Chrysocolla vs Chrysoprase: What’s The Difference?

Chrysocolla vs Chrysoprase….two stones that are commonly confused for the other due to the similarity in their names.

Yet, these two materials really aren’t that similar, and its sort of comical that people mix them up.

Let’s get in deep on these two cool looking materials so you’ll be able to tell the difference between them.

What is Chrysocolla?

Chrysocolla is a copper bearing mineral, often found in or near where other copper bearing materials are found. It is frequently confused with other material containing copper, like malachite and turqoise.

It is most often found as a glassy botryoidal form (meaning round lumping masses), but you can also find it as tiny needle shaped crystals or tufts of fibrous crystals, as well as vein fillings.

It’s chemical formula is pretty darn complicated (Cu2-xAlx(H2-xSi2O5)(OH)4 · nH2O, x < 1), and while it often looks like the Earth (like the planet), you can find it in brown, yellow, or even black.

It’s hardness varies, from 2.5 to 7.0, depending how much of the element Silicon it has in it.

It is formed in the oxidation segments of copper ore bodies and is of secondary origin.

Associated minerals include cuprite, quartz, malachite, limonite, azurite, and more minor minerals from copper.

What is Chrysoprase?

Chrysoprase is a chalcedony (a cryptocrystalline type of silica) gemstone that comprises tiny amounts of nickel.

Its color is usually apple-colored, but it may also be dark green.

The darker Chrysoprase forms are often called prase. (However, the term prase is mainly used to characterize chlorite-included quartz and is more of a color descriptor than a precisely described mineral variation.)

It’s known for its lighter green tones. It frequently contains a variety of yellows and greens, giving it a pleasing mottled look.

Chrysoprase is made up of crystals that are so small that they can’t be seen as distinct particles except under magnification.

This distinguishes it from rock crystal, amethyst, citrine, and other crystalline quartz types. Agate, carnelian, and onyx are all members of the cryptocrystalline silica family.

Compared to many other opaque silica minerals, Chrysoprase is prized for its color rather than any marking pattern.

It is pretty hard, around a 7 on the Moh’s scale.

Chrysocolla vs Chrysoprase: Interesting Facts

  • Chrysocolla is found as thin crusts and in association with (other) copper minerals.
  • Nickel colors chrysoprase, which comes in veins and lumps.
  • Chrysocolla is much more difficult to work with than Chrysoprase. For example, the light blue version of Chrysocolla breaks apart too effortlessly to be cut or utilized for jewelry creation.
  • Unlike Chrysoprase, Chrysocolla is more like a silica gel that has become hard over time rather than a mineral. It is frequently shaped with other minerals like chalcedony, turquoise, malachite, or quartz, giving it fascinating colors and patterns and making it sufficiently tough for use as a gemstone.
  • Chrysocolla can be scratched without much effort, but Chrysoprase is far more difficult. The scratch test is a great way to figure out whether you are working with one material or the other.
  • In dilute HCl or other acids, the color of Chrysocolla can leach out. In contrast, chrysoprase’s color would be unchanged.
  • The chemical formula for Chrysocolla can vary (from what we wrote above) a result of the various components and water quantity. Chrysoprase, on the other hand, does not vary.

Chrysoprase Sources (Where Can You Find Chrysoprase?)

The United States (Arizona and California), Germany, Russia, Indonesia, West Australia, Queensland, Poland, Haneti Tanzania, and Brazil are the most well-known sources of Chrysoprase.

From the mid-1980s, sediments in the central region of Tanzania have been continuously producing. In Szklary, Poland, and the lower parts of Silesia, the Ni silicate and Chrysoprase ore deposit were most likely the most extensive Chrysoprase discovery in Europe, if not the world.

Chrysocolla Sources (Where Can You Find Chrysocolla??)

Chrysocolla is a copper-bearing mineral found in Israel, France, prime locations of the southwestern United States (Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Idaho, and New Mexico), Australia, England, Congo, Chile, the former Soviet Union, and Zaire.

Chrysocolla In Jewelry

For ages, Chrysocolla has been used as a gemstone for sculptures and ornamental purposes because it is significantly more prevalent than turquoise, has a vast availability, and has bright, lovely blue and blue-green shades.

Chrysocolla is said to be more connected to the Earth than many other gems. Its varied expressions of blue and green link it with the raw colors of the globe, establishing a crucial link between the rock and its origin.

It’s often substituted for turquoise in silversmithing and goldsmithing, and it’s relatively simple to work with and form.

Chrysocolla has a Mohs hardness range of 2 to 7, determined by the amount of silica incorporated into the stone during the formation process.

Dark navy blue chrysocolla is generally too fragile to be used in jewelry, while cyan, gray, and blue-green chrysocolla can have a hardness of about 6, comparable to turquoise.

Chrysocolla chalcedony is a highly silicified form of chrysocolla that forms in quartz deposits, and can have a hardness level of 7.

It makes sense that the harder forms of Chrysocolla are easier to work with and are more durable as a finished product.

Chrysoprase In Jewelry

Chrysoprase is an apple-green chalcedony with a nickel-based tint. It is a common gemstone for jewelry and carvings due to its toughness and great color.

Even though it is not in the precious gemstone category like a diamond, chrysoprase can be very costly.

Noting that various rings made from chrysoprase are considered luxury jewelry, they will have a high heirloom value.

How To Tell If Chrysoprase and Chrysocolla Are Real

Chrysocolla is a mineral with vivid color differences ranging from the glossiest shade of blue to the deepest shade of green due to the presence of copper.

Search for slight inclusions and flaws throughout the rock to determine whether chrysoprase is genuine or fake, as with multiple semi-precious stones.

If there are no inclusions, you’ll be in a situation where the stone is either extremely valuable or worthless, as stones rarely exist naturally without some kind of imperfection or inclusion.

Do a scratch test to confirm that the hardness of the stone is as you’d expect.

Examine the stone for indicators that it was manufactured (such as fading colors, inexplicable lines or markings).

And when all else fails, take your stone with you to a gem show or to a meeting of experienced rockhounds (like a club). They can get a good look at it and tell you pretty quickly whether you’ve got the real deal.

Wrap Up

When looking at Chrysocolla vs Chrysoprase (like in hand), the color and hardness are the major differences. Once you finally figure out how to pronounce the two names, it shouldn’t be too difficult to tell them apart.

Interested in learning more about unique rocks and minerals like stilbite, turkey fat mineral, or velvet malachite? You can also check out our blog for our latest articles.