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Aventurine: a Glass and Some Stones

with links by Deborah Zinn (Zinn Links)

Aventurine is a glass in which copper particles are suspended to give it a shimmer.
Two different Italian words have been invoked to explain its name. Avventízio is equivalent to "adventitious" (the glass is supposed to have been discovered by accident). Avventuràto means "fortunate," as the discoverer was lucky. Both suggest that it was first produced by chance.

The base glass is usually brown, giving it another name, "goldstone." Other colors (green, blue, etc.) are less often used; they have inclusions other than copper. The term "goldstone" is never applied to the stone aventurines.

In any case, the lucky inventor, Vincenzo Miotti, was granted the exclusive right to make it by the Doge of Venice in 1677. The secret was passed on through the family until they stopped making glass in 1731. Other glassmakers tried to imitate it, especially the Bertolini brothers in the 18th century, but their product was inferior.

Aventurine is sold in blocks and plates and can be cut like stone into a bead (left).

It is also sold in canes (rods) and can be melted and used to decorate beads (right).

White bead donated by
Dianne Duncan.

In 1811 a Miotti widow revealed the family secret to another glassmaker. By mid 19th century several formulae for aventurine were published and various improvements were made to it. In time, it came to be made in several countries, though the Venetian remains the best and most widely used. It is said that there was even a patent for it in the USA,
but I have not been able to verify this.

The term aventurine (or aventurescence) came to be used to name or describe translucent stones with inclusions that made them sparkle like the glass. These include mica, hematite, or fuscite in quartz (left), and several of the feldspars. Best known is hematite in albite, called "sunstone."

My scanner doesn't pick up the sparkle very well in these dark green beads from India, donated by Bob Dunnigan.

Deborah Zinn is a real go-getter.
The Zinn Prize (given to people who spontaneously help TheBeadSite in some way) was named for her. As the founder of Beads-L, she mails all members links to useful web sites she finds. With her permission, I will be using some of them here, editing her comments sparingly.

Though she suggested I do it, I really don't have the time to check that all links are still working. Please, if you find any that are dead, let me know here.

What is Beads-L?
by Stefany Tomalin, co-moderator

Beads-L was started by Deborah Zinn, who had the idea of creating a bead database as a reference tool for finding and sharing beads and bead information online. Deborah and I are now the co-moderators of this email discussion group for members with this interest in common. If you would like to know more, check out the web site at:


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