A stone that occurs very rarely in nature is prasiolite, the green quartz crystal. It is also sometimes referred to just as the green quartz or green amethyst, although the latter, while being usual in the crystal trade, is a misnomer. This stone is actually one of the varieties of quartz that is a transparent green. Many authors have doubts as to whether prasiolite is actually a natural quartz, and it is almost impossible to find any naturally mined prasiolite on the market now. Instead, it is mostly obtained artificially by heating amethyst, which is why this stone is also called green amethyst, amegreen or vermarine. The presence of iron in this stone gives the green colour.
The name prasiolite comes from the Greek words prason meaning leek, and lithos which means stone. Prasiolite, its colour largely reminiscent of green beryl, tourmaline and peridot, was re-discovered in 1950. Shortly after this discovery, green amethyst in its natural shape was found in Arizona in the USA. Other important sources of natural prasiolite have been found in Brazil, Bolivia and India.
In some places prasiolite is mistakenly confused with ‘praziolite’, which has a similar green colour and is obtained by heating iolite, a variety of cordierite.
Colours vary from pale yellow to stronger shades of green. Among the most imposing specimens are the transparent gems. Prasiolite hardness is 7 on the Mohs scale. This stone should be protected from direct sunlight to prevent it from losing its colouring.
Prasiolite is a very popular semi-precious stone in the jewellery industry that is used in combination with other stones, crystals and precious metals in making a stunning variety of decorative items.
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