiolite is incredibly rare. The heat required to create prasiolite doesn't occur naturally often. Plus, the gem doesn't end up green without the correct elements within the stone.
As a result, a significant amount of green amethyst on the market isn't natural. Instead, the stones are created by treating amethyst using the processes outlined above.
Generally speaking, prasiolite has a gentle, light green coloring with a slightly yellow or earthy tinge. Some describe the shade as "leafy," which is a nod to the somewhat subdued nature of the hue typically found in the prasiolite gem.
With larger pieces of prasiolite, the shade can look a bit darker, potentially leading into olive territory. However, with smaller specimens, lighter shades are more common. In fact, especially strong green coloring can potentially indicate that the gem is a treated piece of amethyst, as the treatments can cause the coloration to strengthen beyond what usually occurs naturally.
Where Is Prasiolite Found?
While prasiolite was initially discovered in Poland and is still mined in the Lower Silesia region, that's not where the bulk of it is mined today. Instead, most prasiolite gemstones on the market come from Brazil, and it's been that way since around 1950.
However, there are other sources of prasiolite. For example, there's a deposit in California. Still, most authentic prasiolite on the market today originates from Brazil, so keep that in mind if you're looking for the genuine article.
Generally speaking, you won't find much prasiolite jewelry in chain stores. Primarily, the reason is that prasiolite isn't as popular as many other stones. Plus, since it's rarer, using it for mass-produced pieces isn't always practical.
However, independent jewelers adore prasiolite mainly since they can do small runs or create one-off pieces featuring the stone. As a result, you can find exceptional jewelry if you want to add some to your collection.
Since prasiolite is typically faceted, it's popular for rings, pendants, and earrings. Remember that much of what you find may not be authentic prasiolite, so stick with reputable sources when shopping.
Prasiolite Spiritual Meaning and Symbolism
As with all gemstones, the prasiolite spiritual meaning and symbolism can vary depending on a person's belief system. Some believe that prasiolite can help support clear thinking. Others associate it with a grounding or balancing energy, allowing it to promote overall well-being.
As is the case with many green gemstones, the prasiolite gem is thought by many to bring good fortune. Since that's the case, some turn to prasiolite when dealing with challenging financial matters or striving for financial gain. However, it's also a popular stone for those seeking general abundance.
Another common use for prasiolite is to aid personal or spiritual growth pursuits. It's said to make self-sufficiency easier to achieve, as well as supports the development of healthy relationships.
Some also feel that prasiolite can help with specific physical ailments, such as eliminating toxins. However, it's critical to know that there isn't any scientific proof that using prasiolite in any manner can improve one's health or treat or prevent medical conditions. As a result, don't use prasiolite as a substitute for genuine medical care from a professional.
Other Green Quartz Varieties Similar to Prasiolite
Overall, there aren't many green varieties of quartz aside from prasiolite and heat-treated or irradiated amethyst. Usually, the only other version that's classically green is aventurine, which can come in shades of green. However, aventurine often contains mica, giving it a sparkling quality you don't usually find in prasiolite.
There are other green gemstones that aren't quartz types that can have hues similar to prasiolite. Green tourmaline is one potential example, though the exact shade can vary depending on the piece. The same is true of green diamonds, though naturally occurring ones are typically quite expensive.
Another substitute worth considering is green chrysoberyl, which can have a similar slightly olive-toned light green hue. A green sapphire may also have coloration that's not unlike prasiolite and is often less expensive than blue sapphire gemstones. You may also see sunstone in shades of green, though green versions are pretty rare.
Kornerupine is another lighter green stone. However, due to its rarity, it isn't widely available and can be a bit costly. The same is true of hiddenite, but it's even less common to find since its physical structure makes it hard to cut or facet.