Stones

Stones

Releasing the Northern Lights

According to a legend of the Inuit people of northern Canada, a warrior once discovered the Aurora Borealis trapped inside of stones along the coastline of Labrador. He tried to free the colorful lights from the rocks with a spear but was not able to release them all, so many of the magical stones still remain to this day.

The rainbow of colors – most commonly blues, golds, and aquas – that glimmer from inside of what is now called labradorite make it instantly recognizable. When light appears to originate from inside of a stone it’s called schiller. When that light is a bright rainbow of colors, it’s called labradorescence. The crystal structure of labradorite is layered or twinned, and as light enters the stone, the different layers reflect different colors.

This play of color is almost hypnotizing, as it can be seen from one angle but not another. Lucky for you, there are currently four labradorite necklaces on my website, each with a distinct labradorescence.

Stones, New Inventory

Fit for a Queen

 Photo credit: Australian Outback Mining Pty. Ltd.

Photo credit: Australian Outback Mining Pty. Ltd.

Greetings! There are quite a few new jewels up on the website, and it’s been awhile since we’ve had a mineralogy lesson, so let’s get to it! Our delicious Foxtail necklace features a stone from Australia aptly named Outback Jasper that is irregularly patterned with rich shades of brown, ochre, cream, gray, and pale pink. The word Jasper is derived from 'jaspre' (Old French) meaning 'spotted or speckled stone'. 

It is a powerful protective stone that was used by all ancient civilizations who often carved it into a talisman. Colored by an abundance of impurities in all hues, jasper is an opaque aggregate of microcrystalline quartz that forms in masses, like stalactites and nodules, rather than crystals. It forms most often in the veins and cracks of volcanic rocks percolated by aqueous solutions and is common around the globe.

Outback Jasper occurs as a narrow seam within an outcrop of banded chert in Western Australia about an hour drive from Perth. It was discovered many years ago by fossickers but has only recently been mined for commercial purposes. Foxtail harmoniously combines Outback Jasper with golden freshwater pearls and natural quartz points that have been plated with a metal oxide that shimmers purple and gold. She’s a very regal necklace.

Stones

Spicy and Steamy But Not Smokin'

Our aptly-named Spicebush necklace features a flutter of amorphous fire opals tastefully complemented with matte nuggets of vivid lapis lazuli. Fire opals are milky orange to deep red in color and rarely possess the ability to diffract light the way that precious opals do; however, according to lore they are powerful in their ability to draw out pent-up emotions and strengthen our sexual desire in a potent almost explosive way. Spicy indeed!

The name opal was likely derived during ancient times from the word “upala”, Sanskrit for “valuable stone”. Opal is essentially hydrated silica (think of those gel packets that come in your shoe box to absorb moisture) that has formed at low temperatures when water soaks through the earth picking up silica from sandstone then settles into cracks and voids. The resulting silica gel evaporates slowly leaving behind silica deposits in the form of veins and nodules.

 

 By Dpulitzer - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30411934

By Dpulitzer - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30411934

 25,000x magnification of the structure of opal: Image courtesy of usgs.gov

25,000x magnification of the structure of opal: Image courtesy of usgs.gov

The water content in opals can range from 3% to 21%, so they benefit from being worn regularly as they like humidity from the air and skin as well as body oils which seal in their moisture. In precious opals, the white and black varieties with lots of play-of-color we are used to seeing in fine jewelry, the silica molecules are regularly ordered in stacked planes, like ping pong balls in a box, that interfere with and diffract light as it passes through the opal’s microstructure. This diffracted light can express nearly every color of the visible spectrum. In common opal, or “potch, the distance between the silica molecules is large enough that the light doesn’t have to bend to pass through, so it is not diffracted and does not display any play-of-color. In fire opal, the burnt oranges, yellows, and deep reds are believed to come from trace amounts of iron.

All varieties of opals should not be left in the sun or overheated for they will dehydrate and possibly craze, and their play of fire, if any, will decrease. So while your fire opals like being steamy with you, they don’t appreciate actual fire ;) Simply lean into the power of Spicebush and wear it with total abandon.

Stones

Café au Lait from the Cretaceous

There are quite a few new goodies up on the website just in time for the holidays. One of our favorites is Martynia, a golden girl with a storied past. Her peanut wood pendant is nothing short of extraordinary.

Peanut wood is a type of petrified driftwood that comes from Western Australia. It began as a conifer tree during the Cretaceous era that was carried by a river to a shallow, inland, salty sea where a marine clam from that era enjoyed feasting on the mushy driftwood wood and would bore spiral holes deep inside. (Today’s species of related bivalves are called Shipworms because they have been the enemy of wooden ship hulls for millennia.) The mouth of the river where the tree was resting was also a favorite place for a type of plankton with a silica-rich shell. When the plankton died, their tiny shells would sink and form a white ooze that seeped into the holes created by the clams. Over time, this sediment dissolved even further into a super-saturated silica solution that would seep into the waterlogged wood and fossilize it. The fossilized wood is a dark coffee color and the plankton ooze in the clam boreholes is a delicious creamy white. When the fossils are cut into slabs, the boreholes appear oval- or peanut-shaped, hence the name peanut wood. In the picture to the left you can even see the spiral shape of some of the holes traversing the slab.

Martynia
205.00 295.00
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The sedimentary layer containing the peanut wood eventually lithified into rocks known as the Windalia Radiolarite in Western Australia.  The Windalia was eventually uplifted as part of the elevated plateau known as the Kennedy Range and is now above sea level for lapidarists to find, cut, and polish.

Tastefully complemented by African yellow opal, smoky quartz, poppy jasper, and pyrite, the peanut wood pendant on Martynia gives this elegant necklace a rich history and just the right artistic touch. 

Stones

High in Fiber and Minerals

The silky golden and brown bands of tiger’s eye are always a crowd favorite. Many of you can easily recognize it in the diverse sea of natural stone jewelry that I display at home parties and art fairs. Under your breath you proclaim, “Tiger's eye! I love tiger's eye!” I love it too, and here's why:

Tiger’s eye is a chatoyant stone that comes primarily from South Africa and east Asia. From the French “œil de chat” or cat’s eye, chatoyancy is an optical effect created by the reflection of light off of either the fibrous structure of a mineral or of fibrous inclusions within it. The highest quality specimens that demonstrate this effect, like the cymophane below, reflect a single streak of light perpendicular to the grain that moves across the stone as it is rotated.

Cymophane is commonly referred to simply as Cat's Eye.

 Crocidolite. "Krokydolith - Mineralogisches Museum Bonn (7385)" by © Raimond Spekking

Crocidolite. "Krokydolith - Mineralogisches Museum Bonn (7385)" by © Raimond Spekking

Tumbled hawk's eye

Tiger’s eye forms in the cracks of stones that contain both quartz and strands of the ethereal, fibrous, and splintery crocidolite, or blue asbestos. As mineral-rich water seeps into the crack, more quartz and crocidolite simultaneously form to fill the crack. The parent rock cracks again along the surface of the original crack, and the process repeats. This means that the diagonal and discontinuous chatoyancy created by the crocidolite fibers in tiger’s eye is actually a record of tectonic shifting. While the crocidolite is still blue, the resulting stone is called hawk’s eye, but as the iron in the mineral oxidizes, it becomes the familiar brown and gold colors of tiger’s eye.

Primula has sold

The Romans wore tiger’s eye amulets into battle for courage and protection as it is said to relieve fear and anxiety while promoting balance and calm. Arab tradition says it will help you go unnoticed. Our exquisite Primula necklace, however, will not go unnoticed when placed around your neck. It combines nuggets of tiger’s eye with a carefully proportioned and arranged collection of faceted apatite nuggets, chrysocolla coins, and turquoise rounds.... A lovely addition to your healthy jewelry diet.

Stones, New Inventory

Calm, Cool, and Collected

With Kentucky Derby merriment on the horizon leading into summer’s back-yard barbeques and soirées in the Hamptons, we would like to introduce you to the protective powers of amethyst, a violet variety of quartz and the birthstone for February. Its name is derived from the Greek amethustos, which translates to "not inebriated". Really!

Amethyst was highly prized during antiquity for its sobering effects, and wine goblets were often carved directly from the stone to prevent intoxication. In the middle ages, European soldiers would wear amethyst amulets into battle to keep them composed and level-headed. Many continue to believe it promotes mental sobriety and awareness.

Columbine
195.00
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Amethyst was once considered to be one of the cardinal, or most rare and precious, gemstones along with diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, and rubies. However, when huge deposits were found in the New World, namely Brazil, it’s value declined dramatically. This is most fortunate for you because our regal Columbine necklace featuring twenty-one generously-sized globes of polished amethyst strung between charming sterling silver spacers is quite attainable.


Stones

A Slice of Prehistory for the Holidays

In case you didn’t realize how unique and exquisite our Hosta necklace is, we wanted to fill you in on those delicious brown stones…

The large ovals that vary in shade from a pale taupe to a rich mocha are made of petrified palmwood, or palmoxylon, a genus of extinct palms.The fossilized wood has a clearly-defined rod-like structure within the grain, and depending on the angle at which the material is cut, these rods appear as spots, continuous lines, or stretched ellipses.

The spots that result from cutting perpendicular to the grain are easily discernible in Hosta. Complemented with lavender Bolivian amethyst and an asymmetric slab of blue-green chalcedony, the natural beauty of petrified palmwood is artfully presented in Hosta for frequent wear.

…and not for nothing, but petrified palmwood is the state stone of Texas, so come an git er, y’all!