Chrysoprase is a variety of chalcedony (quartz) which is an opalescent apple green color. Most green gemstones owe their color to chromium or vanadium, but chrysoprase derives it’s beautiful coloration from the nickel content it contains. Which means that it is possible for the color to fade if it is subjected to too much sunlight.
The name chrysoprase comes from the Greek chrysos meaning ‘gold’ and prason, meaning ‘leek’ or ‘bloom’. The Greeks bestowed this name due to the presence of the golden drops that appear to be contained in the stone.
Chrysoprase is found in Australia, Brazil, the Ural Mountains and in the USA, it is the valued form of the chalcedony group.
Ancient Greek, Romans and Egyptians used chrysoprase in jewelry and other ornamental objects, and due to it’s semi-opaque green color it is often mistaken for imperial jadeite.
Due to the fact that substantial deposits of this gemstone were mined in Silesia in the fourteenth century large amount of chrysoprase were used for the now infamous decoration of the chapel of St. Wenceslas in Prague.