This article will give you an in depth look at Chrysoprase and Jade, what they look like, where they come from and what they are used for.
Chrysoprase vs Jade (Explained)
Green Jade (Jadeite and Nephrite) is a natural crystalline structure.
There are many Jade imitations such as green dyed Chalcedony or dyed Calcite or imitations made from green polymers.
However, rather than “imitations” there are also naturally occurring genuine green Jade look-alikes such as Chrysoprase, Serpentine, Australian Prehnite, and Hydrogrossular Garnet.
Those who enjoy the attractive look of green jade yet utilize a cost-effective budget, may turn to chrysoprase as a great, and equally beautiful substitute gemstone.
What Is Jade?
The mineral referred to as “Jade” can actually be one of two different silicate minerals: nephrite (a silicate of calcium and magnesium in the amphibole group of minerals), or jadeite (a silicate of aluminum and sodium in the pyroxene group of minerals.
Jade is mostly known for its green varieties, though it appears naturally in other colors as well, notably yellow, white, brown, and black.
Its most sought-after hue, that of imperial Burmese jade, is similar to emerald or apple green.
Burmese jade is one of the world’s most expensive gems.
For centuries, Jade has been well known throughout the entire world, but it has always been culturally most popular in East Asia, South Asian, Mexico and Guatemala. Dushan Jade was mined as early as 6000 BC.
In the Yin Ruins of the Shang Dynasty (1600 to 1050 BC), Dushan Jade ornaments were unearthed in the tomb of the Shang kings.
Due to Jade’s fibrous structure making it almost indestructible, it was also used to tool material into swords and daggers.
These weapons made by Jade not only physically protected their owner from harm, but they were also believed to metaphysically ward off bad, heal and protect.
Today, jade mines aren’t as abundant due to depletion over hundreds of years.
The world’s biggest jade mines are still located in Southeast Asia, in a town named Myanmar.
Still, this durable and versatile material is an inspiration today in some cultures to many designers, jewelers and artists alike.
Since jade is believed to be a protective stone, especially during travel, many keep a bit of jade in their car or suitcase.
Due to Jade’s natural magnetism, artists are advised not to use this stone anywhere near credit cards, pacemakers, or other magnet-sensitive items.
What Is Chrysoprase?
Chrysoprase, also known as Australian Jade, is one of the rarest and most valuable forms of chalcedony.
It is a cryptocrystalline variety of chalcedony, made up of very small pieces of quartz crystals, so small they can’t be seen under standard methods of magnification.
Chrysoprase is colored bright green by trace amounts of nickel and its name derives from the Greek words for gold and green.
In its most exceptional form, this beautiful green ornamental gemstone has a glowing, ethereal quality with a translucent, even color and texture.
Chrysoprase possesses an intense color rivalling that of imperial Burmese jade; however, not to be fooled, as it is a distinctly different mineral with its own unique properties.
Western and Southern Australian deposits found in the early 19000s provide nearly the entire world’s production of quality chrysoprase.
Due to its geological environment and a uniquely high nickel content, superior quality chrysoprase originates from the Marlborough district in Queensland.
Queensland chrysoprase transmits a deeper, richer colored version of the gemstone than other localities.
Marlborough material became a popular export to the People’s Republic of China for domestic consumption as a jade substitute, leading to high demand of chrysoprase within the Asian market.
While some mines focus on unearthing the jewel, several locations, such as Queensland’s also focus on extracting the metal that gives chrysoprase its variety of green colors.
Other chrysoprase locations containing smaller amounts of the gem derive from Brazil, the United States, Russia, and Africa, near deposits containing copper, opal and other minerals.
Chrysoprase’s toughness, hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale, superb durability, and ability to acquire a fine polish makes it ideal for a wide variety of cutting styles.
Queen Anne of England, and Peter Carl Fabergé, a famous Russian jeweler of the 19th century, often notably favored chrysoprase jewelry, aiding to its popularity.
More recently, European and American jewelry houses like Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co have showcased the gemstone at red carpet events.
What’s The Difference Between Chrysoprase and Jade?
Federal Trade Commission guidelines have strict policies regarding accurately labeling gemstones and jewels.
One of the most important is that one gemstone should not be called another.
While chrysoprase is often referred to as “Jadine” or “Australian jade,” truthful jewelers will use their correct terms such as “chalcedony” or “chrysoprase” to avoid confusing or misleading their buyers with misnomers, as its chemical formula and crystalline structure is very different from jade.
For those who aren’t certain if their green gem is jade or chrysoprase, there are multiple ways to tell them apart.
There are a few methods to help find out if the gemstone is Jade or chrysoprase.
Identification of the variety becomes a rather routine exercise, and one way is through its specific gravity.
While chrysoprase is between 2.59 and 2.61, nephrite jade is slightly heavier at 2.95, and jadeite jade ranges from 3.24 to 3.43.
A gemologist can identify the stone by the refractive index, which is also distinct, with chrysoprase at 1.530 to 1.543, and both jades measuring over 1.6.
This means, Jade is more likely to scratch, but less likely to break or chip off, making jade tougher than chrysoprase.
A gem lab with the capability to run Raman spectroscopy can also tell whether it is natural, dyed or treated jadeite, or Chrysoprase.
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