By Danielle Olivia Tefft
Some of your favorite gemstone beads may come from California. For those of us who don’t live within its sun-drenched borders, the mention of California conjures up several mental images. These include the famous Hollywood sign and glimpses of red carpet movie stars, the Golden Gate Bridge and Disneyland. Then there are the mighty Sequoia trees, infamous LA traffic jams and perhaps the great California Gold Rush of 1849. But did you know California also has a bounty of precious gemstone deposits?
Gold was discovered in 1848 at Sutter’s Mill in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This event sparked the great gold rush that officially put California on the map of the United States of America. But discovery of gemstones also drew many fortune seekers to the state during the 1800s and 1900s. Of course, these “discoveries” by prospectors and the gemstone industry weren’t the official firsts. Native Americans inhabited the lands in which California gemstones have been found for centuries prior to Columbus landing in America. Many of these gemstones have a cherished role in their culture, as well. That fact has not stopped modern discovery claims on gem-rich land tracts by prospectors and mining companies.
Native California gemstones include benitoite (the official state gemstone), morganite, kunzite, tourmaline, topaz, hessonite and spessartite garnet, agate, green fluorite, pink apatite, quartz crystal and turquoise. Several of these gemstones have unique stories of their own that coincide with their modern discoveries. These tales are briefly recounted below:
In 1907, farmer George Louderback stumbled onto a mesmerizing outcrop of rock on his land near the banks of San Benito River. It was riddled with sparkling blue crystals which he assumed were blue diamonds. He quickly worked to secure a mineral rights patent for them. Subsequent scientific study revealed the alluring cobalt blue crystal to be a member of the barium titanium silicate mineral family. It was also found that under Ultra Violet light, this captivating gemstone emits a bright blue fluorescence.
The newly discovered gem was named “benitoite” after the river and county of its initial discovery. (The area was also part of San Benito County at the time, although it is now part of modern day Fresno County). As it happens, gemstone quality benitoite is extremely rare. In recognition of benitoite’s rarity, it was named California’s state gemstone in 1985. The California location where it is found is still privately owned and is now known as the Benitoite Gem Mine. It is one of the only places in the world to date where the alluring blue gemstone has been found.
As far as the gem industry is concerned, tourmaline was officially discovered in the hills outside of San Diego in the late 1870s. Of course, like so many other indigenous gemstones, the Native Americans in the region had admired the lovely pink or reddish-pink gemstone for centuries prior to this date.
China’s Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi who reigned from 1860 to 1908 was the San Diego tourmaline industry’s best customer. This quirky empress was known for two things. She ruled her subjects with an iron hand and surrounded herself with pink tourmaline extravagance at every turn. She commissioned everything from jewelry to ornamental furnishings in the gorgeous pink stone. Even several years after Tzu Hsi’s reign, high ranking Chinese officials continued to prize California’s pink tourmaline. Several tons of this coveted gemstone came from the Himalaya Mine in San Diego County between 1898 and 1914. It became the world’s largest tourmaline producing mine during those years.
Turquoise was sacred to the Native Americans of California long before European settlers stumbled upon the sky-colored stone in the craggy rock outcrops of San Bernardino County. Many tools and other evidence of pre-Columbian mining operations have been uncovered there. Turquoise veins have also been found in Inyo and Imperial counties. The Apache Canyon Mine in Barstow is currently the state’s only commercial turquoise mining venture. It is privately owned.
Kunzite is a lovely pastel pink variety of spodumene. It was discovered by the gem industry in 1902 near
. It was named after Tiffany & Company legend George Kunz, of course. He was the most respected gemologist and renowned gem buyer in the world at the time. However, this designation created quite a controversy among those in the gem industry at the time. In protest, the owners of the mine marketed kunzite in Europe as “California Iris.” They thought this name was more appropriate. Others who claimed to be first to discover the stone also claimed rights to name it, but Kunz’s influence and power eventually won him the right to retain the name “kunzite.”
Morganite is a pink variety of beryl. It was discovered in
in the early 1900s. George Kunz named this pink beryl “morganite” after the vastly wealthy (railroad) tycoon, J.P. Morgan. It was a deliberate attempt to flatter one of his wealthiest benefactors. Morgan routinely contributed to Tiffany & Company’s gem explorations and the Natural History Museum’s gem and mineral department. He funded many of Kunz’ worldwide forays in search of gems and minerals for Tiffany & Company.
Currently, there are four famous mines in California that are open in part for a fee to public treasure hunters:
1. Benitoite Gem Mine near Coalinga (Fresno County):
Since its 1907 discovery by the gem industry, the mine has changed hands a number of times, but is still privately owned. The public can pan for benitoite in a designated area of the mine. You can also view your findings in a UV dark room, courtesy of the mine. The cost is $70 per person (for kids under 12, the cost is $20). Reservations are required. Website: calstategemmine.com
2.Himalaya Mine in San Diego County:
This mine is located at the Lake Henshaw Resort. It offers year round, Thursday through Sunday digs from several dump truck-size rock piles. No reservations are necessary. Gemstones you might find are tourmaline, quartz crystals, lepidolite, topaz and morganite. The cost is $75 per person (for kids 12 and under, it is free). Reservations are required. Website: highdesertgemsandminerals.com
3. Oceanview Mine in Pala (San Diego County):
This mine offers daily supervised digs from a designated rock pile. You can find tourmaline, kunzite, morganite and other precious gemstones. The cost is $60 per person (for kids 11 and under, the cost is $50). Reservations are required. Website: digforgems.com
4. Stewart Mine in Pala (San Diego County):
On most weekends, you can sift through buckets of dirt for tourmaline and lepidolite from the Stewart Mine at the Gems of Pala store. Each bucket costs $20. Reservations are required. Website: gemsofpala.com
If you decide to go gem hunting, be sure to bring screening pans, tools to chisel with, safety glasses, gloves, buckets, jackets, sweatshirts and hats. It’s smart to dress in layers and have a change of clothing with you. (You just might get covered from head to toe in dirt and mud.) Also, don’t forget to wear sunscreen and bring ample food and water. Prospecting is hard work but it can be fun and rewarding, too. However, if you’d rather not seek the raw materials for your gemstone beaded treasures from scratch, many of these lovely gemstones are available in pre-faceted and polished beads.
As we swiftly approach Summer, jewelry is on this rise! Make your own beautiful art glass lentil necklace that will surely turn heads. This project is simple, easy, and fabulous. See the full slideshow here.
Leslie Jordan Clary
In the aftermath of World War I, the Western world’s artistic temperament took a decidedly modern turn. The earlier Art Nouveau movement had dissipated and with it went a kind of innocence. Art Nouveau celebrated a return to nature conveyed in organic, free-flowing lines and forms. This new art, which today we call Art Deco, was sleek, fragmented and inspired by Cubism, Fauvism and the Avant Garde which brought a new iconography, color and designs into the 20th century.
In spite Art Deco’s deliberate stand against the earlier flowery styles of Edwardian and Art Nouveau, it shares some of the values of these earlier works. Both movements celebrated handicrafts and artistic excellence. But rather than reject industry and mechanization, Art Deco embraced technology and progress for the prosperity it symbolized.
Some art historians consider Art Deco the golden age of design. It came into its own during the Roaring 20s, the age of jazz and flappers. F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway were penning their classic works and city skylines were filling up with skyscrapers and modern, new architecture. Charles Lindberg made his historical flight around the world. After the horrors of World War I, a tentative hopefulness had begun to sweep across the Western world, and it found expression in a new approach to art and jewelry design. Art Deco, with its bright, geometric shapes that celebrated the mechanical world was an eclectic, global movement that drew on many sources for inspiration: modernism, architecture, archeology and global cultures. Circles, squares, triangles and rectangles were woven together into complex patterns, and often adhered to a grid. Colors were vivid. Popular gems include diamonds, emeralds, sapphires and rubies, although the defining look of the period is black onyx with white diamonds or rock crystal. New modern materials like plastic and aluminum were introduced, and costume jewelry imitated the luxury style with imitation stones, plastic and enamel.
Art Deco jewelry peaked during the 1920s and 1930s, but it continued throughout the 1950s and has experienced many revivals since then. One notable example is during the 1980s when jewelry suddenly went large and bold with bright colors and unusual juxtapositions of geometric objects.
Paris was the center of the movement, although other countries added their unique interpretations to their creations. Nearly every French jeweler of the time was swept up in the Art Deco tradition. One significant designer that embodied the spirit was Jean Després (1889 — 1980). Trained in industrial design during WWI, Després turned to goldsmithing after the war. His work is emblematic of the times. Strong and modernistic, his pieces reflect the progressive mindset of the times. Today, his work is among the most collectible in the realm of vintage jewelry.
The 1925 Paris Exhibition (the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes) hurtled Art Deco onto the world’s stage. World War I had devastated nearly everyone who personally experienced it, and a cynical edge had crept into the global consciousness. The Paris Exhibition was initiated, in part, as an attempt to re-establish France as a forerunner of luxury and good taste, while Paris claimed its place as the urban icon for fashion. The Paris Exhibit became the epitome of the new, contemporary age with aisle upon aisle of boutiques, artists and department stores all with the mission of promoting modern art and design. Reports from the time say that at night the Paris skyline was transformed into an opulent display of modernism and glittering light. The ripple effects reverberated around the world and before long highly stylized jewelry became the standard for fashionable good taste. The term “Art Deco” is derived from The Paris Exhibit, although it wouldn’t be commonly used until the 1960s when a British historian used the phrase to describe the modernistic style.
Far-flung cultures and exotic locales had a major influence in the development of Art Deco. The discovery of King Tutankhamen’s tomb in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings rocked the world as a treasure trove of amazing objects that hadn’t seen the light of day for 3,000 years were unearthed. Suddenly Egyptian motifs like scarabs, pyramids, lotus flowers and hieroglyphics became ubiquitous. These new patterns and forms served as inspiration for designers seeking to break away from traditional European art and design. Louis Cartier was particularly enthralled by the discovery and the Cartier House developed a number of unique pieces using ancient Egyptian faience beads and fragments.
Mesoamerican themes were also popular as archeological finds shed light on Mayan and Aztec art. Mexican silver from the mountain town of Taxco became popular as well. An American architect designer named William Spratling settled there in 1929 and began a school to train local artisans in silver and other materials. He also opened a shop of native craftsmanship and a thriving arts community grew up around it.
The Ballets Russes was another motivating factor in the new art movement. Led by Sergei Diaghilev from 1909 until his death in 1929, the Ballets Russes pushed the boundaries of art and dance. Diaghilev took the most innovative aspects of design, choreography and costume and incorporated them into productions that sparked the imaginations of some the leading artists and designers of the day such as Pablo Picasso, Coco Chanel and Natalia Goncharova.
Several luxury brands came into their own during the age of Art Deco. It’s fascinating to see how each jewelry house interpreted the times and the designs. All were immersed in the Art Deco movement, but each emphasized different themes and motifs. Many jewelry designers collaborated with teams of craftsmen, artists and architects to bring their vision to fruition.
Louis Comfort Tiffany, who earlier brought touches of Art Nouveau to Tiffany’s creations, became even more renowned for the Art Deco innovations he introduced. One of the most famous Tiffany jewelers from that time is Jean Schlumberger who became renowned particularly for his interpretation of the natural world, fish, flowers and seashells with whimsy and bright colors.
Cartier created some of their most iconic designs during the Art Deco period. Their work has a marked connection to India, Persia and the Far East. Many of these pieces from the 20s and 30s used mother-of-pearl from China, handcrafted beads from India and rubies from Burma. Diamonds, sapphires and emeralds were also common in their designs. The panther is the image most closely linked to Cartier. Jean Toussaint, sometimes called “La panthére” by Louis Cartier, was Cartier’s creative director of jewelry from 1933 to 1970 and inspiration for the panther, which has become emblematic of both Art Deco and for the fierce, determined women of the 20th century. Cartier was also known for exciting and new combinations of diamond, ruby bangles and coral. In the 1930s ornate clips and brooches that featured blackamoor heads became the rage.
Van Cleef & Arpels credit Art Deco and the Paris Exhibition with exalting them to international fame. Their Roses bracelet and brooch was created specifically for the 1925 exhibition and won Grand Prize in the show. The bracelet is themed on nature and consists of 463 round brilliants, 293 rubies and 108 emeralds mounted on platinum. Van Cleef & Arpels drew strongly on Eqgyptian and pharaonic motifs for their work during this era. They are also responsible for the “serti invisible,” one of the most innovative jewelry developments in the realm of jewelry. Known as the mystery or invisible setting, this technique allows gems to be mounted in such a way that no metal is visible.
Contemporary jewelry owes much to Art Deco innovations. Gem cutters made major strides in creating new cuts to better show off the brilliance of gemstones. Lacquering techniques from the Far East replaced expensive enameling. Even today, Art Deco’s influence makes itself known in many contemporary designs such as our fascination with ancient symbols reinterpreted through jewelry.
By Danielle Olivia Tefft
Ancient commerce between Europe and Asia began along the legendary Silk Road thousands of years ago. The Silk Road’s Golden Age, during which it experienced peak trade volume, fell between 200 BC and 900 AD. It should not be surprising that this period coincided with trade between the two great world powers at the time: China and the colossal Roman Empire. But these formidable civilizations were not the only ones to benefit from the transfer of goods and knowledge along this epic route. The cities along the Silk Road were important hubs where the diverse peoples of Arabia, Persia, India, and Egypt also met and mingled. Along with other commodities, merchants from these vastly different civilizations sold their beads, gems and jewelry to each other as they traveled from city to city along the Silk Road.
The Silk Road was so named because it was the route by which the Romans procured silk from China. The Chinese kept the origin and method of silk production a guarded secret for centuries, so they had no competitors. By the time the coveted Chinese silk reached Rome it was extremely expensive, even for the wealthiest of Romans. For that reason, it is said Romans wore only strips of luxurious silk sewed on their garments rather than whole garments made of silk. If you were an artisan jewelry maker in those days, your beads and gems surely traveled the Silk Road accompanied by Chinese silk.
The Silk Road was actually not one, but several overland routes that connected to each other along an approximately 6000 mile expanse. It stretched from the shores of the Roman Empire along the Mediterranean Sea to the great Chinese trading city of X’ian. The flow of goods was heaviest from China in the East to Rome in the West. Eventually, there were also maritime routes that fell under the Silk Road trade route umbrella. These included the formation of spice and incense routes that would be so named later in history. Paper money was not used to purchase goods along the Silk Road. Everything was bartered for. Silk, spice and incense were only a sample of the commodities traded. Just about anything you could imagine buying was available. Sadly, this included slaves and exotic animals. But it also included lavish beads and gems.
The Silk Road was so long, that by foot, horse or camel, it was not feasible for merchants to travel the entire length hauling their goods. They traveled together in large caravans for protection against marauding thieves. These caravans would travel back and forth between several towns along the Silk Road. Another caravan would transfer the goods further on along the Silk Road back and forth between the next few towns, and so on. Each town along the way was protected by local military forces and chieftains. These authorities often exacted toll payments for caravans traveling along the Silk Road. But they also provided dwellings within towns for the weary merchants. These ancient motels were called “caravanserais.” Caravanserais were often buildings with rooms overlooking large open courtyards where the caravan camels and other animals were tied while the merchants eat and slept. Conveniently, caravanserais were typically spaced apart by the distance of one day’s travel.
Some of the beads you could buy from traveling merchants along the Silk Road were glass and turquoise beads from Persia (now called Iran). Most likely these beads were formed in Mashdad, a Persian lapidary center renowned for its turquoise artistry. If you made your own beads, you could choose from a multitude of materials traded along the Silk Road. If you knew how to make metals beads, you could purchase tin and copper from Iran. Or, you could purchase silver and gold from Afghanistan, India or China to make your beads. You could also make beads from coral or pearls from the Red Sea or India. There were several other natural materials from other exotic locales to choose from, as well.
Precious gems were hard to extract from the earth because mining was so crude in ancient times. This made gems one of the most expensive commodities traded along the Silk Road. Typically, gemstones were purchased by and for royalty and other wealthy patrons. Many of these exotic jewels found their way to the famous artisan jewelers of the Silk Road city of Bukara in Uzbekistan. These master artisans were renowned for making jewelry for royalty out of elaborate embroidered gold filigree. They also made silver filigree jewelry for other wealthy patrons and for trade along the Silk Road.
The tantalizing precious gemstones traded along the Silk Road used by the lucky Bukara jewelry makers and others were diverse. They included diamonds and beryl from India. There were also rubies from Thailand, Cambodia, Ceylon (now called Sri Lanka) and Burma (now called Myanmar). Rubies from Burma are still known throughout the world as among the finest ever found. They have a characteristically fiery, deep red hue that has been prized for centuries. Vivid blue sapphires could also be obtained from Ceylon and Burma. But the most dazzling, coveted blue sapphires of all came from Kashmir, a rugged region high up in the Himalayas.
Jewelry makers could also purchase semi-precious stones along the Silk Road. These included agate from India and jade mined in Burma. Chances are that if you purchased jade, you were a Chinese artisan. Jade was an important stone in Chinese culture. It was associated with long life and good fortune. It was carved into beads, amulets, figurines and other forms. You could also purchase lapis lazuli from the Badakshan Mines in Afghanistan. These mines were located way up in barren, craggy mountainsides at an altitude of 9000 ft. These mines were the only known source for lapis in the ancient world. Interestingly enough, ground lapis powder was also a prized pigment source. It was used to decorate many ancient pictorial manuscripts and it was extremely expensive.
The Silk Road truly was the world’s first melting pot. The merchants who traveled it could be considered the cultural ambassadors of the time. If the Silk Road did not exist, the civilizations of Europe and Asia would have remained isolated and mysterious to one another. Instead ideas, culture and exotic commodities like dazzling beads and gemstones were transferred between diverse civilizations with ease.
Sweet Spiral Earrings. Quite catchy isn’t it? These are the perfect earrings for that elegant night on the town. Make that stunning first impression which will have everyone wishing they had your beautiful earrings! You can view the full slideshare here.
By Ellen Steiber
Could anything be simpler? A necklace whose pendant consists of thin, horizontal metal bar, attached to chain at either end.
I have to admit that the first bar necklaces I saw didn’t make much of an impression on me—except that I equated them with the more general trend for wearing delicate necklaces.
But I began to appreciate bar necklaces as more and more of them appeared. They were perfect for layering. Wearing two together– a longer necklace and slightly longer bar beneath a shorter necklace and shorter bar—looked great. They also worked beautifully with a smaller pendant—a heart or a disk or gemstone–hanging above the bar. The bar necklace became a kind of frame for the smaller pendant.
And they were versatile. They worked well in every metal—gold, gold-fill, silver, brass. Sometimes the bar was even made of brightly colored resin or rubber. They were wonderful accent pieces.
The trend began to take off. Designers were creating all sorts of interesting variations on the basic idea. Sometimes the bar was straight, sometimes it was a curved tube bar. And in many cases, the bars became slightly wider so that they could be engraved. Most of these were I.D. necklaces, little name plates. There were also “message necklaces” with words like peace and love. Sometimes these delicate rectangles were set with diamonds or other gems; a few jewelers even used the bars for inlays. And in one popular variation, the bar dropped vertically–a straight line down, dog-tag style.
Inevitably, celebrities started to be photographed with these bar necklaces. Kelly Osborne, Emma Stone, Jennifer Anniston, Reese Witherspoon, Rachel Bilson, and, of course, Kim Kardashian and Rihanna all wore them. (I have learned that sightings of at least one of these three celebrities—Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, or Beyonce– is necessary before a new fashion is declared a trend. You know it’s a major trend when you find photos of all three.)
And then things got really interesting, because jewelry makers began to use the bars for beads.
The first one that really caught my eye was a bar of lapis lazuli beads sold on, of all places, Preserve, Blake Lively’s website. I know, I know. There is something obnoxious about celebrities having lifestyle websites, as if we’re all supposed to aspire to look and live like them. (Though isn’t that the point of most fashion magazines?) Still, this necklace—a curved bar with nine lapis beads —was so simple and perfect that I kept looking at it, thinking, any beader could easily make this or something equally beautiful. I immediately began to picture the same necklace with amethyst or turquoise or rainbow of tourmaline beads.
Designer jewelers evidently had the same idea, and things soon got sparkly, with faceted emerald and aquamarine beads. But you don’t need a big budget to get the glitter. There are inexpensive crystal beads as well as pavé tubes and pavé beads that will make these bar necklaces perfect gifts and accents for the holidays.
Bar necklaces aren’t complicated, and they don’t make a loud statement. Even people who have a minimalist approach to jewelry feel perfectly comfortable wearing them. They are classic and classy, and versatile enough that you can dress them up or down, make them on a budget or with expensive materials, and wind up with a perfect piece of jewelry each time.
Do you want to make that stunning first impression that will catch the eye of crowds? Look no further! These handmade Swoosh Dangle Earrings are sure to add that sparkle to any outfit! You can substitute out the bead colors to find the colors that are appropriate for you. See the full slideshow here!
How to Make Swoosh Dangle Earrings
Two Jump Rings
Two Ear Wire
Bracelet Memory Wire
6 4mm Beads
6 6mm Beads
Round Nose Pliers
Chain Nose Pliers
Memory Wire Pliers or Old Pliers
Step 1: For each earrings, you are going to cut three pieces of wire. 3 Inches, 2 1/2 Inches, and 2 Inches.
Step 2: Use your round nose pliers to make a loop on each wire that you cut. Simply grip the end of the wire and twist your wrist in a circular motion to ensure a perfect loop.
String on two beads (one 4mm, one 6mm) and use your round nose pliers to form a loop on top. Repeat this for each strand.
Open your jump ring and slide on the end loops of each dangle that you have created.
Step 5: Attach your ear wire to your jump ring and your marvelous earrings are complete!
By Danielle Olivia Tefft
If you are a gem lover, you’re probably familiar with the gorgeous transparent pink gemstones morganite and kunzite. You’ve probably also heard of malachite. It’s a mesmerizing deep green, opaque stone with graduated white rings. To some malachite stones resemble eyes. You’re also probably familiar with scintillating pinkish-red rhodolite garnet. But are these the only gemstones that end in “ite” you are familiar with?
Actually, there are over a dozen more scintillating gemstones with “ite” in their names. And many of these lesser known stones are absolutely gorgeous. The eight stones I’ve chosen to tell you about below would make ravishing additions to your beading projects. In addition, if you are a believer in New Age crystal healing, many of these stones have powerful attributes.
Keep in mind that some of these attractive lesser known “ite” gemstones have greater hardness than others. You’ll want to make sure you don’t put soft stones next to extremely hard stones in your projects or the softer stones will quickly get scratched up.
Gemstone and all other mineral hardness is measured on the Mohs’ Scale. This scale was invented by German gemologist Friedrich Mohs in the 1800s. The softest minerals are near the bottom of the scale which begins with 1. The hardest minerals are near the top of the scale which ends at 10. For example, feldspar (which is as soft as talcum powder) ranks a 1. Diamonds (the hardest mineral known to man) rank a 10.
Eight very lovely and less utilized “ite” stones (with their Mohs’ Scale hardness rank) are as follows:
Apatite (Mohs’ Hardness: 5):
can be clear, pink, purple, yellow, green or blue. It can be translucent or transparent. Apatite is found all over the world including the U.S., Madagascar and Norway. It is the most plentiful source of the element phosphorous (in the form of calcium phosphate), an essential compound in teeth and bones. Most apatite is non-gemstone quality. Gemstone quality apatite can be mistaken for several precious gemstones, including topaz and tourmaline. Because it’s such a master imposter, apatite has been fittingly named after the Greek word “apate” which means to deceive or cheat. Healing crystal practitioners believe Apatite provides inspiration and encourages learning. It is also said to heal arthritis and other bone related ailments.
Howlite (Mohs’ Hardness: 3.5):
Howlite is an attractive opaque mineral named after Canadian Henry How. He was the first mineralogist to describe howlite after its 1868 discovery in the California desert. Howlite reminds me of the feathers of a snowy owl. It’s typically white or grey with black or brown feathery veins throughout. Howlite is also often dyed blue or green to imitate turquoise or dyed red to imitate coral. Crystal healers believe howlite dissipates anger, relieves stress and cures insomnia. It is also said to assist in past life regression.
Iolite (Mohs’ Hardness: 7 to 7.5):
Iolite has been known to mankind for hundreds of years and is found worldwide. Iolite is a transparent deep violet to violet-blue mineral. It’s named after the Greek word “ios” which means “violet.” Iolite is a pleochroic gemstone, meaning it appears to change color depending on the light. It was known as the Viking Stone. Legend has it they used it to navigate the seas with the aid of iolite. Supposedly, Viking sailors could find the sun on cloudy days by holding iolite up to the sky and noting its color change. Gemstone quality iolite is relatively new to the world. It was discovered in Wyoming in 1996. Healing crystal practitioners believe iolite cures eye diseases and improves vision. It’s also said to boost creativity and help people get to sleep.
Kyanite (Mohs’ Hardness: 4 to 4.5 along its long axis and 6 to 7 along the perpendicular axis):
Kyanite is a transparent and stunning bright blue gemstone. It’s often confused with sapphire. The name “kyanite” comes from the Greek word, “kyanos” which means “deep blue.” Kyanite is found worldwide including the U. S., Cambodia, Zimbabwe, Brazil and Nepal. Sparkling blue kyanite from Nepal is highly prized. Healing crystal practitioners believe kyanite aids in self-expression and communication. It’s also said to help travelers find their way in unfamiliar territory.
Mookaite (Mohs’ Hardness: 6 to 7):
Mookaite is a variety of jasper named after the Australian creek bed it was first discovered in. Specifically, that was Mooka Creek in Mooka Station in Western Australia. Mooka means “running waters.” Mookaite is found in opaque colors of mustard yellow, marsala red (the 2015 color of the year, by the way), maroon, purple, pink, brown and white. These colors remind me of gourmet jelly beans. Healing crystal practitioners believe mookaite is a stabilizing and protective stone and one that can slow the aging process. It is also purported to help calm both people and animals.
Sodalite (Mohs’ Hardness: 5.5 to 6):
This stone reminds me of flow blue or blue and white china. That’s because it’s most often found with a dappled blue and white pattern. But sodalite can also be green, grey, white, yellow, pink or violet with mottled white patches throughout. It can be found worldwide including Burma, Portugal, Romania, and the U.S. The largest deposits of blue sodalite are found in Brazil. Crystal healers believe sodalite promotes tranquility and inner peace. It’s also said to aid in weight loss and heal ailments of the thyroid and vocal chords.
Unakite (Mohs’ Hardness: 6 to 7):
Unakite is a combination of red jasper and green epidote. This opaque stone is named after the location of its discovery: the Unakas Mountains of North Carolina. Other deposit locations include Zimbabwe, Switzerland and South Africa. Unakite is predominately pink or reddish-pink and green with dappled spots of black and white. Healing crystal practitioners believe unakite prevents negative energy from overcoming you and alleviates depression. It’s also said to help you appreciate beautiful things and reveal the deception of others.
Zoisite (Mohs’ Hardness: 6.5 to 7):
Zoisite was discovered in Austria in 1805. It’s named after mineralogist Sigmund Zois who first classified it as a new mineral upon its discovery. There are three main gem quality forms of zoisite. Thulite was discovered in Norway in 1920. It’s an opaque pink stone with dappled spots of grey or black. Ayolite is opaque zoisite that is predominately green, purple or pink with dappled spots of black and white. It was discovered in Tanzania in 1954. An extremely desirable form of zoisite is tanzanite which was discovered in Tanzania in 1967. Tanzanite is a gorgeous transparent gemstone. It is deep purple to blue in color.
Go Green this spring season with this beautiful Emerald Dew Drop pendant! Make the environmental statement that will change the world! See the full slideshow here.
How to Make an Emerald Dew Drop:
6 inches of 22 gauge wire
3 glass beads – size 3mm x 4mm
1 glass bead – size 20 mm x 13mm
Round Nose Pliers
Step 1: Put one small bead onto the middle of the wire and bend it as shown in the photo.
Step 2: Put another bead onto the wire as shown and then bend it around the bead.
Step 3: Repeat step 2 with third small glass bead.
Step 4: Put last bead onto both wires.
Step 5: Wrap one wire around the other at the top of the bead, then trim one wire.
Step 6: Create final loop. Shape it with the wire and if it is necessary cut off the excess wire.
Step 7: Add chain to the pendant. Your beautiful new necklace is ready to wear to a night on the town!