Chrysoprase is the birthstone connected to May and traditionally symbolizes happiness, creativity, and prudence. It is an apple-green gemstone that is also called the stone of Venus. Ancient jewelers occasionally mistake it for emeralds.
The word “chrysoprase” originated from its literal Greek translation, “chrusos” meaning golden, and “prason” meaning leek. Chrysoprase is one of the most valuable members of the chalcedony-quartz family. It is also often referred to as “the stone of Venus”.
After encountering Tutankhamun’s (an Egyptian Pharaoh) tomb in the early 1920s, the famous Art nouveau era flourished, which celebrated exotic sensuality and romance. Chrysoprase was used broadly in his Egyptian revitalization jewelry, which imitated the massive treasures of the Pharaoh’s newly discovered tomb during this Art nouveau period.
Chrysoprase has two vast deposits found in 1965 at Marlborough Creek Queensland and in Western Australia in the Yerilla District in 1992.
Mythological Story about Chrysoprase
According to speculation of a Dominican Friar named Albertus Magnus, an ancient Greek King of Macedonia named Alexander III was considered one of the greatest undefeated warriors and commanders in Greek History because of a powerful gemstone he had. Alexander always wore a girdle into battles that were entrenched with a bright chrysoprase stone. However, after returning from a successful operation in India, he laid aside his girdle to bathe in the Euphrates River. While the girdle lay unattended, a serpent came and bit off the stone and released it into the water. Tale has it that Alexander III didn’t win another fight after losing this valuable jewel.
Shape and Color
The gemstone chrysoprase is also known as “Australian Imperial Jade” because of its similar translucent characteristic of a jade gemstone. Jade, however, has a darker shade of green. Chrysoprase varies from apple green to pale yellow, caused by its nickel oxide compounds. Western Australia has yielded 700 and 1,470 kilograms of nodules of the gemstone.
Chrysoprase is composed of silicon dioxide. It is a microcrystalline quartz, which means that it is not composed of a single crystal quartz visible to the naked eye. Its crystal structure is trigonal. Its Moh’s scale (the ability of one gem to scratch another) measures seven on the hardness scale. Authorities rate its toughness or the ability to withstand cracking as good. For its refractive Index (referring to the sparkle measure of a gemstone), chrysoprase measures only up to 1.53 up to 1.54 – compared to diamonds, has a refractive index of 2.417 up to 2.419 or moissanite is the most brilliant gemstone with a refractive index of 2.65 to 2.69.
Where They Are Mined
The major deposits of chrysoprase were found in Szklary, Poland, in the past until it was completely depleted in the 14th century. Most chrysoprase is mined in Australia, Brazil, Russia, and the United States. Authorities believe that 85 percent of chrysoprase is mined in Australia, particularly in Marlborough Creek District of Queensland and in the southern and western parts of Australia.
Chrysoprase is used to make seals, signets, Jewelry, and other ornamental objects because of its lovely, intense green color.
As a piece of jewelry, the gemstone can best be knotted finely and coordinated in a green silk thread with a bright sterling clasp. It would make a gorgeous bracelet, necklace, or anklet.
Because of Chrysoprase’ relative scarcity and attractive green color, it is one of the most prized varieties of quartz.
- Each gemstone has metaphysical properties. For a Chrysoprase, gemstone healers believe to be a stone that emits positive energy.
- It is an emperor’s favorite. (Referring to Alexander III’s story mentioned above).
- Wearing the stone is said to boost one’s confidence and emotional well-being.
- Chrysoprase is the tenth most precious stone, among 12 precious stones mentioned in the bible in Revelation 21:20, described as the stones that will make up the foundation stones of the city wall of the “New Jerusalem.”
- Chrysoprase is the birthstone of the Zodiac sign Taurus.
Throughout the years, the value of the gemstone chrysoprase has significantly increased. However, it is not a wildly expensive gemstone as it is a variety of chalcedony – that is broadly available. Generally, chrysoprase can be paid with only a few dollars per carat. Large top-quality variant usually sells for $20-30 per carat or more.
The gemstone chrysoprase has a beautiful apple-green color that is said to emit positive energy. The positive energy is probably because most green colors directly connect to nature, such as plants, forests, and mountains.