Jane Pennington Jewellery

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About the Stones

This is not meant to be an exhaustive reference for each stone.  For those interested in more details, you can find it all from searching the internet.   Rather, the information here is why I like to use specific gemstones.

African Turquoise

This is a beautiful colour that appeals to everyone.  Shades of turquoise blue through green create very attractive jewellery.  African Turquoise is not turquoise at all.  It is a type of jasper found in Africa and is often dyed to achieve a turquoise-like colour.


Agate

Agates come in all colours and patterns.  I love working with these stones because they add so much richness to the jewellery.

Agate is the most common variety of chalcedony that is the microcrystalline form of quartz (silicon dioxide). Agate is, in fact, identical with quartz in composition and physical properties.

Agate occurs in nodular masses in rocks such as volcanic lavas.  When split open, they reveal an amazing variety of colours and patterns and a distinct banding that distinguishes agate from other kinds of chalcedony.  Band colours are determined by the differing impurities present. Varieties of agate are characterized by peculiarities in the shape and colour of the bands, which are seen in sections cut at right angles to the layers. Being porous, agate is often dyed or stained to enhance the natural colour.

Occurrence: the most famous area for agates is Idar-Oberstein in Germany where agate has been collected since 1548.  Nowadays, agate is found in Uruguay, Brazil, India, china Mexico, Madagascar, Italy, Egypt, USA and Scotland.

 

 

Carnelian

I like to use this stone because it is such an autumn-colour and many people love to wear burnished red and orange colours.

Carnelian is a form of chalcedony that is found throughout the world. The stone deposits are usually found in the lower temperature and lower pressure zones near the Earth’s surface.

The various shades of translucent deep red and orange colours are due to the presence of iron oxide.  Stones maybe uniformly coloured or faintly banded.

Carnelian was highly valued and used in rings and signets by the Greeks and Romans, some of whose intaglios have retained their high polish better than many harder stones. Baking and dyeing with iron salts enhance carnelian’s colour

Occurrence:  The best carnelian is from India where is place in the sun to change brown tints to red.  Also Brazil, Uruguay and Japan.

 


Chrysocolla

I never have enough of this stone; so popular with an attractive blue-green colour.

Chrysocolla is often confused with turquoise. It is a variegated blue and green mixture of chrysocolla and other copper minerals.   Pure chrysocolla is soft and fragile and therefore not appropriate for use in jewelry. However, chrysocolla often is "agatized" in chalcedony quartz  and it is the quartz that provides the stone with its polish and durability. Chrysocolla forms in the oxidation zones of copper rich ore bodies.

Occurrence: It is a copper-bearing mineral found wherever copper deposits occur especially in Southwestern USA, Israel, Czech Republic, Congo, Chile, Zaire, Russia, Australia, France and England.


Coral

The coral beads used in Stone-Me Jewellery are ethically sourced.  Sponge coral is apparently not an endangered species and neither is bamboo coral, pink coral or gold coral.  I also used ‘pressed’ coral which is coral (chips and powder) reconstituted with a binder to create a manufactured shape.  Though I’m not a great fan of reconstituted materials, in this case, I believe it to be preferable than using endangered coral.

Coral beads are not made from a mineral, but rather from a material composed of tiny spineless animals called coral polyps whose sedimented bodies become coral reefs. Coral is calcium carbonate (limestone.)

There is an ecological concern regarding coral and a lot of the coral reefs are dying off due to pollution, changes in water temperature and poaching.  To combat this concern various governments protect all coral reefs and Coral Sea farms have been created for Coral Reef Rehabilitation and Integrative Biological Research, especially in the South Seas and Australia. There is apparently still enough supply, either from new sources or stockpiled inventory, to meet demand, whether for precious red coral from the Mediterranean Sea, dyed Tibetan coral, or pink coral from the Pacific.  However, the coral industry is bracing for an eventual worldwide shortage. The availability of new coral is dwindling as underwater supplies are depleted.

Coral is the gem for the 35th marriage anniversary in Western cultures.

Occurrence:  Indonesia, Fiji, Mozambique, Taiwan and Tonga

 


Crystal Quartz or Rock Crystal

I love to use high quality crystal quartz that is so clear; it has the clarity of water.  Combined with onyx it creates such elegant pieces.

Crystal quartz is colourless and transparent and one of the most common minerals of the Earth’s crust. The name ‘quartz’ comes form the Greek word krustallos meaning ice because it was thought that quartz was ice formed by the gods.

Occurrence: the most important sources of rock crystal are in Brazil. The Swiss and French Alps, the Himalayas, Peru, Madagascar, Russia and the USA.

 


Fluorite

Fluorite is the natural crystalline form of calcium fluoride. The name comes from the Latin "fluere" which means to flow. It's considered a soft material to carve and it has a glassy appearance. The most common color is deep purple but it comes in a variety of colors such as blue, green, yellow, pink, rose and black. Some types of fluorite will glow under ultra violet light, hence the name fluorescence.

Southern Illinois is the largest producer of fluorite in the United States.

 


Jasper

Jasper comes in all colours and patterns and therefore it is a popular stone to use by designers.  The beads have wonderful durability and when added to a design, they create such unique jewellery.  I love the way it appears so natural and every stone is so different.

Jasper comes from the Greek word, iaspis, which means "spotted stone." A form of microcrystalline quartz, jasper derives its colorful patterns from other minerals present, and is often named according to its pattern. It owes its color to admixed hematite, but when it occurs with clay admixed, the color is a yellowish white or gray, or with goethite, a brown or yellow.

Occurrence:  It is mined in North Africa, Sicily, France, India, Venezuela, Germany, the U.S.A. and elsewhere.

 


Labradorite

I love the smoky blue iridescent colours of this stone.

The stone is often faceted in order for the iridescent colours to shine through. The stone is used for many ornamental purposes.

Occurrence:  Originally found along the coast of Labrador, Canada in 1805. Today, it is also found in other parts of Canada, the Ukraine, the Ural Mountains, and the USA.

 


Picasso Stone or Picasso Jasper or Picasso Marble

This is one of my favourite stones. It truly looks as though it has been picked up out of the earth!   Its colors, brown, black, cream, and various shades of gray often form the patterns of abstract landscapes.   This stone is metamorphic limestone that forms deep in the earth, altered by heat and pressure.

Occurrence: Mostly from Utah, USA

 

 

Ocean Jasper

Ocean Jasper (also called Orbicular Jasper) is unusual jasper found only at a remote location on the coast of Madagascar that can only be mined at low tide! The colours vary widely - including white, green, pink, red, black and blue. The wild polka dots, wavy lines, multi coloured floret patterns of Ocean Jasper make this a gorgeous and exciting stone. High quality ocean jasper is currently in short supply.

Occurrence: Madagascar

 

 

Onyx

This is one of my popular stones.  It adds quality and depth creating jewellery that is elegant and classy.

Onyx is a semi-precious stone that is another form of chalcedony.  Like the other stones in the chalcedony family, onyx has a smooth, waxy lustre.

Originally, almost all colours of chalcedony from white to dark brown and black were called onyx.  Today when we think of onyx we often preface the word with black to distinguish it from other varieties of onyx that come in white, reddish brown, brown and banded. Pure black onyx is common, and perhaps the most famous variety, but not as common as onyx with banded colours.

Onyx has a long history of use for hard stone carving and jewellery, where it is usually cut as a cabochon, or into smooth beads, and is also used for intaglio or cameo engraved gems. Some onyx is natural but much is produced by the staining of agate.

Onyx cameos reached their peak during the Victorian era, specifically the period known to jewellery historians as the “Grand Period” (1861 to 1888), or the period of mourning that Queen Victoria of Britain entered into on the death of her beloved husband, Prince Albert in 1861. The jewellery of the era was marked by dark, sombre themes – onyx was especially preferred because it provided a subtle contrast to a black background (the colour of mourning).

In ancient times, Roman soldiers wore sardonyx (red onyx) amulets with likenesses of the God of War or Hercules engraved on them, believing that this would make them as strong or fearless as these heroes. During the Renaissance, many believed that onyx or sardonyx gave the wearer the power of eloquence, and was thus highly valued by orators and public speakers.

Onyx today is still a highly valued semi-previous stone to this day. It is considered the birthstone for February, although it is the astrological birthstone for Leo (July 23 to August 22).

Occurrence: he main sources of onyx are India and South America, but it is also found in China, Brazil, Madagascar, Mexico and the U.S.A.

 


Rhodocrosite

Nuggets of this stone are beautiful with rich colors and patterns of pink and cream and white.

The pink colour of rhodocrosite is formed when the element manganese is dissolved by ground water and combines with a carbonate material and then drips off the ceiling of caves and crevices deep underground as stalactites and stalagmites. The name rhodochrosite means rose-colored.  It often forms pink and white bands and should not be confused with rhodonite which contains black manganese oxides.

Occurrence:  USA, Argentina, England, Peru, Canada.

 


Rhodonite

Another pink stone with streaks of black that creates interesting jewellery.

Rhodonite is a manganese silicate mineral that is typically pink to dark red in color.  Rhodenite is most attractive and popular when the amount of black veining or dendrites is a minor contributor to the stone. Although rhodonite is normally translucent to opaque, some transparent stones are found and used as faceting material. Rhodonite breaks or cleaves easily and is best suited for jewelry items that will not be subject to impact.

Here’s an interesting fact:  rhodonite is famous for being used as wall tiles in parts of the Moscow subway.

Occurrence:  Peru, New Zealand, and Sweden.

 


Serpentine

When I first came across this stone, it looked to me like a bonbon sweet; lemon and floury!   I couldn’t resist using it for it’s subtle colours and tactile feel.

The name of this stone has been derived from the color and appearance resembling the skin of a serpent snake. The best quality serpentine has fine textures with no cleavages. Serpentine stone comes in a staggering variety of colors. The variation in color is due to the result of varied mineral infusions in the stone.

Occurrence: Translucent and oily green serpentine is found in New Zealand, China, Afghanistan, South Africa, England, Italy and the USA.

 


Turquoise

A classic stone with a long history that describes how it has been used for adornment over the centuries.   Since turquoise as a colour is so popular, I use both quality and reconstituted turquoise to create jewellery to suit a range of budgets.  I do say what type of stone I use in my product descriptions.

Turquoise is one of the world's earliest-used gem materials. Ranked with the jades of the Orient and lapis in the Near East, turquoise has been revered for thousands of years. In the Southwestern United States, no gemstone has been held in greater esteem.

One of the first gemstones to be mined, it has long been prized for its intense colour which varies from sky-blue to green depending on the quantities of iron and copper within it.  Most of these fine specimens come from Iran and indicate the presence of copper within the stone. Less precious stones come from North America and are greener (from iron) than the Persian stones.  Commonly found in massive form as encrustations, in veins, or nodules. The harder, less porous stones polish better than the pale softer, chalky stones but these can have waxes or oils pressed into them to help their polish.

Occurrence: It is found only in or near copper deposits, as it depends on the presence of copper ions for its formation.  Sky-blue turquoise from Iran is regarded as the most desirable but in Tibet a green variety is preferred.   Other locations include Mexico, USA Russia, Chile, Australia, Cornwall UK and Turkestan. North American specimens also contain impurities that form matrix streaks within the stones.

 


Rose Quartz

This is always a popular choice.  A feminine stone that compliments many wardrobes.  I use polished and unpolished rose quartz and each create unique effects.

Rose quartz is one of the most desirable types of quartz. The unique color is from iron and titanium in the natural stone. Most rose quartz you see, however, has been dyed to give it uniform color. Rose quartz, natural and dyed, is photosensitive and will fade in sunlight.

Occurrence:  much rose quartz was extracted from a famous site near Custer, South Dakota, but now, most of the world’s supply of good quality rose quartz comes from Brazil.   Other locations include India, Madagascar and Germany.

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