Chrysoprase Value, Price, and Jewelry Information

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Hand-carved chrysoprase tree frog figurine. Photo by Jessa and Mark Anderson. Licensed under CC By 2.0.

Chrysoprase is apple-green chalcedony that derives its color from nickel. Its hardness and striking color make it a popular gemstone for jewelry as well as carvings.

Chrysoprase Value

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Chrysoprase Information

Data Value
Name Chrysoprase
Is a Variety of Chalcedony
Crystallography Hexagonal (trigonal), microcrystalline
Refractive Index 1.540-1.553
Colors Green, from olive to apple and pure shades
Luster Greasy, waxy
Hardness 6.5-7
Wearability Very Good
Fracture Conchoidal, granular
Specific Gravity 2.651-2.91
Birefringence 0.004-0.009
Cleavage None
Dispersion None
Transparency Nearly opaque to nearly transparent
Pleochroism None
Optics o = 1.540; e = 1.553. Uniaxial (+).
Optic Sign Uniaxial +
Etymology From the Greek chrysos, “golden,” and prase, “leek,” alluding to its green color.
chrysoprase beads

Chrysoprase, Australia (largest beads ~ 8 mm). Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

What is Chrysoprase?

A variety of chalcedony, chrysoprase is a cryptocrystalline quartz gemstone. Transparency ranges from nearly opaque to nearly transparent. Its colors range from apple to olive green and nearly pure greens with medium tones.

Sometimes, you may encounter the term “prase” used to describe chrysoprase gems with darker tones. However, prase is also used to refer to green chalcedonies colored by chlorite inclusions found in Europe.

Chrysoprase. Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

Does Chrysoprase Make a Good Jewelry Stone?

With no cleavage and a hardness of 6.5-7, chrysoprases make excellent gems for any type of jewelry. However, since some stones may have a hardness below 7, using protective settings for a ring would be advisable. Gems with a hardness below 7 are susceptible to scratches from everyday wear as well as a very common hazard: household dust.

Andrew Clunn gold pin

18K yellow gold pin with carved chrysoprase and South Sea pearl accent, 66.81 mm. Jewelry by Andrew Clunn. Photo courtesy of liveauctioneers.com and Jasper52.

What Gives Chrysoprase Its Color?

While some chalcedony varieties, such as mtorolite from Zimbabwe, may derive their green color from chromium, chrysoprases get their color from nickel.

Are There Synthetic Chrysoprases?

Laboratories can synthesize quartz, including chalcedonies, and this material does appear in jewelry. However, consumers looking for chrysoprases are more likely to encounter simulants, natural gemstones or lab-created materials that look like chrysoprases but with distinct chemistry and/or crystal structures. In fact, the most commonly encountered lookalikes are other varieties of chalcedonies dyed green to simulate these stones.

Chrysoprases themselves may also be used to simulate other, more expensive gemstones. For example, very fine, highly saturated chrysoprases have been misidentified (or intentionally marketed) as “imperial jade.” Jadeite pieces will command much higher prices than chrysoprases. Since these two gems have distinctive properties despite appearances, gemologists can readily distinguish these materials.

What is Aquaprase™?

Discovered in Africa in 2015, a blueish green to turquoise-colored chalcedony is being sold under the trade name “Aquaprase™”. This material is not a variety of chrysoprase. Rather, it’s itself a variety of chalcedony with distinctive gemological properties.

Where is Chrysoprase Found?

Most chrysoprase sold today comes from Australia. The most notable sources from this country include the following:

  • Queensland: Greenvale; Marlborough.
  • Western Australia: Yandramindra, Wingelina, Kalgoorlie.
chrysoprase - marlborough australia

A large vein section of gem-quality chrysoprase, 12.2 x 9.6 x 2.4 cm, 330 gm, Marlborough, Rockhampton Region, Queensland, Australia. © Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

Other gem-quality sources include the following:

  • Brazil; Kazakhstan; Myanmar; Poland; Russia; Tanzania.
  • United States: Arizona; California.
chrysoprases - brazil

Chrysoprases, Brazil. Photo by Stephanie Clifford. Licensed under CC By 2.0.

Stone Sizes

Locations near Kalgoorlie, Western Australia have yielded 700 and 1,470 kg nodules.

How to Care for Chrysoprase Jewelry

Dyed chrysoprase jewelry may fade if exposed to sunlight or heat. Natural, untreated chrysoprases from Europe can also fade and dry out if exposed to sunlight. Store European chrysoprases in a dark jewelry box and reserve them for evening wear. If they fade, store them with a moist cloth to restore color. Natural, untreated Australian chrysoprases won’t fade in sunlight.

A combination of mild detergent, warm water, and a soft brush is a good choice for cleaning chrysoprases. Consult our gemstone jewelry cleaning guide for more recommendations.

ring

Chrysoprase ring. Photo and jewelry by Strangell. Licensed under CC By-SA 2.0.

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