Thursday, July 28, 2011


SOLD Almost all of the colors one can find in jewelry from the Southwestern United States has been combined into this one necklace. The blue-green of Turquoise, the gold of Amber, the red of Sponge Coral, the blue-green of turquoise colored Magnesite, the black of black Agate (Onyx) and of course Silver.

All of this is found in the 17 inch necklace with a S-hook clasp and 2 inch chain extender. Matching French Hook loop earrings complete the set.

Turquoise comes in many colors and types in today's market. To help understand a bit, the following is provided----

Natural - This comes directly from the mine. It is cut shaped and polished and set into jewelry. It has no man made treatment or additives other than a polishing compound that adds to its luster. Several pieces of natural Turquoise from Arizona, can be seen to the right and are beautiful with very little polishing. Most stones in this state are very close to gem quality. The coloration of natural Turquoise can darken as oils from the skin work its way into the stone over the years, especially of not properly cleaned.

Stabilized – This is a natural turquoise usually in nugget form, but does not hold a luster. It is submerged into a stabilizing compound and dried, cut and prepared for jewelry. The turquoise has not been altered. The pores of the stone have been filled with a clear resin that makes the stone usable. This process allows for diversity of shapes and possibilities in jewelry making. Color Stabilized stones are considered altered and sometimes color has been added in this process. This in not necessarily bad, but it has less value than a piece that is naturally colored. Stabilized Turquoise usually does not change color with wear and because of its hardness, wears better in jewelry.

Treated - This form of color enhancement has been used for thousands of years. It is done as discussed earlier by submerging Turquoise stones into animal fat or vegetable oil and later air dried. Normally the color will not last very long. A new variety on the market, called "Motaska" and "Majave" Stone is much more stable and retains its color as well as being infused with gold, silver and copper.

Fake and Synthetic – Ceramics, bone, celluloid and plastic are used to imitate turquoise. Synthetic turquoise has a very natural matrix that is produced by placing stones in the synthetic “batter”.

Imatations - Then there are the imatations, in many cases natural gemstones that are beautiful in their own right, but due to the fact they accept dyes, many times are dyed the various turquoise colors and then are sold by unscrupulous dealers as real Turquoise. Price becomes the real determining factor when it comes to seperating real Turquoise from dyed Howlite, Magnesite or Ivoryite.

Magnesite occurs as veins in and an alteration product of ultramafic rocks like serpentinite, turquoise and other magnesium rich rock types in both contact and regional metamorphic terranes. These Magnesites often are cryptocrystalline and contain silica as opal or chert. Magnesite is also present within the regolith above ultramafic rocks as a secondary carbonate within soil and subsoil, where it is deposited as a consequence of dissolution of magnesium-bearing minerals by carbon dioxide within groundwaters. Some of the best Magnesite deposits that can produce gemstone quality material are co-located with Turquoise deposits in the southwestern United States. Magnesite like Howlite, can be died to look like actual Turquoise.

Black Agate (Onyx) which is truely a died black Agate, is more common and perhaps the most famous variety, but not as common as natural Onyx. Onyx is a crypyocrystalline form of Quartz. The colors of its bands range from white to almost every color (save some shades, such as purple or blue). A picture of a true Black Onyx specimum is seen below. True specimens of Onyx contain bands of colors of white, tan, and brown. As stated, the pure black form which most people know as Onyx, is not a naturally occuring variety. Black Agate or poorly colored Onyx is heated and dyed black to come up with the pure black form so well liked within the jewelry industry.

Amber - The Baltic region is home to the largest known deposit of Amber, called Baltic amber, with about 80% of the world's known amber found there. It dates back some 44 million years ago. It has been estimated that these forests created over 105 tons of amber. Because Baltic amber contains about 8% succinic acid, it is also termed succinite. It was thought since the 1850s that the resin that became Amber was produced by the tree Pinites succinifer, but research in the 1980's came to the conclusion that the resin originates from several species. Numerous extinct genera and species of plants and animals have been discovered and scientifically described from inclusions in Baltic Amber. Do NOT confuse Amber with Copal. Copal is not the fossilized, but rather an immature recent resin. Increasingly, Copal is being offered for sale, via the online auction services, gem shows, and shops, misrepresented as "Amber." The commercial value of Amber is related to its scarcity, age, inclusions of extinct species, and durability. Unfortunately, some dealers are more preoccupied with high economic returns, rather than whether or not their resin is fossil or recent. The age of Copal can vary from 50 years to 1.6 million years in age. It can be considered a semi-fossilized resin or an immature amber.

Sponge Coral is a natural organic substance that is considered a newcomer to the jewelry industry. It is related to the more traditional red/pinkish coral, thus Sponge Coral is not on the endangered species list, plus it is a sustainable product. Sponge Coral is a farmed product and thus is not removed from the Coral Reef and does not cause the environmental damage associated with traditional corals. Traditional coral is usually used in its natural shape which resembles a twiglet whereas Sponge Coral is reconstituted into different shapes.

This specific jewelry piece was designed and based on a specific request from a customer in Flagstaff, Arizona.