We noted in our February issue that lavender chalcedony is fast becoming a hot commodity among gem artists and jewelry designers (“Lavender Chalcedony: A New Find,” JCK, February 2001, p. 58). And that has sparked renewed interest in an old favorite—blue chalcedony.
“It’s been around a lot longer than I have been in the business,” says Greg Fraser of Fraser-Chan Designs in Toronto. “I’m a relative newcomer though, just five years or so. But I have read articles about blue chalcedony in which people moaned about not buying truckloads of it in the ’60s when it was dirt cheap.”
Blue chalcedony has been confused with the lavender material, but only when the two are not seen side-by-side. There is a somewhat subtle color difference, and both can vary in saturation and depth of color. “The material I use most is from a mine in Namibia, owned by Topstones, of South Africa,” says Fraser. “There are other African sources, but the material is usually a little grainier, less translucent, and a little different color. There are several American sources—Mt. Airy [Nevada], Ellensburg [Washington], and Mojave [California]. Each has its own characteristics. I’ve seen blue and lavender—well, at least some nice translucent purple—come from the same deposit [Mt. Airy, a mine owned by Chris Rose of High Desert Gems], but not mixed in one stone. And there are other international sources, too.”