by Art Smith
Houston Gem & Mineral
of months ago a
fellow member of the Society asked what I knew about chrysanthemum
stone from China.
I replied, “Not much, but I found an article a couple of years ago when
a chrysanthemum stone frog for my lapidary stone frog collection.”
For those who are not sure what I am writing about, the
chrysanthemum flower stone (or just chrysanthemum stone) consists of a
two-dimensional radiating mineral “frozen” in matrix that looks like a
in particular, a chrysanthemum. The stone may naturally expose the
more frequently it is carved or sand blasted to expose the “flowers”
form the rock into irregular but somewhat artistic shapes. The rock
with the “flowers”
may be smoothed or polished to give it a finished look. Such products
popular in the Far East. In recent
small rocks with chrysanthemums have been fairly common in mineral
other countries. The outstanding specimen shown to the right was
photographed by Jack Lowell of
www.ColoradoGem.com. It came from the Lai Mine (Quarry), Hunan
Province, China and is an exceptionally rare piece of limestone with
four sharp patterns.
many of the chrysanthemum stones are found in Hunan
County along the Yung River
(Li 1990). Here the matrix is Permian age Quixia Limestone. The
petals are blades of white to pale bluish gray, rarely transparent,
celestine crystals that radiate from a small chert nodule center
(Li 1990). In some specimens the blades of celestine have been
white calcite, and the matrix may be dyed a dark color to give a nice
between matrix and “flower.” When radiating celestine blades have a
one inch or less, they can be more equal in width and length.
Frequently in the
larger radiations, the blades of celestine may be variable in width and
Some blades dominate, being much longer and wider than the others, and
radiation has less of a chrysanthemum appearance.
The Fun Stone, a shop in the Hong Kong Mall on Bellaire Boulevard
has a large polished stone with a very large chrysanthemum dominating
larger blades are 6 or 7 inches long and almost 2 inches wide. My own
frog has a white chrysanthemum on its back. The blades are unequal, and
little acid tells me the celestine has been replaced by calcite—and the
color of the limestone indicates it has probably been dyed.
Li (1990) also mentions similar stones from Hunan
but in Luxi
County. Also he
chrysanthemums that probably occur in a metamorphic rock from near
Chrysanthemum stone called “Kiku-ishi” comes from a Hill
called Maru-Yama just north of Mount
Funabas in Gifu Prefecture Japan
(Webster and Anderson 1983). The chrysanthemum petals are phenocrysts
and xenotine in basalt, an igneous rock. A similar rock occurs on
Island in British Columbia, Canada.
Zeitner (1996) mentions
white phenocrysts forming chrysanthemums in a gray-green basaltic
green flowers in a charcoal gray basalt matrix also from British Columbia.
It is obvious that the matrix rock is not important. It can
igneous, metamorphic, or sedimentary. It is the overall aesthetics of
flowers and the appearance of the finished product that is important to
Li, J. 1990 Chrysanthemums. Lapidary Journal 44(4):41.
Webster, R. and B. W. Anderson 1983 Gems,
Descriptions and Identification. 4th.
Zeitner, J. C. 1996 Gem
and Lapidary Materials for Cutters, Collectors, and Jewelers. Geoscience Press, Tucson, AZ. 347p.