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Victoria Stone - Series Part 1

Historical Overview of Victoria Stone

Victoria Stone is an artificial gemstone that was first synthesized by the renowned Japanese scientist Dr. Sato-yasu Iimori in the mid-1950s. It is but one synthesized variation of artificial gemstone in a family of artificial gemstones created by Dr. Iimori. The Victoria Stone variation was protected under a 1955 Japanese patent titled “Method of Synthesis of Ornamental Stone”; however the imitation gemstone wasn’t called “Victoria Stone” until 1956 when its name was officially registered as a trademark. A number of synthesized gemstones were produced and marketed from 1962 through 1990 by Dr. Iimori’s Tokyo based business Iimori Laboratory, Ltd. They were collectively known as IL-Stone (Iimori Laboratory-Stone) and they were sold only in Japan. The one exception was Victoria Stone.
Raw Meta-jade
In August of 1969 an article, named “Victoria Stone a Man-Made Chatoyant Gemstone”, that described the highly chatoyant crystalline version of IL-Stone was published in the American jewelry trade magazine Lapidary Journal. As a result the overseas demand to export rough Victoria Stone for use in the jewelry trade was strong. Export started to North America where sales of Victoria Stone soon outpaced domestic sales of the product. Finished Victoria Stone in the form of pre-finished polished gems also became very popular overseas and was exported to both North America and Southeast Asia. Production and export of the rough for lapidaries as well as finished stones for the overseas jewelry trade continued until the Iimori Laboratory closed for business.

Dr. Iimori passed away in 1982 at the age of 96. However, the loss of Dr. Iimori did not stop the production of Victoria Stone as so many have come to believe. Production of the stone continued on for another 8 years after Dr. Iimori’s passing. His fourth son Kenzo Kato controlled the production of Victoria Stone in addition to the production of all the other imitation gems in the IL-Stone family. In fact Mr. Kato controlled the process for a decade before the business, Iimori Laboratory, Ltd., was even started.

Mr. Kato lived with Dr. Iimori, and he worked in his father’s laboratory which operated for more than ten years before it became a business in 1962. Mr. Kato acquired the knowledge of how to manufacture Victoria Stone as the 1952 patent process was being developed. Dr. Iimori only worked in the laboratory to invent new gemstones after the patent application was filed. It was actually Mr. Kato that controlled all production of Victoria Stone from the time the patent was filed in 1952 forward. A former assistant that worked in the laboratory from 1960 to 1963 said he worked entirely under Mr. Kato’s direction during that period, and by that time Dr. Iimori scarcely came to the laboratory. Mr. Kato was also the head of Iimori Laboratory, Ltd. from the time it was established as a business entity in 1962.

The fact is production of Victoria Stone was under the control of Mr. Kato from the time the patent process was finished in 1952 until the time production of Victoria Stone was stopped. All the Victoria Stone exported to North America was produced solely under the direction and control of Mr. Kato. This puts to rest the fallacy that Dr. Iimori took the knowledge of how to create Victoria Stone with him when he passed away.

Eventually, almost 40 years after it was invented, the last boules of Victoria Stone were produced by Iimori Laboratory, Ltd. In 1990 the family decided to shut down the business. And then in 2005 Mr. Kato passed away. The reason why the manufacture of Victoria Stone was never restarted by anyone remains a mystery.

The popular story about Victoria Stone does contain one irrefutable fact that can’t be discounted. The claim that the stone is very rare is absolutely true. Victoria Stone has not been accurately reproduced, manufactured, or marketed by any individual or business entity since Iimori Laboratory shut down. Production never restarted in spite of the fact that; 1) the patent on Victoria Stone has long since expired, and 2) the patent documenting the manufacturing process for Victoria Stone is publicly accessible and available for review.

So the fable of the Japanese scientist that made a wonderful gem only to take the secret of how to make it with him to the grave is just that, a fable. But despite that fact, Victoria Stone remains as one of the rarest items in the jewelry trade. What was made by Iimori Laboratory during the last century is all that’s available. And the supply will remain limited until a business with proper resources can restart production.

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Page last updated: October 11, 2014

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