mollusk with a shell that is iridescent on the inside; abalone is one source of
mother of pearl.
more about Abalone.
Agate and onyx are both forms of chalcedony, a member of the quartz family. Both
agates and onyx have banding. The banding on agates are more circular or ring-like
and the bands on onyx are usually straight and parallel. Agates are often multi
colored with translucency whereas onyx often tends to have more of a solid color
base with lighter bands.
A dense, fine-grained variety of gypsum (calcium sulfate) that is sometimes transluscent,
streaked or mottled and often resembles white marble and onyx. It is also called
Mexican onyx, Algerian onyx, Gibraltar stone and oriental alabaster, depending
on where it was mined. It has historically been quarried in England, Italy, Algeria,
Egypt, Iran, and Mexico. In the United States there are important sources
in Colorado, Utah and Arizona.
Alabaster, or Translucent Orange Alabaster
A striking color is semi-translucent
to opaque salmon orange.
tree sap. Although amber is not a mineral, it is classified as a gemstone. Most
of the world's amber is 30-90 million years old. It can contain insects, small
vertebrates and other particulate matter. Amber is commonly a clear tan color,
but it may have greenish to goldish inclusions.
is the most highly prized purple variety of quartz and is the official birthstone
for February. The name comes from the Greek word amethystos, meaning "not drunken,"
because in ancient Greece amethyst was believed to protect the wearer from drunkenness.
With this in mind, wine goblets were often carved from it! Amethysts can fade
in sunlight, so minimize direct exposure to help maintain the rich purple color.
Ammonite is an extinct group of cephalopods, or squid-like
creatures that thrived in tropical seas until becoming extinct along with the
dinosaurs at the end of the Mesozoic era. The fossilized shells resemble tightly-coiled
rams' horns and the fossil was named after the Egyptian god Ammon who was often
depicted wearing ram's horns.
is one of only a few biogenic gemstones (those produced by the life processes
of plants or animals); others include amber and pearl. While
the vast majority of fossilized ammonite found around the world are found in neutral
colors ranging from cream to gray to black, those fossils found at the Korite
mine in Alberta, Canada have an outer shell that’s irridescent or opalized. Korite
markets these gems under the trade name ammolite. Commercial mining of
ammolite began in 1981 and that same year it was given official gemstone status
by the World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO).
shui practitioners feel that ammolite promotes the flow of chi throughout the
body, enhances well-being, and reduces toxins. It is known as the “seven-color
prosperity stone" because it can exhibit up to seven colors, each said to
bring a certain benefit, such as wealth, wisdom, health, growth, or energy.
Antler is a
hornlike, bony growth, usually branched, that grows in pairs on the head of a
deer, moose, elk, caribou, or other members of the deer family. Because of its
rich brown colors and ease of carving, antler is a preferred medium of many carvers.
Antlers occur on the heads of male deer and on some related species of either
sex. Antlers are a renewable resource, as they are shed each year and grow more
branches each season as the animal ages.
Tears - Apache Tears are a type of Obsidian that is often translucent when
held up to the light. They are formed when hot lava shoots into the air and quickly
solidified before hitting the ground. Apache Tears have many of the same healing
qualities as regular black obsidian. Obsidian is a grounding and protective stone.
It is used to clear away negative energies, helping to remove not only negativity
experienced in the environment, but also that of one's own emotions, such as anger,
jealousy, greed, and resentment. Obsidian is also used to free energy blockages
and relieve stress by bringing opportunities for positive change into a person's
is the most common mineral in the pyroxene family. Because of the many variations
in its chemical structure it is really more of a group then a single mineral,
but it is still classified a single mineral. The name augite comes from from the
Greek word auge, meaning "shine" or "luster. However, only some augites look shiny,
most specimans have a dull appearance. It varies from translucent to opaque. Its
color includes combinations of black, green, brown, purple with streaks and spots
of greenish gray and light to dark brown. Augite is common throughout the world
including the American Southwest. It is said to bring out your intuition, tenderness,
gentleness and love. It helps you exercise self-control and understand your chosen
destiny. It stimulates creativity and success.
(Indian Jade, Sunstone)
Aventurine is a form of opaque or semitranslucent
chalcedony (quartz) that contains small flecks of various materials such as mica,
copper and iron. Aventurine comes in many colors: pink , red-brown, yellow, gray,
and green. It is a power stone that is excellent for attracting abundance and
wealth. It is known as the the stone of opportunity, chance or luck.
is a brilliant deep blue stone (hydrated copper carbonate) that gets its vibrant
color from its close association with copper-bearing ores. It is related to malachite,
a vibrant green gemstone that is often found nearby or within the azurite. When
they are found together, often near copper deposits in Arizona, they are called
is general term for any one of a number of semi-precious gemstones, such as jasper,
which are dyed and polished to a shiny black color.
translucent, semiprecious variety of the silica mineral chalcedony with physical
properties like quartz. Shades of red, orange, and reddish brown come small amounts
of ron oxide, or rust. Carnelian was used widely during Roman times to make signet
or seal rings for imprinting a seal with wax because hot wax does not stick to
Carnelian. Some of these rings have retained their high polish better than those
made from harder stones. Carnelian is mined principally in India, Brazil, and
- see Pipestone
with opal-like or pearlized variations in color raning from bright lavender to
violet to dark purple May have white, gray or black matrix (inclusions).
is a relatively "new" stone as it was first discovered in Russia in
1978 and acknowledged as a specific mineral at that time. Thus far, the Siberian
region is the only place it is found.
Charoite is said to accelerate spiritual
growth and increase the ability to love.
- see Peridot
comes from the Greek chrysos meaning 'gold' and prason, meaning
'leek'. Its color is normally apple-green, but varies to deep green. Chrysoprase
is a gemstone variety of chalcedony and is cryptocrystalline, which means that
it is composed of crystals so fine that they cannot be seen as distinct particles
under normal magnification. Unlike emerald which owes its green color to the presence
of chromium, the color of chrysoprase is due to trace amounts of nickel compounds
in form of very small inclusions. It is the color of chrysoprase, rather than
any pattern of markings, that makes it desirable. The best known sources of chrysoprase
are Poland, Australia, Germany, Russia, Arizona, California, and Brazil.
is a semiprecious translucent yellow gemstone that is a variety of quartz. The
name comes from "citron", French for lemon. The yellow color is from the presence
of iron and the darker the color the higher the grade of citrine. It is valued
by some for its resemblance to topaz, yellow sapphire and yellow diamond.
is the main source of citrine but it is found in many parts of the United States
as well as in Madagascar, Spain, Uruguay and Scotland.
Coral, Red Coral (also called Red Branch Coral)
Red Coral is the common
name given to Corallium Rubrum and several related species of marine coral.
The distinguishing characteristic of precious corals is their durable and intensely
colored red skeleton, which is used for making jewelry. Other names for Red Coral
are Precious Coral, Ox Blood Coral, and Fire Coral.
coral is a collection of hundreds of tiny animals living together in a colonies
that resemble small leafless bushes growing on dark, rocky seabottom. The arms
of red coral, like other branching corals, wave in the tides and curents to collect
microscopic plankton upon which they feed.The original species is found mainly
in the Mediterranean Sea, while other species are native to the western Pacific,
around Japan and Taiwan. Most of the deep red coral is Italian Coral.
The coral skeleton is composed hard calcium carbonate, colored in shades of red
from pale pink to deep red. It can be semi-translucent to opaque. It is naturally
matte, but can be polished to a glassy shine. Red coral is frequently dyed to
enhance color and it can also be impregnated with resins or epoxies to fill surface
fissures and flaws. Reconstituted coral is made from natural solid material, or
coral fragments that have been pulverized into a powder, soaked in binding agents,
then pressed into a solid mass to be re-cut.
jewelry has been found in ancient Egyptian and prehistoric European burials. The
Romans believed coral could protect children from harm, as well as cure bites
from snakes and scorpions and diagnose diseases by changing colour.
Coral (Apple Sponge Coral, Red Sponge Coral) belongs to the melithaea sponge
coral group. It is found in the ocean around Taiwan, Indonesia and southern China.
Like all sponge corals, apple coral has pores of various sizes that can remain
after polishing. And like many stones and other corals used for jewelry, apple
coral is usually stabilized with resin to strengthen the material, provide a surface
that can be polished smooth, and sometimes to enhance its natural red color.
Coral (Fossilized Coral, Agatized Coral, Petoskey Stone)
A natural stone
that is formed under certain geological conditions when prehistoric corals and
mollusks fossilize by being replaced with agate (a from of quartz) from silica-rich
ground water percolating through limestone. The fossilized coral typically appears
as small flower-like patterns in the resulting stone. Colors of fossil coral range
from white and pink to brown, gray, black, yellow and red. Agate is fairly hard
and very durable, so fossil coral is suitable for all kinds of jewelry and carving.
Fossil coral is the Florida State Rock.
bones sometimes undergo a natural process where the original bone material is
replaced with chalcedony, a fine-crystalled quartz. Rarely, some of this agatized
material has the color, clarity and other characteristics suitable for jewelry.
Dinosaur "gem bone" is from the Jurassic Age and is from 136,000,000 to 145,000,000
years old, It is found almost exclusively in a relatively small region in the
American Southwest called the Colorado Plateau, an area once teeming with dinosaurs.
It is illegal to collect dino bone on US state or federal lands thus making agatized
dinosaur bone more valuable.
ranges in color from brown to black with splotches of red, blue and bright yellow.
Dark yellow-gold and red dinosaur bone is also found, but is more rare. The coloring
of the specimen is due to impurities that were in the surrounding sediment.
A sedimentary rock comprised primarily of calcium and magnesium. It is a pinkish-yellowish
brown in color and has a pearly luster. Its bands and striations give it depth
This sedimentary rock contains abundant
fossils of tiny creatures including snails called elimia tenera. It was formed
millions of years ago along shallow lake edges in the Green River Formation in
Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah. Sometimes called record keeper healing stones and
used to tap into past events.
Fish Rock is a form of serpentine. It is a very traditional
stone that has been carved since ancient times. It shines up very nicely. It is
usually a buff color with specks but can vary quite a bit.
Fluorite is the natural crystalline form of calcium fluoride (CaF2). The name
comes from the Latin "fluere" which means to flow. It's considered a
soft material to carve and it has a glassy appearance. The most common color is
deep purple but it comes in a variety of colors such as blue, green, yellow, pink,
rose and black. Some types of fluorite will glow under ultra violet light, hence
the name fluorescence.
is the largest producer of fluorite in the United States. The early Mississippian
people acquired fluorite from natural outcrops in southern Illinois and in Kentucky
and used it for the production of ornaments and statues.
is a relatively new and rare gemstone, having only been discovered in 1977 on
the Gaspé Peninsula of Quebec, Canada, the place after which it is named.
Its color ranges from muted green to vivid apple-green and it often has brownish
matrix. Darker shades can resemble green turquoise. Most gaspiete today comes
from Western Australia.
is a type of man-made glittering glass. Also called aventurine glass and monkstone.
The original manufacturing process for goldstone is credited to the Miotti family
of seventeenth century Venice. It is basically a reddish-brown glass which contains
tiny crystals of metallic copper.
A shell of green variegated colors.
A form of iron oxide, is one of the most abundant minerals on earth. Color ranges
from black to steel or silver-gray, brown to reddish brown, or red. It is harder
than pure iron, but much more brittle and it polishes to a high luster. The term
hematite is derived from the Greek word for blood, likely because powdered hematite
is reddish. Powdered hematite is used for chalk, paint pigments, and red rouge
and jewelers rouge polishing compounds. Natural hematite is a minor gem material
used to produce cabochons, beads, and small sculptures. It is only weakly magnetic.
What is called "magnetic hematite", which is often used in jewelry, is a manufactured
product that most often does not even contain hematite, but is mainly synthetic
ceramic barium-strontium ferrite magnet.
Stone - see Mellite
is a porous borate mineral that often appears in irregular nodules resembling
cauliflower. It is snow white to milky stone often with brown or black veins.
It is sometimes passed off as White Turquoise or White
Buffalo. It is also dyed to imitate blue or green turquoise. It is quite soft
with a Mohs hardness of 3.5 in contrast to turquoise which is 5-7.
Ivory comes from the tusks of animals such
as the elephant, hippos, and walrus. Fresh ivory is hard, white and opaque. The
importation and sale of fresh ivory in many countries has been banned or severely
restricted over the past decades to protect the animals from which it is taken.
Fossilized ivory is very old ivory (from 1,000 to
10,000+ years old) that has been buried long enough to become cream-colored, yellowish
or sepia. It is not fully mineralized like prehistoric dinosaur bone so remains
softer than stone and is easy to carve and form for jewelry. Since fossilized
ivory does not involve the killing of animals it can legally be traded and is
in full compliance with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service regulations.
A smooth green stone with even texture that has long been used for carving and
for jewelry.The term jade refers to two minerals: jadeite and nephrite. These
minerals are similar in appearance but jadeite has more intense color and translucency
so is more highly valued and thought to be the true jade. Colors of jade vary
from mottled green and white, to yellow, pink, purple, and black. The most valuable
form of jade, imperial jade, is emerald green and comes from Myanmar. Jade is
also found in California, Mexico, and Central and South America. Jade is an ancient
symbol of love and virtue. It is thought to protect the kidneys, liver, spleen,
heart, larynx, thymus, and thyroid. Ancient people thought that wearing jade would
increase body strength and add longevity.
Jasper comes from the Greek word, iaspis, which means "spotted stone." A form
of microcrystalline quartz, jasper derives its colorful patterns from other minerals
present, and is often named according to its pattern. Jasper is generally opaque
and has a dull luster but takes a fine polish. It is mined in North Africa, Sicily,
France, India, Venezuela, Germany, the U.S.A. and elsewhere.
is thought by some that jasper has the power to drive away evil spirits and protect
against bites of snakes spiders. It supposedly gives a person courage.
Horse or Wild Horse Jasper
Named for the color patterns, a striking combination
of white with brown and tan spots, this jasper is from the Owyhee Mountain Jasper
district in Oregon.
based stone with many swirls of darker brown to black. In bigger pieces these
swirls seem to make pictures.
Jasper comprised of naturaly broken fragments that reformed into
a solid rock.
Also known as
elephant jasper, palm jasper, and coquina jasper. Some sources say it is made
up of fossilized snail shells and others say it’s fossilized palm.
A solid, durable type of lignite coal that originated from
wood. It is mined around the Acoma Pueblo region, among other places, thus the
name Acoma Jet, or Jet for short. It is very popular for carving fetishes. It
is also used for inlaying but usually not used in stone sets. It can range from
very lightweight to heavy.
is a variety of feldspar that is found in igneous rocks. In bright light it appears
sea blue, gold and green and in dim light it shows grey or dark green colors.
Polished labradorite is called labradorescence. The darker variety is known as
"black moonstone" which has a bluish inclusions. Originally discovered along the
coast of Labrador in 1805, it is now found in Newfoundland, other parts of Canada,
the Ukraine, the Ural mountains, and the USA. It is believed that Labradorite
gem stone brings joy and kindness and provide variety and good fortune. It energizes
and provide a balanced mental plane and also heals infections. It is said to raise
level of consciousness and act as a barrier against all negative energies.
Lapis is a deep blue stone often with gold flecking that twinkles
like stars. It can also be a deep blue black color. The most desirable lapis is
solid, deep blue with no white calcite spots and just a sprinkling of glittering
golden yellow pyrite. Such material is found only in Afghanistan (mined there
for over 7000 years) and Pakistan. A limited amount of lapis mined in the western
part of Colorado (Italian Mountain) that is deep blue with large amounts of pyrite.
Other places where lapis is mined include Egypt, Mongolia, Canada, and Chile.
The name lapis lazuli is a combination
of the Latin word lapis ("stone") and the Arabian name azul, meaning "blue." Lapis
is one of the few rocks used as a gem and one of the first gemstones ever to be
worn as jewelry. A lapis gemstone won't fade in light but it is easily scratched
and chipped.; clean it only with a soft, dry cloth to maintain its shine. Major
mines are located in Afghanistan, Egypt, Canada and Chile.
ancient cultures believed that lapis lazuli contained magical powers. In the Middle
Ages, monks powdered the stone and kneaded it into dough with beeswax, resin and
linseed oil, for use in illuminated manuscripts. Today, people around the world
consider lapis lazuli to be a stone of awareness, able to impart knowledge and
wisdom. It is reputed to bring about harmony in relationships and to cleanse the
mind bringing about self-acceptance.
bluish-white form of lapis lazuli. This stone comes close to the color of faded
denim material, hence the name. Read
more about lapis . . .
is a rare blue variety of pectolite found only in the Dominican Republic. The
color can range from white to pale blue to green blue to a sea blue to deep blue.
It is a truly beautiful stone. Although discovered in 1916, it was not mined until
it was rediscovered in 1974. Its name is a combination of the name Larissa (daughter
of one of the rediscoverers), and "mar" which means sea in Spanish -
thus Larimar. The more intense the blue and the more contrast in the stone, the
higher and rarer is the quality. The blue color is photosensitive and can fade
over time if exposed to too much light and heat.
Lepidolite is a form of mica that is typically violet to pink color and sometimes
has flecks of sparkling mica. It is found in California, Brazil; the Ural Mountains,
Russia; and Africa.
Malachite, copper carbonate, is a secondary copper mineral found in oxidized copper
deposits. It is light to dark green, sometimes banded with darker and lighter
shades of green. The bands sometimes form concentric rings.
has been carved into ornaments and worn as jewelry for thousands of years, and
in some ancient civilizations it was thought to be a protection from evil if worn
as jewelry. Malachite is generally found with blue Azurite, and sometimes the
two may occur admixed or banded together, forming "Azure-malachite".
Most marble is compact limestone, 90% calcite or dolomite. The word "marble" derives
from the Greek marmaros, "shining stone". The color varies from white to black,
being sometimes yellow, red, and green, and frequently beautifully veined or clouded.
Marble can be polished to a high lustre and has been used for architectural and
ornamental purposes for centuries.
is often named after the location of the quarry, such as Egyptian Marble, Parian
Marble from Greece, Carrara Marble from Italy, Proconnesus Marble from Turkey,
Macael Marble from Spain, Makrana marble from India, Danby Marble from Vermont,
and Yule Marble from Colorado.
Marble (also called Mexican Onyx and Oriental Alabaster) is a type of calcite,
which is one of the most common minerals present in the earth's crust. Onyx Marble
is basically a banded variety of marble resembling onyx. It is somewhat translucent
and banded colors include shades of yellow, pink, red, gray, and green. Calcite
alabaster is often found as stalagmites deposited on the floor and walls of limestone
caves. Its formation in successive layers gives the banded appearance that this
marble often shows on cross-section. Onyx marble is quarried, among other places,
in Mexico, California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and Virginia.
Marble (or Picasso stone) is a carbonate rock of diverse natural colors such
as gray, brown and black and with seemingly randomly oriented transecting black
veinlets. Much of Picasso Marble comes from Utah.
also called honeystone, is an unusual mineral being also an organic chemical.
Like jet, it is found in deposits of brown coal or lignite, and its formation
is partly the result of vegetable decomposition, which is very unusual for gemstones.
It is a translucent crystal, which can be polished and faceted to form striking
gemstones. Honeystone somewhat resemble amber in appearance and is typically found
in crystals of gray, brown to reddish, and more rarely yellow or honey-coloured.
It was named from the Greek , "melis" for honey. It was discovered in 1789 at
in Germany and since has been found in Russia, Austria, the Czech Republic, and
Shell comes from several melon-shaped mollusks of the genus "melo". Also called
bailers or boat shell because early seafarers used large specimens of these shells
to bail water from their boats. Melon shell comes in various pastel shades of
cream to light brown. Commonly found on beaches and sandy ocean bottom in the
southwestern Pacific. They also are often by-products of the seafood industry
because the snails are harvested for meat.
Stone (Mohave Royal Blue)
in the Mojave Desert in California this stone is a natural admixture of green
and blue colored minerals swirled together in a quartz matrix in varied patterns.
Pure copper, silver and gold are scattered through the stone.
is a variety of potassium fedspar and it can occur in nearly all colors of the
rainbow. A distinctive characteristic of moonstone is a glow or shimmer that seems
to originate from deep within the stone rather than on the surface. For thousands
of years cultures from every part of the world have revered moonstone, many believing
that it was formed from moonbeams or drops of moonlight. Thus, moonstone is believed
to possess the properties traditionally associated with the moon: romance, femininity,
intuition, dreams, emotion fertility and love.
white translucent shell, sometimes has a little striation. MOP is the common name
for iridescent nacre, a blend of minerals that are secreted by oysters, abalone,
and other mollusks and deposited inside their shells, coating and protecting their
bodies from parasites and foreign objects. Mother-of-Pearl is said to stimulate
intuition, sensitivity, imagination, and adaptability and help with clarity in
decision making. Mother of Pearl stirs and awakens the primordial memory of your
origin in the infinite ocean of divine love and stirs this memory in every cell
of your physical body thereby producing an overall calming effect as it gently
stirs the life energy of your cells. Like waves lapping the shore, this stirring
is steady, relaxing, and rhythmical.
Read more about Mother
Mother of Pearl
Outside edge of certain mother of pearl (mop) shells. Clear
yellow to yellow -gold colors, used mostly for inlay work.
Clear pink shell. Can vary from deep pink to pale pink, has
shells are mollusks found mostly in warm tropical seas. These snails are carnivorous
sand-burrowers, feeding mostly on bivalves and carrion and are known as some of
the fastest burrowers among snails. An olive shell is smooth, and oval-shaped
with various muted but attractive colors, and often patterns.The shell surface
is extremely glossy because in life it almost always covered and protected by
is mined as a striped variety of agate, with white, black, brown or red alternating
bands that are parallel and regular. Treatments using heat, sugar, and/or acid
can turn onyx a uniform color, most commonly black, green, purple or blue. White
onyx occurs naturally and can also be achieved by bleaching.
Onyx may chip or scratch rather easily and it is used mainly in settings, not
for carvings or inlay work.
sources of onyx are India and South America, but it is also found in China, Brazil,
Madagascar, Mexico and the U.S.A.
Onyx: see Alabaster.
stone with interior fracturing of light which results in a play of color. Opal
is October's birthstone and is believed to make the wearer less self-conscious,
thereby encouraging spontaneous action and awakening one's psyche.
Natural opal (precious opal) typically contains between 3-10% water but can
be as high as 20% and this can make the stones less stable.
opal is considered a true synthetic or created opal – produced in controlled
laboratory conditions and with the same chemical composition as natural opal but
with a very low moisture content making it more durable. Lab opal has much fracturing
of light and brilliant colors including blue, pink, purple, red and green.
opal (artificial opal, simulated opal) differs chemically from natural and
lab opal. It is made up of 80% silica and 20% resin and is an economical option
to both precious and lab opal. It is the opal most commonly used in Native American
more about opal.
Opal is a new lab-grown gemstone that combines the play of color of genuine
opal with the economic pricing of synthetic opal. Unlike most synthetic opal that
use dye to achieve different colors Sterling Opal color is the result diffraction
of light as occurs in natural opal. The colors are brilliant and change with angle
These were the earliest recognizable animals and were able to swim and crawl.
Orthoceras ranged in size from a few inches to over six feet long. When they died,
their shells fell to the ocean floor and after being covered by sediment, were
transformed into stone.
Shell is the most colorful type of all abalone shells and is found only in
the waters of New Zealand. Its color variations include greens and pinks, purples
and blues, gold and crimson. Paua shell is iridescent - the color changes when
viewed at different angles - like Mother of Pearl shell but more brilliant. The
striking colors are from light being refracted within the crystal layers, much
like the iridescence found in opals. Paua shell was traditionally used by Maori
for the eyes of their carvings and is regarded by New Zealanders past and present
as a taonga or treasure.
(chrysolite) is a transparent green variety of the mineral olivine that is
used as a popular gemstone. It is the birthstone for August and its use in jewelry
dates back to the Egyptian pharoahs. It ranges in color from yellowish green to
dark lime green. It is found throughout the world but the largest known deposit
of gem quality stones is in the United States on the San Carlos Apache Reservation
in Arizona. Peridot is both a day stone and a night stone, keeping its shining
color even under artificial lighting. For this reason, it is sometimes called
"Evening Emerald". Although Peridot can be pronounced both with and without the
"t" at the end, most professionals in the gem trade pronounce the "t".
Wood is wood in which the vegetable material has been replaced by minerals,
usually silica. The silica may be in the form of jasper, agate, chalcedony or
even opal. For this process to occur the wood must buried in mud, ash, lake sediment
or other material to exclude oxygen and prevent decay. The varied colors of petrified
wood are created by minerals such as iron oxide and manganese oxide, that enter
the wood in solution with the silica.
Pipestone, also known as catlinite, is a form
of clay called argillite with a high iron content that colors it a deep red to
pale orange. Pipestone was discovered in southwestern Minnesota by the Sioux Indians,
who consider it a sacred material and use it to carve pipes and other ceremonial
objects. It is easy to carve because of its lack of quartz.
In 1836 George Catlin, American artist and writer, visited the Sioux Indiana in
the upper midwest and collected samples of a red stone for analysis. The stone,
which Native Americans used for making pipes, was subsequently named Catlinite
in George Catlin's honor. Pipestone National Monument, a 282 acre area near Pipestone,
Minnesota, was established in 1937. It is legally quarried only by American Indians.
is a general confusion on whether or not Pipestone National Monument is the only
site containing catlinite. Other sites given are Rice Lake, Wisconsin; Garretson,
Wisconsin; Norton, Kansas; and South Dakota. Many of these sites produce an argillite
pipestone, but of a different composition than that in Minnesota. Some of the
stone from these areas are often misrepresented as catlinite, but do not have
the special carving abilities of genuine catlinite.
pyrite is an iron sulfide with a metallic luster and brass-yellow hue. Also called
fool's gold, brass, brazzle and brazil. In jewelry, pyrite used as a gem is improperly
termed "marcasite". Marcasite, a cousin to pyrite, has the same chemical formula
buta different and very unstable crystal system that makes it unsuitable for use
as a gem., thereby making it a separate mineral.
Quartz is a crystalline mineral that come in many
forms, including amethyst, aventurine, citrin, opal, rock crystal, tiger's eye,
rose quartz,and many others.
most varieties of transparent quartz are valued most when they show no inclusions,
some are valued chiefly because of them! The most popular of these is known as
rutilated quartz. Rutilated quartz has a network of needle-like inclusions of
rutile crystals (titanium dioxide) that looks like a frozen meteor shower. The
term rutile means "reddish" in Latin. Rutilated quartz is also known as rutilite,
golden rutile quartz, venus’ hair stone or cupid’s darts. It is usually cut as
a cabochon (rounded dome) rather than faceted.
of the most desirable types of quartz. The unique color is from iron and titanium
in the natural stone. Most rose quartz you see, however, has been dyed to give
it uniform color. Rose quartz, natural and dyed, is photosensitive and will fade
in sunlight. It is mined in Brazil, Madagascar, India, Germany and several parts
of the U.S.A.
This stone is believed
by some to bring gentleness, forgiveness, compassion, kindness and tolerance,
to raise self-esteem and to remove fears, resentments and anger. Some also say
rose quartz can heal and release childhood traumas, neglect and lack of love.
It helps with family reconciliations and eases overwhelming or unreasonable guilt.
Rose quartz is also used to benefit the heart, circulatory system, fertility,
headaches, kidney disease, migraines, sexual dysfunction, sinus problems, throat
problems, depression, addictions and ear aches.
beautiful multicolored stone chosen for carvings by Zuni artists. Some experts
say it is a natural occurring stone from a mine in Chihuahua, Mexico. Others say
it has to be man made because of its vibrant colors. We have done research on
the subject and can not say which is true. What we do know, is that it is beautiful,
eye-catching, and most importantly, Zuni artists choose to use the material for
A beautiful mineral with crystal like qualities
that make it seem like it is lit from within. Pink and white bands and neighboring
other colors of the manganese ore make for a variety of patterns and color combinations.
The name rhodochrosite means rose-colored.
A type of fine grained serpentine that has colored
banding. Ricolite comes from a remote and inaccessible area in southwest New Mexico.
The name Ricolite means "rich stone" and it was officially recognized in 1889.
state rock of California, serpentine is a gemrock with wide diversity in color
and character, from green to yellow, with browns, black and whites. It can be
bi-colored, streaked, mottled, banded or spotted and it has a slippery, snake-like
surface (hence the name). It is composed of several minerals including minor amounts
of chrysotile a somewhat benign form of asbestos.
the rock industry the scientific term “marble” is also applied to serpentine rocks
that can be polished to a high shine. But , technically, “marble” and “serpentine”
are two different rocks. Scientific terms (in this case “marble”) can have a different
meaning in industry. Dark green serpentine “marble” is frequently referred to
as verde antique.
It is said to help
one find inner peace, calmness, and a long life; instills in the bearer a respect
for the elderly and wards off snake bites.
Obsidian is a shiny volcanic
glass that forms above ground when lava cools rapidly. It is similar in composition
to the magma from which granite forms underground. Obsidian forms in many colors
but is usually black. Snowflake obsidian contains small white or gray crystal
impurities that resemble snowflakes. It is also called flowering obsidian.
Spiny oyster, not surprisingly, is an oyster that is covered with
spines. Like coral or mother-of-pearl, the shell of spiny oyster is considered
an organic gemstone. The portion of the shell used to make jewelry is Aragonite,
which consists of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Aragonite has the same chemical formula
as calcite. Spiny oysters are found primarily in the warm
waters of the Sea of Cortez (between the California peninsula and Mexican mainland)
and in the gulf of Mexico. Common colors vary from orange, found in shallow waters,
to red and purple from deeper waters. The shell is also found in white, yellow,
pink and brown. Polished shell has definite striations and color variation. Red
spiny oyster has been used as a subsititute for coral.
is a very soft stone composed primarily of talc. It is gray to green in color,
has a soapy feel (hence the name) and is notable for its high degree of resistance
to acids and heat. Soapstone is easily cut with a knife or other sharp tool, making
it a popular material for centuries as a soft medium for carving and for making
opaque stone with a waxy luster ranging in color from pale grayish lavender to
deep purple, sometimes with black matrix, reddish brown or yellowish blotches.
Sugilite was discovered in Japan in 1944 by geologist Ken-ichi Sugi, from which
it gets it name. It is also known under the trade names of "Royal Lavulite" and
"Royal Azel". It is also found in South Africa, India and Canada. Sugilite is
sometimes confused with charoite.
is a rich royal blue mineral that together with hauyne, nosean and lazurite is
a common constituent of lapis lazuli. A light, relatively hard yet fragile mineral,
sodalite is named after its sodium content. Well known for its blue color, sodalite
may also be grey, yellow, green, or pink and is often mottled with white veins
or patches. The more uniformly blue material is used in jewelry, where it is fashioned
into cabochons and beads. That with more veining, patches and mottling is used
in carving for interest. Although very similar to lazurite and lapis lazuli, sodalite
is royal blue rather than ultramarine. Sodalite also rarely contains pyrite, a
common inclusion in lapis. Sodalite's poor cleavage may be seen as incipient cracks
running through the stone.
tagua nut (also called vegetable ivory) is from the Tagua palm tree (also called
ivory nut palm) from South America. The scientific name means "Plant Elephant"
which refers to the hard white seeds which resemble elephant ivory.
fruit pod is covered in a horned husk that is about the size of a grapefruit.
Inside there are 4 to 9 seeds the size of a hen's egg.
is naturally an ivory color and can be toasted to a rich golden brown or deep
mocha. It is extremely hard, takes on a high polish and absorbs dyes readily.
the 1920s over 20% of the buttons produced in the US were made of tagua, imported
into the US from South America.
of tagua includes not getting it wet such as in a shower or swimming pool. Every
year or so, buffing with beeswax will enhance is natural shine.
indigenous people of South America use Tagua to represent the feminine because
of its great magnet-like romantic energy. Each member of the tribe was given a
tagua pendant to wear around his or her neck. The natives believed that persons
wearing tagua would live in harmony and always be loved by their family and friends.
Tagua Nuts for carving is ecologically sound. It is a excellent substitute for
illegal elephant ivory so prevents elephants from being killed for the ivory in
their tusks. And its economic viability provides an alternative to cutting down
rainforests for farming. Tagua Palm stands are a valuable sustainable, renewable
resource not only for the tagua ivory but as a source of food and construction
wood. The nuts are harvested from the ground without any harm to the tree.
Eye (Tiger's Eye, Tigers Eye, Tiger Eye Quartz)
A form of quartz that displays
chatoyance (chatoyancy), which is a narrow band of wavy or silky sheen that changes
its position when the polished gem is turned in the light. This opal-like iridescence
resemble the eye of a cat or tiger. A gemstone best shows chatoyance when it is
cut as a cabochon (smooth, domed shape) rather than faceted like a diamond. Tiger
Eye is usually amber to rich brown in color. A similar stone with a gray-blue
color is known as “hawk’s eye”.
shell comes from the shells of the larger species of tortoise and turtle,
mainly the hawksbill turtle. It is valued for its beautiful mottled yellow and
brown appearance and for its durability. It was used in the manufacture of a wide
variety of items such as combs, inlays in jewelry and furniture, frames for spectacles,
and guitar picks. The trade of tortoise shell was banned worldwide in 1973 and
since then many materials have been used to imitate it, including stained horn
and plastic. Tortoise shell can still be found in items made before the 1970s.
(Zuni Rock, Zuni Stone)
A non-crystalline, porous rock found on the
Zuni reservation. Travertine is a form of limestone (calcium carbonate) so in
its pure form, it would be white, but most often travertine occurs in yellow,
brown and gray hues due to the presence of other minerals. The late Zuni carver
Leekya Deyuse was especially noted for carving with this stone and his descendents
continue to use travertine in their carvings today.
- (see page 1)
(also called epidotized granite, epidotized quartz)
A stone comprised
of clear quartz, green epidote and pink feldspar. It commonly appears a mixture
of salmon pink and olive green but other shades of green are also seen. Unakite
was named for the Unakas Mountains, where it was discovered, in the Blue Ridge
province of eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina. It is also found in
Virginia and other southeastern states as well as in Michigan and South Africa.
Unakite is believed to aid self-awareness, balance and centering as it helps unify
a persons emotional, spiritual, mental, and spiritual aspects. It is useful for
uncovering fraud and finding the truth in others and in oneself. It is said to
benefit the heart, circulatory system and female reproductive system and is a
good stone to wear during pregnancy.
Variscite is a
relatively rare phosphate mineral (hydrated aluminum phosphate) that is sometimes
confused with turquoise, however variscite is greener in color and is usually
rich with matrix.
is a semi-precious stone found only in South Africa. It occurs in a range of changing
patterns and shades from golden brown to rich emerald greens and blues. It is
very smooth and solid and is relatively easy to carve. Ancient tribesmen crafted
Verdite into jewelry and witchdoctors made a preparation from the powdered stone,
which they believed increased fertility.
Buffalo Stone (sometimes erroneously called "White Turquoise) is technically
not turquoise, but a similar stone that is white with black and brown inclusions.
By definition turquoise contains copper (it is a copper aluminium phosphate),
which is what gives the characteristic blue color. Presence of iron will shift
the color toward green. "White turquoise", which has no copper and no blue color,
is more accurately called White Buffalo Stone. It was discovered at the Dry Creek
turquoise mine on the Shoshone Indian Reservation near Battle Mountain, Nevada
in 1993. The mine is now owned by the Otteson family and, as far as we know, this
is the only site where White Buffalo Stone is found. Howlite,
a softer more porous black and white stone, is commonly passed off as White Buffalo
Stone. The Dry Creek mine has also produced stone with a pale blue color that
is called Dry
Turquoise, see White Buffalo Stone above.
Horse is mixture of magnesite and hematite found near Globe, Arizona.
Stone (Zebra Rock, Zebra Marble, Zebra Jasper) - Technically, Zebra stone
is the trade name for a banded brown and white siltstone found mostly in the Kimberley
region of Western Australia. The original source, found over 50 years ago, was
covered by Lake Argyle after construction of the Ord River dam, but other sources
occur in the area.
Stone also refers to a black and white stone from the vicinity of Prescott, Arizona
as well as any number of other stones having a contrasting zebra-like patterning.
Generic Zebra Stone can have a background of grey, greenish-gray, white, brown,
or tan with stripes of black, darker gray, brick, or brown.
It is said that
Zebra Stone brings out your intuition, tenderness, gentleness and love. It helps
you exercise self-control and understand your chosen destiny. It stimulates creativity
Zuni Rock, Zuni Stone
- see Travertine
to page 1, Turquoise