Goldstone AKA 'Monk's Gold' or 'Monkstone'
I have come across a beautiful 'stone' called Goldstone. I was curious about it and wanted to know more. I could find nothing, really, on eBay; so, I searched the Internet and compiled the following information from a couple of websites.
Is Goldstone a gemstone?
No. Many who sell Goldstone list it as a natural gemstone. It is often mistaken or misrepresented as a natural stone. This is not true. Goldstone is a man made material often assumed to be a gemstone.
What is Goldstone, then?
Goldstone is a type of man made glass with copper or copper salts. The glass itself is colorless.
How is Goldstone made?
In the presence of a reducing flame, the glass is made with copper or copper salts, as stated above. Under normal oxidative conditions, copper ions meld into the silica to produce a transparent bluish green glass. When the reduced Goldstone cools, the copper remains in atomic isolation and precipitates into small crystal clusters. When finished, it can be polished smooth and carved.
What colors is Goldstone available in?
Common colors: Reddish Brown, Blue or Violet, Green
Goldstone is available in a variety of colors. The most common gives the appearance of being reddish brown, which is created through the use of copper. Others are given to a more silvery appearance and have a more intensely colored glass matrix, usually blue or violet and the more rare green. It is possible these colors are based on different metals than copper. They may, perhaps, contain cobalt, manganese or chromium.
Where did Goldstone come from?
This is up to debate. I found a few sources claiming two different origins. I like the story of the Italian monk, myself.
Italian Monk Story:
Created by accident when an Italian monk dropped some copper shavings he was carrying. The shavings fell into a pan of molten glass. The monk was upset, as he thought the glass was ruined. Once the glass cooled, the embedded shavings shimmered like gold. The monks were overjoyed, as they proclaimed, 'We've invented Goldstone!' As tradition would have it, they invented brandy to celebrate!
The Other Story:
Some believe the manufacturing process was discovered in the 17th century in venice by the Miotti family. They were granted an exclusive license by the Doge. The Doge was the Chief Magistrate of Venice, when Venice was a Republic. The last Doge abdicated upon Napoleon's conquest.
What shapes and sizes can Goldstone be formed into?
Shape and size vary. Goldstone can be made into beads or pendants for jewelry or even carved into figurines or other artifacts suitable for semiprecious stone.
I hope this helps others learn more about this beautiful man made 'stone'.