Victoria Stone - Series Part 1
The Myths Surrounding Victoria Stone
The typical stories about Victoria Stone usually contain a common set of fallacies. It doesn’t matter if the story is posted
on an internet site or in a local mineral club newsletter. The story may vary a little, but most of them repeat the same theme and contain the
same inaccuracies. The story we originally published on our website was no different.
The common myths contained in these stories will be addressed up front since the Iimori family’s first and foremost objective is to have these inaccuracies corrected. In keeping with their wishes we ask that you read the following section even if you read nothing else.
Stories about Victoria Stone – Separating Fact from Fiction
This section lists some of the common misconceptions that you’ll see in stories about Victoria Stone. Most of them have
been repeated for years in various web and print articles in the United States. And it’s not hard to understand why when you consider the illusion
and mystique they add to a story, and to a sales description.
The following are corrections that were provided by the Iimori family and are being published here in response to their request. A word of warning may be in order. What you are about to read may be disappointing to some. Why?
Because many of the things we’ve come to believe about Victoria Stone just aren’t based on facts.
Common storyline number 1:
“Late in the 60's Iimori Laboratory Ltd. of Tokyo Japan began to market a variety of imitation gem materials.”
True or false: Well, it’s partially true.
Yes, Iimori Laboratory, Ltd. of Tokyo did market a variety of imitation gem materials. But they began marketing their gemstones commercially in 1962 after the company was formed, not in the late-1960s.
Common storyline number 2:
“Dr. Iimori made Victoria Stone by blending several different minerals together using a special process known only to him.”
True or false: This one is false.
The process used to create Victoria Stone was well-known by his 4th son Kenzo Kato, and was used to create Victoria Stone by Iimori Laboratory Ltd. from 1962 – 1990.
Common storyline number 3:
“To protect his market, Dr. Iimori did not patent his process. Instead he preferred to keep the manufacturing process a secret, even from his family.”
True or false: Sorry folks, it turns out that the most intriguing part of the Victoria Stone story is absolutely false.
“Satoyasu IIMORI” filed Japanese Patent Application No. S27-18379 for his invention titled “Method of Synthesis of Ornamental Stone” on November 21st 1952. The Japanese Patent Office (JPO) approved the application and released “Japanese Patent Publication No. 30-88 (JP-S30-88-B)” on January 17th, 1955. The patent publication is on file at the Japanese Patent Office (JPO) and can be retrieved from the Industrial Property Digital Library (IPDL) website at:
You can access the two page patent document by following these instructions:
- Click on the fourth option titled “Patent and utility model publication DB (English Version)”
- Put “B” (without quotes) in the “Kind code” box
- Put “S30-88” (without quotes) in the “Number” box
- Click on the “Search” button.
- Click on the “JP.30-000088.B(1955)” link on the left side of the results page. This will return page one of the two page patent application.
- Click the “NEXT PAGE” button at the bottom of the page to access the second page of the patent.
Note: The patent has not been digitized or translated from Japanese to English by the patent office. As a courtesy
the Iimori family had the patent translated into English for our series on Victoria Stone.
We will present the translated version
of the patent here on our website in part 2 of the series.
Common storyline number 4:
“Dr. Iimori kept the process a secret, even from his family. When he passed away the process was lost.”
True or false: This is also false.
The patented process was well known to his fourth son Kenzo Kato who controlled Iimori Laboratory, Ltd., and the commercial manufacture of Victoria Stone, from the time the company was started in 1962. Mr. Kato was the only exporter of Victoria Stone to the North American and Southeast Asian markets. Export to the United States began in 1969 and ended in 1990 when the Iimori family closed Iimori Laboratory, Ltd.
Common storyline number 5:
“Iimori Laboratory, Ltd. went bankrupt in 1985 shortly after Dr. Iimori’s death.”
True or false: This is false, the company never went bankrupt.
Iimori Laboratory Ltd. continued to be run by Kenzo Kato until 1990 when the family closed down the business due to a family issue. It may be surprising, but Kenzo Kato controlled Iimori Laboratory, Ltd. for the entire time the company was in business (1962 – 1990).
Common storyline number 6:
“Victoria Stone was manufactured in 15 colors.”
True or false: It really depends on the context in which the term “manufactured” is being used.
Victoria stone was actually manufactured in 17 colors; and commercially available in 16 colors. But only 15 colors were sold in North America. So why were only 15 colors sold if 16 colors were commercially available? That’s because there wasn’t enough of two specific colors, yellow lemon and gold-green, to be sold in both locations. The lemon yellow was sold in North America (thru Hartung’s, Inc.) and the gold-green in Japan by Iimori Laboratory, Ltd. Color number 17, a cherry pink, was apparently manufactured later but never sold in North America. In addition there were a large number of colors produced in small amounts while the company was testing the marketplace to find out which colors were preferred.
Common storyline number 7:
“During Victoria Stone’s manufacturing process the molten mixture of natural mineral components was slowly cooled over a period of 60 days while under 2000 pounds of pressure.”
True or false: False
The molten mineral mixture was cooled in 4 to 5 temperature stages that ranged from 10 to 20 hours each in length. The translated patent will provide more detail when we post it.
Common storyline number 8:
“Victoria Stone has the mineral structure of nephrite jade.”
True or false: This is true.
Dr. Iimori wrote that Victoria Stone has a mineral structure similar to Nephrite Jade in the 1970 magazine article “Chigaku kenkyu (research of earth science)”. In an earlier 1960 magazine article “Kagaku to kogyo (Chemistry and Industry)” he wrote saying his original IL-Stone, Meta-jade, had a structure similar to Jadeite. Natural nephrite jade and jadeite are both composed of tough, compact, and fine grained material. Nephrite is different because it consists of interlocking fibers that make it tougher.
Common storyline number 9:
“Iimori Stone is the real name of Victoria Stone.”
True or false: No, this is false.
“Victoria Stone” was registered as the commercial name of the synthesized gemstone a year after Dr. Iimori filed his 1955 patent application (Japanese trademark registration No. 50957).
Common storyline number 10:
“Victoria stone is a form of leaded glass.”
True or false: This statement is false.
Victoria Stone does not meet the definition of a leaded glass based on the patent information.
The patent for Victoria Stone describes its composition as a blending and mixing suitable amounts of one or more basic components suitably selected from quarts, feldspar, alumina, limestone, zinc oxide, alkali carbonates, barium carbonate, magnesium carbonate, and the like components, one or more mineralizing components suitably selected from boric acid, borax, fluorite, magnesium fluoride, aluminum fluoride, alkali fluorides, cryolite, alkali fluorosilicates, alkali sulfides, alkaline earth sulfides, saltpeter, sodium chloride, and the like components, and one or more components that induce an aggregate structure of radial crystals suitably selected from beryllium oxide, rare earth oxides, zirconium oxide, thorium oxide, lead oxide, magnesium phosphate, calcium phosphate, bone ash, alkali phosphates, and the like components.
The components that induce an aggregate structure of radial crystals comprise the crystallizing component. The crystallizing component comprises 12.95% of the total mixture by weight, of which only .95% is an oxide component for which a number of oxides may be substituted, including lead oxide (PbO). However, any of the other oxides that are listed may be used. In that case the lead component is 0% as opposed to .95%. In comparison lead glass typically contains 18% - 40% of lead oxide (PbO) by weight and lead crystal 24% PbO. Victoria Stone can hardly be considered a form of leaded glass due to its 0% - .95% PbO content by weight.
Furthermore, the number of components, the type of components, and the combination of components by their weight precludes Victoria Stone from falling into any of the typical glass categories such as; aluminosilicate glass, borosilicate glass, fused silica glass, and soda-lime glass. Although there may be some commonalty in their components, it would be both inappropriate and inaccurate to label Victoria Stone as glass.
Another misconception has to do with the origin and name of the mineral Iimoriite-(Y). Although it is not usually associated with the story of Victoria Stone it is still worth clarifying.
It is often thought that Dr. Iimori discovered the mineral Iimoriite-(Y) because of its name. The mineral was actually discovered by Dr. Kozo Nagashima and Dr. Akira Kato who announced their finding in 1958. They named it after Dr. Sato-yasu Iimori and Dr. Takeo Iimori in honor of their contributions to the “chemical analysis of rare minerals” research field.
Some of you reading this will probably be a little disappointed knowing that some of the things we’ve come to believe about Victoria Stone are not based in fact. But the fact that Victoria Stone is rare is still true; it’s just the circumstances as to why it’s rare that have changed.
Page last updated: October 11, 2014