Russian Gemstones Encyclopedia

Vladimir Bukanov. Russian Gemstones Encyclopedia


Jewelry-ornamental material

One of the main problems of the Encyclopedia is the gemological characterization of jewelry-ornamental materials of different kinds. At the same time, various man-made materials are represented here, which were subjected to jewelry processing for creation of adornments or details of decorations of other objects of material culture. Besides, within recent years, there is a growing interest to the non-conventional gemstones though it does not always happen that they display all physical properties necessary for processing. Modern methods of improvement of minerals permit to change their properties artificially, applying a special coating to a mineral surface. Finest films of noble metals, evaporated diamond or plastics can represent these coating. An example is leucosapphire with asterism covered with a film of red plastics in order to imitate more valuable star ruby. Gold film evaporated on colorless quartz or danburite gives the effect of iridescent golden-blue coloration. Such examples of mineral improvement might be continued. Minerals predominatingly met as inclusions in gemstones are also described. They may be responsible for additional visual effects of owner-crystals. For instance, pyrite inclusions in lapis lazuli create the effect of starry sky and parallel-fibrous amphiboles produce of the effect cat’seye. Decorative character of minerals called Venus hairs or hair stones is conditioned by inclusions of needle crystals of rutile, aikinite, cosalite, cacoxenite, etc. Among minerals of this category are inclusions generating the effect of aventurescence. They are: mica in aventurine, hematite in feldspar, native copper in zeolite, labradorite and prehnite. There is a number of inclusions improving ornamental properties of gemstones. Dendrites of manganese oxide romanéchite, or small parts of graphite in to andalusite etc. are examples. The minerals called chromophores are also considered. Being admixed in considerable amounts, they change color of minerals or rocks, which contain them. This is the role of dumortierite in blue quartz, cinnabar in red quartz – myrickite, sulfur in lazurite, etc. By now, alongside traditional gemstones and bioorganic materials, man-made analogs of gemstones, synthetic crystalline materials and artificial materials of imitations play an essential role in gemology. All of them together are considered in the Encyclopedia in connection with their coming into ever increasing usage in the manufacturing of adornments.

The initial classifications of gemstones were based on the principle of their relative value. Another type of classification depends on transparence and mechanical characteristics of gemstones. This especially industrial approach makes systematic too differentiated. Another weakness of this systematic is that the same gemstone may be assigned to different groups. Mineralogical classification is considered to be the most complete. It envelops in essence almost all the natural gemstones and is apt for description of synthetic analogs of minerals and man-made crystalline materials. A variety of such classification offered by the German journal “Lapis” contains a section on bioorganic compounds, too. Besides, all the minerals classified here are grouped in accordance with their structural similarity and compositional resemblance. That’s why this variety of systematic seems to be preferable for the description of a plenty of diverse gemstones, including infrequent collection minerals.

The group principle of description of minerals was employed in the Encyclopedia. These are groups of amphiboles, garnets, feldspars, as well as those of quartz, malachite etc. The Encyclopedia consists of six part where minerals and rocks are combined by their gemological significance. For convenience of using the Encyclopedia, the names of main minerals and rocks, described in the separate entries, are written in bold type and stand out in the text. The names of jewelry-ornamental materials and their synonyms only mentioned in the text are displayed in italic. The list of jewelry-ornamental materials given below is presented the same pattern. The description of minerals on groups of the systematic is given in the alphabetic order, except those which come under the heading of the groups.


Elementary substancesDiamond. Native metals: copper, gold, iron, platinum, palladium, silver. CarbidesMoissanite. SulfidesBornite. Chalcopyrite. Cinnabar. Pyrite. Sphalerite, wurtzite. SulfosaltsProustite. Pyrargyrite. HalidesFluorite. Oxides and hydrous oxidesBromellite. Brucite. Cassiterite. Chrysoberyl. Corundum, ruby, sapphire. Cuprite. Diaspore. Gibbsite. Goethite. Hematite, ilmenite, lepidocrocite. Manganotantalite. Periclase. Quartz, amethyst, aventurine, chalcedony, opal, rose quartz. Romanèchite. Rutile, anatase, brookite. Spinel, gahnite, magnetite, chromite. Stibiotantalite. Taaffeite. CarbonatesCalcite, aragonite, barytocalcite, gaylussite, ikaite. Cerussite. Dolomite. Magnesite. Malachite, aurichalcite, azurite, pseudomalachite. Rhodochrosite. Siderite. Smithsonite. BorateHambergite. Jeremejevite. Ludwigite. Sinhalite. Ulexite. Sulfate groupsAlunite. Anglesite. Baryte. Celestine. Gypsum, anhydrite. Tungstate and otherWolframite, hübnerite. Crocoite. Scheelite. Wulfenite. ArsenateAdamite. Ceruleite. Mimetite. PhosphatesAmblygonite, montebrasite. Apatite. Beryllonite. Brazilianite. Herderite, hydroxylherderite. Lazulite, scorzalite. Monazite. Pyromorphite. Turquoise, chalcosiderite, faustite, wardite, wavellite. Variscite, strengite. Vivianite. Xenotime. Silicates: Subclass of orthosilicatesAndalusite, kyanite, sillimanite. Chondrodite. Clinohumite. Datolite. Dumortierite. Euclase. Garnets, almandine, andradite, grossular, pyrope, spessartine, uvarovite. Kornerupine. Olivine, liebenbergite, tephroite. Phenakite. Staurolite. Titanite. Topaz. Willemite. Zircon. Subclass of diorthosilicatesClinozoisite. Epidote. Hemimorphite. Piemontite. Pumpellyite. Vesuvianite. Zoisite. Subclass of ring silicatesAxinite. Benitoite. Beryl. Chrysocolla. Cordierite, sekaninaite. Dioptase. Emerald. Eudialyte. Sogdianite. Sugilite. Tourmaline, buergerite, dravite, elbaite, schorl. Subclass of chain silicatesDiopside. Howlite. Jadeite. Pectolite. Pyroxenes, aegirine, augite, enstatite, hedenbergite, hypersthene. Pyroxmangite. Rhodonite, bustamite, inesite. Spodumene. Wollastonite. Subclass of band silicatesAmphiboles, actinolit-tremolite, gedrite, richterite, riebeckite; nephrite. Charoite. Sapphirine. Xonotlite. Subclass of sheet silicatesApophyllite. Astrophyllite. Chlorite, clinochlore. Kaolinite, allophane, dickite, halloysite. Micas, biotite, lepidolite, muscovite. Palygorskite, sepiolite. Prehnite. Pyrophyllite, talc. Serpentine. Subclass of framework silicatesCancrinite, vishnevite. Danburite. Feldspars: a) Alkali feldspars: hyalophane, microcline, orthoclase, sanidine. b) Plagioclases: albite, andesine, anorthite, bytownite, oligoclase, labradorite. Scapolite. Sodalite, afghanite, bystrite, haüyne, nosean. Tugtupite. Zeolites: analcime, mordenite, natrolite, pollucite, stilbite, thomsonite.


Representatives of gemstones of this group are described together with minerals except for the rocks of such types as jasper, lapis lazuli, obsidian, rhodonite, tektites the systematization of which is given on principles of their genesis. Sedimentary rocks: Anhydrite. Jasper-like bauxite. Chert. Diatomite. Dolomite. Geyserite. Gypsum. Limestone. Limnoquartzite. Magnesite. Marl (marlstone). Marble onyx. Phosphorite. Porcellanite. Copper sandstone. Opalescent sandstone. Calcareous tuff. Metamorphic rocks: Amphibolite. Gondite. Hälleflinta. Hornfels (hornstone). Jasper. Jasperoid. Marble. Ophicalcite. Phyllite. Quartzite. Rhodonite. Cherty rocks. Aspidian schist. Chlorite schist. Fuchsite schist. Pyrophyllite schist. Talc-chlorite schist. Talc schist. Slate. Shungite slate. Magmatic rocks: Basalt. Bronzitite. Chibinite. Eudialytite. Globular gabbro. Smaragdite gabbro. Spinel gabbro. Thulite gabbro. Violet gabbro. Amazonite granite. Epidote granite. Graphic granite. Basaltic glass. Labradorite. Radial lamprophyre. Obsidian. Perlite. Porphyrite. Porphyry. Pyroxenite. Rhyolite. Syenite. Tinguaite. Urtite. Metasomatic rocks: Agalmatolite. Jade-albite. Alunite. Argillite. Amethyst breccia. Volcanic breccia. Brucitite. Charoitite. Talc-chlorite. Quartz-diabase. Epidosite. Lepidolite greisen. Muscovite greisen. Jade. Jadeitite. Lapis lazuli. Listwanite. Nephrite. Nephritoid. Oncosine. Pelicanite. Rhodusit. Rodingite. Serpentinite. Garnet skarn. Hedenbergite skarn. Spreustein. Steatite. Tourmalite. Chalcedonic trass. Cosmolites & Impactites: Tektites. Impactites. Meteorites.


This group is described in a separate chapter. The systematization is based on the genetic principle. Aquagenic materials: Pearls, saltwater pearls, freshwater pearls, and cultured pearls. Nacre (mother-of-pearl), fossil nacre, porcelain shells. Coral, noble coral, petrified coral, ammonites, belemnites. Floragenic materials: Amber. Resins, modern resins, fossil resins. Petrified wood, natural wood, vegetables ivory. Corneous materials: Bone, vertebrate’s bone – fish bone, petrified dinosaur bone; dentinal ivory – teeth, tusks. Horn, corneous outgrowth – chitin a cover of the beetles, shell of ostrich’s eggs, halcyon feather, hairs, hoofs, rhinoceros horn, hornbill ivory, tortoise shell, shark skin. Caustobiolithes: Jet. Fossil coal. Shungite. Hard bitumen. Anthraxolite. Bioorganic compounds: Conchialine. Visson. Guanine. Bezoar stone.


The description of jewelry-ornamental materials of this group is included mainly in the descriptions of minerals. Their systematization is based on the mineralogical classification. Elementary substances: Diamond. Carbides:  Moissanite. Sulfides: Sphalerite, wurtzite. Sulfosalts: Proustite. Halides: Fluorite. Oxides: Bromellite. Cassiterite. Chrysoberyl. Corundum. Hematite. Opal. Periclase. Quartz. Rutile. Spinel, gahnite. Carbonates: Malachite, aurichalcite, azurite. Borates: Ulexite. Tungstate: Scheelite. Molybdates: Wulfenite. Phosphates: Apatite. Turquoise. Silicates: Beryl. Jadeite. Lazurite. Olivine, forsterite, liebenbergite, tephroite. Phenakite. Sodalite. Sogdianite. Spodumene. Tourmaline. Willemite. Zircon.


The information on these objects as well as the data on the materials described in the foregoing chapter is mainly represented incidentally in the entries about minerals close to them in composition. Their systematization corresponds with the mineralogical classification. Carbides: Boron carbide. Tungstate carbide. Halides: Cadmium fluoride. Lithium fluoride. Manganese fluoride. Rubidium fluoride. Selenides: Zinc selenide. Oxides: hafnium, niobium, yttrium, zirconium (phianite). Magnesium gallate. Garnets (rare-earth). Barium niobate. Lithium niobate. Potassium niobate. Potassium tantalum-niobate. Barium-sodium niobate. Lithium-sodium niobate. Sodium niobate. Yttrium-aluminum perovskite (YAP). Cobalt spinel. Nickel spinel. Aluminum titanate. Barium titanate. Calcium titanate. Magnesium titanate. Strontium titanate (phabulite). Zinc titanate. Borates: Yttrium aluminum borate. Rare-earth-gallium borate. Phosphates: Yttrium gadolinium phosphate. Tungstates: calcium, lanthanum, sodium. Silicates: Neodymium borosilicate.


This group of materials, except glass and resins described in the separate entries, is discussed in special parts of the entries devoted to the imitations. The foundation of the systematization of these materials is their physical-chemical properties. Glasses: Transparent glasses. Opaque glasses. Glasses with optical effect. Glasses metallurgical. Mineral glasses. Enamels. Ceramics: Glass-ceramic. Porcelain. Faience. Synthetic resins: Plastic, thermoplastic, thermostablee plastic. Metals: Alloys. Coverings films. Pressed powders.