Meaning and Properties


Called the stone of Venus, is the rarest and most valuable rich apple-green gemstone in the chalcedony family and was often mistaken for emeralds by ancient jewelers. Unlike emeralds, which owe their color to the presence of chromium, the bright spring green of chrysoprase is a result of trace amounts of nickel.

Chrysoprase was used by the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians to make seals, signets, jewelry and other ornamental objects because of its vivid color. The modern word comes from the literal Greek translation chrusos, meaning golden, and prason, meaning leek, indicating the golden-leek green color of the stone.

Alexander III, an ancient Greek king of Macedonia, was one of the most successful, undefeated military commanders in Greek history. A strange story regarding a chrysoprase stone reputed to have been worn by Alexander is related by a Dominican friar named Albertus Magnus.

According to Magnus, Alexander always wore a girdle into battle that was embedded with a bright chrysoprase stone. On his return from a successful campaign in India, he laid aside his girdle to bathe in the Euphrates River. While the girdle lay unattended, a serpent came and bit off the stone and dropped it into the water. Alexander III didn't win another campaign after loosing this precious talisman.

After the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamen in the early 1920s, the well-known Art Nouveau period, which celebrated exotic sensuality and romanticism, came to life in prolific glory. Chrysoprase was used extensively during this Nouveau era with Egyptian revival jewelry that mimicked the vast treasures of the newly discovered pharaoh's tomb.


A birthstone of May and favored by Alexander the Great. Discover the storied history and associated metaphysical benefits of this rare green stone.

Metaphysical Properties

Chrysoprase is one of the birthstones for May and has traditionally symbolized happiness, enterprise and prudence. It is a powerful stone that brings good fortune and prosperity. It instills you with poise, grace and helps you to recognize the gentle beauty within yourself so you can enjoy self-expression and courage through fluent speech and mental dexterity.

Mentally, chrysoprase encourages non-judgmental attitudes, can reduce superiority and inferiority complexes and help you avoid speaking out unthinkingly in anger. It bolsters clarity of thought and creativity by attracting abundance and success in new ventures and promotes fidelity within business.

Emotionally, chrysoprase is said to help heal a broken heart by providing a gentle boost to your self-esteem, equalizing emotional balance and fostering acceptance of change and tolerance for others.

Geological Properties

Poland had the most prominent chrysoprase mine before it was completely depleted in the 14th century. Today, much of the world's chrysoprase comes from Western Australia, Germany, Russia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Tanzania, India, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Brazil and the states of Arizona, California and Oregon.

The best known, highest-quality chrysoprase is found in Queensland, Australia, which is why it is also referred to as Australian ''jade''.

Mineral Information Silicate, chalcedony, microcrystalline quartz group
Chemical Composition SiO2
Color Pale lemon yellow to pale green
Hardness 6-1/2 to 7 (Mohs)
Specific Gravity 2.58 - 2.64
Refractive Index 1.530 - 1.539

Proper Care of Chrysoprase

Chrysoprase gemstones can be safely cleaned using warm soapy water and a soft cloth. You should keep it away from harsh household chemicals. Chrysoprase will fade if exposed to prolonged direct sunlight. Some faded color may be recovered through dark, moist storage.

To learn more about chrysoprase and other gemstones, order your copy of Walter Schumann's revised and expanded edition of Gemstones of the World.

Designing with Chrysoprase

The bright-green color of luxuriant chrysoprase is beautiful when finely knotted on beautifully coordinated green silk thread with a bright sterling silver clasp. The petite beads can also be wrap-looped on sterling silver wire along with gorgeous green crystals.

The bright pink of fuchsia-colored mountain ''jade'' and tourmaline gemstones also mix well with chrysoprase. Speaking from experience, whichever way you choose to use your chrysoprase, take special care to make sure each bead is secure so you don't lose your precious investment.

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