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Gemstone Phenomena: Aventurescence

2 min read

Aventurescence is a phenomenon that makes a gemstone look like there is sparkling metallic glitter shimmering across the surface of the gem, and is one of the most fascinating optical effects in nature.

It happens when there is a large concentration of very small plate-like or flake-like inclusions of a very reflective mineral, such as Hematite, Pyrite or even copper, trapped within the stone. Light enters the gem and the inclusions act as a tiny cluster of mirrors, bouncing the light back out and making the gem appear to glitter.

Gemstones showing aventurescence

Unusually for a gemstone phenomena, the name is believed to have come from a man-made object. The story goes that sometime in the mid-18th century, an Italian glass blower accidentally knocked a jar of copper filings into the molten glass he was using to create vases. To his great surprise, the result was a beautiful glass featuring a metallic sparkle and soon after the technique became widely adopted across Europe where it was used to make both jewellery and ornaments. The glass became known as ‘ventura’, the Italian meaning ‘fortune’, ‘luck’ and ‘chance’. During the following century, a Green Quartz was discovered in Brazil which naturally produced a similar appearance to the Italian glass and was therefore named Aventurine. Very few gemstones exhibit this phenomena, but those that do include Sunstone, Moonstone and Labradorite.

Want to own this phenomenon? Browse our Labradorite and Sunstone designs.

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