Variscite is of a hydrated aluminium phosphate chemical composition. It is a relatively rare mineral which is often confused with Chrysocolla or Turquoise because of its similarity in colour ranging from pale to dark green depending on the chromium and vanadium content. However, Variscite is greener in color.

It was first described in1837 and was named after Variscia, the historical name of the Vogtland, in Germany where it was found.

Utah is the principal source of gem-quality Variscite of emerald green color with interesting patterns. Hence, it is also sold under the trade name of "Utahlite". The specimens from here are very popular and much sought after.

Variscite of blue-green color with black "spiderweb" patterns from Nevada is also highly valued by collectors. Its appearance looks so much like Turquoise that without standard gemological tests, it is very hard to distinguish them.

Variscite has a hardness of 4.5 on the Mohs scale whereas its lookalike Turquoise is harder at 5 to 6. Turquoise obtains its color from traces of copper whereas Variscite is colored from traces of chromium and vanadium.

Variscite is also confused with Chrysocolla. However, Chrysocolla has a hardness ranging from 2 to 4 on the Mohs scale. Moreover, when cut and polished, Variscite has a more glass-like luster than both Turquoise and Chrysocolla.

Variscite is usually opaque but some stones may be slightly translucent around the edges. Rarely is it transparent. It has a perfect cleavage with a strong pale green and green fluorescence.

Usually Variscite is multicolored and displays splotches of white or black veins. It may be found in orange, pink, red and yellow colors.

Nevertheless, it is its mesmerising green color that Variscite is well known for. This green can vary from light pale-green to emerald-green, and from apple-green to bluish-green. The mint-green colored Variscite that is a little bit translucent is most desirable.

Variscite that contain a high percentage of iron impurities may occur in a more brownish color. If it contains less iron than aluminum in its chemical composition, it will be of a reddish to violet color. Yet, rarely do variscite gemstones occur red colored.

When Variscite is found intergrown with chalcedony or quartz, it is usually referred to as 'Amatrix' gemstones, short for 'American matrix'.

Variscite is often found in the same geographic areas as Turquoise, and this can result in Variscite being incorrectly identified as Turquoise. However, when specimens are a mixture of Variscite and Turquoise, these specimens are trades as "Variquoise".

Variscite in crystal form is extremely rare. Hence, Variscite is usually found in massive fine-grained aggregate form.

Variscite is typically identified by its beautiful colors and patterns. It has a brittle tenacity and splintery fracture (or breakage into elongated fragments like splinters of wood).

Variscite turns lavender-blue in color when heated. However, it is not known to be treated or enhanced in any way.

Misleading trade names that Variscite is sold under are usually region or locality-based such as, "Utahlite" or "Utahlite matrix", "Utah turquoise", "Nevada turquoise", "Australian turquoise", "Australian nephrite" and "Australian jade".

People have created jewelry from Variscites since Neolithic times, more than 6,000 years ago. Neolithic beads carved from Variscite have been discovered in Brittany, France. However, it was then thought to be Turquoise from China until gemologists verified it to be Variscite.

Variscite aggregate form is widely used in crystal healing.

Variscite is believed to be able to help the wearer in learning, reasoning, and in the use of logic. It is a powerful stone for overcoming stress and anxiety. It is a bringer of happiness, inner peace and harmony for those who carry or wear it as jewelry. It is also a bringer of wealth as green is the symbol of wealth and intellect.

Variscite is believed to arouse feelings of compassion and love.

Crystal healers use Variscite for relief of acid indigestion, abdominal pain, cramps and swelling.

Variscite gemstones though rarer than Turquoise are quite affordable and they come in very large sizes (20 carats or more), making it ideal for bold fashion jewelry. In its aggregate form, it is usually cut en cabochon in order to exhibit the beautiful colors and patterns. It is also tumbled, beaded or cut into ovals, pears, cushions, rounds and free-form fancy shapes. Beaded and tumbled Variscite is typically used for bracelets and necklaces. With their high luster, they make very attractive jewelry pieces.

Some materials may be carved into ornamental objects.

Variscite comes with a perfect cleavage which makes it a fragile gemstone. It also has a brittle tenacity, and a splintery fracture and a low hardness. Therefore, utmost care has to be taken due to its susceptibility to abrasions and cracks from hard blows.

Rings which are usually more prone to scratches must be made with protective settings. Pendants, pins, brooches and earrings are excellent for Variscite.

When cleaning Variscite simply use a soft cloth with soap and water. Remember to rinse well of any residue. Avoid prolonged exposure to strong heat as this can cause permanent color damage.

The most significant Variscite deposits are found in Utah and Nevada in the United States. It is also found in Australia, Germany, Poland, France, Russia, Sweden, Spain and Brazil.