Chalcedony takes many different forms. These different forms of chalcedony have been given names of their own but they are all technically the same formation. I find it extremely interesting that one gem can be classified as so many different types of gemstone.
Chalcedony itself is a variety of quartz, but that's a story for another time. Depending on the chemical makeup and environment of the chalcedony, it can appear to be something completely different. The different forms of chalcedony are myriad, so let's jump right into our list.
A relatively inexpensive but distinctly beautiful gem that has been used for decoration in everything from knife handles to snuff boxes. Of course agate is a form of chalcedony that also appears in many types of jewelry as well. The distinctive factor of agate is the series of bands or stripes.
Agate comes in every conceivable color based on its origins. From the mossy green look of the mossy agate, the blazing reds of the fire agate, to the relaxing lavender agate. We might discuss the agate at a later date, because the variety of these gemstones is absolutely astounding.
A popular aquarium stone, Aventurine is generally thought of as a gem with varying shades of green and a very distinguishing glistening effect. The shine comes from tiny inclusions of mica. This shimmering effect is known as aventurescence, and can be weaker or more intense based on the size and density of the inclusions.
Aventurine isn't always green. It can be found in gray, orange, and brown. However, these colors are much less common and are rarely used as gemstones or ornamental materials. No matter the color, aventurine is another of the amazing different forms of chalcedony.
We discussed bloodstone briefly in my birthstones meanings and powers list, but here it is again! Bloodstone is indeed another of the different forms of chalcedony. Bloodstone is a dark green gem speckled with red. These red spots can be almost non-existent, or they can be very dense and interwoven.
This spotting is actually formed by iron oxide impurities in the gem. Regardless of the amount of spotting, bloodstone has been used throughout history for its alleged metaphysical aspects. Unique in appearance and name, bloodstone has certainly managed to make its mark as a different form of chalcedony.
Another gorgeous member of the different forms of chalcedony family. Carnelian is the red, orange, and sometimes amber variety of chalcedony. It is often a solid color but banded varieties do exist, and these are classified jointly as a carnelian agate.
Carnelian has been recognized as a gemstone since the ancient world, although its significance and value has waned significantly since. As would be expected, carnelian is compared to others on this list such as a redder-looking sard or a more translucent jasper.
Just as carnelian is the solid reddish version of chalcedony, chrysoprase is the green variety. Chrysoprase can appear in many different shades, from a light minty color to a deep apple green. The color is largely based on the amount of nickel impurity that is present in the gemstone.
Deeper colors of chrysoprase are considered more desirable, but upon reaching a certain threshold the stone becomes yet another of the different forms of chalcedony known as prase. Prolonged sunlight can fade the color of chrysoprase so take care of your gems!
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A unique opaque variety of chalcedony, its color is extremely hard to pin down. Generally jasper is thought of as brown, yellow, or reddish but it can also be used to describe other more opaque different forms of chalcedony such as green, orange, or black.
Jasper is multicolored the vast majority of the time. Each jasper has a unique pattern which can make it a very fun gem to work with. Jasper today is fairly common and affordable today. The real value of this stone comes from individual specimens with unique patterns and formations.
I own a fair number of onyx rings and necklaces, and this article was originally going to be about this one single variety of chalcedony. The more I researched, the more I began to realize just how amazing the different forms of chalcedony are. So I expanded the scope, and here we are.
But I digress, onyx is the most traditional black gemstone. While it is usually solid black there are also onyx that feature white or gray bands. Generally the most valued form of onyx are solidly colored. Elegant and simple, without a doubt my favorite of the different forms of chalcedony.
Sard / Sardonyx
As mentioned in the section of carnelian, sard is a similar but darker version. Generally extremely deep red or brown, the darker a carnelian is the more likely it will be called a sard. There is no official distinction, so it is largely up to the jeweler to make the determination.
Sardonyx is tossed in with sard because it has largely the same color, but also features bands. This means that sardonyx is technically a type of banded agate. Carnelian, sard, and sardonyx have been valued for centuries, so it is interesting that there is still no hard and fast rules on which shade of color turns a carnelian into a sard.
One of the most popular and inexpensive gemstones, Tiger's Eye is an extremely striking different form of chalcedony. A silky luster demonstrates a beautiful chatoyant effect that makes it almost seem like the layers of brown and yellow are moving on their own.
It is quite obvious why this is called Tiger's Eye and it isn't surprising at all that people have taken a liking to it. This variety of chalcedony is often used for costume jewelry, but Tiger's Eye is so beautiful that I wouldn't hesitate to wear that costume jewelry daily.
As a matter of fact, I just picked up some gorgeous beads for an absolute steal. Check it out!
The big momma, chalcedony herself. Without any impurities chalcedony appears as a white, blue, or gray color with a translucent effect. This stone was able to spawn all of the varieties above despite (or perhaps even because of) its simple and unassuming look.
This is of course the most popular of the different forms of chalcedony, and rightly so. I hope that I've managed to provide some insight. The next time you wear jewelry with a chalcedony in it, you might appreciate this inexpensive stone just that much more.
No matter which different form of chalcedony you choose to wear, keep it looking great with Simple Shine premium jewelry care products!