What Is Aventurine Glass?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Aventurine glass has many alternate names. It may be called monkstone, Stellaria, or goldstone, and it is visually quite stunning. It is sometimes confused with several minerals like feldspar or quartz, which may have tiny flecks of glittering material that add shine and sparkle. These are called aventurine, though this is not aventurine glass.

Woman painting
Woman painting

The birth and invention of this glass is credited to an Italian family of glassmakers by the name of Miotti. They created this special and iridescent glass in the mid 17th century and it soon become prized and envied. Their process for creating the glass remained a closely guarded secret for many years, and at first they held exclusive rights to produce it.

Fortunately, the secret of making the glass was finally “outed.” Essentially, the glass was combined with copper or copper salts. When the glass melted and cooled, these mineral deposits would clump together to created a gold-flecked and shiny appearance on the glass. As is common with most glass, the glass itself had no color, but the additional minerals added could create varying colors like green and blue, although the most common color is a rich, ruddy brown.

You can also find variants of aventurine glass that appear to have more silvery flecks of shine than gold ones. The types of minerals that are added to the glass can achieve this effect. However it was made in those early days, the glass became highly prized. It was used to make jewelry, vases, and mosaics. Prices, given the limited pieces manufactured, were quite high at first.

Prices lowered when a widow of one of the Miotti glassmakers divulged the secrets of making the glass in the early 19th century. This led to greater production of the glass by a number of glassmakers, and some improvements in overall technique. Prices gradually dropped, and it’s now quite easy to find aventurine glass for beading at a much lower cost. Some insist that the glass should come from Italy in order to be considered “authentic.”

Just as the tiny flecks of mineral seem to sparkle in magical fashion as you gaze at aventurine glass, there are a number of myths, folklore, mysteries and secrets surrounding how the Miotti family created this glassmaking process, that almost suggests magic or alchemy. The name itself may mean discovering something by chance or through luck or adventure. But there were rumors that the glassmaking technique was passed to the family by a secret and unknown order of monks. There’s thus something rather special about the glass that glints like gold, even though we now know how it comes by its glitter and shine.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments


The most interesting thing about this to me is that aventurine glass was named first, and the natural mineral aventurine was named because it looked somewhat like the glass. The glass is not a copy of the mineral; it's an old and accidental invention.


Genuine aventurine is a rock. It belongs to quartz family and certainly is a rock. Man made aventurine is just glass with inclusions of copper, but it's fake aventurine.


Aventurine is one of those man made stones that is often passed off as natural.

They even assign healing properties to it, like natural stones are supposed to have. I believe aventurine is supposed to increase wealth and courage.

I'm not going to disagree with the idea that crystals might have vibrations that can help people, or whatever the theory is, but aventurine is just glass mixed with metal. It's got no more healing powers than your windows, or your water pipes, which are also made of glass and metal.

As long as crystal healing sites acknowledge that aventurine is a man made material, I don't mind but it annoys me to see it being passed off as another kind of rock.


The old techniques for glass making are so interesting, and always have such fascinating stories surrounding them. I actually didn't even realize that goldstone was a manmade material.

I imagine the widow of the glassmaker who outed the technique was probably in need of money to live after her husband died. I hope she didn't get in trouble from the other craftsmen.

Blue and purple goldstone are my favorites, since they really look like a little bit of the night sky.

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