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chrysoprase-magnesite-core.jpg (498405 bytes) tumbled-chrysoprase.jpg (108109 bytes) chrysoprase-ganesha.jpg (131174 bytes) chrysoprase-dish.jpg (99409 bytes)

 

cute-chrysoprase-nodule.jpg (25154 bytes) jamieson-chrysoprase.jpg (70733 bytes)  chrysoprase-nodule.jpg (74767 bytes)  translucent-chrysoprase-sla.jpg (115682 bytes)

 

 

 

Chrysoprase is a variety of chalcedony that is coloured green by the presence of nickel mineralisation.

It is sometimes referred to as “Australian Jade” due to its resemblance  to Burmese imperial jade .

The majority of chrysoprase mined in Western Australia came from a place called Yerilla which is about 100 miles
north of Kalgoorlie which in turn is approximately 400 miles east of the capital, Perth.

Yerilla is situated in a belt of country some hundreds of miles in extent that in places is extremely rich in nickel,
in fact there are a number of large nickel mines operating currently.

In the ultramafic rocks that host the mineralisation, certain secondary minerals occur. The two most common are magnesite and opaline silica.

Weathering and alteration (oxidation) of silicate minerals such as serpentine during lateritisation generates iron oxides
and releases silica and nickel which are transported down through the developing laterite profile to be re-deposited
in veins and nodules (possibly replacing magnesite) where chemical conditions provide favourable sites.

The opaline silica can take various forms such as multi-colored dendritic opalite, moss agate (dendritic chalcedony) and of course chrysoprase.

The chrysoprase occurs usually as veins but sometimes nodules in the saprolitic clays overlying serpentinites and peridotites.
Opaline silica and magnesite are two common indicators of these areas and usually they all occur together.

  polished-chrysoprase-nodule.jpg (144133 bytes)

There are also many other locations where chrysoprase has been found, such as Jamieson and Wingellina which are situated way out in the desert country.
The area where the chrysoprase is dug lies within an aboriginal reservation (no white people allowed without permits).
So the only time this rock becomes available, is when the aboriginals sell the odd parcel of stone that they have dug......which is not very often.

Another location, is a place called Murramunda (an aboriginal name) in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, not far from the iron ore mining town of Newman.
The photo beneath shows the location where I dug it, a few years ago.

 murramunda-chrysoprase-mine.jpg (110656 bytes)  murramunda-chrysoprase.jpg (23040 bytes) murramunda-translucent.jpg (16807 bytes)

 

 

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Last modified: March 26, 2004