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Trade Names: What is your stone really?

Trade names are the names given to a rock or a mineral, usually as a descriptor to provide more information. This can include geographic information (such as Kundalini Citrine, Vera Cruz Amethyst), colour (Orange Calcite, Pink Amethyst), or mineral inclusions or content (Mangano Calcite is named after Manganese, Rutilated Quartz after its Rutile Inclusions).


Due to a variety of reasons, from language barriers, to making a stone more marketable (and drive up its value), or even just because the stone in question has been found and used in several different cultures over time, several different names for the same rock/mineral can exist concurrently. This can lead to confusion by both sellers and buyers as to what the stone actually is vs what the stone is being sold as.


Mineralogical names for minerals/stones are considered to be the most accurate nomenclature, although, they may not be the most recognisable name for that particular stone. Metaphysical names and misnomers can actually be the most common name for stone varieties, for instance 'Shell' or 'Thousand Eye' Jasper is actually a variety of sedimentary stone, but is far more known by its metaphysical name.


A fairly recent misnomer for a variety of Quartz on Fluorite (that stemmed from a mistranslation) is Druzy Sphalerite. Sphalerite is actually a metallic Zinc Sulphide mineral, that looks nothing like the towers and carved shapes being sold with the same name! However, many sellers will continue to sell this stone as Sphalerite, as their wholesalers still list the stone as such.


I believe that in this day and age, shops should attempt to put at the very least, the correct chemical formula of the stones they list, or provide some form of mineralogical information on their website, to help combat this confusion, and to help prevent the further mislabelling of minerals and rocks. Taking a wholesaler at their word over the name of a mineral is part of why this can still be a huge issue, and if in doubt over the mineral, never be too shy to test the mineral yourself or send it to be tested!


PS; I am working on compiling a list of various trade names for commonly sold rocks and minerals, this should be available as a blog post by next week!


Thanks for reading!



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