You have gemstones, that are made of minerals. You have also gemstones that are made by animals, like coral, amber and ivory (read my blog). But did you know that there is a man-made gemstone, called goldstone? And there are a few stories about the origin of goldstone. Let me tell you about the nicest and most exiting ones.

                                                                         What has Columbus to do with goldstone?

Columbus on the Spanish court to get his assignment.

Columbus on the Spanish court to get his assignment.

In the beginning of the 15th century Columbus got the assignment of the queen of Spain to find the way to India and bring back spices and gold. Columbus took the wrong way and ended up in America and called the inhabitants Indians (he thought this was India). He brought a lot of gold to the queen and she was so happy and paid so well, that a lot of adventurous men started to get the gold of the Americas and bring it to Spain. Spain became very very rich. When one country or one queen is very rich there are always jealous people who want that wealth too. But they did not had the opportunity to send a whole fleet to get the gold.


Which monk did it?

In that time the only educated people were the monks: they were the only ones who could read and write. One day a few monks got the request of a mighty man from the clergy to try to make gold. Those monks knew a lot about chemistry, alchemy and medicine and other things. So the mighty man thought they must have a ability to make gold. And he saw in his dream that he could be as rich as the queen of Spain.

The monks tried and tried, but all tests failed. Then one day they made (by accident) a stone with golden spots in it: it was glass and by accident copper shavings fell into the barrel of glass. They called it goldstone. It was no gold, but it was the closest to gold they could work out.

It was me, not him!

Another story tells about an Italian monk who also invented goldstone by accident. He was making glass and spilled some copper in the glass: goldstone was born. Initially the recipe was kept secret and was passed on from monk to monk. When the secret was revealed to the Doge of Venice (the boss of the city state) he gave the licence to make goldstone to the Miotti family. But there no proof or no documentation that this story is true. Neither is there any documentation that the first story is true. It is also possible that the Miotti family invented goldstone in the 17th century themselves.

Or was it Christoforo Briani?

Inside the palace of the Doge of Venice

Inside the palace of the Doge of Venice

There was also a suggestion that in the 13th century one of the early glassmakers of the island of Murano (near Venice), Christoforo Briani, tried to make simulations of agate and chalcedony in glass and came up with goldstone. Also this is a nice story but not necessarily true.

Then the French cannot stay behind and also in France there is a story that French monks invented goldstone, but the secret of making it was lost in times. It’s been rediscovered in modern times, and goldstone is now a popular material because of its beauty.

bracelet made from blue goldstone

bracelet made from blue goldstone

Your recipe for making goldstone!

It’s a type of glittering (because of the copper particles)  man- made glass, that is made in a low-oxygen reducing atmosphere. Here is the recipe if you want to try to make goldstone yourself! The initial batch is melted together from silica, copper oxide, and other metal oxides to chemically reduce the copper ions to elemental copper. The vat is then sealed off from the air and maintained within a narrow temperature range, keeping the glass hot enough to remain liquid, while allowing metallic crystals to precipitate from solution without melting or oxidizing.

After a crystallization period, the entire batch is cooled to a single solid mass, which is then broken out of the vat for selection and shaping. The final appearance of each batch is highly variable and heterogenous. The best material is near the center or “heart” of the mass, ideally with large, bright metal crystals suspended in a semitransparent glass matrix.

What alchemie gives the color on goldstone?

detail of a necklace made of transparent goldstone.

detail of a necklace made of transparent goldstone.

The common color of goldstone is reddish-brown, due to the copper in the material. It also exists in other color variants based on other elements. Cobalt or manganese can be substituted for copper; the resulting crystals have a more silvery appearance, resulting in blue goldstone or purple goldstone respectively. Green goldstone forms its reflective particles from chromium oxides.

Aventurine is goldstone?

Another name for goldstone is aventurine (glass). The name comes from the Italian name avventurina (from avventura, ‘adventure’ ). It is sometimes called ‘sang-e setareh’ or ‘sang-e khorshid‘ (sang means ‘stone’, ‘khorshid’ means ‘sun’ and setareh means ‘star’ in Farsi) for its starry internal reflections, or ‘monk’s gold’ from folkloric associations with an unnamed monastic order.

The power of goldstone

Goldstone is, according to the people who work with the power of gemstones, the stone of ambition. You get confidence, energy and a positive attitude, wearing goldstone.  The reddish-brown goldstone is seen as the symbol of energy and vitality, while blue goldstone stands for communication and learning.

detail of a necklace partly made of goldstone (beads on the right)

detail of a necklace partly made of goldstone (beads on the right)

The healing power of goldstone

I am not a doctor and don’t see these words as a medical advise. But… it is said that goldstone can strengthen the circulatory system, it’s easing the pain of arthritis and it can be helpfull for strengtening your bones (osteoperosis). It should also help women with reducing inflammation.

Now you know all about  the secrets of goldstone. When you have a piece of jewelry with goldstone in it, you have a great story to tell to your friends. OK, it’s not gold, but it still is a beautiful stone with a great brilliance, especially when the stones are faceted.

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