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The Mineral Chalcedony


Onyx cave in Arizona. Chalcedony is a catch all term that includes many well known varieties of cryptocrystalline quartz gemstones. They are found in all 50 States, in many colors and color combinations, and in sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks. Chalcedony includes carnelian, sard, plasma, prase, bloodstone, onyx, sardonyx, chrysoprase, thundereggs, agate, flint, chert, jasper, petrified wood, and petrified dinosaur bone just to name a few of the better known varieties.

Because of its abundance, durability, and beauty, chalcedony was, except for sticks, animal skins, bones, plain rocks, and possibly obsidian, the earliest raw material used by humankind. The earliest recorded use of chalcedony was for projectile points, knives, tools, and containers such as cups and bowls. Early man made weapons and tools from many varieties of chalcedony including agate, agatized coral, flint, jasper, and petrified wood.

The move from using certain items as weapons and tools, to using the same items for ceremonial and personal adornment is very easily made. It was only natural for early man to use his finest looking knife for special occasions or to attach a special lance point or arrowhead to his tunic. In fact, agate and petrified wood may have simply been elevated to gems from common and functional weapons or tools. All 50 States produce some variety of chalcedony, but the material from some States is better known than that from others.

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Fact Credit:
USGS General
USGS Web Site

Further Reading
Simon & Schuster's Guide to Rocks and Minerals
by Martin Prinz


Related Web Links
Chalcedony
by minerals.net

Chalcedony
by Desert USA





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