Chalcedony, correct pronunciation 'kal SED uh nee', is a variety of Quartz which is cryptocrystalline meaning without the aid of high magnification, its crystals are virtually invisible. Rough Chalcedony has a waxy lustre and can be semi-transparent or translucent and in its purest form, its colour can be white, grey, slightly blue or even a shade of brown, however most Chalcedony contains inclusions of other minerals which give it a wide range of colour.
Only translucent single coloured gemstones are known as Chalcedony whilst all others have their own unique name or are classified as Jasper or Agate. The clear red variety is known as Carnelian, green which is coloured by Nickel oxide is Chrysoprase and Onyx is black and white banded Chalcedony. The bright to Emerald green variety is known as Plasma and those gemstones which feature small red spots of Jasper are as known as Bloodstone. This change of colour is caused by impurities that are present during crystallization and can include Copper, Nickel, Iron and Titanium.
Its use by man dates back millions of years and after animal bone and possibly Obsidian, it is thought to have been one of the earliest raw materials used to make tools and weapons. Other varieties of Chalcedony were also known to have been used including Agate, Flint, Jasper and Petrified Wood.
It was considered to be sacred by the Native American Indians who used it to promote stability within their tribes and in ancient times cups and goblets cut from Chalcedony that were lined with silver were believed to protect against poisoning. During the 16th century it was used to deal with illusions and fantasies. Today in crystal healing it is beneficial for generosity, nightmares, fear of the dark, hysteria, depression and negative thoughts. It brings mind, body emotions and spirit into harmony and is a powerful cleanser absorbing negative energy and subsequently dissipating it. It can assist with telepathy and removes self doubt and can help create an open and enthusiastic character.
Although found pretty much worldwide, the finest grade gemstones generally come from India, Madagascar, Burma, Brazil, Mexico and the USA.
Chalcedony is graded 6.5 to 7 on Mohs scale of mineral hardness hence is frequently used in jewellery.
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