Chrysoprase is a green coloured form of Chalcedony, a crypto-crystalline variety of quartz. It is one of the rarest and most highly prized varieties of chalcedony.
The word Chrysoprase is derived from the Greek language and translates as Golden Greenstone. In some countries the stone is thought to have magical powers and became a symbol of love, luck and peace.
The best quality material is mined from the famous Marlborough deposits near Rockhampton in Central Queensland. There are also numerous locations in Western Australia, the best known of which are the Yerilla, Marshall Pool, Yundamindra, Jamieson and Wingellina deposits.
Chrysoprase forms in ultramafic rocks associated with nickel laterites, from which the stone gets it colour. Hot, percolating ground waters rich in silica leach nickel from the laterite.
With a MOH’s hardness of 6 – 7, its beautiful apple green colour and translucency similar to the best Jadeite, Chrysoprase is well suited to high quality beads, cabochons which are often set into gold jewellery and carved pendants and ornaments.