Chrysoprase – green and humble
In modern silver jewelry, turquoise or deep green translucent inserts are often found. These are chrysoprases. A small cabochon makes an impressive play in the sun. Even the smallest chrysoprase inlay makes the jewelry bright. Gold perfectly emphasizes the natural greenery, and chrysoprase in silver is a perfect classic. This mineral is as good as in beads, as well as in different articles made of leather or wood, combined with other stones in jewelry.
The Nature of Green
The chrysoprase is a semi-precious ornamental stone. By nature, it is a variety of chalcedony of green hues. In other words, it would be quite fair to call chrysoprase a green agate. The bright green shades of the stone are due to various inclusions containing nickel. Sometimes the chrysoprase has an expressive structural pattern with a heterogeneous coloring. This peculiarity proves that this stone belongs to the agate family. Of course, such patterns are rarely seen on the inserts of small size, but their translucency and rich green hues are always expressive and recognizable.
Unlike agates, chrysoprases are valued for their rich color and transparency, not for their natural mineral pattern.
In color, hue, and transparency, chrysoprase can vary quite a bit. The most valuable and rare is the emerald-green, highly transparent chrysoprase. This deep-green stone is highly prized in jewelry. Its neighbors in jewelry can be precious stones such as rubies, diamonds, etc.
The paler, less-clear so-called apple chrysoprase is considered a “first-class” stone that is used for jewelry. This particular variety of chrysoprase has a very distinctive texture, which has its admirers.
Pale, murky-blue chrysoprases with a heterogeneous coloring are the least valuable, as they are considered ornamental stones and are almost never used in jewelry.
The origin of the name of this stone is very curious. It comes from the ancient Greek χρυσός (chrysos) meaning “gold” and πράσον (prasos) meaning “leek.
Chrysoprase is a quite common mineral. Deposits of this stone are known all over the world and on different continents. However, the emerald rich color of chrysoprase is rare, and its deposits are always small. As a rule, it is only a “vein” among the lower gem-quality and low-value minerals. Today, gem-quality chrysoprase is mined in Poland, in the Urals in Russia, in the United States (Oregon and California), and in Australia.
Care and purchase advice
The main advantage of chrysoprase is its bright, lush color. Unfortunately, the stone can fade and lose its brightness when being exposed to the sun for a long time. Of course, even if one wears it all the time, this is unlikely to happen. But it is better to keep the chrysoprase jewelry in a dark place. That is, in a non-transparent and closed jewelry box. Unlike some other jewelry inserts, chrysoprase is not afraid of moisture, quite the contrary.
Very common advice is to keep the stone in water for a while, should it become dull or pale. To restore the rich color, the chrysoprase is also boiled in salts of nickel. But this method is very doubtful. The unique color of the chrysoprase can only be natural. One should not overheat the stone, especially for a long time. Prolonged high temperatures may disturb the structure of the stone, which will make it pale, dull, or even crack. It is also likely to lose its bright unique hue.
Also, the general advice for all inserts, especially chalcedony, is to protect them from severe and direct impacts.
Chrysoprase, as well as other saturated chalcedony, is counterfeited with glass. Translucent deep green glass easily imitates the highest quality chrysoprases. One should keep in mind that large stones are almost never of the same structure and coloring. Moreover, no glass will be able to repeat the unique slightly turquoise shade of natural chrysoprase with a bright saturated glare in the sun. Such glass imitations of chrysoprase are not very difficult to distinguish from the original. One has only to look closely.