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Crystal Trade Names, Synonyms & Misnomers


Herkimer 'Diamond' - not actually a Diamond, but a misnomer for a variety of double terminated Quartz

A TAXONOMY OF STONE


Naming is deeply rooted in our relationship to the natural world. Intrinsically, as humans we feel compelled to ascribe names to the immense beauty of form and myriad complexity of nature that surrounds us. Names hold power and vibration, and open new portals of connection to the natural world. On naming, biologist Michael Ohl notes that 'we feel we are among the initiated, the entrusted, the knowing.'

In the world of crystals, learning the nomenclature of species and subspecies is a big job. Mineralogical names are considered the 'gold standard' (yes, pun intended!) when it comes to crystal identification, often relating to the name of the mineral's type-locality, the geologist credited with its discovery, or a Greek or Latin root describing the stone's classical properties. However, especially for those new to crystals, it can be particularly confusing to discover that all is not what it seems when it comes to names. Trade names, metaphysical names and pure misnomers abound, often with little or no reference to the crystal's actual composition. Many names were developed over the last century by the fine jewellery industry as a means of 'romancing the stone' to create more intrigue around a particular gem, and the same is true for many metaphysical and marketing names today. In some instances, misleading misnomers have also been created to obscure the true identity of a stone. Not all is intended as deception, however, and some trade names have emerged in an attempt to distinguish subtle differences in formation, colour, or inclusions - especially for such a varied mineral group as Quartz. This list of 400+ names is the product of more than 15 years of industry knowledge and experience by Solstice Stones' founder Michelle Cunningham, and will undoubtedly be expanded upon as other trade names emerge. It aims to shed light on the true mineral origins behind each fancy new moniker (as well as some historical ones, too!). We hope this list may serve as a navigational tool and empowering reference, as well as offering some deeper insight into stones that may already be in your collection.



 

ACHATE - an old name for Agate, as listed in medieval Materia Medica lapidary texts


ADELAIDE RUBY - not actually Ruby, but a misleading marketing name & misnomer for Almandine Garnet from Australia


AERIS - an ancient Roman and medieval alchemical name for both Copper & the element of Air (though sometimes differentiated by the 'ae' ligature)


AFRICAN JADE - not actually Jade, but a misleading marketing name & misnomer for Verdite (Fuchsite with impurities) from South Africa; also referred to as Buddstone


AFRICAN TURQUOISE - not actually Turquoise, but a misleading marketing name & misnomer for a spotty, teal-coloured Jasper


AGAPE CRYSTAL - a trademarked name for a combination of Clear Quartz, Amethyst, Smoky Quartz, Cacoxenite, Goethite, Lepidocrocite, & Rutile; a synonym for Super Seven


AGNI MANI - a fabled stone known as the 'Fire Pearl' in Sanskrit legend; now considered by some to be a variety of Tektite; an occasional synonym for Javanite and Indochinite


AGNITITE - a trademarked name for Clear Quartz with red Hematite inclusions, also known as Agni Fire Quartz


ALASKA BLACK DIAMOND - not actually Diamond, but a misleading marketing name & misnomer for Hematite


ALLIGATOR QUARTZ - a trade name for a type of Quartz growth form (usually seen in Smoky Quartz) composed of multiple small terminations with parallel rhombohedral faces, often creating an overall double terminated effect; synonymous with Jacare Quartz and Elestial Quartz


ALMANDINE SPAR - an antiquated name & misnomer for Eudialyte


ALUM CRYSTAL - not a genuine crystal, but a common name for manmade lab-created material composed of potassium aluminium sulphate, seen in a variety of colours & easily grown from a science kit; also known as Cermikite or Alunite (though not to be confused with the genuine mineral Alunite)


AMATRIX - a trade name for Variscite from Nevada, USA; short for 'American Matrix'; also known as Utahlite


AMAZON JADE - not actually Jade, but a misleading marketing name & misnomer for Amazonite (Microcline Feldspar); also known as Amazon Stone


AMEGREEN - a trademarked name for Amethyst with Prasiolite (Green Quartz)