Since my days as a jewellery maker I've been a passionate stone collector.
The fascination for me is what nature has created. I don't care much for enhanced or manipulated materials. The only exception being coloured Fresh Water Pearls of good quality and a few heat treatments like on Topaz and Citrine.
What I do like is both inexpensive, unpolished finds as well as expertly crafted, multifaceted precious stones of excellent quality - gemstones!
Precious metals are another favourite as well as coral and pearls.
In the following I'll introduce you to my collection.
A warning! having worked with stones for almost a decade I have never felt any "vibes" from them or noticed any "aura" around them. Therefore I can't give you advice on such matter, and I don't have any sort of opinion on the subject :-)
Around the beads are some of my stone table ware - a coaster, an ashtray, a small vase and a candle holder for tea lights.
It is mined in Russia, USA, Madagascar and Brazil
It is a common gemstone, and comes in colours from pinkish light purple to very dark grape purple. The more opaque the stone is the lower the quality is considered. Top quality stones are seen among the crown jewels in several European Royal collections.
Nowadays it is mined in Brazil and Sri Lanka.
The best quality is transparent, with strong colouring.
Since it's not a very hard stone, drilling can be tricky. It can also be scratched by the harder stones. Therefore this is a stone you should be extra careful with.
Aquamarine is part of the Beryl family, as is Emerald. You can see another version of this stone under Beryl
The most common colour is a strong mid green, but it can also be found in orange, yellow and blue.
It is primarily mined in India.
It is a rather hard stone only surpassed by Diamond and Corundum (Ruby and Sapphire). On the photo you see Beryl in a raw version, but still with fantastic colour and shine!
Blue Lace Agate:
Of the many types af Agate this is not as common as the others. But I think it's so gorgeous that it deserves it's own entry here!
The colour ranges from juicy orange to dark, reddish brown. Carnelian has been used for decorative purposes since Minoan Bronze Age in Greece.
It is mined in The US in several states, and in Indonesia, Israel and the UK among others.
Like Carnelian and Chalcedony this is also a Silicate mineral which means they're all part of the same family.
Main deposits are found in Australia and Poland.
The reddish and brownish tinged versions are most likely heat treated Amethyst or Smoky Quartz. I have never experienced any change in the colour, so it seems to be a lasting result. See the difference in the photo?
Flourite is one of the softer gemstones so do take care not to scratch it, with other jewellery or during cleaning.
It has been nicknamed Water Sapphire because of the colour and Viking's Compass because of it's polarisation qualities that helped the Vikings locate the sun on a cloudy day. Isn't it beautiful?
This stone comes in both green and blue, although the blue is the most common. Mine are a very pale blue. The most desirable is the royal blue without inclusions, also the more expensive! However, it is worth the price since it's incredibly beautiful!
With this stone it is worth buying good quality to get a fair amount of Schiller effect, since it really is it's main attraction.
The best quality comes from Afghanistan, and is out of my reach! As with many stones you should look out for enhancements. Much of today's Lapis Lazuli is colour enhanced, often in a very dark blue! Specks of pyrite are very common, and pretty I think :-)
Like many types of stone is it very sensitive to acids. That means be careful when cleaning, and put perfume on before you put your jewellery on :-)
A very popular variety is Rainbow Moonstone which shows strong blue flashes like Labradorite. My large, heart shaped pendant is from Bali. Isn't it gorgeous?
These have a nice lustre and come in a light grey, pink and peach colouring. They are cultured like almost every pearl on sale today.
The majority of Fresh Water Pearls come from China. The price depends on the lustre, size and shape.
The artificial colour is not very stable. Therefore you should take precautions like keeping them out of sunlight, not get perfume or make-up on them and be gentle when cleaning them. I have seen my friends pearls, like the large green ones, turning all white after being sprayed with perfume every day. A dirty white I might add!
Besides that I think they're very beautiful.
Apart from the mentioned details, white pearls are so classic that they go with almost any dress code, any style and any age!
The more transparent and inclusion free specimens are also the more expensive!
On the photo you can see a large, egg-shaped nugget, a raw crystal covered nugget and 68 carats! of excellent cut Pyrite drops, plus three oval beads of slightly lesser quality. I just can't get enough!
It isn't very hard so Quartz, Topaz, Rubies other precious stones will scratch it if you're not careful.
It was first found in South Africa and named after the head of the Dutch colonial forces, Hendrik von Prehn in 1788.
Earlier Rhodonite was used for decorative objects, for example at the palaces of the Russian Tsars'.
Most cheap Rubies today are heat treated to improve the colour. This can be seen in a microscope where the treated stone will be missing the "silk", little rutile needle inclusions.
My little beauties are a mix of colours, but even in this tiny version the colour shines! These are a very decent quality, but the really great gemstone quality is almost never, ever cut into beads! Even so, these sparkly little gems are still fabulous!
The name is German and means shell ore which is evident in the pattern of the stone. The metallic surface is the mineral Galena. Three other minerals make up the yellow and brown parts.
It isn't used for jewellery, but sometimes for decorative objects like vases and bowls. My specimen is mined in Poland and I keep it at my desk so I can enjoy every day :-)
The cheapest versions have a lot of white in them, the pricier are more blue. With the somewhat busy pattern I prefer a smooth polish to facets. But that's just me!
I have used black diamonds and black spinel in my work, and find the Spinel a beautiful substitute.
The best quality is found in Oregon, USA
At first it was named blue Zoisite. However, when Tiffany's was going to introduce it to the market, the possibility of someone pronouncing it blue suicide caused a name change :-D
It is now a valued gemstone. Top quality is transparent and shows blue and violet colour that changes, the so-called Pleochroism.
My polished nuggets are from South Africa, brought home by a friend in 1990 - that's how old my passion is!
In the photo I'm showing you the cheapest, raw black Tourmaline that always fascinates me with the geometric shape, and almost equally cheap, tumble-polished beads as well as 3 mm well crafted, facetted beads of excellent clarity. I my opinion they're all fantastic!
It is one of the cheaper gemstones, maybe for the reasons I listed above?
My specimen comes from Russia, the Ural mountains.
I know - I'm nuts!