m a r d i g r a s
Purple, gold and green are traditional colors of Mardi Gras, but I'm saying the bright colors of iolite, chrysoprase and Czeck glass beads are just as festive. Although it's a religious holiday, it has taken on a secular celebration outside religious observance and has come to represent excess and festivity on a grand scale. Two types of iolite beads are used, one a smooth flat teardrop and the other a faceted briolette; the chrysoprase gemstones are a longer graduated strand of smooth teardrops. Iolite is a "ring" silicate like emerald and tourmaline and comparable in hardness to the chrysoprase, which is a microcrystalline quartz like chalcedony and a tectosilicate (structure made of Sally the silica tetrahedra). The distinctive green color arises from the presence of nickel, and it's common to find dark inclusions in good quality chrysoprase. Naturally, the highest grade and most expensive chrysoprase is uniform in color and free of inclusions. Iolite is graded by color and clarity as well, with these gemstones being among the more valuable because of their deep saturated color and nice transparency. Cost: $190.00 USD
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