Citron or Lemon “Chrysoprase” vs Chrysoprase

Lemon Chrysoprase or Citron Chrysoprase are not Chrysoprase at all! While the colors are somewhat similar, and they both DO contain nickel, that is where the commonality stops.

This began in the marketing, trade name industry and as often happens, is passed down from miner to wholesaler to retail vendors and shop keeps. Let’s look at both and compare.

Citron Chrysoprase/Lemon Chrysoprase/Citron–NOT Chrysoprase

This is “Lemon Chrysoprase” also called “Citron or Citron Chrysoprase”. It is more accurately identified as a variety of Magnesite.

citron
“Citron” is a nickle rich Magnesite
  • Chemical Formula: MgCO3
  • Crystal System: Trigonal
  • Hardness: 3.5 to 4.5
  • Member of: Calcite Group
  • Classification: Carbonates
  • Color: Nickle rich

Chrysoprase, the REAL Stuff

chrysoprase
Chrysoprase

This is a true Chrysoprase. Chrysoprase is an apple green variety of Chalcedony which is a variety of Quartz. Its Green color is caused by microscopic inclusions of silicates with Nickel bearing layers.

  • Chemical Formula: SiO2
  • Crystal System: Trigonal
  • Hardness: 6.5 – 7
  • Member of: Quartz family
  • Classification: Cryptocrystalline quartz
  • Color: Nickel

So, as you can see, there are similarities, as both are colored by Nickle. But the Chemical Formulas, the hardness and the groups of which they are a member are all very different.

If you know me, you know I am a purist. So while this is “just a name” it is a confusing one, especially if you are specifically looking for a Chrysoprase and end up getting a Carbonate instead.

References:

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