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What is Aventurescence?

aventurescence in sunstone

The Optical Phenomenon Aventurescence

Aventurescence is an optical reflectance seen in certain gemstones.  It's best described as a metallic glitter caused by minute plate-like mineral inclusions.  When present in abundance they can influence the colour of the stone.

As light reflects off the inclusions a kind of spangled reflection can be seen.  This optical phenomenon is known as aventurescence.

Examples of minerals in which this can be seen include aventurine and sunstone.  

In sunstone aventurescence is caused as light reflects off minute inclusions of copper.  Sunstone is also known as aventurine feldspar.

The word aventurescence is widely reported to have come from the Italian 'a ventura' meaning 'by chance'.  The word is alleged to have come about following the chance discovery of aventurine glass also known as goldstone.

Depending on the article you read, the incident which led to its production is said to have taken place in the 13th, 17th, 18th or 19th century.  The event is explained in at least one gemstone publication we've seen and also on Wikipedia although it states "citation needed". 

We can find no factual evidence to support the story that aventurine glass was created "accidentally by glass making monks".  We therefore believe it's likely to be a myth. 

The story says Venetian glass making monks accidentally dropped a jar filled with specs of copper into a vat of molten glass. Once the glass solidified it had a spangly or glittery appearance.  The material was later named aventurine glass from the words 'a ventura' meaning 'by chance'.

We know aventurine glass is believed to have been created by Vincenzo Miotti a physicist and astronomer born in Murano in 1712.  Our research can be found in our article on goldstone.

The mineral aventurine also known as aventurine quartz is likely to have been named after aventurine glass.  Aventurine feldspar also known as sunstone may also have been named after this man-made material.  All three exhibit the optical phenomenon of aventurescence.

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