When you think of May, a brilliant green gemstone might come to mind. Of course! The glorious and ostentatious emerald hogs the spotlight this time of year. But there’s an equally beautiful, lesser-known green stone sharing the month of May. Chrysoprase.
What is Chrysoprase?
Chrysoprase (sometimes known as chrysophrase or simply, prase), is a distinctive green stone made of silica containing small amounts of nickel. It’s the semi-precious birthstone alternative to emeralds in May as well as the Zodiac stone for Gemini (May 21 – June 21). Its name comes from the Greek “chrysos,” meaning gold, and “prasinon,” meaning leek-green. The stone has been mined since the 14th century but has been carved and used as adornment for much longer. Alexander the Great is documented as having worn the stone into battle as a talisman. It’s part of the cryptocrystalline quartz family (along with onyx and agate), meaning its fine crystals don’t appear as separate grains under normal magnification, creating a smooth and exceptionally uniform surface.
If crystal Chakras are your thing, chrysoprase is thought to manifest optimism, happiness, and joy. Whether you believe in the metaphysical power of minerals or merely the power of color, the light apple green to deep verdant hues of chrysoprase makes it a perfect partner for a variety of jewelry settings.
Chrysoprase Jewelry: As Unique as You
At Christopher Taylor Timberlake, we source our chrysoprase from Candala Chrysoprase in Marlborough (state of Queensland), Australia and the Haneti-Itiso region of central Tanzania. Chris prefers to set this gem in 18k gold because he loves the interplay between the coolness of the green and the rich-warmth of the high-karat gold. Because of the stone’s range of colors, every piece has a unique personality. Chris selects chrysoprase for use in a variety of styles, employing multiple techniques, such as cuttlefish bone casting, inlay with Mokumé Gane and inlay with meteorite.
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