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Gemspedia >> Gems >> Introduction to Gemstones >> Chrysoprase

Chrysoprase

CHRYSOPRASE

Mentioned in the Bible

Major Sources

Australia, Brazil, Madagascar, Russia, South Africa, Tanzania & USA

Colors Found

Apple green

Family

Chalcedony Quartz: SiO2

Hardness

7

Refractive Index

1.54–1.55; Uniaxial (+)

Specific Gravity

2.65

Crystal System

Trigonal (aggregate)

Enhancements

Natural

 

Chrysoprase’s name comes from the Greek words chrysos, meaning gold and prason, meaning leek, due to its color similarities with the vegetable. One of the most coveted varieties of chalcedony quartz, chrysoprase is prized for its apple green color and rarity.


Legends and lore

Chrysoprase was used by the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians in jewelry and other ornamental objects. In ancient Egyptian jewelry, chrysoprase was often set together with lapis lazuli.

 

It is mentioned in the Bible as being one of the twelve gemstones set in the foundations of the city walls of Jerusalem (Revelations 21:19) and is the symbol of the Apostle St. Thaddeus.

 

Chrysoprase was also popular in the 14th century when the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV used it to decorate chapels including the Chapel of Saint Wenceslas in Prague.

 

A favorite gem of Frederick the Great of Prussia and Queen Anne of England, chrysoprase is believed by crystal healers to increase grace and inner equilibrium.

 

Just the facts

Chrysoprase can vary in color from yellowish green to apple green and grass green depending on the levels of hydrated silicates and nickel oxides present in the gem.

 

Because of its semi-opaque green color, chrysoprase was often mistaken for imperial jade (jadeite).

 

Other types of green chalcedony include prase (a very rare less vivid green chalcedony found in eastern Europe and in Delaware and Pennsylvania) and mtorolite (a variety of green chalcedony colored by chromium found in Zimbabwe).


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