What is Prasiolite?
Prasiolite, also known as vermarine, greened amethyst, or lime citrine, is a name for any cluster or quartz crystal that is green in color. This type of quartz is very rare and often cut as a gemstone. It can only be found in a small Brazilian mine as well as in small, specific regions in Arizona, Poland, and Canada. Often spelled praziolite, this green quartz is often mistaken for other gems that look similar in color due to heat treatment.
This quartz variety is very popular due to its individual crystals that are too small to be seen with the naked eye. As a result, the resulting transparency provides a translucent, pale-green color that is used to make beautiful gemstones. In addition to its beauty, prasiolite is said to provide both physical and spiritual healing properties which make this gem an even more valuable item.
Process to Make Prasiolite Gems
This unique green quartz goes through a heat treatment process to transfer the rough material into a cool leek or celadon green-colored gem. It is often cut into large carats and complex cuts are used to get the best color from the rough, pale stone. Checkerboard crown, Briolette, and concave cuts are favored when using this stone because they help intensify the hue which does not look as good when using baguette or emerald cuts. There are some exceptions when the stone is paired with other gems.
When processed, prasiolite gemstones provide a range of colors and tones when enhanced. Without proper identification, you can often be mistaken for light toned green tourmaline or green beryl. In addition, only 30% of each batch of quartz that undergoes treatment and enhancement actually turn into the cool, attractive green color. Dealers who are trained in specific gravity testing for use in gem identification have the proper skill to identify true prasiolite quartz.
How to Determine Value
Since this beautiful quartz is often mistaken for other types of precious gems, it is important to know how to identify good quality prasiolite to determine its value. This gem is fairly new to the market in comparison to gems since it was first mined back in the 1950s. Yet to realize its full potential, this stone can be purchased at wholesale prices ranging from $3-$8 per carat for small quantities that are well-cut with good color. Cut goods with less color saturation can go for even cheaper prices at the wholesale level. As popularity of this gem continues to increase, you can expect that these prices will not remain low.
When buying prasiolite jewelry, you will find that the treatment process helps increase the price of the gem. Designers who find inspiration with this gem can be seen selling prasiolite jewelry pieces that have prices well into the thousands of dollars. To determine good quality, remember that the darker the color, the better. Classic cuts that are well-proportioned often go for higher prices as well. It is also a good idea to examine stones from the pavilion side check for even distribution of clarity and color. Lastly, you should also get the advice from an expert who is trained to identify quality prasiolite.