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How chrysoprase quality is judged?


#1

Hello,

Has anyone out there worked with chrysoprase much? I know a long
time ago it used to be more valued than it is now. I have found some
sources discussing it in some detail, such that it is chalcedony
with a small amount of nickel imparting the green color.

How is the quality of it judged? I have seen some of it that is
nearly transparent, with a relatively light coloring, but some of it
that looks like good quality jade, but barely translucent. Is it
true that some of it has even been set with diamonds in platinum?

I am cutting some right now that is lightly colored, but almost
clear. It’s almost clear enough to facet. Has anyone ever faceted
it?

Thanks.
Seech


#2

Seech,

Chrysoprase is a beautiful gemstone that was used to a great extent
during the early 20th century in Art Deco design jewelry. If you look
at pieces from this time period you will see that it was used in
designs from costume all the way up to Platinum and Diamond jewelry.

The best color gems are translucent, even medium green and free of
any inclusions.

Happy New Year
Greg DeMark
www.natureinspiredjewelry.com


#3
How is the quality of it judged? I have seen some of it that is
nearly transparent, with a relatively light coloring, but some of
it that looks like good quality jade, but barely translucent. Is it
true that some of it has even been set with diamonds in platinum? 

Like you said. Color and transparency. Combination of both in good
amounts are most desirable.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#4

I’m crazy about chrysoprase, as long as it has some translucency,
from grass to seawater greens. I have set and sold several lovely
cabs, and have more (the best) that I wear regularly. Personally I’d
LOVE to see how a facted chrysoprase turned out. The faceted blue
chalcedony I’ve seen was pretty crappy, though the rough was quite
opaque.


#5

I have cut and carved a bit of chrysoprase and how the quality is
judged is by the lovely strong and rich green apple color with a nice
translucency and no rubbish in it, i.e. bits of white which gives you
a pitted surface and not a nice polish, I am not sure of the
technical name for the inclusions but you can see it if you put a
strong light behind it.

It’s a favourite for carvers as it takes a lovely polish and is hard
enough to make elaborate shapes. The only problem is there is very
little quality material available even here in Australia as a Chinese
company owns the better producing mine in Marlborough, Queensland.

There is a mine is Western Australia that is producing but I think
the best quality is only found in small amounts, They carve a lot of
pretty tacky stuff with it in china and I think a lot of the better
quality it gets sold as imperial jade to unsuspecting buyers, I have
a lovely quality piece of it that I can send you an image of so you
get the idea of what color and translucency in quality chrysoprase
looks like.

I will get around to carving something with it one day but its such
a nice piece that every time I get it out to play I am loath to touch
it and not be happy with the result.

I think New Era gems get rough sometimes but they are finding it
hard to get quality also. NO interest here just saw them in Tucson
years ago and they had some of the nicest rough I had ever seen and I
tried to buy it but the whole lot was bought in one go. That’s what
happens to good rough.

Happy New Year to all
Christine in the Ridge


#6

Hi Christine,

Personally I'd LOVE to see how a facted chrysoprase turned out. 

Not better than cabbed, I am afraid. I cut both with some good
material and I think it looks better in a cab or carved. My opinion
only, though.

I can put it on my blog if you would like to see the difference
between a facetted and cabbed piece, if you want.

Cheers. Hans Meevis


#7

Hello,

Has anyone out there worked with chrysoprase much? I know a long
time ago it used to be more valued than it is now. I have found
some sources discussing it in some detail, such that it is
chalcedony with a small amount of nickel imparting the green color. 

That sounds correct. I’ve carved and cabbed some; never tried
faceting it. It worked okay, as long as I didn’t run into any of the
white inclusions that occur randomly in the material.

How is the quality of it judged? I have seen some of it that is
nearly transparent, with a relatively light coloring, but some of
it that looks like good quality jade, but barely translucent. Is it
true that some of it has even been set with diamonds in platinum? 

Sure; why not? I’ve seen beach pebbles treated that way too. I
always thought that the cleaner the material was (fewer of those
nasty inclusions) and the brighter/deeper the color (It’s not
exactly the color of Imperial jade, but close) the more valuable it
was. But none of it is all that expensive. Lightness and
transparency subtracts value, as far as I know - it’s valued
primarily for its color.

Andrew Werby
www.unitedartworks.com


#8
I can put it on my blog if you would like to see the difference
between a facetted and cabbed piece, if you want. 

Would love to see it, Hans. My favorite piece is a cab that is about
25mm oval and is the color of the bay at Aquinnah on Martha’s
Vineyard on a sunny day. Green with blue, very soft, and not quite
transparent. Needs to be reset, because I put it in a silver bezel
cup setting, and soon you’ll be able to see oxidation under it.
Mistake. Still learning.

Chris


#9
I put it in a silver bezel cup setting, and soon you'll be able to
see oxidation under it. 

This may not please purists (hope I’m not opening a can of worms)
but my solution for this is to put a piece of mylar (that shiny,
mirror-bright material used for chip bags and candy wrappers) under
translucent stones. It reflects light beautifully, and will remain
unchanged til the next ice age.

Or, you can bring up the fine silver then polish. I like mylar.

Noel


#10

As in many cases with stones, I think there should be preferences in
assessing quality vis a vis color, rather than strict rules.

I have many shades of clean chrysoprase and have come to the
conclusion that as long as it’s clean, nicely translucent and well
saturated with color, nearly any shade of green can be of good
quality. The uniformity of color can also be a factor.

I have pieces of rough and also cabs that are much bluer than the
standard and others that have a great deal more yellow. Personally I
like the bluer shades and tend not to prefer the yellow. But I also
have some that has streaks of blue/green and white that are extremely
attractive. So although the green similar to imperial jade is
preferred by many, I think some of the other shades are of equal
quality as gem material. To me the glow is the most important part of
the stone. Some of it seems to gather any light in a room and that’s
what attracts me.

Derek Levin
www.gemmaker.com