Located in the historic Pike Place Market, Isadora’s has specialized in exquisite antique jewelry for 38 years. Our discriminating collection includes pieces from the early 1800’s through the 1950’s, without a reproduction to be found. Our precious pieces are sent to North American Gem Lab for independent appraisals. We invite you to call our toll free number for applicable discounts. On many of our pieces, we are able to offer between 10-25% off of appraisal value.

Friday, April 8, 2011

CHRYSOPHRASE: The Other Green Stone

In the store I often get questions about the stone chrysophrase so I thought I would write a blog. 

Often mistaken for jade, chrysophrase is a beautiful opalescent green color and is part of the same rare quartz family chalcedony, as onyx, agate & carnelian.  It gets it beautiful green color from nickel and it rates a 7 on the Mohs scale.

         Like many of my favorite gemstones it has a long history.  The word "chrysophrase" comes from the Greek "Chryso" meaning gold and the root word "Prasinon" meaning green.  And the ancient Greeks and Romans used chrysophrase to make beautiful cameos and intaglios. 
         Chrysophrase can also be found in the decoration and jewelry of the Ancient Pharaohs.  And in ancient China it was believed to balance the Yin and Yang, while in India it was believed to heal a broken heart.
         One of its heydays was during the Middle Ages when it was mined in Silesia, in what is now Northern Czech Republic and Southern Poland.  So loved was this stone it was mined to exhaustion in Silesia although it can be now found on other continents.  One of its greatest consumers was Prussian King Frederick the Great who was born in 1712 and ruled from 1740-1786.  A patron of Bach and a friend with Voltaire, he was also was an enormous fan of chyrsophrase, using it to adorn his palace in Potsdam.
         Another enormous fan of chrysophrase was the famous Peter Carl Fabrage who featured it in many of his exotic pieces.

         In our store I am drawn to chrysophrase pieces used in Arts and Crafts jewelry and pieces from the Art Deco era where its distinctive apple green color gives beauty to every piece it touches.         


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