It has been suggested that Chalcedony was one of the earliest materials used by man. Not only has the stone been mentioned as one of the twelve gems in the breastplate of Aaron, there is reference to its use in creating the foundation of the city walls of the ‘New Jerusalem’. In the 7th century BC, it was used to make cylindrical seals in the area of Mesopotamia.
Over time, as well as being set in jewellery and carvings, Chalcedony has been shaped into knives and tools. In particular it is used to carve attractive cameos, and is one of the gemstones used in commesso; a technique of fashioning pictures with thin, cut-to-shape pieces of brightly coloured gemstones which was extremely popular in the 16th century in Florence, Italy.
The name derives from Chalkedon, which is an old Greek town and the generic name ‘Chalcedony’ is also the name for all the fine-grained Quartzes.
Chalcedony comes in an array of colours including hues such as milky blue, creamy white and soft grey. The gemstone is usually semi-transparent or translucent and its waxy lustre give it an almost magical look. Chalcedony is still very popular today and even inspired jewellery brands such as Boodles and Lorique set cabochon cut Chalcedony gems in 18ct Gold.