Rock Appreciation Day and News-

For this double Rock Appreciation Day we have…

TOURMALINE & EMERALD GEMSTONES

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TOURMALINE:

Tourmaline is one of the most varied gemstones out there. It ranks a 7-7.5 on the hardness scale, and can come transparent to opaque, in any colour (colourless to black). The tourmaline gem is actually a group of mineral species, but because some of these minerals vary with varying colours, they are simply termed “tourmaline”.  Because there are so many colours, tones, and opacities to tourmaline, it can be mistaken easily and is usually termed solely by colour. There are many different varieties, for instance bi-colour, watermelon, chrome, etc. Rubellite tourmaline is a very rare type that was often mistaken for rubies in Russian crown jewels of the past. Tourmaline can hail from many places, including the USA, Russia, Sri Lanka, Africa, Brazil, Australia, and so on. Tourmaline has strong pleochroism, which means you can see different colours or depths of colour when viewed at different angles, such as when you rotate the stone in the light. Different varieties tend to have different clarities. Those of the blue/green variety can be eye clean, while the pinks of reds of the spectrum almost always have eye-visible inclusions. Tourmaline can come natural, or is sometimes heat-treated to bring out colour depth.

Tourmaline is both pyroelectric and piezoelectric. If a specimen is put under a pressure or temperature change, it will generate an electrical charge (how cool is that!?). When this happens, dust particles become attached to the crystal ends. For a long time tourmaline was known in Europe as aschentrekker (ash puller) as the stone was used by the Dutch to pull the ash out of their meerschaum tobacco pipes.

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EMERALD:

May birthstone, ranking a 7.5-8 on the MOH’s hardness scale. Personally one of my all time favourites… but being a May baby with green as a favourite colour, I’m biased. The colour of emerald (aka ‘emerald green’) is so unique it earns its status as one of the four “traditional” precious gemstones, along with diamond, ruby, and sapphire. The colour of emeralds is caused by small amounts of chromium and vanadium. It is in the Beryl family, and is essentially just the highest quality of beryl that can come transparent to opaque. Emerald is a particularly brittle gem. Natural emeralds almost always have inclusions and should be handled more gently. They are also almost always treated with oils, resins, or waxes. Exceptions are made for this treatment and for inclusions more than other gemstones. Inclusions and flaws are not always seen as negative, and can be an assurance that the gem is natural. Quality is determined by colour, and occasionally geographical origin. Emeralds can come from Africa, India, Russia, Brazil, Peru, among other places. Columbia is the center for mining emeralds, and South America in general produces the highest qualities. There a many stories and myths circling the emerald. The Egyptians mined it near the Red Sea, and it was said to be a favourite of Cleopatra. The Aztecs and the Incas both collected and valued emeralds, possibly regarding them as symbols for good luck and foresight.

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OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS:

My work load has become exceptionally large, and I can no longer be accepting any custom orders from May through the end of July. Unless I have already started conversations with you regarding a project, I simply don’t have the extra time for them right now. This doesn’t include “made to order” items. Essentially what is listed in the Etsy Shops is what’s available. This hiatus does not apply to wholesale or consignment orders.

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A congratulations to the two winners of my Instagram Giveaway! For those of you unfamiliar with the application, you can do a little snooping and follow me @thestrayarrow, or check updates by clicking on the photo below.

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LAST BIT OF NEWS:

10% OFF ALL OF MAY!

For the entire month in the Main Shop, there is a 10% off deal on your order with the coupon code in the photo below. PLEASE do not forget to apply the code at purchase. I cannot issue refunds for those that forget to do so. Enjoy!

MAYBABY1

Merry May all!

xx Stray Arrow

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Rock Appreciation Day

For this double Rock Day we have Imperial Jasper, and Lace/Banded Agate. The usual disclaimers apply-

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(Royal) Imperial Jasper

Jasper and agate are two of the most varied stone types out there. Jasper is of the quartz variety, almost always opaque, and reaches a 7 on the MOH’s hardness scale (for reference, diamonds are a 10 on the scale). It is said to be an impure chalcedony. Jasper can come in any colour. Because there are so many different colour and pattern variations, there are beyond dozens of “types” of classified jasper. Some other types besides imperial jasper would be Ocean jasper, Plume jasper, Picture or Landscape jasper, and so on. Jasper is found worldwide, but the majority of the beautiful type known as “Imperial Jasper”, or “Royal Imperial Jasper”, comes from Mexico. A light pastel version of the deeper colours associated with imperial jasper can also come from the Willow Creek Mine in Idaho. The main defining characteristics of imperial jasper are any combo of green hues, warm red/pink hues, and cream/brown hues. Rarely seen are the colder hues like grays and blues. There is a soft creaminess to the colours, and the highest grades show distinct banded patterns of colour. The bands or lines within this jasper can be referred to as “streamers”, when the jasper fractures and is then filled in with more jasper. Colours can swirl and merge from the rock forming process yielding amazing patterns. The most prized of all imperial jasper, are “Royal Imperial Jasper Nodules”. These nodules have a variety of colours in a banded pattern like an orb, stemming from the center of the stone.

 

The imperial jasper below is my own collection. All are up for grabs for custom orders except the small oval with rust and deep green colours of the same value. This is being used in a large ring…

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Imperial Jasper group pic

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Imperial Jasper group no. 2

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Lace and Banded Agate

Lace agate is quite close to jasper. It is also in the quartz family, and another variety of chalcedony. Classified as microcrystalline quartz, it measures a 6.5-7 on the MOH’s hardness scale. It can be opaque or translucent, and any degree in between. Like jasper, there is an inmeasureable amount of different types. Lace agate is close to banded agate and striped agate. Crazy lace agate is a more specific type only found in Mexico. Crazy lace agate can also be known as the “Laughter Stone”, or “Happy Lace”. Agate is said to start as a nodule in volcanic rock and ancient lava. From formation, the insides of agates are often left hollow and can form druzy quartz on the insides. This type will be saved for another Rock Day. The stones below are my collection of lace and banded agates up for grabs. The bottom left is crazy lace agate.

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Agate group photo

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Agate group pic 2

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Below:

Pieces made with lace and banded agate.

An example picture to show the difference between some plume and lace types…

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Agate jewelry group

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Plume & Lace type examples*

In the SHOP now:

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New Cave Lady Ring with agate in the works, and in the shop tomorrow:

Lace agate ring in works

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In other news:

New ITEM PREVIEW on the blog tomorrow morning.

New items in the shop tomorrow night and Monday-

xx Stray Arrow

Turquoise Guide.

Time to crack open the Treasure Chest…

Turquoise Treasure Chest

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A COMPREHENSIVE TURQUOISE GUIDE FOR CUSTOMERS AND OTHER ENTHUSIASTS

       A DISCLAIMER: I am an enthusiast. I have gathered all of the information here by myself over years spent drooling over and collecting rocks. I have not been trained, schooled, or educated beyond my own research. I am not a lapidary artist, mineralogist, gemologist, mine owner, or any other kind of authority on gems, stones, or minerals. I am simply sharing information I have gathered through reading and observation, and my opinions. If you see something mislabeled please –kindly- let me know.

       For this Turquoise Guide, the main aim is to educate anyone and everyone who would like to know how to identify the quality of what they’re buying (many of these factors can be applied to all stones, not just turquoise). A three star grading system will be used solely within my shop for my own jewelry pieces, and will be explained with examples towards the bottom of this post.

 I will be using select terms in repetition for describing aspects of stone quality. These are also just handy in general. Here is a list of some terms that may prove useful with a few example pictures:

Rough/Nugget: when a stone is in a nugget or chunk rock form straight from the earth.

Slab: After the rough/nugget stage rocks are cut into working slabs (from what I’ve seen around ¼” thick), that a lapidary artist will trace in pencil where to cut cabochons.

Preform: The shape of a cabochon cut from a slab and roughly started.

Rough examples

(click picture to enlarge)

Cabochon (cab for short): Stones used in jewelry, mainly for bezel setting. Cabochons are flat on the bottom and polish domed on the top for easy setting.

Doublet: When a stone or gem has some kind of backing. This can been seen in “opal doublets” or triplets-which is done to save money. In the case of turquoise, however, it is often done in the lapidary process to work with the stone when shaping and polishing. Turquoise is very soft compared to other mineral types, so many natural turquoise stones will more often than not have a resin backing. This can actually be handy when buying turquoise because stabilized, or enhanced turquoise won’t have any resin backing.

Enhanced: When natural stones are treated to improve colour, finish, strength, or other characteristics. This lessens quality as “natural” is more desirable. Enhancement methods can include surface coating, filling cracks, oiling (usually done to emeralds to hide fracturing), waxing, dyes etc.

Stabilized: A form of stone enhancement where plastic resins are forced into the pores of a stone to harden and brighten colour. The only way I know of to test this is to take a heated pin to the stone and see if you smell plastic.

Fracture: A crack or break in the rock. Fractures can also be teeny tiny river shaped cracks in the surface of a stone, which is common among older stock pieces, natural pieces, or especially soft pieces. A stone can often still be used with fractures as long as there is no chipping, but they are not desired.

Porous: A stone with tiny holes in the surface. While these can still be beautiful, things like water and oils from skin can get into the rock and change it’s colouring over time.

Value: Spectrum of light to dark.

Hue: Essentially colour.

Saturation: The intensity, depth, and vividness of colour.

 Chroma: Purity or intensity of colour.

Luster: State or quality of shine.

Water Web: When a stone features a webbing pattern of two different tones/values of turquoise without a host rock.

Spider and Water Webs

(click on picture to enlarge)

TURQUOISE & QUALITY.

LOCATION:

All of the turquoise I collect comes from the American Southwest. Other turquoise hubs that I know of are China and Persia. Persia produces a lot of great quality blue turquoise that can also sometimes be seen in Native American Indian jewelry. China produces a lot of enhanced or stabilized turquoise, as well as quality turquoise like that of the Hubei Mine. I’m sure there are other “hubs” that produce turquoise, but these are the prominent three I’ve been exposed to constantly while rock roaming.

 In theory, a mine owner or their employees will sell rough to lapidary artists who then create cabochons or other stone styles from the rough. Sometimes a mine will produce turquoise in several stages for sale (rough, slabs, cabs). Essentially what it comes down to is it is on the mine owners, operators, employees, buyers, lapidary artists, and any other middle folks between digging the rock out of the earth to the hands of a jeweler to keep the Mine location of the turquoise properly labeled. This is a very hopeful practice. Many people say you can never really know where a stone comes from. I met a man once who could tell you the exact Mine or Mine pit a stone was from just by looking at it. It really depends on how much exposure you have to turquoise, and how close you are to the source. Sometimes a stone origin can be evident if a mine has signature characteristics that NO OTHER MINE HAS. Damele and Lander Blue come to my mind (watch out though! Highly prized Lander Blue is often poorly faked. Anything that isn’t sold for hundreds a carat ain’t real folks). Mines that are really close in location and colour qualities are harder. For instance Crow Springs, Ajax, Royston, and Pilot Mountain mines can be confused very easily. While most stones are only graded in quality based on the condition of the stone, turquoise also factors in location and colour.

COLOUR/PATTERN:

Colour is always subjective. Back in the day deep saturated blues were considered prized. Solid colours were considered higher quality. Nowadays pale blues, deep greens, and everything in between has become collectible. Patterns make for more unique stones, and unique stones are always more sought after. No matter what, a mainstay in quality is spider-webbed turquoise. A clear webbing pattern is always the highest quality. What I look for in colour is uniqueness and chroma/saturation. The deeper colour of the stone the better in my book. Different hues, like mixed blues and greens, are also a hit. I veer towards the collectible “military greens” often seen in Manassa, Blue Gem, and Royston turquoise. Rare hues are also what I cherish, as I’m a bit of a colour nerd. Anything topographical or “earthy” I’ll jump on. Pale blues can also be beautiful, especially the “white turquoise” of mines like Dry Creek. Any kind of webbing, boulder cut, or water web is always special and a bit harder to come by. If a colour looks “chalky”, or less saturated, I’ll personally consider it lower quality. An example of this is two different rings I made in the same “Green Grasses” theme. Both cabs were natural from the Crow Springs Mine. One is a deeper green and I considered that to be more prized.

Crow Springs Green Grasses ringGreen Grasses No. 2 better

TREATMENT:

The highest quality stones are natural. Always. Natural stones are often, but not always backed or mounted. If a stone is too soft it is often stabilized or enhanced in some way. High Grade natural turquoise is a small percentage of turquoise produced from a mine that is hard and can take a good polish. There are always exceptions based on location. For example a webbed Damele turquoise with one or two chips may be prized more than a hard, high polished Kingman mine stone. There is always subjective compromise based on location, pattern, and colouring. The general consensus is natural>treated every time. The difficult part for many is being able to tell when a stone is enhanced in any way. For me, I think stabilized stones look dulled out and more plastic like. While it is done to strengthen and brighten colour, the overall appearance is waxy and too high polished to be believable. Then again, there really is no way of knowing unless you know and trust the source or get it professionally tested.

OTHER FACTORS:

The highest grades of turquoise will be either the perfect hue (robin’s egg blue), spider-webbed, water-webbed, birds eye, include pyrite, fossils, dendrites, or be extremely rare based on mine location. Few are able to obtain and use turquoise of this grade and it is what I would consider to be “museum” or top quality. Any of these types of turquoise that aren’t extremely hard, cut well, and polished I would consider to be “good/decent” quality. Natural turquoise that is a jewelry standard usually features one solid colour or decent matrix. I prize turquoise with pyrite, tight spider and water webs, and rare mines.

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TURQUOISE GRADING SYSTEM FOR THE TURQUOISE STONES I USE IN MY OWN JEWELRY:

A three star (***) system will be seen displayed with each piece of jewelry I create involving turquoise. A single star will encompass the majority of turquoise used. To the best of my knowledge, this will always be natural turquoise. One star will stand for wholesale to decent grade turquoise. Two stars will stand for higher grade turquoise or rarer mines. Three stars will rarely be seen and reserved solely for my best top-notch turquoise stones collected and used.

       These stars will appear at the bottom left corner of the first photo for every Etsy turquoise listing from now on. The star shown is how I will be grading the stone in the jewelry piece.

If you see a stone and fall in love, but it is low quality-it doesn’t matter! Anything has the potential for beauty. This guide is merely to inspire confidence in any customer, to establish price points, and for sharing information. I care about what I use, produce, and offer to people. There’s nothing better than someone enjoying something I’ve created. I love turquoise, and I want you to love it as well. Sometimes I also use rough, uncut, or unpolished turquoise. These stones will also be graded with one star. I use these because of either where they come from, the colour, or just because they are really, really cool rocks. I love the thought of the process they go through coming out of the earth, and capturing it in an early stage for jewelry use is exciting.

 WHEN BUYING JEWELRY:

Sometimes I will actually snag and use a turquoise stone when I do not know, or am not sure of the mine. This may be because the stone is obviously of amazing quality, or because I just think it’s darn nifty. A stone is a stone, after all. When you buy jewelry, from me or any other jeweler or place out there, make sure people tell you what you’re getting! If the “main stone” of a piece is listed as Sleeping Beauty mine, do NOT assume this covers any other turquoise stones in that piece that are not identified. I’ve seen this a lot where someone will use one nice stone, and surround it by cheap stabilized Chinese turquoise. If they don’t know where it’s from, they should tell you. It may or may not lessen the personal value you project towards that jewelry piece, but you should have all the facts. Most people do not know the mines of the stones they use, and it should not take away from the piece unless you’re aiming to collect a mine.

Secondly, all sides of what you are planning to buy should be seen. Sometimes there is a limit to how many photos of each item a seller can post depending on the selling platform. If I do not post a picture of the back of an item, it is usually because of this reason or lack of detailing on the back. Never hesitate to ask for more photos from anyone to see all views.

*PRICING*

If the price is too good to be true, it usually is. Rare turquoise is RARE, and thus expensive. Once a mine is depleted, all that is left is uncut rough or old stock cab collections on the market to be used. If someone is selling “natural”, “rare” turquoise, or anything from a specific mine, at a low cost, they are either not making any money or being dishonest. My particular prices are extremely fair for what the turquoise stones themselves alone retail for, or cost for collectors. I have worked for several years to search out reputable and trustworthy sources. If you have a questions about a stone used in my jewelry, feel free to ask.

If you have any questions about any of my work, never hesitate to ask me. Be nice though, and remember we’re all human.

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BELOW:

TURQUOISE EXAMPLES &  TURQUOISE IN JEWELRY EXAMPLES.

RoughCrowSprings

^these are rough cabs from the Crow Springs mine. I would not use them in my jewelry but collect them because I like rocks and think they’re nifty.

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Pilot Mtn Tight Web stone

Morenci with Pyrite

Lander Group Ex.

^These four all look similar but are from different mines.

(L to R: New Lander, Lander County, Apache, Widow Maker)

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Damele Group ex.

Crow Springs Quality Group

^Crow Springs Mine.

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BISBEEgrouping^an indicating mark of Bisbee Blue is the warm deep chocolate brown host rock/matrix

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~*FOR JEWELRY EXAMPLES CLICK ON THE PICTURE TO SEE THE ITEM*~

Apache Mine Lisa's ring

#8 mine webbed plugs

Cripple Creek Ring

Damele&Candelaria Lin's rings

Kingman Murky Skies ring

Lisa's Murky Skies Apache

Manassa studs on feather

^these little Manassa post earrings are of decent quality and have a lot of beautiful teeny patterning, hue, and chroma variations.

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Steph's Manassa Plugs

^custom 1″ Manassa Mine plugs with solid and ribbon cut turquoise.

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Tory's Damele Bangle

Unknown gold ring stone

^while the Mine is unknown, this is natural, webbed, Southwestern turquoise.

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Kingman Bangle

^certain Mines, like a lot of Kingman Ithaca Peak, are actually popular in this more “nugget like” form. They are collected this way and still prove of great quality.

Spider to Fly ring

Unknown Nugget Turq Ring^this last one is unknown, Kingman mine is usually more blue as seen in the two previous.

White Buff my ring

^lower quality White Buffalo- this ring is one of my personal pieces i made for myself.

Buffalo and Crow Custom Bracelet

^custom Buffalo&Crow cuff, with White Buffalo ribbon cut. Ribbon cut and boulder turquoise is automatically considered a little lower in quality simply because there is less turquoise involved and more host rock. These types have become collectible in their own right for contrast between the turquoise and host rock, and patterning.

Sotmr Caller White Buff ex

^high quality White Buffalo, with smooth even polish, hard surface, and clarity between the white and black chert host rock matrix.

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THAT’S IT FOLKS.

As always, feel free to message me with any questions, concerns, etc.

Thanks for reading!

xx Stray Arrow.

*these are my own notes from years of study and research. Copyrighted by Stasia Salvucci 2013. Please do not quote or use without permission.

Rock Day On The Way…

In replacement of the monthly “Rock Appreciation Day”, I have been working on a Turquoise Guide post. This will be for any turquoise enthusiasts, but primarily for customers to see examples and know exactly what they’re getting-whether it be Stray Arrow Jewelry or from elsewhere. There is a lot of turquoise jewelry out there-as there should be! It’s an amazing stone with so many lovely variations. Unfortunately, it is often misrepresented, not labeled at all, or people just don’t know enough to know what they’re looking at. This identification stuff can get pretty tricky, after all. Even mine owners and lapidary artists can fight about where a stone came from, and the more time has passed the harder it is to tell. So, the information I will be giving you is how *I* pick the turquoise I use. Specific concerns that factor into stone selection.

The post will cover: natural vs stabilized, location characteristics, and first and foremost quality. I’ll have examples from very low quality to museum quality. 

The most important part of this upcoming post will be a

*TURQUOISE GRADING SYSTEM*

created by me for use only within my shops, for my pieces. This will consist of a three star system, and be at the top of every single turquoise listing I create. I’ll stand by it so you know what you’re getting, and can have confidence in your purchased treasures. Because this is going to be extremely extensive, please allow me one more day to finish it! All of the examples are coming straight out of my own Treasure Chest from my collection. The post will be published tomorrow night and used as a reference point from then on. 

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TurqGuideMainpic

Giveaway Results, New Item Preview, New Rocks…

LET’S GET RIGHT TO IT, SHALL WE?

For both giveaways I made a list of the names entered with numbers next to the names. The drawing for the Koroit Dirt Drop Necklace was out of 24 names, the Buffalo out of 64. I used a random number generator to choose the winners:

Picture 5

WINNER of Koroit Necklace:

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SARAH HAYWARD.

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WINNER of Buffalo:

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LAUREN PROPER.

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Congrats to Lauren & Sarah! You’ll be contacted to confirm shipping info. Thank you so much to everyone who participated! Grazie Mille for the comments, compliments, shard stories, quotes, lyrics, and little diddys. We’ll have to see what I come up with next December!

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If you all didn’t notice, both shops are currently on VACATION. I had some panic last time that folks couldn’t “find” my shop on Etsy and thought I had been lost forever, so DON’T PANIC. They’ll reopen next week! Meanwhile I’m out on the road to see some good ol’Bluegrass banjo music. Speaking of banjos…..

*NEW ITEM PREVIEW*

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JewelryGrouping

I’ve always liked some nice twang. While I listen to many, many different “genres” of music, I adore old Appalachian Folk, Bluegrass, Delta Blues, and old Country. Banjos in general are just neat. So, I’ve been bangin’ out some 5 string banjo-shaped pieces for keychains and little necklaces. They are out of thick copper and bronze in two different sizes. Each has my maker’s mark on the back, and a CUSTOM song quote or tittle on the front. There will also be a standard set of quotes to choose from. The key chains will be great for guys and gals alike, the necklaces shall veer slightly towards a steampunk fashion with antique watch faces for the banjo body, reading, “BANJO TIME”, on the back. These will be up in the shop for sale next week as a “first draft”at this new concept.

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BANJOS.

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These new goodies will also be in the shop next week:

Icarus.modeled

Icarus.side.

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KingmanGoldPosts

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KoroitBacchusnecklace

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ManassaStacker

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LittleLeafStacker

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miniRoystonPendant

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WinterWindsmodeled

WinterWindsside.

WinterWinds.size.

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Olive Arrowring

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Also new will be one of a kind stacking ring sets, “The Cave Stack”. Each will feature two pieces of natural turquoise from a collectable mine. Each will have 4 rings in the stack total, often spur of the moment made stackers. These may be one shot items. They’ll all be patina rustic, echoing your inner cave dweller. The Cave Stack below features Castle Dome turquoise from the Southwest in a size 7.5. A set featuring Damele mine turquoise is also made up in a size 6, and a #8 Mine Cave Stack is currently in production in a size 8.5. These can also be custom made!

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CastleCaveStack

CastleDomeCaveStack

CastleDomeStackModeled

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NOW ON TO ROCKS.

Some sad news is I *WON’T* be heading to the fun and fruitful Tucson Gem Show this coming year. After getting slightly more organized this year, I’ve realized that I do have an extensive rock inventory that really does need to be used up before I buy oodles more. Because of this, I just snagged a HUGE, MASSIVE amount of natural old stock turquoise stones from a secret source of mine. In addition I’ve formed a couple of other selective sources for primo quality natural turquoise. A few days before I picked these out, the man I acquired them from had just had a mini summit of sorts with 5-7 different Mine *owners*, so this is pretty great stuff straight from their respective sources. Most are currently up for grabs for any custom orders (great for Cave stacking sets!). Feel free to inquire about any sizes, or custom ideas!

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BISBEEgrouping

BlueGemGrouping

CasleDomeCabgroup2

CastleDomecabgroup1

CastleDomeCabGroup3

FoxMinegrouping

ManassaTurqgrouping

NumberEightMineturqgrouping

TurqGroup1

^ABOVE FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: rough Manassa, rough Damele, Skyline Mine, Snowville Variscite from Utah.

SmokeyBisbeecab

SleepingBeautycabs

Roystonminegrouping

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That’s it! Hope everyone has had a Happy Holiday season, whether you’re celebrating Channukah, Christmas, Yule/Solstice, or what have you. See you all January First for Rock Appreciation Day!

xx Stray Arrow

Rock Appreciation Day

WILDHORSErockday

 

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For Rock Appreciation Day we have….

WILD HORSE MAGNESITE.

Other names the stone has been called are, “Crazy Horse”, and “Appaloosa”. It is called Wild Horse for it’s similar patterning to the Appaloosa horse. It is unfortunately often mislabeled as turquoise or white turquoise. Hailing solely from Southern Arizona wild horse is seen in a lot of Native American Indian jewelry, along with turquoise, coral, and shell. It is considered quite rare because of the one current Wild Horse marketed source, and is very popular.

Magnesite is magnesium carbonate. Wild Horse differs from your basic white/gray magnesite because it has hematite mixed in, giving it beautiful white and brownish patterning. It is around a 4-5 on the hardness scale, and in the Calcite rock group.

The picture below shows the current Wild Horse Magnesite stones I have in stock. They range from decent quality (left) to highest quality (right). The higher the quality, the more separated and clear the minerals within the rock are, thus the incredible bark like patterns. The decent quality (note: NOT low or poor quality, of which I don’t stock), can have lighter mauve colours blended within it. All of these are up for grabs for custom orders. The three long oval shaped highest quality would be grouped for a bracelet.

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rockgroup

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I currently have one piece with Wild Horse Magnesite up in the shop. Below is that piece, The Stormy Plains Ring, and other pieces with Wild Horse that have sold.

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stormyplainsring

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crazyhorsesawedshankring

wildhorsering

wildhorsegoldring

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Below is a ring I currently have in progress. The White Oak Bark ring features a lovely little drop of Wild Horse Magnesite, set on a hand sawed sterling silver white oak leaf with rose gold fill veining. This will be in the main shop later on…

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White Oak Bark ring

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That’s it folks!

A big heads up that by the end of tonight will be a very important blog post about a GIVEAWAY.

Don’t miss out! There will also be another mini blog post tomorrow with a PREVIEW of new items before they hit the shop tomorrow night and Monday.

xx Stray Arrow

Holiday Frenzy

This post will feature new pieces and new stones. With all the Holiday shopping frenzy going on, the studio has been busier than ever. This month in particular has been quite tumultuous, between the hurricane, losing power, having the near-lack of a car or transportation of any kind, constant guests, and gearing up for the Holiday season. I want to thank you ALL for bearing with me if I’ve been at all disorderly. Regular Preview posts will now resume before new items hit either shop (instead of listing one new item every few days unannounced). Rock Appreciation Day will be posted once again on the First of December, along with secret special details. I hope you all enjoy the new lovelies I’ve been hammering away at. Other pieces in the near future will include an Icarus Ring, Storm Earrings, ornate dangles for tunnels, more of the To Make Much of Time and Towards Mountains series, and more! During the Holiday season, its best to take a few breathers. Remember what and who are important, take time to do what you love most, and support handmade small business-or make something yourself!

All of these will be in the shop today or tomorrow for the Cyber Monday Sale.

~*ENJOY*~

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NEW CABS~

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^*TOP ROW, left to right: beautiful quality high grade Bisbee Arizona district Azurite Malachite, premium fossilized Dinosaur Bone, Royal Imperial Nodule Jasper.

BOTTOM ROW: 16mm chrysocolla, Russian serpentine.

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^*the ever popular high grade Australian Koroit Opal from Queensland.

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^*a new absolute FAVOURITE stone. This is Pietersite, from Namibia. This stone actually glints like labradorite, spectrolite, or larvakite. They remind me of a study painting for Gericault’s Raft of the Medusa. Pietersite is the perfect stormy mood stone. For those that follow my INSTAGRAM (username TheStrayArrow), you’ll know that I’ve been working on a pair of pietersite earrings since last weekend, posted a few days ago. These large loves will feature moons, morning stars, chevrons, among other dangling elements.  Follow me there for the freshest previews, inside studio pics and stone finds.

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All of these new stones are up for grabs for custom orders. Check back to the blog DECEMBER FIRST for Rock Appreciation Day, a special announcement, and more. I’ll be working longer hours in the studio from now until the end of next month so production times for items do not slow down for gifting! See the results on Instagram and my Facebook Page.

Better start snagging the plugs you want and gifts while the sale is still up folks! Don’t forget to put in the coupon code: BLACKCYBER!

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xx Stray Arrow

Rock Appreciation Day + Preview Night

ROCK APPRECIATION DAY:

DAMELE MINE TURQUOISE.

*To repeat the disclaimer from the first Rock Appreciation Day: I AM NO LAPIDARY ARTIST OR GEOLOGIST/GEMOLOGIST. All of my information comes from research and experience working with these stones, not mining or cutting them.

The Damele Mine is located in east central Nevada near the Godber-Burnham Mine and Carico Lake Mine. It is also known as Damale, or Damaile. The mine itself is quite small, and also produces popular kinds of variscite and faustite (similar minerals to turquoise). The high zinc content makes all three stones types the bright, collectible green and yellow colours the Damele Mine is especially known for. This also increases the hardness of the stone, although the most yellows of the turquoise can be fairly soft. The stones from the Damele Mine that are more bright green or lime in colour are more often than not faustite or variscite. The mine doesn’t produce much turquoise anymore. Most new turquoise on the market is cut from old stock rough. As with most turquoise, high colour saturation and tight webbing determine quality. Webbing can be grey, black, or deep brown in colour. Because of the rare colour intensity, Damele is very collectible and highly prized.

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The picture above is my current Damele collection, all those goodies are available for custom orders. Below are new Damele pieces coming to both Etsy shops over the weekend…

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Also coming to the shop this weekend are pieces with koroit opal, high grade Crow Springs Mine turquoise, and rare and collectible Indian Mountain Mine turquoise. The more rare turquoise is set in 14k yellow gold bezels on sterling patterned leaf bands…find them in the shop this weekend!

http://www.TheStrayArrow.Etsy.com

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xx Stray Arrow

Rock Appreciation Day

Alright folks, so the stone for this month is Picture or Landscape Jasper. There are several different types from many regions of the USA and other countries. I’ve been using these in my “Towards Mountains” pieces because of their amazing and completely natural landscapes with horizon lines.

*As a side note I won’t be going into mine or mineral detail tonight as I’m quite sick with a cold. I’ve been under the covers all day drinking tea and eating lemons trying to recoop as fast as possible! It’ll just be pictures for this Appreciation Day.

I’m not an expert or lapidary artist, the lines between these different jasper types blur pretty easily. There are two more sought after types that are easier to identify. Biggs and Deschutes. I have no examples of Deschutes, in all honesty it isn’t one of my favourites because I’ve only seen them with a full brown spectrum instead of the gray/blue for sky. This type will usually have little dark dendrite (plant fossil) like blemishes. They’ll look like little sprigs of dark grass amongst the hills in the stone. Biggs Blue Jasper, especially old stock, is beautiful. It will usually have cool tones to it, either towards the top of where a stone is most often cut to mimic the sky, or throughout all the colouring. These cool tones are rich and deep in saturation. These are the lovely Biggs cabs I currently have:

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A couple past creations using Picture Jasper~

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Another recognizable picture jasper is Palomino Jasper. This always reminds me of Mt. Olympus where the Greek Gods dwell, this stone type is always so dramatic…

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Goodies with picture jasper currently in the shop are the Towards Mountains ring and the Rolling Hills mini ring, each with a different type of picture jasper…

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Each picture jasper is always so unique, and the older Biggs jasper is getting real hard to find. Using these in jewelry pieces is truly like framing a painting! My all time favourite picture jasper is from my first Towards Mountains ring that has sold…

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Well that’s it this time ladies & gents. As always all the cabs seen are up for grabs! Sorry for the lack of information for this one, I am a pile of sniffles today. The next one will be more in depth! In the meantime, enjoy the MONTH LONG SALE in each Etsy shop!

xx Sniffly Stray Arrow

Rock Appreciation Day & Preview Night

Alright ladies & gents, let’s get right to it. The two types for today are WAMPUM (I know, its really a shell…), and Koroit Boulder Opal. To repeat the disclaimer from the first Rock Appreciation Day: I AM NO LAPIDARY ARTIST OR GEOLOGIST/GEMOLOGIST. All of my information comes from research and experience working with these stones, not mining or cutting them. First up is Koroit Boulder Opal….

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Koroit Boulder Opal is a specific TYPE of opal solely from the Koroit opal mining area in Queensland, Australia. Like boulder/ribbon cut turquoise, the opal is within a host rock matrix. The opal matrix itself is formed when rain containing silica minerals drizzles back down to earth and weaves itself into sedimentary rocks. After all water evaporates and all that is left is silica, the silica hardens into a gel like substance with little spheres, which is what we know as opal. It is essentially hydrated silicon dioxide. The size and distance of these tiny spheres from each other is what determines the colour of the opal. This whole “opalization” process is very mysterious even to the experts, and is generally believed to span over 1 to 10 million years for creation. Way back when, the Romans would actually use opal as a good luck charm stone…

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Below are past commissions or sold Opal pieces…

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These last two are my favourite Koroit opals to date~

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The rest below are either available stones, or pieces still in the Etsy shop (00 gauge Koroit opal plugs coming to the Plugs shop soon! http://www.GaugedbyStasia.Etsy.com). 

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This first photo is prime Koroit opal, just for looking and not for sharing!

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WAMPUM is something I’ve covered before. I adore it. Not just because the intensity of the colour is so beautiful for a natural shell, but because I am a nerd and love all things with deep mythological roots. The two main origin stories for wampum among the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) are extraordinary. A short version of the Seneca Iroquois version can be found written by author Harriet Maxwell Converse. She wrote the story and other myths directly from notes she took while spending time with Seneca council members in the early 1900’s. 

Wampum is carved from the quahog clam shell found on the shores of the East Coast. If you don’t know about it, but have heard the word before, you may have been told in was like “Native American Indian money”. It was only thought to be used financially because the Europeans assumed so from the importance the Natives bestowed upon it. Later on trading wampum for European goods became common. The carved wampum has actually been used for hundreds of years as trade, or for treaties. It could be strung into beaded strings called “condolence strings” for a mourned one, or expertly beaded into belts-famously known and seen in many museums- for peace or war treaties between tribes. White coloured shells represented peace, purple represented war. Although used by many different Woodlands (Eastern) tribes, it is most famously seen used by the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee). The Iroquois Confederacy consists of the 5 tribes of the eastern longhouse-one tribe for each beam, or one tribe for each part of the “Hiawatha belt”. These symbols also refer to the geological locations of the tribes. The tribes are (in the Europeanized names and spelling): Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, and Mohawk. The abbreviation is SCOOM. The sixth tribe, the Tuscarora, was later added to the Confederacy when they came into the region. Wampum can be replicated in glass imitation form. It is what is used most often nowadays when creating replica pieces.  It has gotten harder and harder to find true Native wampum carvers anymore, and I know of only 3 existing in Massachusetts. The rounded cabochons and chip beads in the photos below were carved by Native Mi’kmaq artist Mark Changing Bear.

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Below are sold pieces or past commissions:

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Most of the gauged wampum pieces can still be purchased at http://www.GaugedbyStasia.Etsy.com . The wampum stray pieces are up for grabs for custom work~

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PREVIEW

A few new pieces will be hitting the main Etsy shop, http://www.TheStrayArrow.Etsy.com, AND the Gauged shop on Monday/Tuesday. 

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NEW ADDITIONS INCLUDE: 00 gauge (10mm) Koroit Boulder Opal plugs, 4 gauge rutilated golden quartz plugs, 1/2″ (roughly 13mm) snowflake obsidian plugs, CUSTOM 10 gauge rainbow moonstone plugs, The Arsenic and Old Lace ring with 14k gold fill droplets, green Kingman mine turquoise drop necklace, and the Along The Dark Shores turquoise and wampum bangle bracelet. Not pictured but also on the way….more turquoise drop necklaces, and some surprises!

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Recently a fellow artist was able to give a mini presentation of her work. You can see some photographs of it and a video of her here on her blog:

http://www.torynova.wordpress.com/2012/08/30/drum-roll-please-cue-illustration/

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As all creative processes come from some spark of inspiration, I’d like to share a little snippet of a consistent influence. While constantly looking at new art, the ever growing tumble of talent people put out into the world, nothing gets me going as something old to groove to. Any new music I can get my hands on, I can. Lately, I’ve been filling my ears with the Vaccines, Holly Golightly and The Brokeoffs, Alessi’s Ark, and my old favourites. Here’s one of them-hope all of you give your old sparks the attention and credit they deserve!

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Check back on Monday & Tuesday for shop updates!

xx Stray Arrow