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Have a question about jewelry? Components?  Send me an email and I will get you the best possible answer.
Click on any question  posted below:
    • What is Chalcedony?

    • What are Lampwork Beads?

    • What is Fossil Coral?

    • How do I care for my leather jewelry?

    • What is Chiastolite?

    • What is Imperial Jasper?

    • What is African Turquoise?

    • What is Nephrite?

    • What is the meaning Namaste?

    • What is Gold-Filled Wire?

    • What is Argentium Sterling Silver?

    • Will copper jewelry turn my skin green?

    What is Chalcedony? top

    Chalcedony is a cryptocrystalline form of silica, composed of very fine intergrowths of the minerals quartz and moganite[2]. These are both silica minerals, but they differ in that quartz has a trigonal crystal structure, whilst moganite is monoclinic.

    Chalcedony has a waxy lustre, and may be semitransparent or translucent. It can assume a wide range of colors, but those most commonly seen are white to gray, grayish-blue or a shade of brown ranging from pale to nearly black.  Agate, Carnelian, Chrysoprase, Heliotrope and Moss Agate are all varieties of Chalcedony. 

    Native American Indians believed chalcedony was a sacred stone and used in the spiritual ceremonies of the tribe.  It is thought to increase vitality, stamina, and endurance and to promote emotional balance and charity while relieving melancholy, fever, gallstones, and eye problems. Chalcedony and its named varieties are well represented in various birthstone charts and can be found for all the months except January, April, and November. It is also listed as a birthstone for all the Zodiac signs except Taurus, Cancer, Scorpio and Sagittarius. The term chalcedony is derived from the name of the ancient Greek town Chalkedon in Asia Minor.

    What are Lampwork Beads? top

    These beads are sculpted from glass rods over an open flame using traditional Venetian lampwork techniques. The glass is wound round a metal rod, which forms the base of the bead where other colored glass is added to make different designs.

    What is Fossil Coral? top

    Corals are part of a group of animals called Cnidaria (nid-AIR-ee-a), also called Coelenterata (sel-EN-ter-AH-ta), which includes sea anemones, corals, jellyfish, and hydras. All of these animals are soft bodied and have multiple arms or tentacles, with which they grab food from the surrounding sea water. All Cnidaria (including corals) live in water and most are marine animals. The soft, jelly-like body of an individual cnidarian animal is called a polyp.

    Coral polyps secrete a rock-like skeleton of calcium carbonate around them. Calcium carbonate is also the dominant consituent of the rock, limestone. Because modern corals live in large colonies, these skeletons can become quite large, sometimes forming reefs. When the polyp dies, its soft tissue decays, but the hard skeleton is left behind. The hard skeleton of ancient corals is what is preserved as a fossil.

    All modern corals belong to the order Scleractinia (SCLER-ac-TIN-ee-a). In the past, fossils indicate that there were two other orders of corals, which are now extinct. The order Rugosa was dominated by solitary corals in which each coral polyp had its own skeleton. Rugose means wrinkled or rough, and the outer surfaces of most rugose coral skeletons has a wrinkled appearance. Because some of the solitary rugose corals formed horn-shaped skeletons, they are called horn corals. Some Rugose corals also formed colonies and coral heads. The order Tabulata consisted entirely of groups of coral animals that lived in large colonies with a shared skeleton. These colonial corals grew in mounds, branching shapes, as chain-like shapes, and even in shapes resembling pipe organs.

    Both types of corals are abundant in Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, and Mississippian rocks in Kentucky, and are rarely found in Pennsylvanian rocks in Kentucky. Perhaps the most famous exposures of fossil corals in the world are the Falls of the Ohio, near Louisville, Kentucky. Millions of solitary and colonial coral fossils can be seen in the rocks exposed in this protected area. The fossil beds are part of Falls of the Ohio State Park in Indiana, although most of the fossil beds are actually in Kentucky, as the Kentucky border extends to the north shore of the Ohio River. Collecting is not allowed at the park, which is also a World Heritage Site and Federally Protected Waterway.

    How do I care for my leather jewelry? top

    Natural markings, wrinkles, and varying shades are proof of authenticity.  Leather pieces, including cording and suede cording can be cleaned with a lightly damp cloth.  The use of saddle soap with cause the leather to darken and can strip the leather of oils.  Use saddle soap with caution.  You may be able to restore the natural oils with leather restoration oils.   The real key to keeping your leather looking its best is to avoid drying it out.  Scratches from normal wear are natural and add to the broken-in look.  The more you wear the leather the better it will hang around you neck. 

    What is Chiastolite? top

    The mineral chiastolite is a variety of andalusite with the chemical composition Al2SiO5. It is noted for distinctive cross-shaped black inclusions of graphite. In areas around Georgetown, California, metamorphosed sediments contained andalusite and chiastolite in a graphite rich metasediment. The chiastolite crystals have been pseudomorphicallyaltered by a mixture of muscovite, paragoniteand margarite. The calcium rich margarite tends to form along the graphite rich crosses or bands within the chiastolite. Mineralogically the occurrence is important because all three white mica phases are present in an equilibrium assemblage.  Chiastolite is also called "Cross Stone".

    What is Imperial Jasper? top

    Imperial Jasper is one of the fine jaspers on the market today. It is found over a wide area in Guadalahara, Mexico. There are many varieties and each "lot" that come into the United States has some different characteristics from previously imported material. This jasper forms as nodules and usually has a soft white chalky exterior. The colors are typically shades of pink, red, and green.

    Fine Jaspers are defined by the presence of a particular pattern that results from a common set of circumstances in the formation process. Not all pieces of jasper from the above areas exhibit this pattern and each type may have other patterns common or not common to the others. The pattern that is common to each deposit is referred to by several names and appears in the surface of the rock as a series of overlapping oval shapes. These shapes have been called "eggs", rolls", orbs", "Bruneau Pattern", and "orbicular" pattern to name a few. Picture Jaspers and other categories of jasper do not exhibit this pattern.

    What is African Turquoise? top

    This stone is not true turquoise, but actually a natural jasper found in Africa. It has a matrix structure similar to that of turquoise, and is a light bluish-green. The matrix is usually dark or black. It is an interesting substitute for a true turquoise.

    What is Nephrite? top

    Nephrite is one of two different minerals commonly know as jade.  The other is jadeite.  Nephrite is more common and widespread than jadeite.  Its color varies with its composition; dark green when iron rich; cream colored when magnesium rich.   Nephrite is formed in metamorphic environments, especially metamorphosed ultramafic rocks where it is associated with talc and serpentine and in regionally metamorphosed areas where dolomites have been intruded by mafic rocks. Because of it's tough structure, it is idea for stone carving.
    Large deposits of Nephrite are found on the Kobuk River in Alaska; in British Columbia, Canada; large deposits in China and is also found in Wyoming, California, Siberia, South Korea and several other countries in smaller deposits.

    What is the meaning Namaste? top

    The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart chakra. The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another. "Nama" means bow, "as" means I, and "te" means you. Therefore, Namaste literally means "bow me you" or "I bow to you."

    To perform Namaste, we place the hands together at the heart charka, close the eyes, and bow the head. It can also be done by placing the hands together in front of the third eye, bowing the head, and then bringing the hands down to the heart. This is an especially deep form of respect. Although in the West the word "Namaste" is usually spoken in conjunction with the gesture, in India, it is understood that the gesture itself signifies Namaste, and therefore, it is unnecessary to say the word while bowing.

    We bring the hands together at the heart chakra to increase the flow of Divine love. Bowing the head and closing the eyes helps the mind surrender to the Divine in the heart. One can do Namaste to oneself as a meditation technique to go deeper inside the heart chakra; when done with someone else, it is also a beautiful, albeit quick, meditation.

    For a teacher and student, Namaste allows two individuals to come together energetically to a place of connection and timelessness, free from the bonds of ego-connection. If it is done with deep feeling in the heart and with the mind surrendered, a deep union of spirits can blossom.

    Ideally, Namaste should be done both at the beginning and at the end of class. Usually, it is done at the end of class because the mind is less active and the energy in the room is more peaceful. The teacher initiates Namaste as a symbol of gratitude and respect toward her students and her own teachers and in return invites the students to connect with their lineage, thereby allowing the truth to flow—the truth that we are all one when we live from the heart.

    What is Gold-Filled Wire? top

    Gold-filled wire is made by bonding a layer of 10-karat, 12-karat or 14-karat gold to a base of jeweler's brass. The wire is then drawn to the desired thickness. Gold-filled wire includes considerably more gold than gold plate. Gold-filled products must be a minimum of 1/20th, by weight, of the total piece. It is labeled as 10/20, 12/20 or 14/20, according to the karat used.

    What is Argentium Sterling Silver? top

    Argentium sterling silver is a modern sterling silver alloy which modifies the traditional alloy (92.5% silver + 7.5% copper) by replacing some of the copper with the metalloid germanium. As it retains the 92.5% silver content of the traditional alloy, it is still referred to as sterling silver.  Argentium silver is the result of research by Peter Johns at the School of Art & Design, Middlesex University. The project began in 1990 with research on the effects of germanium additions to silver alloys. Germanium was discovered to impart the following properties to sterling silver:

    Firescale elimination
    High tarnish resistance
    Precipitation hardening and simple heat-hardening properties
    Increased ductility
    Increased thermal and electrical resistance (making alloys suitable for welding and laser forming)
    Environmental advantages (associated with not having to remove or plate over firescale)

    Many of these properties significantly affect the traditional methods of working silver. For instance the absence of firescale eliminates tedious and time-consuming steps required by the silver worker using traditional sterling silver. It also eliminates the need for plating the final product which is often done on manufactured items because of the problems introduced by firescale. Tarnish resistance is of significant importance to both silver workers and the wearer of silver jewellery.

    The development of Argentium silver has stimulated the industry to question the properties of traditional sterling silver and has prompted others to research in this field. This has resulted in a variety of new alloys being introduced into the market in recent years. Thus far field tests indicate that germanium is key since the improved properties of the patented Argentium silver system have yet to be replicated by another element or combination of elements.

    Argentium silver is patented and trademarked by Argentium Silver Company, UK.

    Will copper jewelry turn my skin green? top

    There are several 'green' copper salts which are combinations of the metal copper and various other chemicals. Examples include copper sulfate and copper acetate.  You will note that the green color of the Statue of Liberty is the result of the exposure of copper to the environment which causes oxidation and the production of green salts.  As far as your skin, we constantly release chemicals from our bodies in the form of sweat.  These materials are generally acidic in nature and will cause metals to 'corrode', or turn, at least on the surface of the metal, to a salt compound of the metal. Exactly which of the 'salts' is forming I cannot say.  But the green on your skin near the copper is the direct result.

    ***To eliminate this form of oxidation, I coat each of the copper pieces with "Reniasannce Wax" to protect the skin and the jewelry.  The wax will last a long time, but if for some reason, you've noticed that it's worn off, please contact me, so that I can wax the piece again, or add a new process that I am trying, a lacquer seal. ***  ~Tamra
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