Misleading Minerals: Irish, Italian & Indian

Polished JasperThe next time you go jewel or semi-precious stone hunting, you should know the types of rocks and minerals that may lead you astray from desired diamond, jade, rubies and other gems. In this article, we will take a look at the Black Star of India, as well as the Irish diamond.


You may think that the Black Star of India sounds like something quite expensive, but in actuality, it is just the Black Star diopside, which is an opaque black gem with an odd white-colored pattern on the body. This is known as an asterism, which means that a luminous effect, resembling a star, causes reflections like other gemstones you might be familiar with, including star sapphires and star garnets. Obviously, as indicted by the name, these stones are often found in India, possessing a hardness of 5.5.


When it comes to the Irish diamond, you will find this is not the case regarding the validity of its name. This is actually a rock crystal from Ireland. Another European misleading name is the Italian lapis, which is really a blue-dyed piece of jasper that comes from Italy. Jasper is a common, semi-precious stone, which is opaque in appearance. You will find minerals like lapis lazuli being dyed to match the appearance of jasper. There are numerous colors that can be found in the jasper variety, including white, red, brown, yellow, and green. Situated all over the world, it is not hard to find this mineral, which is rather versatile in presentation. It can be speckled or multi-colored, as well as have stripes. This mineral is also used in various carvings.


This stone has a past that can be traced back to jewelry making during ancient times. When presented in the ground-up form, lapis lazuli can be used to add pigment to an oil painting. When interested in enjoying a deeper color, this stone can be dyed. With a hardness of 5.5, it is a mineral that scratches, as well as easily chips. You should keep in mind if you purchase a piece of jewelry made from this mineral that water has a tendency to dull the sheen. Some of the additional minerals that can be found in a piece of lapis are pyrite and sodalite. Just like the Italian lapis, Swiss lapis is also dyed jasper. From Chile, there is a variety called denim lapis, which is sold inexpensively. The name comes from its color, which resembles a pair of jeans. 


The Indian agate is just another way of referring to moss agate. Throughout the United States and Britain, moss agate is referred to as the Mocha stone. This is unusual since the color of this stone is green. Adding to this green appearance, other elements, such as trees, have been known to affect the color of the stone. Sometimes, this leads to a development in attractive patterns. The green moss agate selection can be located in a many different places, but most specifically in India. Moss agate has a hardness of 6.5-7.