Is Goldstone a Gemstone, Metal, Crystal or what?

Goldstone Suncatcher with Leaded Crystal Prism

Is Goldstone a Gemstone?

What EXACTLY is this?” A lady asks at one of my craft shows; referring to the sparkly gold color stone, intricately wire wrapped in a fancy suncatcher, a brilliant prism sparkling at it’s base.  Her husband leans in and looks at the suncatcher and says (in a deep country accent I might add) “It’s a stone, they cut it and polished up all nice and put it in that-thar’ sparkly thing.”

I chuckle a little as I start to make my way over to assist them. A friend that is with them chimes in and says, “No, It’s a crystal, like those opals you see, but this one sparkles cuz it’s got real gold in it.” (They got that one all sorts of wrong, but I keep it together.)

Finally a bystander gives her two cents and says “Its glass, they take glitter and sprinkle it on when the glass is molten hot and it sticks on.” Then to my slight amusement I see the newly formed group of people watching as the lady forcefully scraping her fingernail on the Goldstone bead in a futile attempt to dislodge the glitter.

OK, Time to step in.

Nope, Not a Metal, Crystal nor a Natural Stone -but it is Man made.

          Goldstone is not a Metal, Crystal, nor is it a Natural Stone, but it does contain all of these! There are several stories of how and when Goldstone was originally made. One spawns from some Italian monks practicing alchemy in the early 17th century. These were some wild and crazy guys who happened to be bored one day and were pranking each other (you know how monks can be) and they accidentally mixed some materials, put it on a kiln burner and whala; Goldstone! OK, so maybe that wasn’t exactly the case (or maybe it was…).

Another story sprouts from a blacksmith that was trying to make gold from iron, and missed the mark (by a long shot). One more story tells about a day-dreaming assistant who accidentally grabbed the wrong vial and gave it to his master, whom in turn added it into a mixture which resulted in Goldstone.

However it came into being, we are certainly glad it did!

What we do know about the History of Goldstone.

          Goldstone is also known as Aventurine Glass, Stelleria, Monkstone or Monk’s gold.  Evidence of when Goldstone started being made has been linked back to the 1200s in the Persian Empire. We know the process to make it wasn’t documented nor was it sold as a commodity, because only single pieces of Goldstone have surfaced with no documented proof.

It wasn’t until the early 1700s that the Miotti family started producing the gem. The process of making Goldstone still holds true today. It is made by mixing silica (sand), copper oxide, and other metal oxides while heating it up to a red-hot glowing glass and allowing the copper ions to transition to copper in it’s elemental form. When it is in this state oxygen is reduced while maintaining the temperature, and this allows microscopic metal crystals to form.

A single mass is produced, it is then broken down into workable pieces. The closer you get to the center of the mass the better quality the Goldstone, as it contains the more vibrant glittering effect. The most common color of Goldstone is reddish-brown, however other colors like blue and purple Goldstone can be created by substituting Copper for Cobalt or Manganese.

It is Sparkly and Attractive, but is it a Real Gemstone?

          Goldstone has numerous purposes, but they are all centered around it’s attractive, brilliant and sparkly nature. It can be carved into jewelry, figurines, or made into beads to adorn a glittering suncatcher! In fact, Goldstone is often mistaken for or misrepresented as a natural stone (Don’t feel bad if you originally thought it was a stone made by nature, it’s a common mistake).

It was certainly made in a lab and is considered a semi-precious gemstone in the jewelry world. But remember, Cubic Zirconium is also man made, and is often mistaken for real Diamonds!

The Chakra meaning behind the stone

          Many people associate Goldstone with vitality, energy and ambition. It is said to help manifest good energy, courage and a positive attitude, increases drive and confidence (you gotta have one in your pocket if you are going into a job interview!).

Goldstone is said to be a Master Healer, stabilizing emotions and deflecting unwanted energies, therefore it is considered to be a protection stone. Goldstone has been around since the European Renaissance, and will be around for centuries to come as it is considered to be one of the most popular gemstones in the world.

Goldstone has made it’s appearance in the jewelry world for hundreds of years, and it will continue to do so for hundreds more.

It is certainly a gemstone that will always captivate it’s owner and hypnotize the population with it’s allure and sparkle, as it is simply one of the most popular (and affordable) gemstones there is.





2 Replies to “Is Goldstone a Gemstone, Metal, Crystal or what?”

  1. Hi,
    I found this post very interesting to read.
    I have learnt a lot about goldstone now. Looking at it, I would have thought it was a natural gemstone.
    I really had no idea it was man-made and what is used to make it.
    I think it looks very nice and if I see some now I would be tempted to buy it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *