Aventurine is a variety of quartz that has become popular for its green hues, unique color zoning, and unusual inclusions. It is often confused with the gemstones jade and malachite. Aventurine is so similar looking to jade that retailers refer to the stone as ‘ Indian jade.’ And even though some varieties of aventurine and malachite can be hard to tell apart, aventurine is a much harder mineral. Aventurine ranks 7 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness and malachite ranks between 3.5 and 4.
Some geologists classify aventurine as a rock due to the presence of the mineral fuchsite (any substance that contains more than one mineral is considered a rock). However, most gemologists and jewelers view aventurine as a variety of quartz because they view the other minerals present as inclusions within the quartz.
Expert Tip: Indian jade is NOT jade. It is a green aventurine.
Aventurine Name Origins
Aventurine also refers to a type of glass that was discovered in the 18th century. An opaque glass was accidentally filled with flecks of copper, which led to the name aventurine. This simulated stone would later become known as Goldstone.
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The primary color of aventurine is a light to dark green shade. However, depending on the inclusions, varieties of yellow, peach, red and brown have been identified.
There is an orange version of aventurine, but it is from the feldspar family instead of quartz. This variety is more commonly referred to as sunstone now.
Aventurescence describes a shiny metallic effect caused by numerous tiny inclusions within the stone. In green aventurine, the chrome in the fuchsite inclusions produces a spectacular spotty green effect.
This optical phenomenon can also be seen in Sunstone and the manmade goldstone.
Aventurine ranges from completely opaque to slightly translucent depending on a number of inclusions in the stone. Because of the gemstones opacity, it is often cut into a cabochon shape. Aventurine is also a great stone for carving intricate beads and shapes. You can get a large lot of aventurine rough for less than $20 which make it a great stone for beginner jewelry makers. You can easily practice wire wrapping, cabochon cutting, polishing, and gemstone carving.
As far as quality, aventurine is prized for it’s optical properties. Stones with a more intense presence of aventurescence are more desirable.
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Value and Comparison to Jade
Aventurine’s value depends largely on the aesthetic value of the inclusions and the presence of aventurescence. It is relatively inexpensive compared to other similar looking gemstones like jade.
Even though natural jade (jadeite in particular) is significantly more expensive, it has no tiny metallic inclusions. However, what you can’t find in aventurine that you can find in jade is the rich, pure and deep color green jadeite is prized for. Aventurine has cooler undertones, and any dark green pieces are generally freckled with inclusions. Jadeite appears smoother in an almost fluorescent, forest green shade.
The more true comparison is between aventurine and jade’s less expensive, lighter form, nephrite. Nephrite can come in light, creamy hues like aventurine and can even have spotty, darker green inclusions.
So what’s your best bet? Should you purchase jade or aventurine? If you’re looking to invest in an heirloom quality gem, don’t skimp out and shop for a high-quality jadeite gem. However, if you’re looking for the look of a lighter, creamier jade-looking stone, but also want some neat inclusions for less cost, opt for aventurine instead.
Aventurine is often set in sterling silver instead of gold, though more and more jewelry designers are incorporating aventurine as accent stones in higher-end designs.
Look for aventurine gemstones that have unique inclusions that appeal to your aesthetic. When purchasing this unique green quartz, it is more about personal preference that it is about value or resale.
Shop Beads from Photo on Amazon: Green Aventurine Crystal Round Loose Beads