by Angela Tague
Chalcedony gemstones are valued for their strong color saturation and silky luster. Chalcedony jewelry is often made with silver and gold in rings, necklaces, earrings and bracelets. Chalcedony is also a complementary accompaniment to other gems in strands and clusters. Chalcedony comes in many varieties and nine of the 12 months are represented with a chalcedony gem birthstone. Only January, April and November are deprived of chalcedony birthstones and this versatile, romantic and stylish jewelry can complement any outfit.
Definition. Chalcedony is defined as any form of microcrystalline or cryptocrystalline quartz. Chalcedony gems come in many styles and varieties, though most stones chosen for jewelry are typically opaque, single-colored specimens. Multicolored and patterned chalcedony gems have been given their own classifications. Agate, bloodstone, carnelian, chrysoprase, jasper, onyx and sardonyx are a few of the popular chalcedony gemstones.
Appearance. Chalcedony occurs in many different shades. The most common chalcedony shade is white, but grey and blue chalcedony is also common. Jewelers usually focus on using chalcedony ranging from a translucent light blue to foggy gray. The stone is often carved, and occasionally faceted. Chalcedony can be found in a variety of colors and patterns. Iron, nickel, copper and titanium change the color of the stone during the crystallization process. Green chalcedony is referred to as chrysoprase, while red or orange chalcedony is called carnelian. Black onyx is a popular type of chalcedony and is one of the birthstones for February.
History. Chalcedony was named after the historic town, Chalkedon, in Asia Minor. Today, this suburb of Istanbul is known as Kadikoy. While sailing the high seas, Ancient Greeks of the third and fourth centuries wore amulets of chalcedony for spiritual protection from drowning.
Legends. Claims of healing properties surround chalcedony. In legend and lore, fevers, gallstones and eye problems are said to be relieved by wearers of chalcedony jewelry. An increase in stamina, vitality and emotional balance are also claimed. Native Americans believed the beautiful stones were powerful, and honored them in spiritual ceremonies.
Statistics. Chalcedony is heat resistant and requires little care to maintain its translucent shine. It is rated a seven on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, making it a durable option for daily-wear jewelry. Necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings are common pieces made from chalcedony.