Chalcedony Gemstones: Some Interesting FactsFebruary 05, 2020
Chalcedony is a gemstone I’m not at all familiar with, couldn’t pick it out if it were in a collection of other gemstones. Having come across it in a novel I read recently – a novel that had nothing whatsoever to do with gemstones – I decided to investigate it and now I can tell you, in case you too are unfamiliar with it, what I learned, Firstly, however, you need to know that Chalcedony is a specific gemstone species that belongs to the quartz group or family of minerals.
As in all families its members are often identified with different names not including the actual word Chalcedony and therein lies the difficulty of identifying a Chalcedony from all the rest in whatever collection.
Quartz, as you probably know, is one of the most prolific minerals on earth, second only to the feldspars, but as I said above, Chalcedony belongs to a very specific group or type of quartz, namely cryptocrystalline quartz, a distinct variety of quartz whose crystalline structure is so fine distinct particles cannot be seen or recognized even under a microscope.
Chalcedony, therefore, is the gemological term for all varieties of quartz in cryptocrystalline form and is often referred to as ‘actual Chalcedony’ or ‘chalcedony in the narrow sense’. To minimize the confusion, and because Chalcedony is a member of the wonderful, colorful quartz family, other varieties of cryptocrystalline quartz are traded under their own individual names: Agate, Carnelian, Jasper, Onyx, and the brand-new, only recently discovered Aqua phase.
Other Interesting and fewer confusing aspects or Characteristics of Chalcedony
Being a quartz, albeit a particularly distinctive type of quartz, and one of the most abundant minerals on earth, Chalcedony has often been mis-identified or wrongly classified as a ‘fibrous’ variety of cryptocrystalline quartz while in reality, as was discovered recently, it is actually a combination of quartz and another silicate mineral, Morganite (a particularly beautiful gemstone in its own right).
Additionally, Chalcedony is not a new gemstone but a very old one that, according to archaeologists, was prized among ancient civilizations for jewellery and tool making as far back as the Bronze Age, and later by the ancient Greeks, ancient Romans. Babylonians, Assyrians, and many Native American Tribes. These Native American tribes, in fact, again according to archaeologists, consider Chalcedony as sacred and therefore use it in traditional ceremonial gatherings to strengthen and stabilize the bonds between the tribes.
Chalcedony rates 7 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness therefore making it ideal for all types of jewellery, cuts, and carvings such as ornamental figurines, cameos, insignia, and seals and because of its versatility it is often featured in the most elite jewellery magazines, such as Modern Jeweler, Lapidary Journals, and Metalsmith. It is also loved by both men and women again because of its versatility and low maintenance. It is also beloved by sculptors.
Chalcedony’s Believed Properties
Being an ‘old’ stone, it should come as no surprise that Chalcedony is believed to have certain magical properties or qualities. They include strength, healing, endurance, and stamina; the unique ability to balance all the energies of the body, mind, and spirit; the power to alleviate symptoms of fever, various eye illnesses, and leukemia; encourage generosity, charity, kindness, receptivity, and responsiveness in all those who wear it.
Some of the most popular ‘official’ Chalcedony varieties
Some of the most popular varieties include Agate or Banded Agate because of its coloring, and the rarest of all agates, the Fire Agate, which exhibits an iridescent property reflecting colors of red, gold, green, blue, and violet; Chrysoprase in its beautiful apple-green colour is often mistaken or misrepresented as ‘imperial jade’; Chrysocolla Chalcedony, marketed as ‘gem silica’ is one of the most valuable and rare varieties of Chalcedony, and the exquisite Chalcedony Aquaprase in its sandy, earthy tones combined with the blue of the ocean reflect, unite or mirror the reality of the natural world that surrounds us making the wearer more acutely aware of him/herself in his/her surroundings. No wonder this beautiful newcomer to the gem trade is already a favorite, loved by everyone who sees it.
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