Chrysoberyl: A Golden Green Treasure


Chrysoberyl is a beryllium-aluminum oxide mineral and, despite its name, is actually vastly different from beryl. Its etymology can be traced to the Greek words "chryso," meaning golden, and "beryl," meaning green, referencing its warm, tranquil color. If you think it looks similar to peridot, you're not the only one! In the 19th century, the term "chrysolite" was used for both chrysoberyl and peridot, though is no longer used to describe these distinct gemstones.


Ross-Simons' Chrysoberyl Jewelry Collection

C. 1980 Vintage Cat's Eye Green Chrysoberyl and 1.36 ct. t.w. Diamond Ring in Platinum #934653

A traditional, non-phenomenal chrysoberyl gemstone is transparent to opaque in appearance with a yellowish green hue. However, it also comes in two other rare and distinctive varieties. If you've ever heard the term "cat's eye" without reference to another gemstone, it is mostly likely chatoyant chrysoberyl. This jewel features a unique, reflective line of light which resembles a spool of silk. The other phenomenal variety is alexandrite. This extraordinary gemstone is color-shifting, changing from green to purplish red under different lights.

"Chrysoberyl" is Greek for "golden-green," referring to this rare gemstone's beautiful color. Regardless of its name, it is not beryl and is actually classified as its own mineral group: beryllium aluminum oxide. Phenomenal varieties of chrysoberyl include alexandrite and cat's eye.

Ranging from yellowish green to mint green, chrysoberyl is either faceted or polished and set in gold, silver, or gold over silver. It has a nice shimmer and a warm tone, making it a lovely stone for traditional to elaborate settings. Cat's-eye is typically yellow to yellowish green and can also be grayish green, brown to yellowish brown. To accentuate the chatoyant effect, cat's-eye chrysoberyl will look most striking in a cabochon cut, especially as a pendant or ring. The rarer variety, alexandrite is often small (under a carat) and mounted in luxurious precious metals.

Chrysoberyl in its conventional form is moderately priced while the alexandrite and cat's-eye varieties will be more expensive. The yellow-green gemstone is primarily mined in Brazil, India, Myanmar, China, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, and the USA.


Chrysoberyl Jewelry Care & Handling

With an 8.5 on the Mohs hardness scale, chrysoberyl jewelry should be protected from scratches and sharp blows. Ultrasonic cleaners and steamers are usually safe. Avoid steamer if the stone has hairline fractures. It's best to clean your chrysoberyl rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings with warm soapy water and a soft cloth and store in your Ross-Simons presentation box.