It is written that Cleopatra wore chrysocolla stone in her travels for its calming virtues. This mineral was actually discovered in Antiquity and was described by Theophrastus, Greek philosopher and a disciple of Aristotle, in his treatise ‘On Stones’ published in 315 BC. Its name originates from the Greek words “chrysos” meaning “gold,” and “kola” meaning “glue.” Its etymology is linked to its usage by the Ancients. According to Theophrastus chrysocolla was used as flux to solder gold.
Although Hippocrates had already advocated the use of chrysocolla in many of his writings, it was not until the Middle Ages that the stone’s usage was concentrated around its medicinal properties. It was then used to clean wounds and scars, as an emetic, or for eye drops, to relieve ophthalmic pain.
Renaissance painters used it as a pigment in the creation of their works. At the same time, in South America, the Incas made small tools and jewellery pieces from chrysocolla stone, including gold-necklace sets. These jewels were found in the tombs of pre-Inca mummies. For these peoples, the mineral is the symbol of water which is the source of life. Today, remarkable beads and cabochons as well as sculptures and figurines are made from chrysocolla extracts.
This stone is plentiful in copper mines, and in lesser quantities, in gold mines. It is a copper silicate hydrate of an appearance reminiscent of Earth as seen from space: its colours ranging from turquoise blue to emerald green, varying from a brown that is at times tinged with a rust hue.
Chrysocolla is made up of the following elements:
This mineral is formed as a result of silica-rich waters passing over copper veins. It is found in the form of crusts, stalactites, stalagmites, or as botryoids, taking the shape of a bunch of grapes. Some minerals may also have chrysocolla inclusions. This is particularly the case for copper-based stones such as azurite, tenorite, turquoise, cuprite, malachite, limonite, quartz and hematite. Chrysocolla stone is often confused with turquoise or malachite. Its water content and low hardness make this mineral a fragile stone, sensitive to high heat, and difficult to work with for goldsmiths. In order to get around this problem, they typically work on it in combination with harder minerals such as quartz or chalcedony.
Apart from its pure form, there are 3 varieties of chrysocolla:
The primary chrysocolla stone deposits are located in the southwestern part of the United States (Arizona, California, New Mexico and Utah), as well as in the states of New Jersey, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
Large deposits are also found in Mexico, Chile and Peru. Scotland, Australia, Russia, the Congo, Israel, and France (Alsace specifically) also have a number of chrysocolla deposits. The stone’s opacity varies depending on the place of extraction. Translucent and jewellery quality chrysocolla is rare and therefore highly sought after. Similarly, it is unusual to find large extracts of this mineral, so those which exceed 2kg are considered exceptional.
Chrysocolla is the stone of calm, tranquillity, and peace. It encourages forgiveness, compassion, and gentleness, strengthening emotional bonds. It removes guilt, anxieties and conflicts that can be felt within oneself or within those around you. It is also associated with intuition, patience, and unconditional love. It regulates emotions and channels mood disorders. Isolated hermits, monks, and even prisoners used this stone to ward off anxiety and depression. Chrysocolla stone diminishes the wearers’ fears related to isolation. So it works perfectly for those who can’t stay put!
The wearer of this stone is better able to relax and let their inner wisdom emerge. This allows one to maintain their peace of mind and composure when new or difficult situations arise. Chrysocolla stone dissipates one’s negative energies, or those of their living space/environment. If an extract is placed in a room where resentment or mistrust prevails, these feelings will be replaced with peace and understanding. Associated with the throat chakra, it develops the faculties of communication and expression. Its power allows us to understand the weight of our words and actions and to become aware of how they affect those around us. For this reason, it is the stone of choice for aspiring musicians: as an amulet, it will increase the wearers’ confidence so that they will be able to express their full potential or sing in front of an audience unfettered. It should be noted that chrysocolla stimulates the circulation of energies in the heart chakra.
It also has a special affinity with women, bringing out their wisdom and creativity, whilst facilitating adaptation to new situations such as motherhood or menopause. Chrysocolla stone increases awareness of the inner self. It releases the wearer from grief, fear and all negative emotions. It therefore helps one to achieve wholeness, self-confidence and peace, allowing one to let go and leave behind pain and worry. It is the perfect stone for harmony, allowing us to commune with our environment.
Physically, chrysocolla relieves disorders of the throat (bronchitis, tonsillitis, tracheitis, etc.), lungs, back and stomach. It also helps to alleviate rheumatism, arthritis, burns, fever and painful joints. It improves motor coordination and promotes blood oxidation and proper functioning of the liver, lungs, and spinal medulla. This mineral helps counteract high blood pressure and insulin production and limits thyroid problems. With good reason, American Indians attributed this stone the ability to strengthen physical resistance.
Psychologically, chrysocolla stone is particularly useful for women: it regulates hormonal cycles and premenstrual syndrome, promotes healthy fetal development and reduces labour pains. Placing it on the solar plexus helps to reduce hot flashes associated with menopause as well as cystitis and pain associated with the menstrual cycle. In Peru, there is a tradition of offering chrysocolla extract to pregnant women.