Gemstones and Beads
The following list includes beads which we use in our line. Whenever possible I attend the Tucson Gem and Mineral show and purchase my gemstones and beads from reputable suppliers. I love to pick out the deep reds of Garnets and the wild patterns of the Agates and Jasper. Amethyst comes in all the colors of purple from pale to deep and the Moonstone reflects the light back in a banded eye-blink. Amber is so lightweight and gorgeous, I love looking for hidden treasures locked inside its royal glow. I could go on and on but I thought you’d be interested in some interesting facts….
Amber They look like drops of honey and I love the soft golden color and the hidden bits of ancient earth trapped inside. It is really fossilized tree resin (not sap), which has been appreciated for its color and natural beauty since Neolithic times and is much valued from antiquity to the present as a gemstone. Because it originates as a soft, sticky tree resin, amber sometimes contains animal and plant material as inclusions.
Agate This stone has a variety of colors from red to grey and even a bit of green, no two stones are alike. It is chiefly chalcedony and is characterized by its fineness of grain and brightness of color. Although agates may be found in various kinds of rock, they are classically associated with volcanic rocks.
Amethyst is a violet variety of quartz. The name comes from the Ancient Greek meaning (“intoxicated”), a reference to the belief that the stone protected its owner from drunkenness. The ancient Greeks and Romans wore amethyst and made drinking vessels of it in the belief that it would prevent intoxication. It is one of several forms of quartz.
Black Onyx is a banded variety of chalcedony. Commonly, specimens of onyx contain bands of black and/or white. While I try to purchase natural stones it is possible that this stone has been color treated to produce a deeper black color.
Carnelian is a variety of chalcedony colored by impurities of iron oxide. The color can vary greatly, ranging from pale orange to an intense almost-black coloration. It is most commonly found in Brazil, India, Siberia, and Germany. I prefer the deep reddish orange color which is usually opaque and sometimes translucent.
Garnet has been used since the Bronze Age as gemstones and abrasives. Red garnets were the most commonly used gemstones in the Roman world. I love their deep red wine color and use it extensively in my work.
Jadite its color is largely affected by the presence of trace elements such as chromium and iron. Its translucence can be anywhere from entirely solid through opaque to almost clear. Variations in color and translucence are often found even within a single specimen. Jadeite is New Zealand, Guatemala, Russia, Canada, USA (including Alaska), Italy and Turkestan.
Jasper is a form of chalcedony and is red, yellow, off-white, or brown in color and rarely blue. It can be highly polished and is used for vases, seals, and at one time for snuff boxes. When the colors are in stripes or bands, it is called striped or banded jasper.
Lapis Lazuli is a relatively rare semi-precious stone that has been prized since antiquity for its intense blue color. Lapis Lazuli was being mined in Afghanistan as early as the 3rd millennium BC. There are also sources found as far east as Siberia. Trade in the stone is ancient enough for lapis jewelry to have been found at Pre-dynastic Egyptian and ancient Sumerian sites, as well as at neolithic burials in the Caucasus.
Moonstone Its name is derived from a visual effect, or sheen, caused by light diffraction within the feldspar layers. Moonstone has been used in jewelry for centuries, including ancient civilizations. The Romans admired moonstone, as they believed it was born from solidified rays of the moon. Both the Romans and Greeks associated Moonstone with their lunar gods and goddesses. Another type of Moonstone we use is called Rainbow Moonstone. This has a color shift, usually blue, seen on the surface of the stone.
Mother of Pearl comes from a shell where the nacre is continuously deposited onto the inner surface of the shell, commonly known as mother of pearl. The layers of nacre smooth the shell surface and help defend the soft tissues against parasites and damaging debris by entombing them in successive layers of nacre. The process is called encystation and it continues as long as the mollusk lives.
Gold Nuggets A number of our pieces have a small nugget soldered somewhere on the surface. These are all Alaskan nuggets, I either purchase them from the miner or from a reliable source here in Fairbanks. Very often I even know exactly where they are mined! I try to purchase nuggets that have texture which means they have not been swept down a mountain stream to be deposited at the bottom but rather, they are mined in place, high in the hills surrounding Fairbanks.
Peridot is one of the few gemstones that occur in only one color, an olive green. The intensity and tint of the green, however, depends on how much iron is contained in the crystal structure, so the color of individual peridot gems can vary from yellow- to olive- to brownish-green. The most valued color is a dark olive-green.
Sodalite is somewhat similar to Lapis, but it rarely contains Pyrite (a common inclusion in Lapis) and its blue color is more like traditional royal blue rather than ultramarine. It is further distinguished from similar minerals by its white (rather than blue) streak. It has also been called poor man’s Lapis.
Turquoise It is rare and valuable in finer grades and has been prized as a gem and ornamental stone for thousands of years owing to its unique hue. The Southwest United States is a significant source of turquoise. The deposits of California and New Mexico were mined by pre-Columbian Native Americans using stone tools. China has been a minor source of turquoise for 3,000 years or more. The pastel shades of turquoise have endeared it to many great cultures of antiquity: it has adorned the rulers of Ancient Egypt, the Aztecs (and possibly other Pre-Columbian Mesoamericans), Persia, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, and to some extent in ancient China. A common belief shared by many of these civilizations held that turquoise possessed certain prophylactic qualities; it was thought to change color with the wearer’s health and protect him or her from negative forces..
Dyed and Man Made
Red Jade is a dyed calcite. Red is a very difficult color to obtain so I settled on the red jade. The dyeing process is very precise and it is well done so the stone is saturated and the color is permanent.
Cubic Zirconia Because of its low cost, durability, and close visual likeness to diamond, synthetic cubic zirconia has remained the most gemologically and economically important competitor for diamonds since commercial production began in 1976.
Opal (Lab Grown) is a manmade gemstone. It has great fire and a lovely color shift. Each of these lab-grown ones has a unique color play. Sometimes the red is strongest, sometimes the green . It is both beautiful and durable at an affordable price.
Glass Crystal (Swarovski) This is a cut lead-glass bead which we use in our line and made by a company which dominates the market because of how well they create these sparkly beads.