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Titania Stone


#1

A customer, whom I’ve been repairing heirloom jewelry for, dropped
of some loose faceted stones that her father purchased in the 50’s in
Hong Kong. She is wanting to know the value of them. There are a
couple parcels labeled Titania Stone. In my brief internet search I
found that Titania stone is more correctly known as Titanate a
synthetic strontium titanate once used as diamonds stimulants in the
50’s and are of some value to collectors.

Is my correct? Also, any sense as to what to value the
stones at? They are 2.8 and 2.6 cts according to the parcels.

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Rocky Mountain Wonders
Colorado Springs, Colorado
http://rockymountainwonders.com


#2

Hi Rick,

There are very few suppliers of faceted strontium titanate
(Titania), but I found one who sells them for about $20/c, native
cut. The material itself is relatively inexpensive, about $1.50/c in
rough form, which translates into about $8-10/ c for material cost
per each carat of finished goods (round). Just FYI, I charge $125
minimum for my labor, which would include a stone up to 3 carats,
plus materials.

So, it’s either $20/c for native cut goods (windowed, fair polish)
or $55-65 for those stones; or $125 for fine precision cutting. I
can’t see the stones you have, but maybe that will be of some help.
Other cutters may charge less, or more.

Wayne Emery


#3

It may be a strontium titanate, but more like you have a spene.
Value, like with any depends on usual suspects ( color,
clarity, and etc… ) Shene is mostly a collector stone due to
softness 5 - 5 1/2 on Moh’s scale

Leonid Surpin


#4
Is my correct? 

Sounds right. Strontium Titanate was used as a diamond simulant,
with its refractive index of 2.41. Hardness is 7 or so, like quartz.

Retail price for the rough currently is around $1.50/carat. I assume
the price of cut stones would depend on the quality of the cutting.
It does make a pretty stone.

Al Balmer
Sun City, AZ


#5

Rick

Chemically, “titania” is titanium dioxide, which is found in nature
as the mineral rutile. Synthetic rutile has been used as a simulant
for diamond in the past because of its high index of refraction and
good optical dispersion. Unfortunately it is soft, so It has been
supplanted by cubic zirconia as a diamond simulant. Titania is in no
way the same as strontium titanate, an entirely different material.

The stones you have are small and man-made, so are of comparatively
little value, perhaps the cost of cutting.

Richard Davies


#6

I had to attempt to come up with a stone for an insurance
replacement that a competitive jeweler destroyed during inappropriate
soldering. (He treated it as if it was in fact a diamond). I was only
able to come up with one stone of the correct size. The lady refused
$450 cash. So all I could do was to write that in a letter for the
customer.

Judy Shaw


#7
Chemically, "titania" is titanium dioxide, which is found in
nature as the mineral rutile. Synthetic rutile has been used as a
simulant for diamond in the past because of its high index of
refraction and good optical dispersion. Unfortunately it is soft,
so It has been supplanted by cubic zirconia as a diamond simulant.
Titania is in no way the same as strontium titanate, an entirely
different material. The stones you have are small and man-made, so
are of comparatively little value, perhaps the cost of cutting. 

And, he is correct. I don’t know what I was thinking, as I have cut
both many times, but my statement was WRONG. Thank you for the
correction, Richard.

I would like to add that both materials are not very durable
(tough), but synthetic rutile is not real cheap in the rough
compared to other synthetics and a round would have at least
$25-30/c in cost of materials, plus cutting, of course, so the 2.5 c
plus stones would have to have a cost at least $60 plus cutting.

Not that it is very pertinent to the discussion, but I am called
upon occasionally to make a reproduction of a client’s large diamond
for them to wear without worry or insurance concerns. For that
purpose, I will use colorless CZ for the pavilion, with a synthetic
colorless corundum for the crown. Bright, fiery and durable.
Colorless YAG works well in smaller stones, if polished on ceramic
with 200k diamond. A chore.

Thanks again for setting the record straight, Richard!

Wayne Emery


#8

Thanks to everyone who responded to my request for info on Titania
stone. An hour after posting the query I came across an article in
Time magazine archives dated Monday, Feb. 26, 1951. Note: Check out
the price of “first-grade white diamonds”

The link to the article is:

Diamond Rival
Monday, Feb. 26, 1951

In some respects, the new “diamonds” made of titania (titanium
dioxide) are better than the real thing.86 Last week three
advertisements in the New York Times Magazine offered cut stones
"more brilliant than diamonds" at prices ranging from $10 to $16 a
carat (price of first-grade white diamonds: about $1,100 for a
one-carat stone). One ad suggested: “A handsome engagement ring made
of our remarkable gem presented to any girl will win her devotion.
The hundreds of dollars saved will go far toward building a
permanent home.”

Titanium dioxide is found in nature in black or brown crystals known
to mineralogists as “rutile.” When the pure oxide, finely powdered,
is fed through an oxyacetylene flame, it collects in a solid,
carrot-shaped “boule.” At first the boule is black, but careful
heating turns it to a very faint yellow, the color of good-quality
"Cape diamonds." Stones of almost any color, including blue, green
and deep yellow, can be made by doctoring the oxide with small
amounts of impurities.

Titania’s close resemblance to diamonds is due to its index of
refraction, i.e., its ability to bend light rays. This property makes
a stone glitter. Diamond’s index of refraction is extremely high:
2.42. Titania’s index is higher: 2.62 to 2.90. Even more important is
its “dispersion,” i.e., its ability to break white light into rainbow
colors. Diamond disperses light twice as much as common glass does,
but titania disperses it seven times as much. So far, titania cannot
be made absolutely white (many valuable diamonds are not white,
either), and it will never rival diamond in hardness.

Those who cherish diamonds because of their high cost (owing to the
tight control of the South African diamond monopoly) will not welcome
the development of titania. But in sparkle and “fire,” it surpasses
its rival and may force the merchandisers of genuine diamonds to warn
their customers against too much “fire.”

86Synthetic sapphires and rubies are made artificially of aluminum
oxide, are therefore the same chemically as their natural
counterparts. Natural diamonds consist of carbon, so gems of titanium
dioxide cannot be called “synthetic diamonds.”

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Rocky Mountain Wonders
Colorado Springs, Colorado
http://rockymountainwonders.com


#9

And then there is anodized titanium. Where we grow those wonderful
transparent titanium dioxide films in angstrom thin films to produce
interference colors! All because of the properties listed here. How
cool is it to drive an aerospace metal back to it’s elemental level
just for the sake of art.

Bill

Bill, Deborah & Michele
Reactive Metals Studio, Inc
928-634-3434, 800-876-3434, 928-634-6734fx


#10
Thanks to everyone who responded to my request for info on Titania
stone. 

Now you’ve found two different definitions of what it might be :slight_smile:
If it’s synthetic rutile, the raw material is worth maybe three times
as much, but it’s still pretty cheap. If it matters, the specific
gravity may be the easiest way to distinguish them, since they’re
loose stones. The SG for rutile is listed as 4.23, strontium titanate
4.88

Al Balmer
Sun City, AZ


#11

A gal I work with asked me last week if I knew anything about
Strontium Titanate, and of course, being the geek I am, I gave her
the whole story… until her eyes started to glaze over. So I was
tickled today when I saw the Titania thread. Just think, I could have
told her even more!

I collect diamond substitutes and I have sold several gold jewelry
items set with light champagne color Strontium Titanate (along with
the warning that they are very soft). Everyone has been very happy
with them.

My very favorite “fake” was a three stone ring I set with a 10x8mm
Oval Synthetic Rutile (with a slightly greenish tinge), flanked by
two 4mm round brilliant Tsavorite Garnets. It was a definite
conversation starter. I wore it for a while until my best friend
talked me into selling it to her. At least I get “visitation rights”.

They may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but some of these older lab
stones with super dispersion can be a lot of fun, especially if taken
out into the sunshine.

Blaire L. Beavers