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Chalcedony

A cut and polished Chalcedony geode
General
Category Oxide mineral
Chemical formula Silica (silicon dioxide, SiO2)
Identification
Molar mass 60 g / mol
Color Various
Crystal system Trigonal
Cleavage Absent
Fracture Uneven, splintery, conchoidal
Mohs scale hardness 6 - 7
Luster Waxy, vitreous, dull, greasy, silky
Streak White
Diaphaneity Translucent
Specific gravity 2.59 - 2.61
References [1]

Chalcedony (pronounced kăl-sĕd'n-ē) is a cryptocrystalline form of silica, composed of very fine intergrowths of the minerals quartz and moganite.[2] These are both silica minerals, but they differ in that quartz has a trigonal crystal structure, whilst moganite is monoclinic.

Chalcedony has a waxy luster, and may be semitransparent or translucent. It can assume a wide range of colors, but those most commonly seen are white to gray, grayish-blue or a shade of brown ranging from pale to nearly black.

Varieties

Chalcedony occurs in a wide range of varieties. Many semi-precious gemstones are in fact forms of chalcedony. The more notable varieties of chalcedony are as follows:

Agate

Agate

Agate is a variety of chalcedony with multi-colored curved or angular banding. Fire agate shows iridescent phenomena on a brown background; iris agate shows exceptional iridescence when light (especially pinpointed light) is shone through the stone. Landscape agate is chalcedony with a number of different mineral impurities making the stone resemble landscapes.[3]

Aventurine

Aventurine (Unknown scale)

Aventurine is a form of quartz, characterised by its translucency and the presence of platy mineral inclusions that give a shimmering or glistening effect termed aventurescence.

Aventurine (unknown scale)

The most common colour of aventurine is green, but it may also be orange, brown, yellow, blue, or gray. Chrome-bearing fuchsite (a variety of muscovite mica) is the classic inclusion, and gives a silvery green or blue sheen. Oranges and browns are attributed to hematite or goethite. Because aventurine is a rock, its physical properties vary: its specific gravity may lie between 2.64-2.69 and its hardness is somewhat lower than single-crystal quartz at around 6.5.

Aventurine (unknown scale)

Aventurine feldspar or sunstone can be confused with orange and red aventurine quartzite, although the former is generally of a higher transparency. Aventurine is often banded and an overabundance of fuchsite may render it opaque, in which case it may be mistaken for malachite at first glance.

The name aventurine derives from the Italian "a ventura" meaning "by chance". This is an allusion to the lucky discovery of aventurine glass or goldstone at some point in the 18th century. Although it was known first, goldstone is now a common imitation of aventurine and sunstone. Goldstone is distinguished visually from the latter two minerals by its coarse flecks of copper, dispersed within the glass in an unnaturally uniform manner. It is usually a golden brown, but may also be found in blue or green.

The majority of green and blue-green aventurine originates in India (particularly in the vicinity of Mysore and Madras) where it is employed by prolific artisans. Creamy white, gray and orange material is found in Chile, Spain and Russia. Most material is carved into beads and figurines with only the finer examples fashioned into cabochons, later being set into jewellery.

Main markets for aventurine are landscape stone, building stone, aquaria, monuments, and jewellery.

Carnelian

Carnelian

Carnelian (also spelled cornelian) is a clear-to-translucent reddish-brown variety of chalcedony. Its hue may vary from a pale orange, to an intense almost-black coloration. Similar to carnelian is sard, which is brown rather than red.

Chrysoprase

Chrysoprase

Chrysoprase (also spelled chrysophrase) is a green variety of chalcedony, which has been colored by nickel oxide. (The darker varieties of chrysoprase are also referred to as prase. However, the term prase is also used to describe green quartz, and to a certain extent is a color-descriptor, rather than a rigorously defined mineral variety.)

Heliotrope

Heliotrope, or bloodstone

Heliotrope is a green variety of chalcedony, containing red inclusions of iron oxide. These inclusions resemble drops of blood, giving heliotrope its alternative name of bloodstone. A similar variety, in which the spots are yellow instead of red is known as plasma.

Moss agate

Moss agate

Moss agate (also known as tree agate or mocha stone) contains green filament-like inclusions, giving it the superficial appearance of moss or blue cheese. It is not a true form of agate, as it lacks agate's defining feature of concentric banding.

Mtorolite

Mtorolite

Mtorolite is a green variety of chalcedony, which has been colored by chromium. It is principally found in Zimbabwe.

Onyx

Several onyx forms

Onyx is a variant of agate with black and white banding. Similarly, agate with brown and white banding is known as sardonyx.

History

Chalcedony cameo of Titus head, 2nd Century AD

As early as the Bronze Age chalcedony was in use in the Mediterranean region; for example, on Minoan Crete at the Palace of Knossos, chalcedony seals have been recovered dating to circa 1800 BC.[4] People living along the Central Asian trade routes used various forms of chalcedony, including carnelian, to carve intaglios, ring bezels (the upper faceted portion of a gem projecting from the ring setting), and beads that show strong Graeco-Roman influence.

Fine examples of first century objects made from chalcedony, possibly Kushan, were found in recent years at Tillya-tepe in north-western Afghanistan.[5] Hot wax would not stick to it so it was often used to make seal impressions. The term chalcedony is derived from the name of the ancient Greek town Chalkedon in Asia Minor, in modern English usually spelled Chalcedon, today the Kadıköy district of Istanbul.

Chalcedony knife, AD 1000-1200

At least three varieties of chalcedony were used in the Jewish High Priest's Breastplate. (Moses' brother Aron wore the Breastplate, with inscribed gems representing the twelve tribes of Israel). The Breastplate included jasper, chrysoprase and sardonyx, and there is some debate as to whether other agates were also used.

In the 19th century Idar Oberstein became the world's largest chalcedony processing center, in particular agates. Most of these agates were sourced in Latin America, in particular Brazil. Originally the agate carving industry around Idar and Oberstein was driven by local deposits that were mined in the 15th century.[6] Several factors contributed to the re-emergence of Idar-Oberstein as agate center of the world: ships brought agate nodules back as ballast, thus providing extremely cheap transport. Cheap labor and a superior knowledge of chemistry allowing them to dye the agates in any color with processes that were kept secret.

Each mill in Idar Oberstein had four or five grindstones. These were of red sandstone, obtained from Zweibrücken; and two men ordinarily worked together at the same stone.[6]

Geochemistry

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Structure

Chalcedony was once thought to be a fibrous variety of cryptocrystalline quartz.[7] More recently however, it has been shown to also contain a monoclinic polymorph of quartz, known as moganite.[2] The fraction, by mass, of moganite within a typical chalcedony sample may vary from less than 5% to over 20%.[8] The existence of moganite was once regarded as dubious, but it is now officially recognised by the International Mineralogical Association.[9][10]

Solubility

Chalcedony is more soluble than quartz under low-temperature conditions, despite the two minerals being chemically identical. This is thought to be because chalcedony is extremely finely grained (cryptocrystalline), and so has a very high surface area to volume ratio. It has also been suggested that the higher solubility is due to the moganite component.[8]

Solubility of quartz and chalcedony in pure water

This table gives equilibrium concentrations of total dissolved silicon as calculated by PHREEQC using the llnl.dat database.

Temperature Quartz Solubility (mg/L) Chalcedony Solubility (mg/L)
0.01°C 0.68 1.34
25.0°C 2.64 4.92
50.0°C 6.95 12.35
75.0°C 14.21 24.23
100.0°C 24.59 40.44

See also

References

  1. ^ Rudolf Duda and Lubos Rejl: Minerals of the World (Arch Cape Press, 1990)
  2. ^ a b Heaney, Peter J., 1994. Structure and Chemistry of the low-pressure silica polymorphs. In: Reviews in Mineralogy v. 29; Silica: Physical Behavior, geochemistry and materials applications. Ed. Heaney, P.J., Prewitt, C.T., Gibbs, G.V., 1-40
  3. ^ CIBJO (The World Jewellery Federation, international federation of all national trade organizations and gemological laboratories), Retailers' Reference Cuide: Diamonds, Cemstones, Pearls and Precious Metals, May 2009, Bern, Switzerland CIBJO member laboratories
  4. ^ C. Michael Hogan, Knossos fieldnotes, Modern Antiquarian (2007)
  5. ^ Section 12 of the translation of Weilue - a 3rd century Chinese text by John Hill under "carnelian" and note 12.12 (17)A. Also see Afghanistan's exhibition:Intaglio with depiction of a griffin, Chalcedony, 4th century BC, Afghanistan
  6. ^ a b Streeter, Edwin, 1898. Precious Stones and Gems. Page 237
  7. ^ Chalcedony mineral information and data. http://www.mindat.org/min-960.html
  8. ^ a b Heaney, Peter J., and Jeffrey E. Post. "The Widespread Distribution of a Novel Silica Polymorph in Microcrystalline Quartz Varieties." Science ns 255 (1992): 441-443. JSTOR. Aug. 2007. Keyword: moganite
  9. ^ Origlieri, Marcus. "Moganite: a New Mineral -- Not!" Lithosphere (1994). Aug. 2007 <http://fgms.home.att.net/moganite.htm>.
  10. ^ Nickel, Ernest H., and Monte C. Nichols. "IMA/CNMNC List of Mineral Names." Materials Data. June 2007. Aug. 2007 <http://www.geo.vu.nl/users/ima-cnmmn/MINERALlist.pdf>

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

CHALCEDONY, or Calcedony (sometimes called by old writers cassidoine), a variety of native silica, often used as an ornamental stone. The present application of the term is comparatively modern. The "chalcedonius" of Pliny was quite a different mineral, being a green stone from the copper-mines of Chalcedon, in Asia Minor, whence the name. There has been some confusion between chalcedony and the ancient "carcedonia," a stone which seems to have been a carbuncle from Africa, brought by way of Carthage (Kapxn6e0v). Our chalcedony was probably included by the ancients among the various kinds of jasper and agate, especially the varieties termed "leucachates" and "cerachates." By modern mineralogists the name chalcedony is restricted to those kinds of silica which occur not in distinct crystals like ordinary quartz, but in concretionary, mammillated or stalactitic forms, which break with a fine splintery fracture, and display a delicate fibrous structure. Chalcedony may be regarded as a micro-crystalline form of quartz. It is rather softer and less dense than crystallized quartz, its hardness being about 6.5 and its specific gravity 2.6, the difference being probably due to the presence of a small amount of opaline silica between the fibres. Chalcedony is a translucent substance of rather waxy lustre, presenting great variety of colours, though usually white, grey, yellow or brown. A rare blue chalcedony is sometimes polished under the name of "sapphirine" - a term applied also to a distinct mineral (an aluminium-magnesium silicate) from Greenland.

Chalcedony occurs as a secondary mineral in volcanic rocks, representing usually the silica set free by the decomposition of various silicates, and deposited in cracks, forming veins, or in vesicular hollows, forming amygdales. Its occurrence gives the name to Chalcedony Park, Arizona. It is found in the basalts of N. Ireland, the Faroe Isles and Iceland: it is common in the traps of the Deccan in India, and in volcanic rocks in Uruguay and Brazil. Certain flat oval nodules from a decomposed lava (augite-andesite) in Uruguay present a cavity lined with quartz crystals and enclosing liquid (a weak saline solution), with a movable air-bubble, whence they are called "enhydros" or water-stones. Very fine examples of stalactitic chalcedony, in whimsical forms, have been yielded by some of the Cornish copper-mines. The surface of chalcedony is occasionally coated with a delicate bluish bloom. A chalcedonic deposit in the form of concentric rings, on fossils and fragments of limestone in S. Devon, is known as "orbicular silica" or "beekite," having been named after Dr Henry Beeke, dean of Bristol, who first directed attention to such deposits. Certain pseudomorphs of chalcedony after datolite, from Haytor in Devonshire, have received the name of "haytorite." Optical examination of many chalcedonic minerals by French mineralogists has shown that they are aggregates of various fibrous crystalline bodies differing from each other in certain optical characters, whence they are distinguished as separate minerals under such names as calcedonite,pseudocalcedonite,quartzine, lutecite and lussatite. Many coloured and variegated chalcedonies are cut and polished as ornamental stones, and are described under special headings. Chalcedony has been in all ages the commonest of the stones used by the gem-engraver.

See AGATE, BLOODSTONE, CARNELIAN, CHRYSOPRASE, HELIOTROPE, MOCHA STONE, ONYX, SARD and SARDONYX. (F. W. R.*)


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Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki


Mentioned only in Rev 21:19, as one of the precious stones in the foundation of the New Jerusalem. The name of this stone is derived from Chalcedon, where it is said to have been first discovered. In modern mineralogy this is the name of an agate-like quartz of a bluish colour. Pliny so names the Indian ruby. The mineral intended in Revelation is probably the Hebrew nophekh, translated "emerald" (Ex 28:18; 39:11; Ezek 27:16; 28:13). It is rendered "anthrax" in the LXX., and "carbunculus" in the Vulgate. (See CARBUNCLE.)

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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