Misleading Gem Names

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What follows is a list of gemstone misnomers - misleading names for gems. Following each entry is a description of what the material referred to actually is. Generally speaking, be very skeptical of two-name names (e.g. jasper jade, or alexandrite garnet), of names with locations (e.g. African emerald, or Indian topaz), and of names with strange modifiers (e.g. alabandine ruby, or occidental diamond). Also, be careful of names that are not spelled exactly right (e.g. emeralda).

Additionally, there are trade names (not listed here) that are not exactly meant to be misleading, but can be misleading nonetheless if you're not familiar with them. For example, a Majorca pearl is an imitation pearl. We have listed some trade names for diamond imitators under "D".

Another caveat... Legitimate gem names are sometimes used to describe something that's not quite the real thing. For instance, some may describe lab-grown alexandrite as simply "alexandrite." That is clearly misleading. Even the term "synthetic" can be used incorrectly. For exmaple, "synthetic alexandrite" may be used to incorrectly identify synthetic corundum or synthetic spinel that imitates alexandrite. It's a good idea to ask lots of followup questions after "what is this?" Is it man-made? What mineral is it exactly? Has it been treated or enhanced in any way?

While we've tried to be exhaustive, the preceeding discussion and this list may only be considered partial. Be careful out there...

Most of these definitions came from the "Dictionary of Gems and Gemology" by Robert Shipley (6th ed., GIA, 1974) and the "Dictionary of Gemmology" by P. G. Read (2nd ed., Butterworth Scientific, 1988).

Adelaide ruby - garnet from Adelaide, Australia.
African emerald - green fluorite from Namibia.
African jade - green grossular garnet.
Alabandine ruby - almandine garnet.
Alabaster onyx - banded travertine or stalagmatic calcite.
Alaska diamond - quartz (rock crystal).
Alaska jade - pectolite.
Alencon diamond - quartz (rock crystal).
Alexandrine - color-change lab-grown corundum or spinel (imitating alexandrite).
Alexandrite garnet - color-change garnet.
Almandine spinel - lab-grown spinel.
Alpine diamond - pyrites.
Amazon jade - amazonite (a feldspar).
Amberine - yellowish-green moss agate.
American ruby - almandine garnet, or rose quartz.
Ancona ruby - rose quartz.
Andesine jade - andesine.
Antilles pearl - mother-of-pearl from a sea snail.
Aqua gem - light blue synthetic spinel.
Aqualite - blue tourmaline.
Arabian magic diamond - lab-grown colorless or yellow corundum.
Arizona ruby - pyrope garnet from Arizona.
Arizona spinel - garnet.
Arkansas diamond - rock crystal quartz from Arkansas; can be real, too.
Atlas pearls - beads made from white satin spar calcite.
Australian amber - Kauri resin.
Australian jade/turquoise - a material found in Australia, probably variscite.
Australian ruby - garnet.
Azurite - sometimes used incorrectly for lab-grown blue spinel or blue smithsonite.

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Baffa diamond - rock crystal quartz.
Balas ruby - red spinel (dates to Middle Ages).
Bastard emerald - peridot, green quartz, or nearly any green stone.
Beach moonstone - quartz.
Bengal amthyst - purple sapphire.
Berilo - green apatite.
Black amber - jet.
(Alaska) Black diamond - Hematite; or real diamond with numerous black inclusions.
Black Hills ruby - garnet.
Black Prince's Ruby - Famous, uncut, red spinel in British Crown Jewels.
Blue alexandrite - color-change sapphire.
Blue malachite - azurite.
Blue moonstone - blue-stained chalcedony.
Blue opal - lazulite.
Blue talc - kyanite.
Bohemian crystal - moldavite.
Bohemian diamond - rock crystal quartz.
Bohemian emerald - green fluorspar.
Bohemian ruby - red garnets.
Bohemian topaz - citrine (get the picture with "Bohemian"!).
Bottlestone - moldavite cut gems.
Brazilian _____ - be careful!...
Briancon diamond - rock crystal quartz.
Brighton diamond - rock crystal quartz.
Broghton emerald - glass emerald simulant.
Bristol diamond - rock crystal quartz.
Burma sapphire - lab-grown blue corundum.
Buxton diamond - rock crystal quartz.

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California jade - californite.
California moonstone - chalcedony.
California ruby - garnet.
California ____ - be careful...
Canadian lapis - sodalite.
Cape emerald - prehnite.
Cape May diamond - quartz.
Cape ruby - pyrope garnet.
Catalina sardonyx - catalinite (beach pebbles from the island off CA).
Cave pearl - concretions of calcium carbonate with pearly luster.
Ceylon diamond - colorless zircon.
Ceylon opal - moonstone.
Ceylon peridot - yellowish-green tourmaline.
Champlain marble - massive dolomite from Vermont.
Chinese turquoise - calcite/quartz/blue-dyed-soapstone.
Chinese ________ - be careful!
Colorado diamond - smoky quartz.
Colorado jade - green microcline feldsapr.
Colorado ruby - pyrope garnet.
Colorado topaz - citrine.
Congo emerald - dioptase.
Congo ivory - ivory simulant made in South Africa.
Connemara marble - dark green to gray serpentinite.
Copper emerald - dioptase.
Copper lapis - azurite.
Copper malachite - chrysocolla.
Cornish diamond - rock crystal quartz.
Crystalline emerald - quartz.
CZ Diamond - cubic zirconia, a very inexpensive manmade diamond imitator. [This is my "favorite" of all the misleading terms; actually, it makes my blood boil every time I see it used. I know that the perpetrator makes some number of sales to people who one way or the other end up thinking that the stone is a diamond. There's no question in my mind that the use of this term (as well as many of the others listed here) is unethical, and should be a BRIGHT RED WARNING FLAG to would-be customers.]

Dauphin diamond - rock crystal quartz.
Desert amethyst - solarized glass.Diamond - There are many misleading names given to diamond imitators, such as: Diagem, Diakon, Dialite, Diamanite, Diamite, Diamogem, Diamonair, Diamonaura, Diamon-brite, Diamone, Diamonesque, Diamonette, Diamonflame,
Diamonique I II and III, Diamonite, Diamonte, Diamontina, Diamondite, Diamothyst, Diarita, Di'Yag, Djevalite, ...

Delta pearl = imitation pearl.

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Earth stone - amber or andalusite.
Electric emerald - green glass imitation.
Elie ruby - pyrope garnet.
Emeraldine - misleading term for green dyed chalcedony.
Emeraldite - green tourmaline.
Emerald malachite - green fluorspar.
Emerald matrix - green fluorspar.
Emeralite - green tourmaline.
Emerauldine - dioptase.
Endura emerald - green glass emerald simulant.
Evening emerald - peridot.

Eye clean - a meaningless term used to imply a higher
clarity grade than may be present; a standard grade should be stated instead (F, IF, VVS1, etc.). (See also "loupe clean" below.)

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Faience lapis - ceramic.
False amethyst - purple fluorspar.
False lapis - dyed jasper, lazulite.
False _____ - be careful, of course!
Fashoda ruby - iron-rich pyrope garnet.
Feldspar-apyre - andalusite.
Ferrer's emerald - green glass emerald simulant.
Fictile ivory - plaster-of-paris imitation of an ivory carving.
Fire jade - looks like tiger's eye, mainly opal.
Fire pearl - billitonite.
Finder's diamond - colorless topaz.
Fossil turquoise - odontolite.
Fukien jade - soapstone.

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Garnet jade - massive green grossular garnet.
Geneva ruby - reconstructed (in the lab) ruby.

Genuine - Be careful when you see this word! Genuine does NOT equal valuable. All it means is that the material is what it says it is, that's all. I've seen plenty of genuine gemstones (including rubies, emeralds, garnets...) that would have been best left in the ground. They're generally not worth the $5.

German diamond - rock crystal quartz.
German gold - amber.
German lapis - see Swiss lapis, sodalite, or jasper.
German silver - a white metal alloy of nickel, copper, and zinc.
Gibsonville emerald - green quartz.
Glass agate - obsidian.
Gold(en) topaz - gold-colored quartz.
Gold sapphire - lapis with flecks of pyrite.
Green garnet - enstatite (though there are green garnets).
Green onyx - green-stained chalcedony.

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Hawaiian Diamonds - quartz.
Hawaiian golden yellow topaz - clear plagioclase feldspar.
Hawaiite - peridot from Hawaii.
Herkimer diamond - quartz.
Hinjosa topaz - yellow quartz.
Honan jade - soapstone.
Hope sapphire - synth blue spinel.
Honan jade - soapstone.
Horatio diamond - rock crystal quartz.
Hot Springs diamond - rock crystal quartz.
Hyacinth topaz - incorrect name for hyacinth (a zircon).

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Iceland agate - obsidian.
Imperial Mexican jade = green-dyed calcite.
Imperial sodden snow jade = white nephrite.
Indian emerald = green-dyed cracked quartz.
Indian jade = aventurine.
Indian topaz = yellow sapphire.
Irish diamond = quartz.
Italian lapis - see Swiss lapis.
Isle of Wight diamonds = quartz.
Ivory pearls = spheroids found in tusk cavities.
Ivory turquoise - odontolite.

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Jade tenace - saussarite.
Jadine - Australian chrysoprase.
Jasper jade - green jasper or serpentine.
Jade tenace - saussurite (whiteish to light green, H6.5).
Jeweler's topaz - citrine.
Jourado diamond - colorless synthetic spinel.

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Kandy spinel - reddish-violet garnet from Sri Lanka.
Killiecrankie diamond - colorless topaz from Australia.
King topaz - yellow sapphire.
Korea jade - loose term for nearly any green stone and/or impure jade.

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La beau pearls - imitation pearl.
La tausca pearls - imitations.
Lake George diamond - quartz.
Lake Superior fire agate - glass opal simulant.
Lithia amethyst - spodumene, variety kunzite.
Lithia emerald - spodumene, variety hiddenite (lithium).
Lux sapphire - cordierite.
Lynz sapphire - cordierite.

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Madeira topaz - citrine.
Manchurian jade - soapstone.
Mari/marmora/marmarosch diamond - quartz.
Mascot emerald - soudé triplet emerald.
Mass aqua - glass simluant of aquamarine.
Matura diamond - colorless zircon.
Medina emerald - green glass.
Meru sapphire - blue zoisite.
Meta-jade - Japanese glass jade simulant.
Mexican agate/jade/onyx - massive/banded calcite.
Mexican diamond - quartz or danburite.
Mexican _____ - be careful!
Mogok diamond - colorless Burmese topaz.
Mojave moonstone - lilac-tinted chalcedony from Mojave Desert area.
Montana jet - obsidian, from Yellowstone Park.
Montana ruby - red garnet.
Mont Blanc ruby - rose quartz.
Mother-of-emerald - prase or green fluorite.
Mountain ruby - red garnet.
Mutzschen diamond - rock crystal quartz.

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Nerchinsk aquamarine - blue topaz.
Nevada black diamond - obsidian.
Nevada lapis - a form of chalcedony (not from Nevada, either).
Nevada topaz - smoky obsidian.
Nevada turquoise - variscite, though it may be genuine, too.
New jade - bowenite.
Night emerald - peridot.
Nickel silver - nickel, copper, zinc alloy of silver.

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Occidental cat's eye - quartz.
Occidental diamond - rock crystal quartz.
Occidental topaz - citrine.
Oil pearl - mother-of-pearl from a sea snail.
Olivene - demantoid garnet; (olivine is the mineral name).
One-year pearl - a pearl with very thin nacre regardless of age.
Opal glass - glass imitator of other stones, but not opal(!).
Orange topaz - brownish-yellow quartz.
Oregon jade - dark green plasma variety of chalcedony, jasper.
Oregon moonstone - chalcedony.
Oriental emerald - green sapphire or green chlorospinel.
Oriental ______ - be careful!

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Palmeira topaz - brown lab-grown sapphire.
Palmyra topaz - pale yellow heat-treated amethyst/citrine.
Paphros diamond - rock crystal quartz.
Pecos diamond - rock crystal quartz.
Pectolite jade - pectolite (nothing to do with jade).
Pedrara onyx - stalagmitic marble from Mexico.
Pillow Cut - Cushion cut.
Pink moonstone - opalescent pink scapolite.
Pomegranate ruby - red spinel.
Prismatic emerald - euclase.
Prismatic moonstone - chalcedony.
Prismatic quartz - cordierite.
Pseudochrysolite - moldavite.
Pyramidal garnet - idocrase.
Pyroemerald - green fluorite.

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Quartz topaz - citrine.
Quasima diamond - rock crystal quartz.
Quebec diamond - rock crystal quartz.

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Radium diamond - smoky quartz.
Rainbow magic diamond - synthetic rutile.
Red jade - reddish quartzite, and the red variety of dumortierite in quartz.
Red sea perals - coral beads.
Rhine diamond - rock crystal quartz.
Rhyolite glass - obsidian.
Rocky Mountain ruby - garnet.
Rock ruby - pyrope garnet.
Roman pearls - glass bead pearl imitations.
Rose kunzite - synthetic pink sapphire.
Rose moonstone - pink scapolite.
Rozircon - rose-colored synthetic spinel.
Rubicelle - yellow-orange spinel.
Ruby balas - red spinel.
Ruby spinel - red spinel.

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Sacred turquoise - smithsonite.
Salamanca topaz - fiery-colored citrine.
San Diego ruby - red tourmaline.
Saphir d'eau (French) - translates "water sapphire" but is iolite.
Sapphire quartz - blue chalcedony, or hawk's eye quartz.
Sapphire spinel - blue spinel.
Sapphirine - blue chalcedony, blue spinel, or blue glass.
Saxon diamond - colorless topaz.
Saxon topaz - citrine.
Schaumberg diamond - rock crystal quartz.
Scientific ______ - be careful, generally glass!
Scotch topaz - cairngorm, citrine, or smoky quartz.
Scottish topaz - quartz.
Serpentine jade - bowenite.
Shanghai jade - steatite or talc.
Siam aquamarine - heat-treated blue-green zircon.
Siberian ruby - pink or red tourmaline.
Sicilian marble - white Italian marble clouded with greyish veins.
Siliceous malachite - green chrysocolla.
Silver peak jade - malachite (local Nevada term).
Sinopal - reddish aventurine quartz.
Smoky Citrine - smoky Quartz.
Smoky Topaz - smoky quartz.
Soochow jade - bowenite or steatite.
South African emerald - faceted emerald-green fluorspar from Namibia.
South African ______ - be careful.
Spanish emerald - green glass.
Spanish lazulite - cordierite (iolite).
Spanish topaz - orange-brown quartz.
Spinel ruby - red spinel.
Star ruby sapphire - pink/purple/violet star sapphires.
Star topaz - yellow star sapphire.
Stolberg diamond - rock crystal quartz.
Styrian jade - pseudophite or penninite.
Swiss jade - green-stained jasper.
Swiss lapis - blue dyed chalcedony or jasper.
Synthetic alexandrite - is often synthetic corundum or spinel.
Synthetic aquamarine - is often synthetic corundum or spinel.

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Tasmanian diamond - rock crystal quartz.
Tecla emerald - false triplet.
Tecla pearls - imitation pearls that are solid or wax filled.
Timur Ruby - the largest known red spinel, British Crown Jewels.
Tokay lux sapphire - Hungarian black obsidian.
Tooth turquoise - odontolite.
Topazolite - yellow andradite garnet.
Topaz cat's eye - yellow girasol sapphire.
Topaz quartz - brownish-yellow quartz.
Topaz saffronite - brownish-yellow quartz.
Tourmaline green - synthetic dark-green spinel.
Transvaal emerald - flourspar.
Transvaal jade - massive green grossular garnet.
Trenton diamond - rock crystal quartz.

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Unripe ruby - red zircon.
Uralian emerald - demantoid garnet.
Uralian sapphire - blue tourmaline.
Utah onyx - translucent lemon-colored stalagmitic marble with orange veins.
Utah turquoise - variscite.

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Vallum diamond - rock crystal quartz.
Vanadium emerald - green beryl colored with vanadium.
Verdelite - green tourmaline.
Vermeil - orange-red zircon, garnets, or spinel.
Vesuvian garnet - leucite.
Vesuvianite jade - californite.
Vienna turquoise - glass imitation of turquoise.
Volcanic chrysolite - idocrase, or vesuvianite.

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Washita diamond - rock crystal quartz.
Water chrysolite - moldavite.
Water sapphire - cordierite.
White garnet - leucite.
Wyse ruby - see Geneva ruby.

Yaqui onyx - a marble from Baja and Mexico.
Yava onyx - marble from Yavapai County, AZ.

Zabeltitzen diamond - rock crystal quartz.
Zebra jasper - brown limonite with lighter brown layers of ancient shells.
Zircon spinel - synthetic blue spinel.
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