Although much less famous than some of her more glamorous contemporaries, Chrysolite could well have made a lasting reputation for herself had she had better skippers when in her prime. As it was, Captain Alexander McLelland and his successors never got the best out of her and her potential was hidden from view until the clippers' heyday had passed and it was too late.
Built to the order of Taylor, Potter & Co. of Liverpool by Alexander Hall & Sons at Aberdeen, she was launched in March 1851. Registered at 564 tons, she measured 156 feet in length with a 29 foot beam and, after fitting out, cost a total of £9,180. Well built to class 14AI, she could load almost 900 tons of tea and enjoyed the rare distinction - for a British clipper - of attracting favourable comment from the American naval architect John W. Griffiths. Likewise, The Illustrated London News carried a particularly enthusiastic account of her hugely successful maiden voyage and it was said that she was very buoyant and handled easily. Sailing by the wind she made 10½ knots and 13½ when running free under all sail, she even reached 14 knots for short periods and thus began her career with high expectations.
After four splendid voyages under her first master Captain Enright, during which she averaged 105¼ days home from China, she was then turned over to Captain McLelland and her average for the next four trips fell to 135 days, at best a mediocre performance by the standards of the time. Her fastest-ever passage out - and almost a record run - was Liverpool to Hong Kong in 87 days in 1853, whilst the return voyage from Whampoa to Liverpool in 108 days was also her best. Apart from a somewhat mysterious trip to Bahia in the winter of 1852-53, when, presumably, a worthwhile cargo had presented itself, she remained on the China tea run until 1866 when she was sold to McPherson of Liverpool who sent her out to Japan. After four years she was sold again, this time to J. Brodie of London, who cut her down to a barque and sent her trading around the Indian Ocean where, on 28th March 1873, whilst en route to Colombo (Ceylon) from Madagascar, she was caught in a hurricane off Mauritius and wrecked.