I have a customer and phone friend, Fred Graupp of Robesonia PA. Fred is a full time
cabochon (Cab) cutter and cuts an amazing variety of material. About 2003 Fred asked me if I had ever
heard of Victoria stone, I had to admit that in all my years in Lapidary, this one was new to me. He said that it was kind
of expensive but when he described the stone to me he piqued my interest.
I asked if he could send a cab and he said sure. The first stone I received was a long oval
with an amazing Lime Green color , the chatoyant color play in the stone was like nothing I'd seen before. I called Fred to
let him know how much I liked the stone and ask him what he wanted for it. He quoted his price and I told him he was
selling it to cheap. I said that if this stone is as rare and unobtainable as your telling me, I think it should demand a
much higher price.
This set off what has become long term trade and purchase that Fred and I continue to this
day, he finds and cuts Victoria stone and offers it to me for sale or in trade for my product. Shortly after Fred and I started this endeavor I was talking to him on the phone, he told me that he had a large piece of Victoria Stone material that
he hated to have to cut into smaller pieces because it was so beautiful as it was. I told him to cab it as is, he said
"nobody is going to buy large Victoria Stone cabs, they will cost too much" , I told him that he might just be talking to
"Nobody" . He did cab the piece and sent it down, I was thrilled at what I saw and told Fred that in the future if he had
Victoria Stone slabs that lent themselves to large cabs I would take them until I was tired of paying for them. I feel at
this time, thanks to Fred and his expert handling of the material, I have to have one of the finest collections of LARGE
Victoria Stone cabs.
Newsletter for the Rochester Lapidary Society – September, 2005
By Greg Weisbrod
Late in the 60's Iimori Laboratory Ltd. of Tokyo Japan began to market a variety of imitation gem materials. Dr. S. Iimori
produced some paste (lead glass) in different colors for faceting, also a cat's eye, "jade," and finally his masterpiece:
The chatoyant Victoria stone in 16 different colors. This material was advertised to be a melt of various natural
minerals that had reconstructed into a new mineral and cooled for months under 2000 pounds pressure. The melt mass then
partially devitrified forming chatoyant fan-like sprays of crystal fibers.
Ideally the fibers would interlock,
similar to those that give nephrite jade its toughness. Unfortunately, this did not occur. The glass matrix of the "boules"
developed severe internal strains much similar to unannealed glass.
The mass looked like a fat carrot, weighed
about five pounds and sold for $20.00/lb. Instructions cautioned you to carefully grind the white rind from the "boule" so
as to relieve the strain. You must also take extreme care not to overheat the material in cutting, doping, or polishing.
You could also purchase a ready-made cabochon from the company.
To protect his market, the 84-year-old Dr. Iimori
did not patent his process, instead preferring to keep it a secret even from his family. When he passed away they did not
continue the operation and the company went bankrupt in 1985.