Thursday, May 7, 2009

Misleading the Public with Gemstone Names

I read a very interesting forum on Etsy talking about how some "gemstones" are not really gems but glass, or a different stone dyed or treated to look like a certain stone. I found this forum both interesting and informative so I decided to do a little research of my own.

Gemstones are in the odd position of having one foot in the technical world of mineralogy and one foot in the commercial world of jewelry. The true names for gemstones are mostly derived from the Greek or Italian languages. The original names are meaningful and carry some significance while the fancy trade names that unscrupulous jewelers and dealers use are meant to influence innocent buyers into purchasing a less expensive stone at the price of a more valuable one. It's also a well-known fact in the jewelry industry that gemstones with difficult, confusing or obscure names are difficult to sell to the average consumer.

Here is a partial list of misnamed gemstones:

*Charoite is charoite. Not sugilite or purple stained agate.
*Goldstone is glass with copper in it. Not gold Not a stone.
*Cherry and blueberry quartz is glass.
*Crackle fire agate. Crackled? Yes. Fire agate? No.
*Green opal is chalcedony.
*Howlite Turquoise is not turquoise.
*There is no such thing as white turquoise.
*Any fruit or candy named gem is not that gem.
*Serpetine is not jade.
*African Turquoise is not turquoise - it is a variety of jasper found in Africa.
*African Jade is not jade but a type of garnet that resembles jade in color and texture.
*New Jade and Olive Jade are actually serpentine.
*Yellow Turquoise is usually a jasper or serpentine.

There is no:

*Russian Sugilite
*New Jade
*Sugilite Jasper
*Crab Fire Agate
*Chinese Charoite
*Flower Charoite
*Charoite Quartz

Generally speaking, be very skeptical of two-name names such as new jade, or yellow turquoise, of names with locations like Russian sugilite, or Chinese charoite, and of names with strange modifiers such as alabandine ruby or occidental diamond. Also, be careful of names that are not spelled correctly such as emeralda for emeralds.

For more information and an extensive list gems and names:

Another valuable source for this article:

1 comment:

Donna Marie said...

Fantastic information. Thanks so much. I never thought of these things. I will denfinately keep these things in mind when purchasing stones.

Thanks again.