Thursday, January 27, 2011

Rock Review: Lapis Lazuli

This beautiful blue stone is a quite rare, semi-precious stone that has been prized since ancient days for its deep blue color. Originating mostly in Afghanistan, deposits are also found in Italy, Argentina and the USA. A lighter variety is found in Chile. Lazurite is the mineral responsible for the intense blue color of Lapis Lazuli, which often includes pyrite and calcite as well.

This precious rock has been used for millennia to decorate both the human form and sculpture. The first beads made of Lapis Lazuli are dated to around 3100 BC. Powdered lapis has also been credited as the world’s first eyeshadow! Found intricately included in the mask of King Tut, Lapis Lazuli also composes the background of the famous Sumerian artifact, “Royal Standard of UR.”

Many ancient writings referring to sapphire, even the Bible, may have actually been referring to Lapis. Early on, there were not a variety of words to differentiate between varieties of stone, a blue stone was called simply referred to as a, “blue stone.”

In addition to its historical value, Lapis Lazuli has significant healing properties to both the ancient and modern worlds:

ANCIENT CURES: Ancient cultures believed that Lapis would alleviate the symptoms of a venomous snake bite, cure eye disease, and depression.

MODERN CURES: Lapis is associated with healing in the area of the blue chakra, (the throat). Those who suffer from acid reflux may find alleviation from wearing lapis around their neck. Many who love the stone report an alleviation of anxiety when wearing it. World famous stone therapist, Edgar Cayce, claims that when a piece of lapis is held to the ear, one can hear a very faint high frequency pitch as the stone “sings.”

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Rock Review: Dendritic Quartz

"cosmos ring" on etsy
While researching for this article, I learned something totally new! For the longest time, I was under the impression that my beautiful dendritic quartz stones were marked with impressions of fossilized plant material. That is what I had been told by the gem dealer who first sold me the stone. Even the word dendrite comes from the Greek “dendron” meaning “tree.” I continued buying the stone because it has such beautiful patterns, and it is a good, hearty stone. It is not easily scratched or broken.

I started looking things up about dendritic stones (they come in more than just
quartz) I found out that I was totally wrong about how those beautiful patterns got in the stone! My apologies for any previous mis-information on the subject. As it turns out, the patterns in dendritic quartz are part of a fascinating geological process. Where a deposit of quartz in the ground may have tiny fissures running through it, mineral solutions flow through the rock fissures. Hot mineral solutions including manganese and iron are percolating through the quartz base, and when cooled quickly, they are solidified and frozen in time!
I feel glad to have that cleared up. I learn something new every day. Do you have any favorite stones with fun patterns? Let me know, and I'll try to find out how the cool patterns got there!

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Happy New Year! With a new year comes a new month, and this month’s beautiful birthstone is GARNET. Typically a red/brown color, garnet can be found in ANY color except for blue. Personally, one of my favorite garnet hues is a lovely magenta color known as Rhodolite garnet (see picture at the end of the blog post.) Found in abundance in Africa, garnet is also harvested in North and South America as well as in various European countries.

Derived from the Latin word for pomegranite, garnet has been used for centuries for its beauty but also for its supposed “lethal” nature. North American Indians used red garnets as arrowheads, believing that they would seek blood and inflict a deadlier wound, while as recently as 1892 the Hunzas of Kasmir used garnets as bullets to fight the British believing that garnets were deadlier than lead.

Also used frequently by early Christians to symbolize Christ’s sacrifice, and even earlier as a symbol by one of the 12 tribes of Israel, the garnet’s roots in history are as deep as any gemstone. A beautiful stone to highlight during these recently SNOWY, WHITE days of another northeastern US winter! Happy birthday to all garnet babies out there!!

Find this piece @

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Rock Review: Labrodorite

As you may have guessed from my new series of blog posts "Rock Review" – I’m a bit of a nerd! I LOVE to know history and fun details about the materials I work with. It makes creating and designing with these incredible, naturally forming materials even more exciting! So, from time-to-time, I plan to enlighten myself (and hopefully my readers) with a bit of detailed research about ROCKS.
The next ROCK on my RADAR is the Labrodorite. Originally discovered on St. Paul Island in Labrador Canada in 1770, this rock ranges in color from a brilliant blue to grey and can sometimes include a rainbow of colors. It is one of the many stones classified in the feldspar family (nerd alert: feldspar family is defined as: a group of rock-forming minerals which make up as much as 60% of the Earth’s crust, per Wikipedia – and we know they don’t lie!)
Labrodorite is best known for its “shiller effect," or in layman’s terms its iridescent colors reflected at different angles. The scattering of light causes this effect from the thin layers in the stone, formed during the earth’s cooling process. This why the labordorite is so unique – depending on the angle from which it is viewed, a brilliant flash of different colors can be seen!
In addition to its country of origin, GEM QUAILITY labordorite can be found in Madagascar, Finland, Russia and most notably in India. Aside from its enchanting beauty, this stone also comes with an Eskimo legend! According to generations of Eskimo legend, labordorite holds the Northern Lights captive. A powerful Eskimo warrior found the Northern Lights captive in this rock and freed some of them with his spear. Not all of the lights escaped and that is why Labordorite displays an array beautiful colors today.
Another great example of beautiful labrodorite can be seen in these earrings at my ETSY shop:
A little fascinating fact and a little folklore legend makes for a great ROCK to REVIEW. Till next time!