Tripping on Stones

Posted by Rebecca Stone on April 21, 2010
Apr 212010

When it comes to jewelry making, silver is stellar, copper is cool and gold is — well — expensive. And, as far as affordable, iridescent sparkle power goes, you can’t beat cut glass crystals such as those made by Swarovski. But as I stumble along the path of jewelry design, I find it is strewn with stones. In fact, it seems that I fall in love with a different stone every week. It’s gotten to the point that I can’t even walk down the street without scanning the pavement for interesting rocks.

A type of cryptocrystalline quartz, or chalcedony, jasper's opacity and many shades come courtesy of other influences such as clay, hematite and goethite. I combined it, here, with silver and crystals, which, I think, really help ignite the colors.

A type of cryptocrystalline quartz, or chalcedony, commonly found jasper's opacity and many shades come courtesy of other influences such as clay, hematite and goethite. I combined it, here, with silver and crystals, which, I think, really help ignite the colors.

I was digging in the garden the other day and ran across some black river stones I had once used in a pot.  One had white streaks running through it (quartz in a basalt matrix? No, can’t be. What the heck is it? Anybody?). I thought, “Hey, this could make a really striking pendant!” Who knows? After I run it through my rock tumbler with a little polishing grit, it might look really spectacular wrapped in a little sterling and accented with colored crystals. Can’t wait to find out.

Same thing on one of my hikes up in the Hollywood Hills last week. The hills here are chockfull of decomposed granite. But you can find chunks of the stuff (also diorite?) still in solid form: black and white, and pink. By the time I got back to my car, my pockets were bulging with booty. I might try tumbling some to see if they stay intact… or not.

The often delicately pale shades of rose quartz can be a challenge in designs, but pairing it with the right combination of colors can help it take center stage. Here, black onyx, sterling silver and fuschia Swarovski crystal lend an assist.

The often delicately pale shades of rose quartz can be a challenge in designs, but pairing it with the right combination of colors can help it take center stage. Here, black onyx, sterling silver and fuschia Swarovski crystals lend an assist.

And has anyone really contemplated gravel…?

Amethyst is lovely in pretty much any form. But faceting lends elegance to this variety of quartz.

Amethyst is lovely in pretty much any form. But faceting lends elegance to this variety of quartz.

I sure do find the study of these natural solids fascinating, and, as stones form a primary component of my jewelry designs, it seems only right to learn as much as possible about them. For instance, I’d never really given much thought before I started on this journey to the fact that rocks or stones are composed of many different minerals.

Minerals, which are endowed with an internal crystal structure, are what tend to captivate jewelry designers. Most gems are cut from these crystals. I say “most” because materials such as opal and obsidian lack the crystalline structure, but because they resemble minerals chemically, they are called “mineraloids.” And then, substances like pearls and amber are considered organic gems.

Basic stuff? Maybe. But for someone whose attention has been fully riveted on the boating world for the past eight or so years, these land-based activities are new and exciting.

In honor of Earth Day, I am (finally) updating my Etsy site over the next couple of days  (http://www.etsy.com/shop/RebeccaStoneDesigns) where I am planning to list the pieces shown here, along with several others. Please stop by to visit, and watch for Earth Day specials through next week.

Serpentine, often known as New Jade, is a member of the phyllosilicate group of minerals. Here, I've paired it with amethyst, freshwater pearls, Swarovski crystals and sterling silver.

Serpentine, often known as New Jade, is a member of the phyllosilicate group of minerals. Here, I've paired it with amethyst, freshwater pearls, Swarovski crystals and sterling silver.

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