Meet the Gemstone: Aquaprase™️

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Ok, first thing is first. Look at the stunning, jaw dropping, mezmerizing blue-green color of this gorgeous (and pretty darn new to the market) gem, Aquaprase™️.

 So, if you follow me on Instagram, you know that I just got back from gem show hunting and went way over budget (lol). One of my favorite scores from this trip into the city was a small pile of these beautiful gems. These are really special and not a stone that many people know about, especially outside of the jewelry industry, so I wanted to give a little introduction of sorts to this beautiful material. 
Aquaprase™️ is a the newest varieties of Chalcedony, first brought to market by Yianni Melas (@gemexplorer on instagram) just a few years ago now. He came across some rough while in Africa and visiting a friend.


Since it came from an area only known to have some opal deposits, others thought it to be some type of opal or maybe chrysoprase. Yianni has handled countless stones and he trusted his instinct that something was different about this one. So, he went on a mission to confirm that it was an entirely unique and new variety. After sending some samples to GIA (the leading authority on diamond grading, colored stones and pearls), they finally confirmed it was in fact an entirely new type of Chalcedony that had not yet been discovered.

Image from Yianni Melas @gemexplorer

He decided on Aquaprase™️ for the name -a combination in reference to the beautiful blue (aqua) and green (prase) tonalities in the material. If you are familiar with chrysoprase, or gem silica, this gem may look familiar to you. Chrysoprase has a rich, often apple green or golden green that comes from the trace presence of nickle. Chrysocolla, or Gem silica (which is the most valuable variety of Chalcedony) has a beautiful saturated greenish-blue hue due to the presence of copper in the material. Aquaprase™️ on the other hand, displays rich blue-green tones and gets it's color from nickle and chromium based on lab testing. The chromium in particular is thought to be what gives this material it's unique glowing lusture as well as color.

Not only is the blue-green color gorgeous, but the matrix it grows within often results in beautiful cloud like white plumes and rich red-brown earth tones. The luminous glow of light bouncing through these is unreal! Like gem silica, it’s not easy to find this gem in this quality. It’s pretty rare, only coming from one location, and so unique in natural color. I’m so incredibly happy to have some and will be saving these for some special pieces. I fully admit going way over budget in getting these, but boy is it worth it. I’m sure once they are set with high polished metal behind them, they will glow like crazy! Might have to keep one for myself!

I hope you've enjoyed learning about this amazing new gem. I'm so excited to have some and definitely plan to work with this in the summertime (because omg, these are perfect for summer collections). When I look at this beautiful stones, it's like being transported to an areal view of a vibrant lagoon. Very calming stone to hold and be in the presence of. 
A little bit on the lovely man who recognized this stuff as something special
Yianni Melas is sometimes called the modern day "indiana jones" since he has spent a lot of his life exploring the world, looking for gems and unearthing treasures. He is a well known guy in the gem world and aside from his decades of expertise in countless gemstones, teaching at GIA, sourcing beautiful unique gems, he is also an activist against the wrong-doings that are often committed within the gemstone industry. He is super passionate and vocal about ethics around mining stones. Whether it's fighting for locals to benefit from the natural resources of their land, transparency, or taking care of the land responsibly, he has been a much needed voice in the world of gem mining. I wouldn't do justice trying to write about his amazing work on that front, so check out his instagram and you will see what I mean. Yianni, should you ever come across this post, thank you for being on the right side of history when it comes to gem mining, for being a lovely human being, and for finding this enchanting stone you've aptly named Aquaprase™️. Most definitely one of my new favorites.
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