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Semiprecious stone ID


#1

Just came back from a gem show yesterday, hunting for
moderately-priced natural-stone beads. The materials on offer
raised a lot of questions that weren’t a problem when I first
learned my mineral identification! What is the REAL identity of
stones labeled: 1) “new” jade; 2) “Hsiu” jade; 3); olive jade; 4)
african jade.

Also, I came across a string of beads that were a pale nile green,
with a chatoyant texture. The seller claimed that this material was
what all tigereye started out like, and all the colors we normally
see are dyed. (Sure.) I know tigereye goes through color changes
from blue to yellow as it matures, and the mahogany shade is from
heat treatment, but these stones were something else. The color was
very pale, very uniform, the texture was very fine (although it did
resemble tigereye), and the polish was superb, which makes me doubt
that it’s tigereye in any early stage. The beads were about 1/2 -
3/4" diameter, with no cracks or iron inclusions.

And - what’s the difference between Botswana agate and banded agate?
(Appearance-wise, since I can’t personally verify the source.)

Thanks! Tas


#2
And - what's the difference between Botswana agate and banded
agate? (Appearance-wise, since I can't personally verify the
source.) 

Botswana agate is a type of banded agate. Banded agate is simply a
general type, while “Botswana” agate is banded agate from a specific
location. It’s generally characterized by a typical color range,
often with various shades of attractive grays, whites, and low
intensity browns. The size range (thickness or width) of the banding
is also kind of typical for those locations. Brazilian agates often
have wider banding, and are more often in the browns (possibly due to
heat treatment), while, for example, Lake superior agates are often
found with considerably tighter, narrower/closer together bands.

But these are only generalizations. the typical botswana agate look
can also be found, now and then, in stones from both Brazil and the
Lake Superior types, not to mention other locations…

Peter


#3
  And - what's the difference between Botswana agate and banded
agate? (Appearance-wise, since I can't personally verify the
source.) 

Hi Tas, “Banded agate” is merely a descriptive term for any agate
that has bands of different colors – including Botswana agate. The
patterning in Botswana is very distinctive and the colors are usually
grey, white and brown tones, with the prettiest IMO also showing some
pink. Once you’ve learned what it looks like it’s fairly easy to
identity. I did a Google Image search and turned up some
representative images. The first URL below shows an assortment of
tumbled Botswanas; the second is a beautiful cab showing the most
typical and distinctive type of Botswana patterning.
http://www.millenniumminerals.com/gfx/stones/botswana.1bg.jpg
http://www.samsilverhawk.com/1026/botswana.html

Beth


#4

Call me a cynic…(but I am an EXPERIENCED cynic.) I have found that
almost any qualifying word used with the word ‘jade,’ (except for
’nephrite’ or ‘jadeite,’ which are gemologically correct
terminology) means that it IS NOT jade. Peking Jade is green glass,
etc., etc. In my experience, more different stones are sold as jade
than you can imagine. David Barzilay, Lord of the Rings


#5

Hi, Tas- Hard to say without seeing the beads, but they sure sound a
lot like fiber optic material. Not related to tigereye or anything
else that comes out of the ground, except maybe communications
cables :wink:

Regarding Botswana agate, it is a designation of the place of
origin, while banded agate is a designation of pattern. Although
the vast majority of agate from Botswana is fortification agate in
shades of grey, white and pink, Tube agate and sagenite have also
been found there, as well as fortification agates in other color
combinations. To view examples of Botswana agate, go to Roger
Pabian’s agate site at

http://csd.unl.edu/csd/agate-page/countries/botswana/botswana-frame.htm

to view examples of Botswana agate and Botswana sagenite, you can
check out Pat McMahon’s site at

http://agateswithinclusions.com/

You can also see an example of a well-cut (by Gerry Galarneau)
Botswana agate set in sterling silver on my website,

http://www.dosmanosjewelry.com

Lee Einer


#6

I can fill in two of the questions.

Just came back from a gem show yesterday, hunting for
moderately-priced natural-stone beads. 4) african jade.

I believe African Jade is serpentine. At least that’s a name I’ve
bought Serpentine under.

Botswana agate is, at least in theory, from Botswana. It is a
banded agate, usually in the grays to blacks to purple range with
white banding or very fine lines in between. It’s the fineness of
lines and the clear demarkation between colors that distinguishes it.
Also most agate is banded. Although the term is loosely used.

Derek Levin


#7
 Hard to say without seeing the beads, but they sure sound a lot
like fiber optic material. 

They’re nothing like the usual fiber-optic pseudo-stone. The
texture is like tigereye - not uniform, with chunks and areas of
differently oriented chatoyant material. The chatoyancy is very fine,
almost like iris agate.


#8

Tas & All, I will not attempt to ID what you saw offered by different
dealers without first seeing the stones. Over the last five years I
have been investigating on my own the question of heat treatment. I
have bought two batches of tourmaline rough. One batch came from an
African I have bought from for many years. The rough was from
Nigeria. I have now cut about 150 stones from the rough. Out of the
150 stones I have found at least 35 had definite heat induced
internal fractures. The dealer guaranteed that the rough was
natural. He said the people he bought the rough from did not have
the knowledge or equipment to perform heat treating.

The second batch came from a Brazilian. Out of about 100 stones cut
at least 30 had definite heat induced internal fractures. Again the
dealer swore the rough was untreated and natural. My conclusions are
that they both either did not know the rough was treated and obtained
it from third or forth or more dealers removed from the treatment in
the swapping of rough or they were out right lying to me.

I also have bought three parcels of Madagascar beryl rough from an
Israeli dealer that swore the rough was natural and untreated. In
this rough I have also discovered small internal heat induced
fractures. Last year I bought about 750 carats of cut tourmaline for
recutting. I bought the stones from a dealer from India, a dealer
from Brazil, and a dealer from Africa. All the stones were
guaranteed “Natural”. When I got home I inspected each batch. Some
stones from each batch showed the tell tale heat induced fractures.

I have quite intensive experience with fractures induced by heating.
Five years ago I was talked into a deal where I would recut heat
fractured tourmalines and be paid $5.00 per finished carat for
finished clean stones. There was 100 stones in the batch. I started
out with 15-30 carat tourmalines and by the time I finished cleaning
up these stones ended up with less than 5 carat stones. Another time
Robert Lowe offered me a sack full of heat fractured tourmalines he
wanted to sell as recutters. I turned him down.

That is why I state that most stones now on the market are heat
treated. Yes, I could take the stones I have cut that are clean from
these batches and sell them as natural… That would be a lie and I
will not do it.

Gerry Galarneau


#9

Tas 1) “new” jade; 2) “Hsiu” jade; 3); olive jade; 4) african jade
equals anything but jade, could be serpentine or anything else
vaguely the right colour.

Re the ‘young tigereye’ - I haven’t seen green but tigereye is
bleached to pale honey yellow (quite pretty in an un natural way).
Blue tigereye (hawkseye?) occurs naturally. the mahogany is usually
the result of a heat treatment I believe. Botswana is a banded
agate, typically black and white bands - just a more accurate
description ie of source rather than appearance. e.g. I have dug
black and white banded agate in Scotland but it couldn’t be Botswana
agate.

Thanks for asking a question in here I could answer, it’susually the
other way round for me.

Andy Parker, Agate House Lapidary
Ulverston, Cumbria, England
@Andy_Parker
www.agatehouse.co.uk
Tel: 01229 584023


#10
almost any qualifying word used with the word 'jade,' (except for
>'nephrite' or 'jadeite,' which are gemologically correct
>terminology) means that it IS NOT jade.  Peking Jade is green
glass etc. 

Yes, you’re absolutely correct. In many cases you will find that
the problem goes back to the fact that the Chinese character “yu”,
normally translated into English as “jade”, doesn’t actually
specifically mean “jade” in Chinese. It has a much broader meaning.
A more accurate translation might be “fine stone”. When the Chinese
want to specifically write “jade” in a gemmological or jewellery
context, they need to qualify the term with additional characters
(e.g. something like “imperial jade”).

There are plenty of non-jade rocks which have the character “jade"
in their names when written in Chinese (e.g. “Hebei jade” might be
used, perfectly legitimately, as the Chinese common mineralogical
term for serpentine or bowenite or something like that). However,
this term would frequently be literally translated into English as
"Jade from Hebei”, which is incorrect. Occasionally, the
mistranslation is accidental: unless they have knowledge of
mineralogy, Chinese people tend to assume that we use the term
"jade" the same way they do (and most Chinese-English dictionaries
just translate the term “yu” as “jade”, without explaining the
issue). Sometimes, of course, the mistranslation is entirely
deliberate.

But I wouldn’t just blame the Chinese: there are plenty of Western
stone traders who are only too happy to buy stones which are
obviously not jade, from areas of China which do not have any jade
deposits, and sell them on using the word “jade” with no
qualifications.

?:sunglasses:
-Michael.


#11

African Jade aka Transvaal Jade = Hydrogrossular Garnet = Jade
simulant

Hydrogrossular is a hydrous member of the garnet group.

Colors - green, blue green, pink, white & gray. Commonly with black
to dark brown inclusions Translucent to nearly opaque.

Refractive  Index  = 1.720  + 0.010 to - 0.050
Specific Gravity  = 3.47  + 0.08 to - 0.32
Hardness = 7 , 
U V, no reaction to UV long and UV short.

This massive green jade like material comes from near Pretoria, S.A.
Massive white material comes from China and is used for carving. *

Nice stone, takes a good polish and wears well, but Jade it ain’t.

Robb.


#12
New" jade; 2) "Hsiu" jade; 3); olive jade; 4) Africa jade equals
anything but jade, could be serpentine or anything else vaguely the
right color. " the issue is confused by the continued Chinese usage
of referring to all nontransparent green stones as " JADE  . And
great care must be used in the identification. " * 
New Jade or Korean Jade  =  Bowenite
Bowenite is a translucent yellow green to green variety of Serpentine .
Hardness 5.5 - 6
Refractive Index = 1.52 - 1.54
Specific Gravity = 2.50 - 2.60 *

Other minerals which can be confused with Nephrite and Jadeite are
Californite ( massive Idocrase ), Massive Hydrogrossular Garnet,
Talc, Serpentine, Phrenite, Amazonite, and Chrysophrase Chalcedony. **

Amazonite, Chrysophrase, Californite, and Hydrogrossular Garnet are
all gemstones in their own right , but Jade they ain’t.

Robb.


#13
    They're nothing like the usual fiber-optic pseudo-stone. The
texture is like tigereye - not uniform, with chunks and areas of
differently oriented chatoyant material.  The chatoyancy is very
fine, almost like iris agate. 

Hello Steelybone, Could it be Victoria stone, a Japanese glass like
gem simulant. Made from fused chunks of various minerals such as
calcite, fluorite, feldspar and quartz. The fibrous aggregate
structure gives it a random chatoyant effect and it can be made in
any colour.

Tony.


#14
 I have found that almost any qualifying word used with the word
'jade,' (except for 'nephrite' or 'jadeite,' which are
gemologically correct terminology) means that it IS NOT jade. 

Hello David, I have 12 misnomers that use non gemmological qualifying
words that refer to Jadeite Jade. I also have 29 that don’t, the
interesting thing is the 29 non jadeite jades refer to17 different
stones. If you really care to know them and want to see others I
have put together a small list of gemstone misnomers which may
interest some of the list; http://www.thegemdoctor.com/misnomers.html
this page is NOT navigable from the site.

Tony
Trying to do my little part in confusing the public


#15
I have 12 misnomers that use non gemmological qualifying words that
refer to Jadeite Jade. I also have 29 that don't, the interesting
thing is the 29 non jadeite jades refer to17 different stones. 

Fun list, Tony. I did notice a few which may not completely qualify
as misnomers, since they’re in common use and understood to correctly
describe the gem. Michigan greenstone is a commonly used name for
Chlorastrolite from the lake Superior area. People using the name
understand quite well that the name refers to the mineral,
chlorastrolite. I’d wonder if this common use name really qualifies
to be listed in the same catagory as the many more confusing names on
your list, which often intend to mislead or deceive… The other
one I happened to notice is the name Catseyte for the fiber optic
material cut as cats eyes. I seem to recall that this was a
trademarked trade name for these manufactured products. As such,
again I’d wonder if it really qualifies as a “misnomer”.

Peter


#16
If you really care to know them and want to see others  I have put
together a small list of gemstone misnomers which may interest
some of the list; http://www.thegemdoctor.com/misnomers.html this
page is NOT navigable from the site. Trying to do my little part in
confusing the public" 

Hi Tony,

While your site is very informative, for the most part, I have to
take issue with your decision to lump numerous widely-known
registered trademarks as gemstone “misnomers”. When companies go to
the lengths necessary to protect their intellectual properties with
both patents and registered trademarks, and then further invest in
the marketing of those trademarked items, is it really above board
to label their good names “misnomers”? For example, you’ve called
the Linde Star Sapphires, Chatham (& Gilson, and several other
brands of) Created Emeralds and a helping of other brands
"misnomers", when they’re actually both accurately named and
represented as what they aRe: comparatively inexpensive, man-made
attempts at providing those who could never hope to afford any truly
fine examples of “the real thing” with close approximations.

Granted, in some cases (like the color-change Corundums being
marketed as “Alexandrines”), bluster and flimflam are clearly the
order of the day. But, in cases where the products’ names are
clearly identified and their properties and origins are not only
mentioned, but actually serve as the bases for their respective
inventors’ sales proposals – especially, when we’re speaking of
folks like Carroll or Tom Chatham, Pierre Gilson or Judy Osmer,
who’ve all done so much to help our industry tell the difference
between their products and the natural ones they’ve worked so hard
to emulate – I think the only “misnomer” applicable is their
presence on your list. “Soochow Jade”? Okay, that makes sense.
Taking a poke at folks like the Chathams? That’s just a low blow; I
see no other way to describe it.

Just my opinionated $0.02,

Douglas Turet, GJ
Another Bright Idea! / Turet Design
P.O. Box 162
Arlington, MA 02476
Tel. (617) 325-5328
eFax (928) 222-0815
anotherbrightidea@hotmail.com


#17

Hello Peter,

    Fun list, Tony. Thanks I got a few giggles putting it together.
Michigan greenstone is a commonly used name for Chlorastrolite from
the lake Superior area. 

Therein lies the rub. Not only is Michigan greenstone easier to say
it is certainly more romantic. The more correct description would of
course be something like ‘Chlorastrolite known here as Michigan
greenstone’ Just using greenstone is definitely a misnomer which is
why it was on the list, qualifying it with the state of origin helps
to clear up confusion but using all the names makes it right.

    I seem to recall that this was a trademarked trade name for
these manufactured products. As such, again I'd wonder if it really
qualifies as a "misnomer". 

The list header does point out that I have included many trade names
which when used without the obligatory disclosure are misnomers.
Once again the more correct use would be something like ’ fibre
optic glass marketed here as Catseyte’.

Tony.
http://www.thegemdoctor.com/misnomers.html


#18

Hello Doug, I hate to disagree with you but thanks to a recent show
in the wonderful tv series that Hans Durstling was instrumental in
giving us, so do Tom Chatham and Judith Osmer. In the synthetics
show both of these people displayed immense pride in their products
and were very insistent that the prominent marketing feature was
their creation of the gem. Ramaura Cultured Ruby and Chatham Created
Emerald are the names suggested by the makers and they were quite
insistent that dropping the synthetic qualifier from the name made
it a very definite misnomer. Their confirmation that chatham emerald
and ramaura ruby are wrong is good enough for me. They want people
to know that they made these stones.

There is nothing wrong with using any of the names on the list if
you use both the correct and marketing names together such as
’Alexandrine colour change synthetic corundum’ or ‘Bowenite known
here as soochow jade’.

I had no idea the list could be read as pejorative, I thought I was
having a little fun pretending to be educational.

Tony.
http://www.thegemdoctor.com/misnomers.html


#19

Hello Doug, I hate to disagree with you but thanks to a recent show
in the wonderful tv series that Hans Durstling was instrumental in
giving us, so do Tom Chatham and Judith Osmer. In the synthetics
show both of these people displayed immense pride in their products
and were very insistent that the prominent marketing feature was
their creation of the gem. Ramaura Cultured Ruby and Chatham Created
Emerald are the names suggested by the makers and they were quite
insistent that dropping the synthetic qualifier from the name made
it a very definite misnomer. Their confirmation that chatham emerald
and ramaura ruby are wrong is good enough for me. They want people
to know that they made these stones.

There is nothing wrong with using any of the names on the list if
you use both the correct and marketing names together such as
’Alexandrine colour change synthetic corundum’ or ‘Bowenite known
here as soochow jade’.

I had no idea the list could be read as pejorative, I thought I was
having a little fun pretending to be educational.

Tony.
http://www.thegemdoctor.com/misnomers.html


#20
Another time Robert Lowe offered me a sack full of heat fractured
tourmalines he wanted to sell as recutters. I turned him down. 

This was posted a while back, and even though I am sure that Gerry
did not intend to give the impression that I had tried to sell him
the material without disclosing that it had been heated (very badly
heated at that - with some stones looking like the result of a stone
colliding with an automobile windshield) =96 it is probably a good
idea to reinforce the fact that the disclosure was made on this
material.

In fact, I make it a habit to pick up parcels of faceted or even
cabochon stones that have been badly executed and could possible be
made better with the efforts of custom cutters. We call these stones
re-cutters. The faceters use the material as if it was a pre-form
and thus have a very good idea of what they will get out of the
stone =96 as opposed to hoping a piece of rough will give them what
they desire.

One of my suppliers stated it this way =96 “when we sell faceted
stones, we are selling reality =96 but when we sell rough, we are
selling them dreams.” The faceter is basing his purchase upon what
he imagines he will be able to do with the stone or what he thinks
he can make out of it. Many times he gets it right, though sometimes
there is a hidden flaw, a small inclusion, a needle he didn’t see
etc. and the intended finished stone has to be modified, if the
intention is to make a flawless gem.

That is why I state that most stones now on the market are heat
treated. 

I don’t know about the ‘heat’ part but the ‘treated’ part is
probably true. It basically comes down to "if it looks like it needs
some work and it can be done - someone along the line will do it"
either heating or irradiation or oiling or diffusion. It seems very
strange to me that the usual question one gets from a gemstone buyer
is “Has this material been heated?” when the question should be “Has
this material been treated or enhanced in any way?” Quite a few
gemstones are not ‘heated’ but are ‘treated’ or ‘enhanced’ in other
ways.

AGTA has a very useful booklet about Gemstone Enhancements and
disclosure and it is very inexpensive (about $3.00). Everyone who
buys or uses gemstones should have a copy of this booklet.

It really doesn’t make sense that miners spend tens of thousands of
dollars every month to get gemstone rough out of the ground and then
they would throw away 95% of it because the color isn’t great or it
has silk or fractures etc. So it is a pretty good guess that ‘if it
can be done’ and it will make the material look better or be more
saleable - it will be done - some where along the distribution
chain.

Best regards, Robert Lowe, Lowe Associates - Brasil,
Gemstones-Rough-Specimens, Tucson-February 5-10, 2004 - GJX # 205
e-mail: USA robertplowejr@juno.com February 2004
e-mail: Brasil <@Robert_P_Lowe_Jr1>