Chrysoprase is one of my favorite stones (the other is rainbow or blue flash moonstone). I love using it, and it is featured in my Deep Forest Collection for fall 2011.
Chrysoprase is found primarily in Australia, Brazil, the Ural Mountains of Western Russia, and the United States (primarily Arizona and California). In Australia, it is sometimes called “Australian Jade” or “Australian Imperial Jade.” Chrysoprase is a variety of chalcedony, and it gets its beautiful green color from trace amounts of nickel oxide. This sets it apart from emerald and chrome diopside, which get their green color from chromium. It has the waxy or opalescent luster common to the chalcedonies. Check out this unbelievably gorgeous rough chrysoprase:
Chrysoprase has been used since ancient times. The Greeks and Romans used it for jewelry, mainly in the form of cameos and intaglios. The ancient Egyptians used it for jewelry and decorative objects. 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. Chrysoprase mined in Silesia (the Northern Czech Republic and Southern Poland) was used in Europe in the Middle Ages to adorn churches – for example, the Chapel of St. Wencelas in the St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague – until the supply was exhausted. Chrysoprase was a favorite of Frederick the Great of Prussia and the jewelry designer Peter Carl Fabergé.
I love large chunks of chrysoprase, like the rough faceted nugget I used in this piece:
I found these beautiful chrysoprase cubes – I just sold one pendant necklace like this but will be listing another soon: