Misleading Gemstone Names: How to Recognize Gemstone Impostors

The following article appears courtesy of About.com

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Misleading Gemstone Names

Herkimer Diamonds

Read jewelry ads and you’ll see descriptive terms tacked-on to the names of gemstones, like Oriental emerald (it’s really a green sapphire), American ruby (a garnet) and Australian jade (treated quartz).

Sometimes extra terms do describe the source or type of gem that’s being advertised, but many are deceptive, and some sellers hope you won’t notice that they replace what you think is a more expensive gem with either a look-alike gem that’s less expensive or components made from glass and other materials.

There are hundreds and hundreds of examples of misleading gemstone names. Here are some of the most common.

Diamond Impostors

  • German diamond: quartz
  • Herkimer diamond: double-terminated quartz
  • Bohemian Diamond: quartz

Most of the stones advertised with diamond in the name, but with a qualifying term in front of the word, are quartz.

Emerald Impostors

  • African emerald: green fluorite
  • Bohemian emerald: green fluorspar
  • Broghton emerald: green glass
  • Chatham emerald: synthetic emerald
  • Cape emerald: Prehnite
  • Gilson emerald: synthetic emerald
  • Emeraldine: chalcedony that’s dyed green
  • Oriental emerald: sapphire
  • Evening emerald: peridot
  • Spanish emerald: glass

Ruby Impostors

  • Adelaide ruby: Australian garnet
  • Australian ruby: garnet
  • Bohemian ruby: garnet
  • California ruby: garnet
  • Cape ruby: garnet
  • Montana ruby: garnet
  • San Diego ruby: red tourmaline
  • Siberian ruby: tourmaline

Sapphire Impostors

  • Brazilian sapphire: blue tourmaline
  • Burma sapphire: synthetic sapphire
  • Hope sapphire: synthetic blue spinel or lab grown sapphire

True sapphire is sometimes called descriptive names, like Kashmir sapphire, which is a deep blue version of the gem, but most of today’s sellers use the stone’s color as a descriptive label.

Jade Impostors

  • African jade: garnet
  • Colorado jade: feldspar
  • Honan jade: soapstone
  • Indian jade: aventurine
  • Manchurian jade: soapstone
  • Swiss jade: jasper

Pearl Impostors

  • Atlas pearls: calcite beads
  • Delta pearls: imitations
  • Roman pearls: glass beads
  • Swarovski pearls: glass beads

Opal Impostors

  • Ceylon opal: moonstone
  • Blue opal: lazulite

Lapis Impostors

  • Swiss lapis: chalcedony or dyed jasper
  • German lapis: dyed jasper
  • Canadian lapis: sodalite

Turquoise Impostors

  • African turquoise: jasper
  • Chinese turquoise: calcite, soapstone
  • Sacred turquoise: smithsonite
  • Utah turquoise: variscite
  • Vienna turquoise: simulated at one time but may contain reconstituted turquoise
  • Yellow turquoise: often jasper or serpentine

Amazonite and chrysocolla are two gemstones that resemble turquoise and are sometimes confused with it.The jewelry made from “impostor” gems might be just what you’re looking for, so don’t hesitate to buy it, but do some homework before you make a purchase so that you understand exactly what you are buying.

 

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