Chrysoprase is a leek-green to bright-green chalcedonic variety of Quartz, owing to approximate 1% oxide of nickel, for its remarkable color, though golden and yellowish tints of this gemstone occasionally meet.
Chrysoprase gets its name thanks to “golden leek,” and its Greek translation, referenced to its color. Our ancestors believed, that Chrysoprase is an indeed Emerald, which lost its color due to the influence of poison.
Unfortunately, the Chrysoprase indeed could lose its splendid leek-green (or apple-green) color due to the action of light, although there is an information that it could be recovered, thanks to a solution of nitrate of nickel.
History of Chrysoprase
Chrysoprase has been discovered by the German (Prussian) officer in 1740 in the region, known earlier as Silesia, however, some sources tell us that this gemstone has been discovered prior to this date, due to the fact, that it has been used to decorate the walls of Wenzel Chapel (modern St. Vitus Cathedral), built in the Czech Republic in XIV century.
Chrysoprase was a favorite stone of Frederick the Great. Prussian king possessed two tables entirely made of Chrysoprase. Additionally, this gemstone was used in mosaic, that decorated Emperor’s palace called Sans Souci (modern Sanssouci). Thanks to Frederick the Great of Prussia, Chrysoprase rapidly came in vogue in ancient Germany and subsequently in Europe.
Chrysoprase in Folklore
In spite of the official version, there is a charming Romanian legend, describing the origin of Chrysoprase. The legend says, that the Princess Trina has been ready to sell her wedding gift in the form of a precious lizard (where the lizard’s eyes were decorated with Chrysoprase), to provide a food to the inhabitants of her kingdom, during the famine.
The jeweler, who created this jewel, has warned the princess never to part with her mascot, because, according to the jeweler’s words, the Chrysoprase could bring fabulous treasures and, furthermore, to provide an opportunity to learn the language of the animals to its wearer.
Noble Princess has cried and praying for her people, when, unexpectedly, the lizard with apple-green Chrysoprase eyes began to speak with her. The lizard said, that the princess could find a solution of the kingdom’s problems, beside the river.
The princess followed the lizard’s advice and headed to the river. She has examined almost whole river and all tributaries, when, entirely exhausted and tired, she has discovered an abundant treasure of Chrysoprase, that was sufficient to provide her people and to provide a prosperity of the entire kingdom.
Moreover, since that day, the waters of the Râul Doamnei river have acquired a leek-green color, that could be easily proved nowadays.
According to the U.K. chart, Chrysoprase is the Birthstone appropriate for May. However, Helen Bartlett Bridgman in her book “GEMS” (p. 86) has mentioned that Chrysoprase is the Birthstone appropriate for December, according to Poles tradition.