A long time ago, this mineral was used by jewelers for soldering gold – such as in the manufacture of small gold beads. Therefore, presumably, the name “chrysocolla” comes from the words “ckrysos” for “Gold” and “kola” – “glue”. This mineral is also called “Eilat Stone”, which is associated with the ancient King Solomon’s mines, which are located near the Gulf of Eilat in the Red Sea. Accordingly the same name had the town in which the stone was mined. It was also noted that in these deposits occurred chrysocolla samples, fused with malachite and turquoise. Chrysocolla stone, which has inclusions of lapis lazuli, is called copper green; mysorine is chrysocolla mineral with inclusions of malachite and calcite.
Formation of chrysocolla
The formation of this mineral has a unique feature – chrysocolla does not form crystals. More often these are reniform or botryoidal masses, radial fibrous accretions of several crystals in the crusted or massive form. Chrysocolla stone has an amorphous structure (or so-called enamel-like structure), and is originally formed as a gel-like substance in the oxidation zones of copper. The formation of the crystalline structure of the mineral occurs under high temperatures.
Features of chrysocolla
Chrysocolla is a very volatile mineral. In fact, its composition is an hydrous silicate of copper, or an amorphous mixture of various copper silicates with hydrated silica, including different impurities – alumina, limonite, copper oxide, and other. For example, if there are impregnations of quartz or chalcedony, the mineral turns into so-called quartz chrysocolla, or jewelry chrysocolla, also known as “azure-chalcedony”. Due to different impurities typical blue color can transform into darker, brown hue.
If chrysocolla stone is put into hydrochloric acid, yellowish coating will appear on its surface. Stones have vitreous, a bit greasy or waxy luster. Chrysocolla is also characterized by fragility.
Coloring of chrysocolla
Traditionally, the stone is dark blue or bluish-green, with greenish-white line. Due to the color resemblance with other minerals, chrysocolla is often called azurite, malachite flint, duchamp jade, copper malachite, demodovite. On the island of Sardinia (near the city of Arenas) chrysocolla is mined, which includes gibbsite – this type is called traversoit. Chrizokolla quartz azurite of blue-green color, with inclusions of goethite is mined In Elliot Stone deposit (Australia) – this type is just like “reticular” turquoise. Another type – chrizokollovy chalcedony, along with the green Andean opal dyed with chrysocolla, is mined in Peru.
Deposits of chrysocolla
Chrysocolla is mined in Kazakhstan, Russia, United States, Chile (Coquimbo province – a mineral of these fields is called “Lanka”), Zaire, Congo, Great Britain. In Italy, chrysocolla deposits were found on the edges of the glacier Predarossa in Val Masino, in the Monzoni Mountains in Val di Fassa (Province of Trento). Chrysocolla, mined in schistic mountains of Hesse (in Dillenburg) is called dillenburgite.
The use of chrysocolla
Chrysocolla is often used as a substitute for turquoise, but this mineral is also used as gemstone. The only drawback of this stone in jewelry craftsmanship is its low hardness, that’s why craftsmen often use so-called “agatized” chrysocolla of increased hardness. Chrysocolla stone is traditionally treated in the form of cabochon, and is also used in the form of flat inserts (as malachite). Chrysocolla can be used for stone carving as well. This stone is also used for the manufacture of unique accessories and interior items, in particular chrysocolla is used in the creation of exclusive mosaics and natural stone panels.