Sunday, June 19, 2011

Stones with Personality

Many people are familiar with diamonds and the "big three" coloured gemstones (rubies, sapphires and emeralds) that are very common and popular in traditional jewelry.  While these stones are beautiful with their intense colours, brilliance and clarity, they only represent a small fraction of what the world of stones has to offer. 

I have been drawn to polished stones since I was a young child and given the opportunity to pick out a couple of pieces for myself from a friend's stash.  What fascinated me was the range of colours, the patterns and the shimmery effects some of the stones displayed. 

These are those first two stones I selected as a child - an amazonite and a tiger's eye.

Now that I design and fabricate jewelry, I have found that fascination with stones has become even more intense.  But it's not the typical coloured gemstones that make my heart go pitter-patter, but rather stones with multiple colours and interesting patterns.  "Stones with personality" as I like to call them.  And these "stones with personality" are often jaspers or agates.

a slice of agate from my personal stash

some jaspers cabochons from my stash

some orbicular jaspers, again from my personal stash
colourful jasper cabochons

Jaspers and agates are a group of quartzs in which the crystals are so tiny that they appear like a solid mass. There are many different varieties of agates and jaspers. Some of them are found in only one small location, while others are found in many different countries.

Agates and jaspers are available in a wide range of colours and have many different patterns, from bands, to orbs to patterns that appear like landscapes. They are also often available in large sizes and are frequently used as the focal of a piece of jewelry.

Jaspers and agates and not typically found in traditional jewelry that is mass-produced.  If you want pieces that feature some of these beautiful stones, they are easier to find in the handmade market, like these pieces, created by members of the Starving Artists team.

Mookaite Jasper Pendant by BeadSire

California Poppy Jasper Wire Wrapped Pendant by Ava Designs

Sterling Silver and Dragon Skin Agate Pendant by Colla

Black Onyx and Sterling Silver Pendant Necklace by Shiny Adornments

Silver Wire Crochet Leaf Pendant with Moss Agates by Cat's Wire
So what about you?  Are there any particular stones that make your heart go pitter-patter? 

Featuring artisan handmade creations by the Starving Artists Jewelry Team.  The SATeam members create handcrafted jewelry and beads. More information about our team and its current shop owner members can be found at and here on ArtFire.


mcstoneworks said...

You have a beautiful stash of stones, Julie. Gorgeous use of stones in the designs featured.

Cat said...

I have always been the sparkly kind of girl, but over the last years I really learned to appreciate the beauty of jasper and agate ... you chose some beautiful examples and I'm honored my little agates are there, too!

ShinyAdornments said...

great the stones you featured.

Simply Shiny blog

Ava said...

Great topic, I could talk stones all day long. My favorite is Amazonite, oh, then again, I love serpentine, oops, can't forget the drusy agates, gosh, I guess I just love them all!

BeadSire said...

Fabulous post - I love stones and agree that each one has a personality on its own - thank you for featuring my mookaite necklace amongst these lovely stones.

AMDesignsbyAngela said...

I love all kinds of stones...the big three, the colorful semi-precious stones like amethyst, citrine and peridot to name a few, but I am especially moved by opaque shiny patterned stones. The picture jaspers are among my very favorites.

Your stash is wonderful and the featured items are beautiful examples.

Red Bird Jewellery said...

wow love those stones. I love picasso jasper, and i love using smokey quartz in my designs.

Ness said...

I feel exactly the same way about 'stones with personality'!
You have some beauties in your personal stash and have found some gorgeous treasures from our talented artists too. Great post!

DawninCal said...

I love that you still have the two stones your chose as a child and I love your grown-up stash too!

The jewelry shown really showcases all the lovely stones that are available besides the big three.

Favorite stone? Impossible to say!

Anonymous said...

Great post, lovely choices. The dragon skin agate looks fab.

Beadroe said...

Love agates, my mom spent hours and hours searching for them on the Oregon beach where she lived. She then tumbled them and had them all over her house in bowls and jars. She found them very comforting.

Bonnie said...

Julie I couldn't agree with you more. Stones with personality and individual character have so much more appeal. Each one has a story to tell and it is our job to make sure the story is translated for all to see.

Jeanne said...

Oh my goodness...gorgeous stones. Gorgeous jewelry. Buy quality, buy handmade! I love agates and jaspers. Opals are awesome too. For glittery sparkle factor I really like druzy.