Victoria Stone - Recreations
Andrew Bair's Discovery
A gentleman named Andrew Bair recently contacted us with proof that a material with properties very similar to Victoria Stone had been produced between
1975 and 1982. According to Mr. Bair he discovered "a treasure hoard of stones" that several gem experts identified as Victoria Stone, but not exactly like the original
Victoria Stone created by Dr. Iimori. The discovery was accompanied by some paperwork that contained cryptic formulas and what appeared to be a description of the process
used to make the stones. With Mr. Bair's permission we are providing his account of the circumstances surrounding the discovery of these stones and the paperwork documenting
an early attempt to recreate Victoria Stone.
"This find was sheer luck. I've always been a treasure hunter , flea markets, antiques , memorabilia . All sorts of things , so I have an eye for odd or peculiar things. These stones fit that description. I received them from another man who was cleaning out a house and found them. The creator of the stone was dead, and nameless . No one cleaned out his belongings for three years. When my friend found them he didn't know what he found. He called them cooked rocks. I purchased them from him for a fair price for something being thrown out. He was happy with the sale. It was later that night when I realized there was nothing about this stone or any other stone like it. For sale or online. He had found many notebooks with the process used to make the stone. But sadly all of them were burned while they cleaned the house. Lost forever. The man saved one notebook with only five pages of writings. Just had the basic minerals and temps, and cooling times. Not much to go on. But it was enough to realize he was trying to make Vic stone. Or his own version. He didn't use magnasite , or actinolite , or the 2000 pounds of pressure, but what he made is very good stone. - Andrew Bair"
Mr. Bair was also kind enough to provide several photos of his discovery. The four shown below exhibit crystal patterns that are very similar to those found in specimens of authentic Victoria Stone.
The color of the material in the photos can also be matched fairly well to colors that the original Victoria Stone was produced in. Below is a copy of the original sales color chart for Victoria Stone, it shows each of the 15 colors that were produced and their names.
The stone in the first picture from Mr. Bair (far left) could be a match to the color called "Quiet Green" in the chart. While the stone in the remaining photos may be a similar to the "Sky Indigo" shown in the chart.
Although there are similarities in pattern and color, a direct comparison of a photo from Mr. Bair showing the detail on a side cut of his material with a photo of showing the detail on a side cut of authentic Victoria Stone does expose some differences. The rough in the photo shown directly below is a larger side-cut view of the blue material from Mr. Bair.
The first notable difference is the appearance of bubbles along the top of the stone underneath the outer crust of the boule. There is also some brown discoloration associated with the bubbles that may indicate some burning at the outer layer of the boule. Smaller bubbling also appears along the right edge of the material. How far the bubbles extend into the material is unknown, but gauging from this photo it could be at least a half a centimeter.
For comparison a cross section photo of an authentic Victoria Stone boule is shown below. The outer edge of this boule is solid, it is void of bubbles and there is no browning at the outer layer. All of the material in this boule is usable if cut correctly. This is desirable not only because valuable material isn't wasted, but because the patterns at the very top of the boule (lower right in the photo) contain very tight starburst patterns that make beautiful cabochons for jewelry.
The second difference between these two materials is the presence of fine hairline cracks in the recreated stone. Authentic Victoria Stone is solid and rarely has cracks. Hairline cracks will make any type of stone difficult to work with. Cutting around them can be problematic, and even when successful the odds of exposing an unseen crack during the cabochon grinding process is very high.
Now in all fairness Mr. Bair did indicate that some of the other material he has may have been created when the maker of the stone had refined his process to the point of eliminating these types of flaws.
Another interesting difference in the two materials is the size of the boule. A full boule of authentic Victoria Stone can weigh over four pounds. A boule of the recreated material that Mr. Bair was offering on EBay was listed at 12. 5 ounces, much smaller than the original. This may be because the maker of the material was still experimenting with his process and the smaller size may have helped accelerate the curing process, or conserve the raw materials that the final product was made from.
In the end this stone shows promise regardless of its problematic areas. And it definitely proves that there have been attempts to recreate Dr. Iimori's process. Mr. Bair has been very gracious regarding the sharing of information on this new stone, even to the extent of volunteering to send us a sample of the stone to work with. We'll test the stone to see how it cuts and polishes and then update this information with our findings. For those that do lapidary work, or those that just collect unique specimens, visit eBay and search for Victoria Stone rough. If you're lucky Mr. Bair may have some of his recreated Victoria Stone available for purchase.
It has also been brought to our attention that there is someone who is currently producing a recreated version of Victoria Stone. Apparently they are working through the bubbling and crazing issues but are getting very close to producing a stable product. According to our source it is only being produced in four colors at the present time however this will probably change once the product is refined. We'll update this information as we learn more.
Regardless of anyone's past or current attempts to recreate Victoria Stone, no one has succeeded in matching the quality and stability of Victoria Stone to date. And even if they do, the only original Victoria Stone left in the world is that which was produced by Dr. Iimori and subsequently sold to tradesman over 30 years ago. This makes the Iimori Stone, the original Victoria Stone, genuinely rare and very desirable.
Article last updated October 6, 2014