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Chalcedony (chrysoprase, jasper, cat’s eye, tiger’s eye, onyx)

Chalcedony (chrysoprase, jasper, cat’s eye, tiger’s eye, onyx)

Hardness: 6-7
Density: 2.65
Chemical symbol: SiO2
Crystalline system: trigonal
Color: white, blue, grey, green, red, brown, black. Transparent to translucent, glassy glitter.



Quick identification:


Most chalcedonies are clearly identifiable because of their special color and unique structure.


Detailed identification:


Carnelians can be distinguished from jasper by its transparent nature at the edge of the stone. Agglomerates of calcite are much softer than onyx. Calcite fizzes vigorously if it comes into contact with diluted hydrochloric acid.

How to determine the authenticity of a chalcedony without equipment:

(quick identification – may not be reliable)

a) First, estimate the classification in the group of chalcedony based on color of the stone.


b) Try the hardness of the stone (it should make a scratch on glass).


c) Check the structure of the stone, if possible with a magnifying glass. Chalcedony is composed of a large number of microscopic quartz fibers. The fibers are so dense that they are not visible with the eye.


d) If the gem contains gas bubbles, it is glass.



Interesting facts about chalcedony (chrysoprase, jasper, cat’s eye, tiger’s eye, onyx):

1. The word chalcedony is derived name of from an ancient Greek town on the shores of the Bosporus.


2. The name chrysoprase comes from the Greek "Chrysos,” meaning “gold," and "prason," meaning “leek.”


3. In ancient times it was believed that chrysoprase protected against depression and that it improved spiritual strength and fertility.


4. In Asia, chrysoprase is very popular because of its rich green color, believed to bring prosperity and peace.


5. It is said that eleven years of constant victories for Alexander the Great was due to him wearing chrysoprase on his belt buckle.


6. Cleopatra wore a chrysoprase because she believed that it would bring her eternal youth.


7. In the 18th century, thieves would put a chrysoprase under their tongues to become invisible and escape execution.


8. The word jasper comes from the Greek for "spotted stone."


9. In medicine, jasper was used to treat problems of the pancreas, nails and sciatica.


10. Red jasper was called also the bloody stone - in ancient times it was believed that the stone was created from the Jesus' blood dropped from the cross onto the dark green stone underneath.


11. In the Middle Ages, jasper was used for protection against snake or insect bites and it was also believed to bring the rain.


12. The names cat’s eye and tiger’s eye originated from the interesting light effect these rocks produce, when light runs from one side to the other along the stone quartz fibers. The effect is reminiscent of a cat or tiger's eye and in gemology is called "chatoyancy" - from the French "oeil de chat" - cat’s eye.


13. Cat’s eye and tiger’s eye were for centuries the most popular chalcedonies. In the early 19th century, they began to lose their popularity. However, they regained their popularity at the end of 19th century when Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn gave a ring with a cat’s eye in it as an engagement ring to Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia.


14. Wearing jewelry with a cat’s eye or tiger’s eye is supposed to protect its owner from misfortune and create harmony in their life.


15. In Sri Lanka, people believe that the cat’s eye is a powerful weapon against evil spirits.


16. The word onyx is a Greek word which means “nail” or “claw.”


17. According to legend, one day while Venus was sleeping, Amor cut off her nail and left it lying on the ground. However, as no part of a god's body could die, the gods turned it into stone, which they called onyx.


18. Onyx was highly prized in ancient Rome as a sealing stone because it was believed that it never stuck to sealing wax.


19. Onyx was used in ancient Egypt. The second dynasty of rulers produced pottery from it.


20. Jewelry with onyx is a classic gift on the occasion of the seventh and tenth wedding anniversaries.

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