I took over this e-zine when Gail, its originator was unable to continue it. With Gail's permission, I have added her original Rock's of the Week so that everyone can find the information readily. Please feel free to visit Gail's web site at http://www.davesrockshop.com

(Alternate May Birthstone)

Rough Chrysoprase from 
Yerilla Chrysoprase mine at Yerilla in Western Australia

The name chrysoprase comes from "chrysos prason" (Greek) for gold leek. Like so many very ancient or even old names for stones used for ornamentation, it was apparently applied to several yellowish green gemstones, including beryl, but gradually it became limited to the apple-green colored microcrystalline variety of quartz (or chalcedony): chrysoprase.

Chrysoprase is considered the most valuable stone in the chalcedony group. The microscopic fine quartz fibers have a radial structure. Unlike most other green stones, which owe their color to chromium or vanadium, chrysoprase derives its green color to staining by nickel oxide compounds. Large broken pieces are often full of fissures with irregular colors.

Tanzanian Chrysoprase
It occurs as nodules or fillings of clefts in serpentine rocks and in weathered materials of nickel ore deposits. Long ago, the deposit of Frankenstein (Zabkowice) in Upper Silesia, Poland, was the most important mine, but it has been worked out since the 14th century. Today's deposits include Australia (New South Wales), Brazil, India, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Russia (the Urals), Zimbabwe, South Africa, Tanzania, and California.

Before Australia became the dominant source of chrysoprase, dealers compensated for the gem's scarcity by staining colorless quartz green, using either nickel salts or chromium salts (both greening agents). Despite the abundance of chrysoprase today, stones with ersatz green remain an annoyance and should be guarded against as natural-color stones become more popular and expensive. According to Robert Webster's "Gems," the most common simulated greens are produced with chromium salts. These can be detected with a Chelsea filter (stained stones show a "brownish-red residual color") and a spectroscope (look for "three vague lines in the red part of the spectrum").

Color can fade in sunlight and when heated (be careful when soldering). Fading occurs when dehydration robs stones of their coloring agent, pimelite a silicate. Pimelite has a layered structure that readily traps or loses moisture. As stones dry out, they lose translucency and luster. To restore these attributes, leave stones in wet cotton or take a bath wearing your chrysoprase jewelry. 

Gem chrysoprase is of such fine translucent green color and texture that it was at first mistaken for green Imperial jadeite. Chrysoprase has many similarities to (particularly color) and can be confused with jadeite. It is sometimes marketed as "Australian Imperial Jade".

Lemon Chrysoprase from 
Yerilla Chrysoprase mine at Yerilla in Western Australia

Chrysoprase is used mainly in beads and cabochons. 

Variety of: Chalcedony
Hardness: 6-7
Chemical Composition: SiO2 silicon dioxide

Australia : Scott 558 : 6 cents : 11 Jul 1973
This material has been mentioned as early in history as 23 AD, but was not mined commercially until about 1740. Chrysoprase was popular in the time of the Greeks and Romans when it was cut into cameos and intaglios. In Egypt it was set next to lapis lazuli and also made into beads.

It was used lavishly in Europe until the deposits being mined in Silesia were exhausted and it became rare and expensive. The great jewelry designer, Peter Carl Fabergé, in some of his most exquisite works, often used chrysoprase.

Chrysoprase squares ready for carving along with finished pendants
Chrysoprase was a particular favorite of Frederick the Great of Prussia. He adorned his opulent palace at Potsdam, named Sans Souci, with objects and furniture made in whole or part of chrysoprase. All of the material for these works (among them, two all-chrysoprase tables) came from a find in what is now Poland but was then Silesia.

This stone was the favorite jewel or stone of Queen Anne of England and has remained popular all the way through the reign of Queen Victoria.

Chrysoprase slab
It can be seen today decorating many buildings in beautiful Prague, including the Chapel of St. Wencelas.

The Book of Revelations (21:20) describes the holy city of Jerusalem with its 12 foundation walls, each decorated with precious gemstones, including the tenth, being chrysoprase.

Lemon Chrysoprase pendants
According to Alburtus Magnus: The always victorious Alexander the Great wore a chrysoprase stone in his girdle. One day a snake bit the stone off the girdle and dropped it in the river. From that time forward, Alexander never won another battle.

According to the 11th Century Byzantine manuscript of Michael Psellius, chrysoprase was believed to strengthen vision and relieve internal pain.

Chrysoprase cabochon
Chrysoprase was said to be a "Victory Stone." 

In the 1800's, Chrysoprase was said to help thieves become invisible. 
*(A Chrysoprase crystal held in the mouth is said to grant the power of invisibility.)

Tumbled Chrysoprase
It is believed to encourage maximum physical outcomes to situations and helps to heal the "broken heart". It encourages fidelity in business and personal affairs. It is considered useful in treating disorders of the heart, in increasing dexterity and for treating the reproductive organs, including an increase in fertility and other sexual imbalances.

It is a soothing stone for those suffering from the pangs of love. It helps to release emotional tension and stress. This is a healing stone: it works well with other stones, increasing the other stone's healing properties. 

Lemon Chrysoprase beads
Green is also the color of abundance, whether in a material sense or in terms of healing. Traditionally chrysoprase is believed to attract abundance and to help in success in new ventures. As another example of the widespread applications of the word "abundance," this stone is also considered useful in attracting new friends.

Chrysoprase is a stone that can help us to peacefully absorb spiritual energies, and to make transformation a natural part of our daily lives. Chrysoprase is protective. It is protective against bad influences, nightmares, and anguish.

Chrysoprase jewelry
Chrysoprase is said to help with weight loss. That is only because chrysoprase balances neurotic patterns, eases depression and sexual imbalance. It is calming, balancing, and healing for physical/emotional/mental bodies. It helps one see clearly into personal problems.

The Mystic Eye Banner Exchange