Thursday, January 26, 2012

Rock Review: Kyanite

Have the winter blues? Instead of chasing them away, indulge in them a bit with a look at the lovely deep blue Kyanite.
Geology Buzz
Kyanite is a type of silicate mineral that is very rich in aluminum. It can be found in both sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. It’s lovely cobalt blue color is derived from the presence of aluminum. Occasionally, Kyanite can also be orange, if manganese is present during its development. Some Kyanite gems can have a cat’s eye effect that is beautiful to behold.
Kyanite has a special trait called anisotropism, meaning it’s hardness can vary based on the crystal structure present in each formation. It can be as low as a 4.5 on Moh’s scale of hardness and as high as a 7 depending on if it’s planes are parallel or perpendicular to the axis of the gem. A parallel plane is softer, where as a perpendicular plane is harder. This trait is also a key identifying feature of this particular gem. Kyanite also has perfect cleavage in one direction, making it well suited to certain gemstone cuts like baguette, octagon, oval and pear styles.
Fun Facts
Kyanite gets its name from the Greek word kyanos for blue. Although Kyanite was discovered in the 19th century, it has remained a lesser known gem to much of the gem world. Today, most Kyanite hails from India, although it can be found also stateside in North Carolina, Montana and Georgia.
Besides being used in jewelry, Kyanite is also used in many ceramics manufacturing processes. It also can be found in electronics or as an electric insulator.
Kyanite is a useful stone in balancing energy, making it a favorite for those who enjoy the metaphysical properties of gemstones and minerals. It instills a sense of tranquility in its wearers that makes it ideal for those practicing meditation. It’s also believed to assist with enhancing psychic abilities as well as lucid dreaming.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Rock Review: Garnet

For those born in January, Garnet is your birth stone!
Geology Buzz
Garnets come in a wide array of varieties and colors based on their chemical compositions. You may have heard of Pyrope, Almandine, Spessartine, Grossular , Hessonite, Tsavorite, Uvarovite or Andradite. These are all species of Garnets! Garnets occur in a rainbow of colors including pink, brown, black, green, blue, purple, orange, red, yellow and even colorless. The most well known color of garnet is the transparent blood red or deep crimson tone that many people are attracted to found most commonly in Almandine Garnet. The rarest color of Garnet is the Blue Garnet which also has the ability to change its color under incandescent light.
Because the chemical makeup of Garnet can vary greatly depending on the variety, it also can score differently on Moh’s scale of hardness. Generally speaking, Garnets register a 6.5-7.5 on the scale.
Fun Facts
Garnets have been well loved and used in jewelry and art since the Romans ruled the world. In fact, the name for garnet is derived from the Latin word for pomegranate, due to the deep red color of many of the gems. The Romans and subsequent Barbarian cultures that occupied former Roman lands used the gem in a cloisonné technique inlaid in gold to depict artistic scenes and designs. Today, we use them mostly in either cut gem or druzy style jewelry. It is the state gem of both New York and Connecticut. Some unexpected industrial uses of garnet are as an abrasive for sandpaper and sand blasting, as well as an element in certain types of filtration systems.
Garnets are thought to be a protective gem for those on journeys. Giving Garnet as a gift can be interpreted as a symbol of love and wishes for safe travel and a speedy return home. Do you know any globe trotters who might benefit from some Garnet? Check out these finds in Garnet from Layne Designs.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Trend Watch: Your Out of this World Winter!

By: Erica Delp

The first month of 2012 has already brought a variety of fun new fashion trends headed our way thanks to London Fashion week just around the corner next month.

One trend featured in the January issue of Marie Claire that is funky and perfect for the transition from winter into spring is the something that I like to think of as the Cosmic or Space Age trend. It features clothing and accessories in metallic and iridescent sheens as well as “electric” tones and colors. Think saturated lime greens and cobalt blues. These pieces also often feature sequins, crystals and other elements of sparkle. It’s a modern twist on some of the far out pieces we all remember from the 1980’s.

Some perfect gemstones to pair with this look are Moonstone, Labradorite and Opal. All of them embody the luster that perfectly captures this trend. A large stone on a flashy cocktail ring, pendant or bracelet is a perfect compliment for a glitzy jacket or shimmery dress.

Also, accessories that resemble spacey kind of look are right on point for this theme. Think of selecting jewelry that is studded or glittery in some sort of fashion. Druzy stones are a good choice for this purpose. Marcasite jewelry also provides the shimmer that is reminiscent of stars in the sky.

Putting any of these elements together is the perfect way to channel your inner cosmic Diva. Check out some of these fabulous on trend selections from Layne Designs.

Blue Druzy Earrings

Labradorite Saturn Bracelet

Orbits Bracelet