Quick...which of these stones don't belong?
Trick question...none of them, because they're all turquoise!
Now that Summer is gone, gone, gone, and the oranges and reds of October have peaked and we will soon be left with browns and golds to remind us that Autumn is really here. I thought I’d visit with the browns and golds in gemstones and metals. I think it’s fun to find out the backstory for some of my favorite materials…come join me.
Peanut Wood is, in fact, a “Petrified Wood”, a tree that has over a period of time turned into stone; The original living matter is normally replaced with a silicate such as Quartz. Peanut Wood however, is not your normal Petrified Wood. Before it became petrified, it was swept into the ocean. The ocean washed and cleaned the wood and turned it into something that would resemble driftwood that you might see on a beach today. In the ocean this driftwood came under attack from shell fish known as Shipworm. Just like wood worms, they created little bore holes and tunnels into the wood. As the wood got heavier and heavier as the attacks increased, it was no longer able to float and sank to the sea bed. Here the bore holes became filled with a lightly-coloured sediment. Over a period of time, the wood became covered with more and more layers of mud and sediment and eventually the petrification process began. Its name Peanut Wood was given to the gemstone as the lightly colored boreholes resemble peanuts trapped in a delicious toffee.
Bronze was significant to any culture that encountered it. It was one of the most innovative alloys of mankind. Tools, weapons, armor, and various building materials like decorative tiles made of bronze were harder and more durable than their stone and copper (“Chalcolithic”) predecessors. Nowadays, you will see the oil-rubbed bronze in many household fixtures, but also in jewelry.
Copper was, according to archeological finds, the first metal to be used by Neolithic mankind to supplement his stone tools over 10,000 years ago. Antique Copper is copper that has a dark patina.
Gold has been known since prehistoric times and was also one of the first metals to be worked, mainly because it was to be found as nuggets or as particles in the beds of streams. Such was the demand that by 2000 BC the Egyptians began mining gold. The death mask of Tutankhamen, who died in 1323 BC, contained 100 kg of the metal. The minting of gold coins began around 640 BC in the Kingdom of Lydia (situated in what is now modern Turkey). The first pure gold coins were minted in the reign of King Croesus, who ruled from 561–547 BC.
So there you have it, a brief history and education on the browns & golds of November. If you see any of the gemstones that you love, please remember that I love doing custom work, so contact me and let’s design your pieces together.
The red oak leaves are starting to land on my porch, which reminds me that autumn is on its way and leaves will soon be turning colors. Before we know it, we’ll be surrounded by hues of greens, golds, oranges, and reds. Jasper, the stone I’m featuring this month, comes in the colors of autumn and then some.
Jasper is the zodiacal stone for Leo, Virgo (the September sign) and Scorpio. It is said to have properties that can be both invigorating and stabilizing. It generates an even rhythmic pulse and has been known to improve the sense of smell and overcome depression. Other conditions it is known to aid range from digestion and stomach problems to blood disorders.
April showers bring May flowers, and this is the theme of May! We have been blogging about the color trends for each month, and for May we are a bit more specific. This month, it is all about pretty pink petals!
Marsala is the color of rich red wine and rosy cheeks. It’s the hue of dusty dessert sunsets and deep, earthy gemstones. It’s the color of the year and the color of February!
Beginning with garnet, this pendant with the Apache rhyolite (on the left and right) is the epitome of a marsala-toned piece. Apache rhyolite is named “streaming rock” from the unique way it is formed. At the foot of volcanoes, crystal-rich layers of rock form bubbles and bands from lava flowing across the stone’s surface. In the wake of deadly heat, beautiful, organic shapes are contrived in abstract patterns of reds, purples and whites. The tiny, faceted garnet beads, reminiscent of pomegranate seeds in their rich luster, adorn the base of the Apache rhyolite to enhance the elegance of the pendant. With the radiance of the garnet, coupled with the rich tones in the rhyolite, this pendant has earned its place as a prime example of the sophistication and beauty of marsala.
Not to be outdone, however, is the sponge coral. It is too bright to be defined as marsala in the strictest definition of the color, but its deepness and delicate pattern have secured its place on the list. In the photos are several examples of the sponge coral in my collection. The myriad of shapes are, not only fun to work with, but also make for beautiful, unique pieces of jewelry. Sponge coral, despite its name, have nothing to do with sponges. Instead, this coral, found in South China seas, has a spong-like appearance that inspired its name. The detailing might not be clear in the photograph on the right, but each piece has a pattern. These markings might not be obvious at all, but the small color variations and lacework pattern give sponge coral a deepness that is beyond compare. The really deep reds are the result of “color enhancement”.
Finally, red mountain jade is the epitome of beauty. This is actually dolomite that has been dyed (since nature doesn’t produce this vivid red). Like the sponge coral, it lacks purple tones that would make it true marsala; nonetheless, it is an earthy, ancient stone that brightens and warms the more serious merlot. It is a featureless stone-unless carved-whose beauty is found in its vibrant color and polished surface. In ancient times, red mountain jade was a gemstone of nobility, power, and royalty, especially in the East. Even now it still maintains those properties of wisdom, confidence and power in its simplicity. Colored like a cranberry fresh off its bush, the heart of red mountain jade reflects the inner strength of its wearer! It is also one of my more affordable gemstones.
The honorable mentions in this post are red cinnabar and sonoran sunset! Both are gorgeous red stones that make up a large portion of my collection of gemstones. You can read more about cinnabar here and sonoran sunset here! If you are interested in purchasing these pieces, you can find the majority on Etsy; however, a few are at Kress Emporium and the other galleries that carry my things. Contact me for more information! Don’t forget, I’m always open to creating custom pieces just for you! Whether you have a gemstone in your collection or if you would like to browse my collection for a stone that you simply cannot put down, I can help! Go to my custom jewelry page to contact me!