Chrysocolla varieties

I found that two of the slabs of the chrysocolla which I have are
different from the others which I know are parrot Wing. The ones that
are different have no red in them, are mainly various shades of deep,
rich turquoise color, mottled with lighter shades of green, also
slightly streaked with greenish ivory, and have lots of black veins
in interesting patterns. When I hold the slabs up to the light, I see
that some of the veins are transparent, and there are some very small
areas which are transparent–colorless.

Are these chrysocolla, or something else? I believe they may be
softer than the parrot wing. When I hit them together, I get a
ringing sound, but not as high pitched as the parrot wing.

This is exciting. I am looking forward to my first attempt at being a
lapidary. Until I found this box stored away all these years, it just
never entered my mind.


can you scratch it with a pocket knife blade? or a piece of fluorite?
chrysocola has a hardness of about 3. Usually is blue, blue/green, or
green. Other colors in the rock are (or should be) other minerals in
the rock specimen.


it sounds like it may be chrysocolla and malachite in
quartz/silica…the black is probably tenorite, also a copper based
mineral. Most likely, you would probably call this chrysocolla in
quartz…it can have variable hardness depending on how silicated
the chrysocolla/malachite is compared to the quartz/silica patches.
Often still very cuttable but you have to watch for undercutting,
and sometimes they may break along softer parts of the slab…all
depends on the indiv. slab etc.


chrysocolla is pretty soft. But gem grade chrysocolla is intimately
combined with chalcedony, making it hard and beautiful and
expensive. It is an evenly colored translucent blue green.

Rose Alene

Alma and others

is it possible to have pictures? …parrot wing? other types

I have a piece of chrysocolla and don’t want to wreck it before I
even start.

Enjoying this thread.

is it possible to have pictures?...parrot wing? other types 

Simone, when I get some polished I will take photographs and send
them on.


Here is a link to a cab I made from Chrysocolla that came from the
Inspiration mine in Arizona. It’s awesome looking material!

Marty Andersen

Marty, your Chrysocolla cab is absolutely gorgeous. I am eager to get
started cutting and polishing mine, but am taking my time learning
more about how to use the equipment I have. I have been practicing on
some inexpensive stones, and learning that one cannot rush through
the various steps. You got a wonderful shine on your Chrysocolla.


Orchidians may view some other photos of chrysocolla at the
following websites:

Mike DeBurgh, GJG
Henderson, NV

Most chrysoclla is useless for cutting cabs, it is an ore of copper
which is quite soft similar to chalk turquoise. I,ve heard some
cutters say touch it to your tongue, if it sticks its too soft for
cutting I don’t know if there is any danger from toxic metals doing
this just passing it along. What makes chrysocolla cutable is the
presence of silica. The best grades also refered to as gem silica are
a beautiful transparent blue-green and quite hard. There is a lot of
latitude between the two.Parrot Wing if my memory is correct came
from the Ray mine in Arizona and was know for its additional bright
reds etc. which technically are probably not chrysocolla but other
associated copper minerals. There has apparently been a recent find
of similar material in Mexico. I have some beautiful material I got
from Don Olson in Tucson last year with all types of patterns,
beautiful cabs but it is brittle so I doubt it has much silical
content however with care it can be set.

Dave Owen

fyi…I have a picture of a fairly high grade gem silica posted at

there are other examples of chrysocolla and silicated chrysocolla in
my various photo albums on my facebook fan page:

A lot of chrysocolla is not pure chrysocolla, aside from silica, it
may contain other copper minerals such as malachite, cuprite,
tenorite, as well as any number of associated minerals…I think even
covelite and I have seen what looks like calcite in some of my
material (squarish, white/yellow crystals…soft)


To all the picts of chrysocolla…wow…

Would it be accurate to say that Parrot wing ranges from the green to
sea blue OR is the slim definition just the stunning blue seen in
some of the recent postings. Really heart stopping.

My piece is funny. It has the blue on either side of a silica type
intrusion. I’m thinking that I’ll have to cut it in 3 pieces and
isolate the middle piece which I can tell is harder than the 2
outside pieces.


Simone, it really depends on how big the silica part is and how hard
the surrounding material is. A lot of my material with silica veins
in it is pretty hard in general because the silica/chalcedony is
mixed in with the chrysocolla/malachite, so it cuts well
too…however, I have some where there are really soft patches of
chrysocolla, almost powdery, in silica… also, often the edges of
the vein are often much softer material, and sometimes crumbly. Play
it by ear.

As to the blue…I actually have one batch I recently started
cutting that came out so brilliantly Cyan blue, that it messes up my
camera’s sensors and comes out too blue in the digital image.almost
Neon! I found that I got a more realistic color by scanning it


Those pictures of chrysocolla are amazing. Gorgeous material.
However, I am a bit puzzled about what determines whether a stone is
gem chrysocolla, or parrot wing chrysocolla… I was under the
impression that the parrot wing variety had shades of turquoise,
greens, reds, bits of black, and ivory. However, in the pictures the
ones shown as parrot wing are a clear green or sea blue. If true
parrot wing chrysocolla is a sold color of green or blue then mine
must be another variety. I’ll try to get some pictures so that you
can see what I have. In the box of with these stones, I also found
some rough (not slabs), of what is the clear green. With my limited
knowledge of lapidary, I have not attempted to cut them… I’m still
practicing on some agate and other stones so that I feel more
comfortable with my equipment.

I certainly appreciate all the help you have been giving me, both on
the forum and off line.


Alma - Parrot Wing can vary - but you are right it should have the
colors traditionally shown in a Parrot’s wing - hence the name.

I haven’t seen much around lately - I have attached a photo of a
piece that I cut about 5 years ago…this was the very first stone I
ever cut so disregard that obvious dip in the upper left…

I loved this rough because of the subtle red in it and the
variegated blues, greens and touch of yellow.

Robyn Hawk

Robyn, thanks for sending on the picture of the one you cut. It is
similar in color to one of the slabs I have.