Gem Profile- Prehnite

by Dale Armstrong

Today's featured gem, Prehnite, is a beautiful stone, and was recently wire wrapped (right) by our June Wire Artist of the Month, Kathy Evert! See a larger picture of Kathy's Sun Jade Pendant and discover what she loves about making jewelry and how she sells her wire wrapped jewelry on the Wire Artist of the Month page.

Sun Jade Pendant by Kathy Evert
Dale Armstrong's Gem Profile- Prehnite - , General Education, , Sun Jade pendant
Prehnite Facts and Appearance

Unique, lovely and translucent, prehnite seems to contain a soft inner glow. A phyllosilicate of aluminum and calcite, metamorphic prehnite has a Mohs hardness of 6 to 6.5 and forms in microcrystalline sheets. This is the reason for its pearly cleavage. Prehnite holds the honor of being the very first rock to be named for its documented discoverer, Dutch mineralogist Colonel Hendrik von Prehn, who recognized it in the 18th century. Although rare, prehnite has been found in tabular or pyramid crystal form. Most often, the botryoidal formations are what is used to carve or cut into cabochons and it can also be faceted. Prehnite takes an excellent polish!

Faceted yellow prehnite cabochons with white "blooms." Dale Armstrong, private collection
Dale Armstrong's Gem Profile- Prehnite - , General Education, , Faceted Prehnite
The most popular colors of the prehnite found in the jewelry making industry today are soft lemon yellow and apple green, with or without white blooms. It can also be found with hues of brown and very rarely, vanadium influenced-orange! One of the reasons we enjoy using this luminous mineral in jewelry making is because of prehnite's seemingly frozen, needle and fern-like inclusions. These wonderfully contrasting, green to greenish-black epidote inclusions are often mislabeled as tourmaline or simply "moss." Occasionally prehnite has been found with the changeable luster we call chatoyancy ("cat's eye" effect).

Prehnite was once regarded as one of the world's rare gems; however, due to new finds in South Africa, India, Canada and the United States (Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New England), it is presently an affordable material.

Epidote-included prehnite cabochons and beads. Dale Armstrong-private collection.
Dale Armstrong's Gem Profile- Prehnite - , General Education, , Prehnite cabochons and beads
Names for Prehnite

What's in a name? Sometimes prehnite can be found mistakenly labeled as chrysolite, which is actually another name vendors use for two totally different minerals: chrysoberyl and olivine. However, one Australian mine produces such awesome, gem quality prehnite that the material has been give the registered trade name of SunJade®. This particular variety of prehnite is usually a translucent celery green, and was named such because it resembles "bottled sunlight." Prehnite is also called "Grape Jade" in China, due to its botryoidal formations (see here). Our next Gem Profile will cover actual jade.

This is a piece of agatized coral, but is a nice example of what Dale means by "botryoidal." Private collection, Dale Armstrong
Dale Armstrong's Gem Profile- Prehnite - , General Education, , Botryoidal agatized coral
Metaphysical Properties of Prehnite

Prehnite is believed to increase knowledge of the self, and invites protection and peace. It can assist in healing the self and analyzing situations. Prehnite strengthens the life force, and increases and stimulates energy. A stone of unconditional love, prehnite is thought to alleviate nightmares and other fears by healing whatever it is inside that creates them. Many feel that prehnite crystals will allow the release of old, painful memories by helping in confronting and understanding that pain. Prehnite can also ease pain for those suffering from gout, anemia, and kidney problems. Prehnite is associated with the Solar Plexus Chakra when yellow, and the Heart Chakra when green.

Book Resources:

Minerals of the World, by Walter Schumann, ISBN 0-8069-8570-4
The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Rocks and Minerals, ISBN 0-394-50269-8

Internet Resources:


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