Now it’s Crystal Clear: Sodalite

Welcome to ‘Now it’s Crystal Clear’ series! This week’s topic is all about Sodalite.
Sodalite stone

Dating back to ancient civilizations, Sodalite is linked to the ethereal energy that promotes the highest form of self-expression. Sculptors, painters and artists were known to carry it around for inspiration! The crystal’s meaning has a long-held association with the color of the heavens. [**]

Called the blue “Logic Stone,” Sodalite emits an easy, tranquil energy that clears the mind and elicits deep thought, expanding the ability to arrive at logical conclusions based on rational consideration. It enhances one’s powers of analysis, intuition, observation, creativity, strengthens self-discipline, efficiency and organization. Sodalite does not stimulate wisdom, but rather clears one’s vision and intellect opening the mind to formulate wisdom.  [***]

Being a salty combination of manganese and calcium, Sodalite crystal is commonly found in large deposits in Brazil. It can also be found in Russia, Greenland, Romania, France, India, Myanmar, Namibia, Canada and the USA.

This crystal is classified as a feldspathoid and is well-known for its rich blue color intermingled with white Calcite. It may also form as gray, yellow, green, or pink. [****]

Pair of Sodalite stones from India
I just received this pair of Sodalite stones I purchased from India! I can’t wait to make something awesome with them — I’m thinking earrings or maybe a double-sided cuff! 🙂 What do you think? – photo taken by me

[**] = https://www.energymuse.com/sodalite-meaning

[***] = https://www.crystalvaults.com/resource/cme/sodalite/

[****] = https://www.healing-crystals-for-you.com/sodalite.html

[All photos and information are linked/credited to the original authors and sources unless otherwise stated].

Gem talk 101: White Buffalo Turquoise

One of my Instagram friends Valentina, who is the artist behind Solis.Designs,  recently had a shop update with a great selection of beautiful pieces. From large statement rings to dainty layering necklaces, it was such an inspiration to see her creative designs as well as her abundant use of turquoise and other natural stones!

I just love her work — so you can imagine how hard it was deciding which of the pieces in her collection to choose from!

I ended up purchasing this beautiful dainty White Buffalo turquoise necklace!

Solis.Designs dainty White Buffalo Turquoise necklace

Solis.Designs dainty layering gemstone necklaces, white buffalo turquoise, royston turquoise
The necklace I purchased and some of her other dainty layering necklaces — so cute! I love the bright blue Royston turquoise piece as well — too bad I didn’t get to it first 😉 Happy with my little White Buffalo though! 🙂 – photos by Valentina, Solis.Designs

However, it got me thinking — as beautiful as White Buffalo turquoise is, I don’t know much about the stone.

It turns out that it’s a rare stone! Found and mined by the Otteson family in Tonopah, Nevada, it’s the only location in the world where it’s found! Sometimes called ‘albino turquoise’ or –incorrectly– ‘white turquoise’, this white stone is surrounded by black and brown flint-like chert (an opaque variety of quartz). This creates beautiful patterns, and sometimes in rare pieces, a spider-web matrix. The stone appears in veins and is as hard as turquoise (Mohs hardness scale of 5.5 to 7.5). It cuts and polishes just like turquoise, which is why a lot of people incorrectly call this stone ‘white turquoise’. [**]

For in reality, there is no pure ‘white turquoise’ that exists — white turquoise-type material that surrounds turquoise in the mines and tests as turquoise, is too light and soft to use. Most pieces that are usable will have some form of a blue or green tint to them. [***]

Being in such high demand and very popular, some stones are sold off as ‘white turquoise’ to consumers in the market. Those stones are Howlite and Magnesite. So — how can you tell which is which and what is sold to you is real or fake? I’m here to tell you how in Gem Talk 101!

Howlite is a porous borate mineral that often appears in irregular nodules resembling cauliflower. It is a snow white to milky stone, often with brown, grey or black veins. It is sometimes passed off as white turquoise or White Buffalo. It is also dyed to imitate blue or green turquoise. It is quite soft with a Mohs hardness of 3.5 in contrast to turquoise which usually ranges from 5-7. It also scratches easily — which is something you should look out for when purchasing jewelry with this stone. [**]

Howlite stones

Here’s an example … a White Buffalo turquoise pendant vs. a Howlite pendant — can you tell the difference?

If you look closely, you can see that on the left — the veins are a grey/light black and the stone looks soft, opaque and milky, which makes it a Howlite stone. On the right — it’s a harder looking stone with black veins and some flecks of brown mixed in, which makes it a White Buffalo turquoise stone.

Magnesite is a calcite group mineral that contains the chemical formula “magnesium carbonate” (MgCO3). It usually forms in three-dimensional rhombohedral shaped crystals and cleavage fragments when magnesium-rich rocks come into contact with carbon dioxide-rich water.

When mined, Magnesite usually appears as chalky white, but can also be found in gray, brown, yellow, orange, pale pink and colorless varieties too. In terms of luster, it is often dull, with a matte surface in its original state. A little harder than Howlite, it rates 3.5 to 4.5 on the Mohs scale, still below that of most turquoise.

It is often dyed to a light blue color and because of its dark veining, it very closely resembles turquoise. In some cases, Magnesite is passed off as turquoise by unaware or unscrupulous dealers and sellers. [**] So be on the look out for it next time you’re in the market for turquoise!

stock image of gemstone beads

[**] = https://nativeamericanjewelrytips.wordpress.com/2017/11/15/white-turquoise-demystified/

[***] = https://www.durangosilver.com/white-turquoise.html

[All photos and information are linked/credited to the original authors and sources unless otherwise stated].

Now it’s Crystal Clear: Celestite

Welcome to ‘Now it’s Crystal Clear’ series! This week’s topic is all about Celestite [also known as Celestine].

Celestite crystal
Latest addition to my crystal collection — photo taken by me 

The name Celestite comes from the Latin word for heavenly — and looking at this clear blue crystal, it sure is fitting!

Most commonly in Brazil and Madagascar — but can be found in locations worldwide — this crystal inspires deep relaxation, peace and joy. It’s also said to relieve stress, anxiety and clear your overburdened mind when times are tough.

The meaning of Celestite is that it’s a teacher for the New Age, bringing a restored sense of trust in the infinite wisdom of the universe.

It’s the ideal crystal to have in your home — especially in your bedroom to bring tranquility and harmonious energies to encourage a restful sleep. [**]

Here are some tips for using your celestite piece:

  • Put under your pillow to encourage healthy dreaming/dream recall and dispel nightmares. This can also help resolve anxiety and heal insomnia.
  • Place nearby to boost your creative expression and help promote your natural abilities to achieve success.
  • Keep around you to assist with detoxing your mind of stress, worry and despair.
  • Place on your desk to increase your ability to use reason and think rationally.
  • Meditate with your celestite crystal to bring you closer to the angelic and celestial realms.
  • Wear a piece near your throat chakra for when you want help with public speaking and for help with knowing the right words to say at the right time. [***]

[**]= https://www.energymuse.com/celestite-stone.html

[***]= http://askronandsue.com.au/Crystal-healing-crystal-tips-celestite/

[All photos and information are linked/credited to the original authors and sources unless otherwise stated].

Fringe, Tassels and Chains — Oh My!

Picasso Marble pendant in sterling silver with fringe accents
Picasso Marble pendant in sterling silver – piece made and photo taken by me

Ever since I started metalsmithing and making jewelry, I’ve come to notice how I’m drawn to this pattern of adding embellishments to every piece I make — especially fringe! I think it adds such a fun element and uniqueness to a piece.

Recently, I made a pendent with Picasso Marble (pictured above) and added chains in a fringe design at the bottom. It’s now one of my favorite pieces — I’m so proud of it!

This type of jewelry design has been around for ages.  Originating as a garment design by the Native American’s — it was used as a sort of gutter system to repel rain water from the wearer. During the 1920’s, this design became more prevalent as a fashion statement in clothing as well as with jewelry. [**]

Being a big fashion trend for 2018 — keep on the look-out for more fun pieces like these, made by me and in the market! Whether you find yourself drawn to fringe, tassels or chains — it’s a timeless design that is sure to add a little fun to your every outfit!

xo. Britt

[**] = https://www.encyclopedia.com/sports-and-everyday-life/fashion-and-clothing/clothing-jewelry-and-personal-adornment/fringe

[All photos and information are linked/credited to the original authors and sources unless otherwise stated].

Now it’s Crystal Clear: Agate

Welcome to ‘Now it’s Crystal Clear’ series! This week’s topic is all about the Agate.

Found along the Achates River in Sicily, these beautifully banded stones were first given their name by the ancient philosopher Theophrastus. Its meaning differed from civilization to civilization — ancient Islamic cultures and Babylonians believed that agate could ward off the evil eye, tragedies and dispel evil energy. However, the ancient Egyptians and the Persians believed the agate was protection against natural disasters like lightning and other aspects. To the ancient Chinese, the power of the agate was more internal. They believed that the crystal meaning was one of spiritual protection, and could stimulate one’s life force while cleansing their mind to make space for good luck and fortune. By the Medieval times, the belief surrounding agate properties was that it could deliver a plentiful harvest if tied to the horns of an oxen …

Agates are banded types of chalcedony that come in a range of colors including pink, red, brown, white, purple, black, gray and yellow. This palette array comes from the impurities within the groundwater’s composition. Its colorful trademark bands are layers of agate deposits that develop on top of each other — with igneous rock joining the silica deposits in groundwater.  [**]

These stones are known to promote inner stability, composure, and maturity. Its warm, protective properties encourage security and self-confidence! [***]

Agate slice with gray white and navy hues
Building up quite a gemstone and crystal collection in my apartment — this Agate is one of my favorite pieces that I own! This picture does not do this stone justice — it’s gray, white and navy hues are absolutely stunning! – photo taken by me

If you thought the list of Jasper stones from Minerals.net was extensive — check out how many varieties of Agate there are!

Agate Geode – Thick layer of Agate surrounding a cavity in a geode that is usually lined with a layer of small Quartz crystals.
Agate Jasper – Opaque multicolored Jasper, or Jasper with banding; may also refer to a single stone with a combination of both Agate and Jasper.
Agatized Wood – Petrified Wood in the form of Agate, with banding patterns.
Agua Nueva Agate – Agate from the Mexican locality of Agua Nueva. Agua Nueva Agate is known for its purple and pink banding formations.
Blue Lace Agate – Agate with light blue bands in a lacy or wavy pattern.
Botswana Agate – Agate from the African country of Botswana banded with fine parallel lines of white, purple, or peach.
Brecciated Agate – Agate with broken fragments naturally cemented together; appears similar to breccia.
Cloud Agate – Grayish Agate with blurry, foggy patches of inclusions.
Condor Agate – Agate from San Rafael, Argentina, often with bright colors.
Coyamito Agate – Agate from Rancho Coyamito, Mexico, that often has reddish banding.
Crazy Lace Agate – Agate with twisting and turning bands of various colors.
Dendritic Agate – Translucent Chalcedony with tree-like or fern-like inclusions. Dendritic Agate is technically not a true Agate, as it lacks the banding patterns exhibited in Agates.
Dryhead Agate – Agate from Montana with orange and brownish banding.
Enhydro Agate – Agate nodule containing trapped water bubbles. The water can be seen from the outside of the nodule when held up to the light. Also known as Enhydritic Agate.
Eye Agate – Agate with banded, concentric rings that are perfectly rounded.
Fairburn Agate – Form of Fortification Agate from Fairburn, South Dakota.
Fire Agate – Form of Agate or Chalcedony that is iridescent with a play of colors or “fire” similar to that of Opal. Fire Agates usually have botryoidal bubbles included in their interior. The play of color is caused by inclusions of Goethite or Limonite.
Fortification Agate – Agate with a pattern in which all bands connect to each other causing it to resemble a medieval fortress (i.e. imaginary moat and walls surrounding the castle).
Fossil Agate – Agate that forms as a replacement of organic material such as wood and shells.
Grape Agate – Spherules of Agate or Chalcedony clustered together in a botryoidal, grape-like habit.
Iris Agate – Rare iridescent Agate that exhibits spectral colors on a translucent colorless or white base.

Varities of Agate stones.jpg

Laguna Agate – Well known form of colorful Agate with very dense banding from Ojo Laguna, Chihuahua, Mexico.
Lake Superior Agate – Agate from the basalt region of northern Michigan, near the shores of Lake Superior.
Landscape Agate – Agate that resembles a scenic landscape such as mountain formations.
Mexican Lace Agate – Agate consisting of thin bands in a lacy or wavy pattern.
Moctezuma Agate – Agate from Estacion Moctezuma, Mexico, known for pastel colors.
Mojave Blue Agate – Agate with a light pastel blue or blue-gray color from the Mojave Desert in California.
Moss Agate – Chalcedony containing dense inclusions of green Hornblende that cause the pattern to resemble moss. Moss Agate is not true Agate as it lacks the banding patterns of Agate.
Nipomo Agate – Agate with Marcasite inclusions found in Nipomo, San Luis Obispo Co., California.
Onyx – Form of Chalcedony with a solid black color or white and black banding. Occasionally also refers to banded Travertine or Tufa in the mineral form of Calcite or Aragonite with black and white bands. For additional information, see the gemstone page on Onyx.
Oregon Snakeskin Agate – White to cream Agate or Chalcedony with a wrinkled or cracked “skin”, resembling the skin of a snake; found in Oregon.
Plume Agate – Agate with inclusions in feather-like patterns.
Queensland Agate – Distinct form of Agate from Agate Creek in Queensland, Australia. Rainbow Agate – Iridescent Agate that exhibits a multicolored effect thin slabs.
Sagenite Agate – Agate with acicular or or pointed inclusions of various minerals. These hair like formations are often arranged in fans or bursts.
Sardonyx – Form of Agate with parallel bands of brownish to red alternating with white or sometimes black bands.
Scenic Agate – Synonym of Landscape Agate
Snakeskin Agate – Agate with a scale-like layer that resembles the skin of a snake. Also refers to a reddish brown Agate with small black concentric bands.
Sweetwater Agate – Agate with star-shaped patterns of manganese oxide inclusions, found in the Sweetwater River, Wyoming. Sweetwater Agate is not true Agate as it lacks the banding patterns of Agate, but is a form of Moss Agate.
Thunder Egg – Rounded nodule filled with Agate in the center. The term Thunder Egg is usually reserved for such nodules found in Oregon, but the term may also encompass similar nodules from other locations.
Tube Agate – Agate with tube-like formations which are sometimes hollow.

** = https://www.energymuse.com/agate-meaning

*** = https://www.crystalvaults.com/crystal-encyclopedia/agate

[All photos and information are linked/credited to the original authors and sources unless otherwise stated].