About Green Gemstones

More than any other color of the rainbow, the variety of verdant gems that exist in nature is simply staggering. Green gemstones can range in hue from emerald green to a pastel celadon shade, and almost every color in between.

Like all gems, green gemstones can derive their color in a number of ways. Allochromatic gemstones achieve their green color by the addition of trace amounts of transition metals which are present in addition to the gem's normal chemical composition. In the case of chrome diopside, the metal which gives it such a bright green color is chromium. 

In contrast, idiochromatic gems contain their coloring agent as a part of their complete chemical formula. For example, peridot already contains iron, which is responsible for its juicy kiwi green color. Some gems, such as prasiolite (a green variety of quartz), can even be treated in order to induce a beautiful light green color. This gem is unusual because it is surprisingly affordable for a rare gemstone. Only 30% of the amethyst from one small mine in the world (the Diablo mine in the famous mining district of Minas Gerais, Brazil) can be treated to become this soft green hue.

Green Onyx

The variety of green gemstones available for use in jewelry means that it is often possible to create a high class look for less money. This is because certain green gemstones can be simulants, or lookalikes, for other green gems with a similar appearance. For example, fine, translucent green onyx can look very similar to an emerald's glow when light hits the stone from a ring's open under-gallery or basket.


From antiquity all the way through the Victorian era, crystal balls were often made from the gemstone prehnite! This is most likely because prehnite was believed by many cultures to be able to predict the future. Perhaps this is due to its translucency that gives the stone a delightful glimmer, or the fact that its natural crystal habit is to form rounded "bubbly" crystal masses.

A ring that has a dark green gemstone and placed in a gold setting.
Gold Green Onyx Ring
Loose light green gemstones.
Loose Prehnite Gems
Two beaded necklaces, one made of small light green beads and one is made of large dark green beads. Thick light green hoop earrings.
Chrysoprase Necklace and Jadeite Earrings

Chrysoprase and Jadeite

Many green gemstones have been known and mined since ancient times, such as the chrysoprase necklace featured in the smaller bead strand, and the jadeite in the hoops. Chrysoprase, which means "golden leek" in Greek, was popular during the Greek and Roman empires because of its lovely green color, which is produced by nickel. Chrysoprase became very fashionable for use in jewelry after huge deposits were discovered in Poland in the 1700's. Today, most chrysoprase comes from Australia, but the limited supply means that it has become quite a collector's stone.

Jadeite is another gemstone with an ancient history, especially among the Chinese and Latin American cultures. Carved figures have been found from these societies, where the value of jade was sometimes worth more than that of gold. It is valued not only for its rich color and translucency, but also for its symbolism and spiritual significance in Chinese culture.

The problem with these gems is that chrysoprase and jadeite can look similar, but usually don't have the same value. Both of these stones often receive enhancements to improve their color saturation or durability. While treatments are certainly acceptable, there is a huge difference in price point between treated and untreated gems. 

Chrome Diopside

Chrome diopside is a long-time fan favorite at JTV! We love the brilliant, untreated green color of this gem. When you look at the saturation of color and transparency of chrome diopside, you can see why! Anything over two and a half carats is considered rare if it has open green color and good clarity. However, we are seeing less and less of this top quality material on the gemstone market. 

The problem is two-fold: first, chrome diopside is already a rare gem, in that there is really only one locality in the world where we find this striking green color mined commercially: Near the Arctic Circle in Siberia. It is extremely remote, and the weather is so harsh that this gemstone may only be mined for three months out of the year. Second, the original mine shaft has been depleted, and the new material being pulled out of the ground is overly saturated to the point of looking almost black, not to mention highly included. 

On the left is a dark green shell bracelet. On the right is a pair of small silver hoop earrings with green gemstones.
Silver Chrome Diopside Bracelet and Earrings

Loose Gemstones

Loose gems are a wonderful way to add green gems like prasiolite to your collection at a fantastic value. Since prasiolite is a variety of quartz, it is a terrific stone for a new collector because quartz can grow into very large crystals. This makes prasiolite fairly affordable because the price does not go up exponentially when the carat weight increases, unlike most gemstones in larger sizes. 

Whether you prefer cabochons or faceted gems, vivid teals or delicate shades of leafy spring, let's just say your friends will be green with envy when they see you wearing green gemstone jewelry. Explore the JTV selection of green gemstones, or check out our other blogs for more jewelry information, trends and style advice. 

A loose light green round gemstone
Loose Green Gemstones