It´s an old tradition of the gem trade to ennoble low-value gem stones with fancy names.
Just think of the terms "Gold Topaz" or "Smoky Topaz", which are used to upgrade quartz.

One of the most popular gem names in this game is, of course, diamond.
Webster´s* glossary of unusual names lists 53 "diamonds"!

Take, for instance, "Herkimer Diamonds".

This name was given to rock crystal from Herkime County, New York.
However, it has to be said, that at least most "Herkies" are of outstanding quality and undisputedly rank amongst the very best of their species.

Other trade names were less successful. There´s a plethora of Arabic, Bohemian, Hawaiian, Mexican and many more "Diamonds", denoting one and the same rock crystal.

There´s more gems with a diamont overcoat, though.

Colourless Zirkon from Sri Lanka is known locally as "Matara Diamond", named after the islands southernmost city.

In Nevada Obsidian is marketed as "Nevada Diamond" and in Pennsylvania Pyrite comes in the disguise of, you probably guessed it, "Pennsylvania Diamond".

Marketers of synthetic gems were even more imaginative.

An early diamond simulant, synthetic strontium titanate, was first called "Diagem", "Diamontina" and "Marvelite" before it finally achieved some popularity under the name of "Fabulite".

By far the most successful trade name is "Cubic Zirconia", a synthetic diamond simulant.
It´s safe to say that the names similarity to that of natural Zircon was not in the least detrimental to sales. On the contrary, it was the real gem that suffered from the constant confusion with the synthetic "gem" .

When it comes to the number of trade names given to one gem, YAG is the record holder.
This synthetic yttrium-aluminium garnet has been christened Diamanite, Diamoline, Diamonair, Diamone, Diamont and, particularly charming, Diamonique.

My favourite in Webster´s list, however, is the so-called "Zabeltitzen Diamond.
Unfortunately all research as to the origin of this name came to nothing.

So, should the gentle reader know who, what or where Zabeltitzen is, please do enlighten us.

Thomas Pfneisl

*Robert Webster, "Gems, Their Sources, Descriptions and Identifikation", Sixth Edition, Butterworth-Heinemann, 2006

Many thanks to Josef Stefan from the Viennese auction house Dorotheum for coming up with the answer.

Zabeltitz is an urban district of the city of Grossenhain in Saxony, Germany, and a (historic) location for rock crystals.