So what is gem silica really? I have spent a few years talking to miners, rock collectors, reading and looking at stones to fully understand this. It was confusing to me because sometimes I would see a piece of gem silica selling for hundreds of dollars and other times for under $20.
Gem silica is the name given to highly silicated chrysocolla, also sometimes referred to as chrysacolla in its most gemmy form. Chrysocolla is a pretty blue green copper bearing stone that is opaque to light and often fairly soft as stones go.
It is actually composed of many microcrystals clustered together in a random pattern that does not let light pass through. Under certain geological conditions, the chrysocolla can undergo chemical changes (ie. covalent and ionic bonds of its component elements can change over eons) and it can become more quartz-like, or chalcedony like. This has the effect of making the stone more translucent to light (its structure becomes more ordered, although it is still not a perfect symmetric crystal lattice like what you would observe if you could see all the atoms in a quartz crystal laid out). The color of the chrysocolla can often intensify and become more blue as it undergoes silication into its gem silica form. It also becomes very hard and durable, making it quite desirable for jewelry.
In terms of crystal healing, the gem silica stone still has the initial properties associated with regular chrysocolla-a wonderful heart chakra stone that carries an energy of healing and forgiveness. However, the properties are augmented in the silcated form, so that gem silica is also thought to also resonate with the third eye and crown chakras, and to be a powerful initiator of one's intuitive abilities.
The reason there is such variability in both price and quality of this stone on the market is because the journey from chrysocolla to gem silica is an undefined spectrum. You will often see chunks of chrysocolla with a few tiny spots of silicated transparent blue being sold as gem silica for lower prices. You will also sometimes see the stone being photographed wet to make it appear brighter blue in color and even more transparent to light. The highest quality gem silica on the market appears quite similar to cyan blue jelly opal in color and transparency. Pieces of this quality will sell for hundreds. I have seen many inexpensive pieces of stone on ebay and at gem shows being sold as "gem silica" when they did not exhibit the chemical changes (translucency, color intensity, hardness) consistent with gem silica, so be careful. For those of us who utilize crystal healing, it is important that we are getting the authentic stone that we are searching for.
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