How-To: Buy Jewelry Online.

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One of my recent purchases — a magical moonstone and labradorite necklace by local artist and small business owner Taneisa @_theopaque_photo taken by me

Ever since I started my metalsmithing and beading journey, I’d say its been about a year since I’ve made an in-store jewelry purchase. Why? Well, with all the local artists, small businesses and major brands at your fingertips — there’s so many options for you to choose from online! I’m here to tell you how you can make smart decisions when purchasing your jewelry online.

  1. Research You might have had your eye on a piece of jewelry for a while or seen one that stops you in your Instagram scrolling tracks. It’s an exciting feeling — but don’t pull your purchase trigger finger just yet! Before you add to cart, make sure you do thorough research first. Depending on the type of company you’re looking at — whether it’s a local artist, small business or a major brand — browse the shop a little further before deciding.
  2. Compare You’ve done your research, perused the online store and narrowed down your options. Now it’s time to compare! Make sure you look at the size, shape, color and see if the style resembles something you already have in your current collection. There have been times where I’ve looked up similar pieces and suddenly preferred one over the original piece I was set on. If you’re torn between two, take a step back and revisit them later. Still feeling unsure? Ask a friend or loved one for their opinion!
      • Pro tip: If you’re looking at a piece of jewelry that features a gemstone or crystal, make sure to check what other pieces with that stone are priced at.  Some stones like labradorite, amethyst or moonstone may be used in more pieces because of their commonality so their prices may vary. Other stones like citrine and turquoise can be fake as most sold in the market are actually heat treated amethyst or dyed howlite. So, just be aware and make sure you’re buying from a verified seller.
  3. Check the Material Used and How It Will Affect You Brass, nickel, sterling silver, gold, gold or silver filled — the possibilities are endless! However, some people are affected by one or more of these materials when it comes in contact with their skin. It’s important to check what the piece is made of and how it will affect you before purchasing it. If you know a certain material affects you — ask the artist if they are able to create a custom piece in the same style for you, or check the brand website to see if they make the piece in another material for an additional charge.
  4. Measure This step is crucial! In my first few online purchases, I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I received a piece that fit longer than expected, was too small or sometimes didn’t even fit! One of the things to keep in mind when purchasing jewelry online is that a lot of the images you see are enlarged to show you the details of each piece. This is why measuring yourself is so important so you can order the size that is right for you!
  5. Read the Shop Policies Last but not least — when purchasing a piece of jewelry online, you need to make sure you read and understand the shop policies. Purchasing from a local artist or small business is a lot different than purchasing from a major brand. Each will have their own set of return and exchange policies, as well as prices. The local artist or small business might only make one of a kind pieces or have a limited release while the major brand might produce larger quantities. If the price is a concern for you, ask to see if there is a payment plan option available. A lot of local artists, small businesses and major brands are implementing them and is a great option to look into.

Now you’re ready to go shopping online and add some beautiful new jewels to your collection! Remember these 5 steps and you’ll be satisfied with your purchase every time.

Now it’s Crystal Clear: Jasper

Welcome to ‘Now it’s Crystal Clear’ series! Today’s topic is all about Jasper.

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The Jasper stone has been around for centuries. Worn by shamans, priests and kings, it was considered sacred and a powerful protection stone — for both the physical world and in the spiritual realm. Amulets of Jasper were carved by the Egyptians with symbols and inscriptions from the Book of the Dead and buried with mummified remains for safe passage in the after life. It was highly utilized in many cultures for engraving cylinder seals, signet rings, and special talismans depicting astrological and religious images …

Known as the “Supreme Nurturer,” Jasper is a stone of grounding and stability, providing comfort and security, strength and healing. Its presence balances the aura to a level of wholeness and peace, and acts as a reminder that one is not here on the physical plane simply for oneself, but to bring joy and substance to others. [Click here for more details]

A beaded blue Jasper stone necklace
This Picture Jasper piece is a recent purchase I made at a local Arts & Crafts fair. My Mom and I both walked over to this artist’s booth and looked at this same piece without realizing it! Funny how some stones call out to you. This variety of Jasper is described as being the Earth Mother speaking to her children. It forms in remarkable bands and flow patterns of browns, black, tan, blue and ivory, and exhibits a hidden message or “picture” from the past (this particular piece reminds me of an abstract work of art more so than a picture) … An excellent stone for creative vision, initiative and boosting confidence, it is an ideal aid for starting one’s own business.  [***]  How cool! – photo taken by me

It’s insane how many varieties of this stone there are! This list from Minerals.net was the most comprehensive that I could find:

Agate Jasper –  Opaque multicolored Jasper, or Jasper with banding; may also refer to a single stone with a combination of both Agate and Jasper.
Basanite  –  Incorrectly refers to a black, fine-grained variety of Jasper. The proper definition of Basanite is a low-grade Obsidian.
Biggs Jasper –  Jasper from Biggs Junction, Oregon, with varying light and dark color brown bands and pretty formations.
Brecciated Jasper  –  Jasper in rounded fragments naturally cemented together in a gray material; appears similar to breccia.
Bruneau Jasper  –  Jasper from Bruneau Canyon, in Owyhee County, Idaho, with distinctive brown, cream, (and sometimes even red or green) banding and patterns.
Cave Creek Jasper  –  Reddish Jasper found near Cave Creek in Maricopa County, Arizona.
Dalmatian Jasper – pale gray, cream or beige-brown with dark spots and resembles the coat of a Dalmatian.
Deschutes Jasper  –  Jasper from a deposit slightly east of Biggs Junction, Oregon, near the Deschutes River, with good banding and interesting color formations.
Egyptian Jasper –  Form of Orbicular Jasper with white and gray circles on a red background. It is found as rounded pebbles on the beaches of Egypt. A similar Jasper is found on the beaches of Washington state and sometimes also labelled as Egyptian Jasper.
Green Jasper  –  Jasper with a light to dark green color. Green Jasper differs from Prase and Plasma since it is fully opaque.
Kinradite  –  May be used as a synonym for Jasper, but more often refers to Orbicular Jasper with concentric rings of colorless or white Quartz.
Leopard Jasper  –  Leopard Jasper is a form of Orbicular Jasper with tan color rings, appearing similar to the spots of a leopard.
Morgan Hill Jasper –  Jasper found in Morgan Hill, California, with small reddish and yellow “poppy” formations. Sometimes synonymous with “Poppy Jasper”.
Morrisonite  –  Multicolored Jasper from the Owyhee River gorge in Malheur Co., Oregon.
Varities of Jasper stones
Moss Jasper –  Form of Jasper or Chalcedony containing dense inclusions of green Hornblende that cause the pattern to resemble moss. Often used as a synonym for Moss Agate.
Ocean Jasper  –  Ocean Jasper is a form of Orbicular Jasper found on the coast of Madagascar with small, tight, concentric ring formations.
Opal Jasper  –  Opal Jasper is a form of Brecciated Jasper in which the cementing material is Opal.
Orbicular Jasper  –  Jasper with rounded concentric rings throughout.
Owyhee Jasper  –  Form of Jasper with scenic picture formations found near the Owyhee River in Oregon.
Picture Jasper –  Form of Jasper with scenic picture-like formations.
Poppy Jasper  –  Poppy Jasper is a form of yellow Orbicular Jasper with red concentric rings.
Riband Jasper  –  Jasper with banded stripes, usually dark red, brown, yellow, or white bands.
Ribbon Jasper  –  Jasper in the form of Banded Jasper with think banded lines.
Rogueite –  Green form of Jasper from the Rogue River in Oregon.
Russian Jasper  –  Jasper from Russia, usually with reddish spots.
Stone Canyon Jasper  –  Yellowish type of Jasper in the form of Brecciated Jasper from Stone Canyon (near San Miguel), California.
Wascoite –  Jasper from Wasco Co., Oregon, with irregular yellow, pink, and red concentric bands.
Zebra Jasper  –  Dark brown Jasper with lighter brown to white colored banding streaks.
[All photos and information are linked/credited to the original authors and sources unless otherwise stated].