The name chrysoprase comes from the ancient Greek krisos which means golden, for its brilliance and prason meaning leek, for its green color. Chrysoprase can be cut in cabochons or faceted stones. The purest gems are comparable to jade, with which it is sometimes mixed up. This gem is one of the oldest known to mankind, it is said to have been worn by Alexander the Great and Frederick II of Prussia, among others.
Chrysoprase is by far the most prized variation of chalcedony. It varies in colour from apple green to a greenish-yellow, and owes its extraordinary colour to its nickel content. Chrysoprase is cryptocrystalline, which means it is composed of crystals so fine that they cannot be seen as distinct particles under normal magnification. It is a very durable stone and so lends itself well to everyday jewellery.
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Chrysoprase is the protective stone per excellence. It is said to be a calming stone, which helps those who wear it work through their problems without the distractions of everyday life. It is said to strengthen self-confidence by gtting rid of complexes, reduce stress and bring serenity by calming the nerves.
Chrysoprase has a long history and is mentioned in the Bible as being one of the twelve gemstones set in the foundations of the city walls of Jerusalem.
The gemstone is often cut as cabochons, but can also be faceted. It has for long been a very popular choice for intaglios and cameos, for instance in Greek, Roman and Egyptian jewellery. Chrysoprase was incredibly popular in the Victorian era, when the stones often were cut as beautiful low cabochons with a narrow rim of facets around the edge.
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