Chrysocolla

Chrysocolla is a stone that many people may not be familiar with by name, but most certainly will recognize in jewelry by its bluish-green color with patterns of darker markings throughout. It is actually not categorized as a gemstone, per se, but is one of the commonly used minerals in costume jewelry and most recently, tribal or statement pieces. Because chrysocolla is a relatively soft mineral, it is not often used for rings unless it is fashioned in a bezel, or cabochon setting to protect the stone that is only graded at a 2.0 to 3.0 on the Mohs scale. Nonetheless, some extremely beautiful pieces are made with chrysocolla and they are reasonably to moderately priced.

Nature’s Peace Stone

Because of the soothing and calming effect of the blue-green stone, chrysocolla is often called “Nature’s Peace Crystal.” You will often find “Love Beads” or “Peace Beads” made with chrysocolla beads, often with other stones in a variety of earth colors. Reminiscent of the 1960’s, many of these beads are strung on black rope and some have a sterling silver peace pendant hanging from the front. The beads are tumbled and polished to give them a smooth, shiny surface.

Chrysocolla in Cabochon Settings

Chrysocolla, when used as a stone for a ring, is most often a cabochon which is a stone that is convex (domed) on the top with a flat base which is set against a metal base. Most often chrysocolla cabochons are also bezel set to protect the rim of this soft mineral. You will commonly find cabochon chrysocolla rings with an oval ring and less commonly with a round or heart shaped stone. This style was prevalent in the Victorian era and often the bezel setting was quite ornate. Cabochon chrysocolla rings are usually large statement pieces set in sterling silver, but may also be set in gold in the presence of other gemstones such as Swarovski crystals.

Druzy Chrysocolla Jewelry
Druzy, also spelled drusy, is a process where an outer layer of sparkle is created giving the stone an almost magical, ethereal appeal. Although the sparkling effect adds beauty to the stone, its purpose is twofold. Encrusting the outer layer in tiny shimmering crystals through a vapor process adds hardness to this otherwise soft stone, making it much more practical for pieces that tend to get knocked about such as rings and bracelets. However, some of the loveliest earrings and pendants are also crafted from druzy chrysocolla stones. Some druzy chrysocollas are found in nature while others are encrusted in a vapor chamber. You are likely to find a great deal of druzy chrysocolla fashioned into tribal or statement pieces, set in 18k or 22k gold.

Peruvian Chrysocolla Jewelry
Much of the chrysocolla jewelry on the market in the United States is fashioned with stones from Peru and two designers who have lovely pieces made with Peruvian chrysocolla are Jay King and Michael Valitutti. Both are known to employ the cabochon style, many of which are in bezel settings. The stones themselves are often cut oval or round, but some are also diamond or square with rounded corners. Michael Valitutti has an exquisite 18k vermeil/silver palladium Paraiba quartz with white sapphire ring where the bezel setting is done in open filigree work selling for approximately $120 and worth every penny of the price.

While not actually a gemstone, chrysocolla is used in some of the trendiest jewelry that can be found at affordable prices. Although there are some pieces that run upwards of a thousand dollars, most often the price tag for a chrysocolla ring or pendant is $100 or less. Factors that affect price would be other stones in the setting as well as the metal that is used. Understandably 18k or 22k gold would be pricier than sterling silver, but even then, chrysocolla jewelry is affordable and just as fashionable as any of the higher end gems that carry a larger price tag.

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