Named for its country of origin, Australian Chrysocolla is a uniquely beautiful and extremely rare gemstone whose captivating origin has all the legend and folklore of a gripping bushman’s yarn! Almost 20 years ago, two Australian prospectors brought their latest finds to the legendary, Bangkok-based gem professional, Karl-Heinrich ‘Carol’ Kuhn. While most were easily identified and soon sold, some were put aside, going from mine to memory… Fast-forward to 2021, our gem adventurer Gavin Linsell was intrigued by a beautiful Aussie ‘mystery’ gemstone spotted during a review of Carol’s extensive historic inventory. Hypothesizing a ‘Chrysocolla-Turquoise’ composition, samples were cut and the Gemological Institute of Thailand (GIT) enlisted to perform advanced scientific analysis. They were partially correct… this unusual, attractive Australian is actually a hard, silica-rich Chrysocolla.
Australian Chrysocolla displays beautiful patterns of bight azures, rich turquoises, and verdant forests, interspersed with stunning swatches of outback desert sands, in various attractive saturations and tones, due to its host rock. Each gem has its own beautiful mottling, making every Australian Chrysocolla unique and individual. The colorful appearance of Australian Chrysocolla is also wonderfully highlighted by a bright, mirrorlike luster.
Often confused with Turquoise because of its hue, Chrysocolla’s major value determinants are color (bright colorful designs) and cutting quality (polish condition). Australian Chrysocolla is cut as cabochons (cut in convex form and highly polished, but not faceted), to accentuate its signature color patterns that make each gemstone visually unique. Finished with an excellent finish, proportion and shape, Australian Chrysocolla displays bright, vivid colors with a superior luster, key quality considerations for this gemstone.
Chrysocolla first appears in the writings of Theophrastus in 315 BC. Its name comes from the Greek chryso (gold) and kola (glue), in reference to a material once used to solder gold. Theophrastus, a Greek native of Lesbos, was the successor to Aristotle. His interests were wide ranging, including a surviving work, ‘On Stones’. The name ‘Chrysocolla’ was revived in 1808 by André-Jean-François-Marie Brochant de Villiers. A hydrated copper silicate, Chrysocolla is a secondary mineral and minor copper ore. While pure Chrysocolla is too soft for jewelry, it often appears inter-grown with Quartz making the gem hard enough to polish as cabochons. Typically found as glassy rounded masses or bubbly crusts, there are no known pure crystals of Chrysocolla. Instead, its ‘crystals’ are always pseudomorphs, consisting of one mineral, but having the form of the one it replaced. Chrysocolla is also found mixed with Azurite, Malachite, Opal and Turquoise.
Found wherever copper deposits naturally occur, Chrysocolla’s most notable locations are Peru, Russia and the USA (Arizona, New Mexico and Utah).
While Australia has over 300 Chrysocolla mineral deposits in all states and territories (source: Mindat.org), where exactly our Australian Chrysocolla is from is long forgotten. We estimate approximately 500 pieces in total from the 4KG of raw crystals, noting we used 272 pieces in its first jewelry collection.
Australian Chrysocolla is also one of the few gemstones that are totally natural and unenhanced.
Durability & Care
A durable jewelry gemstone, Australian Chrysocolla (Mohs’ Hardness: 6.5 – 7) should always be stored carefully to avoid scuffs and scratches. Clean with gentle soap and lukewarm water, scrubbing behind the gem with a very soft toothbrush as necessary. After cleaning, pat dry with a soft towel or chamois cloth.