Chrysoprase Stone | Properties and Meaning
Chrysoprase Variety of Quartz
Despite being most well known for its apple green colour, chrysoprase can also be found in several other shades of green. A cryptocrystalline mineral which means its crystals are too small to be seen with naked eye, it grades 6½ to 7 on Mohs scale of mineral hardness which makes it particularly suitable as a lapidary material. This popular variety of quartz can often be found in jewellery and the finest grade gemstones exhibit a rich apple green colour and are void of flaws, fractures, inclusions, cavities and other anomalies. Unlike emerald whose colour is caused by chromium, the colour in chrysoprase is caused by trace amounts of nickel.
Smithsonian Natural History Museum, Washing D.C. Photo by Stone Mania ©
Most of the world's finest gem-grade material comes from Queensland in Western Australia, Germany, Poland, Russia, Arizona, California and Brazil. In crystal healing chrysoprase is used to balance yin and yang energies and for aligning the chakras. It's a stone of communication, balance, stability, adaptability, higher consciousness and is said to be useful for an inferiority complex.
Chrysoprase Through the Ages
Although mentioned in writings as early as 23 AD, commercial mining of chrysoprase didn't begin until about 1740. It was popular with the Ancient Greeks and Romans who often cut it into cameos and intaglios. Its name comes from the Greek word 'chrysos' meaning gold and 'prason' meaning leek.
During the Middle Ages chrysoprase was used lavishly in Europe and was mined in the Northern Czech Republic and Southern Poland but once those deposits were exhausted, the stone became considerably more expensive. Many buildings in Prague are decorated with chrysoprase the most famous of which is the Chapel of St. Wenceslas. It's also known to have been used in jewellery during the Victorian era and the designer Peter Fabergé often worked with the finest grade stones.
The photo at the top of our page is courtesy of Steve Singingstone 48 - Flickr
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