In Praise of Chrysoprase

While the buzz about the discovery of aquaprase continues, I’m much more inclined to go crazy for classic chrysoprase—in my opinion, nothing tops its beautiful green hue. The industry calls it “apple green,” but the shades I’ve seen alternately remind me of some lemon-lime shave ice I sampled on Oahu’s North Shore and Friendly’s pistachio ice cream. And while it could be because I’m drawn to chrysoprase like a magnet (kind of like my cat and the laser pointer’s little red dot), I have been seeing quite a bit of it lately, and I showcase a few new favorite pieces below.

But first, some fun tidbits about the gem that were news to me (and made me love it even more):

• Chrysoprase is a naturally green variety of chalcedony—the color comes from the mineral’s nickel content.

• It rates a 7 on the Mohs scale—same as amethyst, a little less than tsavorite.

• Frederick the Great, the king of Prussia from 1740 to 1786, was obsessed with the stone and adorned the interiors of Sanssouci, his palace in Potsdam, with all manner of chrysoprase furniture and decor.

• Graf von Faber-Castell’s 2015 pen of the year was inspired by Frederick the Great and his opulent palace—the special-edition version pairs 24k gold plating with chrysoprase inlay.

• Chrysoprase looks amazing with black—Google photos of Julia Roberts at the 2015 Screen Actors Guild Awards, where she paired a black Givenchy pantsuit with diamond and chrysoprase jewels from Tiffany &Co., and try not to freak out.

• Last summer, this gorgeous gold, chrysoprase, and coral necklace by Aldo Cipullo for Cartier sold for $22,500 at Sotheby’s.

But my picks are much easier on the wallet…

Earrings in 14k gold with chrysoprase slices, $1,525; Emily Amey Jewelry

Fresh ring in 14k rose gold with 6.03 ct. oval rose-cut chrysoprase and pavé diamond halo, $3,045; Anne Sportun

Icicle bracelet with chrysoprase in 14k rose gold on a handwoven silk and silver chain, $970; Brooke Gregson

Fusion ring in 18k yellow gold and silver with 10.55 ct. chrysoprase, $1,535; Kaali Designs

Skinny chrysoprase bar necklace in 14k yellow gold with pavé diamonds, $6,250; Jacquie Aiche

Gemma earrings with chrysoprase and opal, chrysoprase beads, and Isabella chrysoprase necklace, prices on request; all Lauren K

Earrings in 22k gold and sterling silver with chrysoprase and diamonds, $1,475; Ananda Khalsa

Ring in sterling silver and 14k gold with chrysoprase and 0.25 ct. diamond, $1,475; Jamie Joseph

Ariel necklace with chrysoprase on a 14k yellow gold-fill chain, $67.50; Lotus Jewelry Studio

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Amy Elliott

JCK Contributing Editor

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