Peruvian Chrysocolla

Peruvian Chrysocolla are rare blue and green gemstones from Peru’s famous Lilly mine. Each gem has its own beautiful patterns, making every Peruvian Chrysocolla unique and individual.

Hardness 6.5 - 7
Refractive Index 1.530 - 1.540
Relative Density 2.60 - 2.64
Enhancement None

Beauty

Named for its highly regarded origin, Peruvian Chrysocolla is an attractive, blue and green opaque gemstone that displays a variety of colorful designs due to the oxidization of copper, iron and manganese. Each gem has its own beautiful patterns, making every Peruvian Chrysocolla unique and individual.

Often confused with Turquoise because of its color, Chrysocolla’s major value determinants are color (bright colorful designs) and cutting quality (polish condition). Peruvian Chrysocolla is cut as cabochons (cut in convex form and highly polished, but not faceted) to accentuate the signature color patterns that make each gemstone visually unique.

Finished with an excellent finish, proportion and shape, Peruvian Chysocolla displays bright, vivid colors with a superior luster, which are key quality considerations for this gemstone.

A hydrated copper silicate, Chrysocolla is a 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. It is also found mixed with Azurite, Malachite, Opal and Turquoise. 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.

Rarity

Found wherever copper deposits naturally occur, Chrysocolla’s most notable locations are Peru, Russia and the USA (Arizona, New Mexico and Utah).

Well-known for its fine quality, Peruvian Chrysocolla is from the famous Lilly Mine, located approximately 200 kilometers south of the capital Lima and 40 kilometers east of Pisco Umay. The mine opened in the early 90s and while still producing, the output of fine quality gems has decreased, representing less than two percent of total production.

Receiving no enhancements or treatments, Peruvian Chrysocolla is one of the few gemstones that are entirely natural.

Durability & Care

A durable jewelry gemstone, Peruvian 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.

Map Location

Click map to enlarge

Video