Monday, March 12, 2012

Rock Review: Fire Agate

Today’s rock review features Fire Agate.
Geology Buzz
Fire Agate is a very special type of Agate that is mostly brown, but contains a special iridescence in the spectrum of the rainbow. This effect is accomplished when layers of plate like crystals composed of iron oxide adhere together in differing planes. Light reflects back and forth on these various layers creating this rainbow effect through a process called interference, much like oil in water.
Since Fire Agate is a form of quartz, it registers a 7 on Moh’s scale of hardness, making it ideal for all types of jewelry, including rings and bracelets. Cutting Fire Agate is a challenging task for gem cutters, requiring a careful balance between removing enough layers ensure the stone is not dull to while leaving enough to enhance its iridescence. Often, the natural formation of the stone must dictate its final size and shape. This is why Fire Agate is rarely mass produced and most often found in specialty pieces.
Fun Facts
Fire Agate has been used in jewelry markets for only about 60 years. When it first entered the jewelry market, dealers had a hard time settling on a name for the gem. It was known as “opalescent agate”, “cinnamon opal” and “precious peacock stone”. However, it is important to note that it is not a true Opal and comes from the Quartz and Chalcedony family.
Gem quality Fire Agate is found almost exclusively in the American South West and also occasionally in Mexico, specifically in regions surrounding the Sonoran Desert and the Sierra Madre Mountains. This is likely due to volcanic activity that occurred more than 24 million years ago in the tertiary geologic period. Although no one knows for sure, Warren Jones claims to be the one to officially discover Fire Agate in 1941.
Fire Agate is thought to be a powerful stone of protection believed to relive fear, stop gossip, and deflect harmful intentions. It also can be helpful in promoting healthy lymph, circulatory and intestinal systems. It also can be useful in balancing energy.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Trend Watch: Paisley

By: Erica Delp

Spring is just around the corner this month, promising to banish our winter blues and muted tones in favor of sunshine and vibrant color! One trend seen on recent spring fashion runway shows are a wide array of patterns in paisley. It’s true, paisley is no longer only found in your favorite Vera Bradley bag. Designers like Jil Sander, Etro and Stella Mc Cartney also featured the lively pattern in many of their spring 2012 looks.

Paisley is a perfect choice for your spring ensembles because it can usually be found in cheerful spring like color pallets ranging from whimsical pastels to saturated juicy color pairings. The shape and positioning of paisley in a pattern also can be reminiscent of florals, without being a literal interpretation of spring. A well chosen paisley piece for your spring wardrobe will be sure to bring some modern appeal to the rest of your warm weather basics and put you in the mood for fresh air and all things green and growing. A blouse, scarf, or sundress in a light airy fabric are all great choices to experiment with this look in style.

At Layne Designs, we’ve caught the paisley bug too. In fact, we have an emerging line dedicated to this eclectic and fanciful pattern, which happens to be a favorite of ours as well! Check out some of our favorite pieces from the paisley line featured below readily available in colors that are ideal for spring time.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Rock Review: Diopside

As we enter March, we’ll review Diopside, the perfect companion for all the soon to emerge spring greens.
Geology Buzz
Diopside is a pyroxene mineral that is found in igneous and metamorphic rock deposits. It contains the elements Magnesium, Silicon, Oxygen and Calcium. It often is found in conjunction with Basalt, Olivine, Dolomite, Limestone, Marble and Andesite.
Gemstone quality versions of the mineral are usually called “Black Star Diopside or Chromium Diopside”. The presence of Chromium is responsible for the rich Kelly Green color (similar to an emerald) that is most often seen in jewelry. “Violane” is also a rare blue to violet color of Diopside that gets its tone from Manganese. White occurrences can fluoresce a bright powder blue color. Diopside registers between 5.6 and 6.5 on Moh’s scale of hardness.
Fun Facts
Discovered circa 1800, Diopside gets its name from the Greek language taking the words “dis” meaning two and “opse” meaning “face” to describe the two different ways it’s prisms can be oriented. Today, it is exported mainly from Russia, specifically from Siberia.
Diopside is a lesser known birthstone for the month of March and is also associated with the zodiac sign Pisces. It is believed to enhance creativity in problem solving, analytical abilities and achieving goals. It is also linked to love, commitment and the inner desires. It also is thought to be useful in healing the heart, lungs and circulatory system.
Diopside is fairly rare, however its price has still thankfully remained affordable. Chrome Diopside is usually available in smaller carat sizes since the gem usually appears darker as its size increases. Samples over 2 carats in size are much more rare and usually command a higher purchase price.