The question of whether Chrysocolla is a gemstone unto itself or a mixture of copper hydroxide spertinite, water and amorphous silica is still an issue in the world of mineralogy. What is known is that it has been used for centuries by smiths as well as in ornamental carvings and jewelry.
The name Chrysocolla came from the Greek words for “gold” (“chrysos”) and “glue” (“kola”) because of its ability to bond metals which supports the finds of the archaeologists.
The gem’s rich blue-green color is striking and metaphysical properties make it the perfect addition to any collection. This is a gemstone with a fascinating history that is well-worth your time to examine further.
General Information about Chrysocolla
Chrysocolla has been used for centuries in many countries throughout the world. A Greek botanist and philosopher named Theophrastus first described it in 315 BC. Archaeologists discovered much more about the mineral in recent years including the fact that is was a common compound used as solder as early as 17 BC in the products of many Roman silver and goldsmiths.
The Egyptians also coveted the gem believing that it could shield a person’s mind during negotiations, increase sensitivity and reduce violence. It was dubbed the “wise stone” which is why Cleopatra had it added to the jewelry she wore.
Legend has it that the Romans were so powerful there were 4 factions making up the elite of society. Nero was not only emperor but also head of the Green faction. It is said that when he hosted chariot games, he would have Chrysocolla ground up and spread on top of the sand so the Colosseum would glow with a greenish hue. Chrysocolla made the event all that more spectacular and, he felt, gave his group a decided edge in the outcome of the competition.
Later, during the Renaissance Era, painters would grind up the stone to create a pigment in their paint. Even in America Chrysocolla was used by the Native Americans; it was believed to promote calmness during times of stress while strengthening resistance to temptations. The ancient Africans and Tibetans used it as a healing stone.
Varieties: Azurite, Eilat Stone, Aluminian Chrysocolla, Aluminian-Ferrian Chrysocolla, Cyanochalcit-Chrysocolla and Apache Chrysocolla.
Color: blackish blue, dark blue, dark green, blue, cyan (blue-green), green, brown, multicolored.
Hardness: 2 – 7.
Crystal System: Orthorhombic – monoclinic, botryoidal.
Crystal Habit: botryoidal, massic, nodular or globular.
Fracture: Irregular/uneven, sub-conchoidal.
Tenacity: brittle – sectile.
Diaphaneity: translucent – opaque.
Hardness: 2.5-7 depending on silica and copper content.
Clarity: vitreous to greasy to dull.
Optical Properties: biaxial (-).
Refractive Index: 1.5 approximately.
Transparency: Opaque to almost translucent.
Chrysocolla is a copper phyllosilicate that includes elements of aluminum and forms in the oxidized zone of copper ore deposits or hydrothermal replacement deposits. It can also be found covered with a layer of quartz that is clear and glossy or growing within the quartz.
Chrysocolla is one of the few gemstones that ranges in hardness from extremely soft to extremely hard. In some varieties it appears much like turquoise and its hardness is directly dependent on its color. Its copper impurities gives it its alluring color and frequently forms in the presence of other copper-bearing minerals.
Although it is found in igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, rarely can it be found in visible crystals. The gem can also develop with clear, crystal quartz creating a natural doublet. In this form the hardness of the gem can be turned into jewelry and frequently contains interesting patterns.
Metaphysical Details about Chrysocolla
Just as in days of yore, Chrysocolla is believed to relieve feelings of tension, guilt and fear during stressful times replacing it instead with a feeling of peace and calm. It is associated with the Throat Chakra that is low energy. This Chakra serves as a conduit through which other Chakras can be expressed. It can also inhibit the other Chakras from performing well if it is blocked or becomes out-of-balance.
When working as it should it allows you to effectively communicate your emotions, ideas and beliefs while ensuring an easy flow of energy throughout the body. It also aligns with the Heart Chakra that regulates your ability to interact with the world and determines what you defy and embrace. When out-of-balance you may have strong emotional responses to everyday situations. You may feel like things are out of your control especially when it comes to relationships.
Chrysocolla soothes the mind throughout the day bringing harmony and inspiration. It remains first and foremost a communication gemstone. The gem allows you to become a teacher by empowering you to express your wisdom while revealing truth and encouraging compassion for others. It is an especially valuable tool if you speak for a living or have a career in the music industry.
Since it is a calming stone, Chrysocolla is especially helpful for disorders associated with anxiety, depression and hyperactivity. It can also help first time mothers not only during their pregnancies but also during the stressful first weeks at home with their new baby.
The gemstone is believed to relieve sore throats, reduce high blood pressure, balance blood sugar and resolve problems in the lungs. It can also relieve pain associated with arthritis, rheumatism and joint surgery while aiding digestion.
Where Can We Find Chrysocolla Today?
Chrysocolla is mined throughout the world but is primarily found in conjunction with copper deposits. Some of the best blobs and crusts of the gemstone are found in places like the Congo, Israel and Kolwezi. An excellent pseudomorph variety has been discovered in Australia although deposits have also been mined in Peru and Chile.
Perhaps the most outstanding forms have been found in Arizona and Colorado in the U.S. Other areas where it is currently mined is in England, Mexico, Taiwan and Russia.
Final Thoughts about Chrysocolla
Chrysocolla is a spellbinding gemstone that is especially coveted for the unique patterns found within it along with its cool colors. It has a fascinating history that demonstrates how important it was to civilizations from the earliest recorded times.
Along with its soothing metaphysical properties, it is a gem that would be a perfect addition whether in the form of the soft stone to use during meditation or in jewelry that can be worn during stressful situations during the day.