Chrysoprase is a translucent variety of chalcedony. Chrysoprase is pale to vivid green in colour. The name of this gemstone is derived from the Greek ‘chrysos prason,’ which means ‘gold leek.’ This name refers to the colour of the gemstone, which can vary from a very pale green to vivid apple green. Nickel is the colouring agent in chrysoprase, and it is seen as one of the most desirable of the chalcedony variety.
Chrysoprase has been used in jewellery since pre-Roman times, often as cameos or intaglios in rings and pendants. Legend has it that Alexander the Great wore chrysoprase to all of his winning battles, and it was only when he lost his amulet that he was defeated. Chrysoprase is found in Australia, Brazil, India, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Russia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Tanzania and the USA.