Here we present the stories of your jewelry - the minerals and gemstones, with their history and lore. Before a stone even leaves the Earth, it has traveled! Heat and pressure, tectonic movements, the slow movement of water through rock over long periods of time - many processes cause beautiful gemstones and interesting rocks to form. Over time, we will add new stories to this page to enhance your appreciation of each stone's unique passage through space and time.
This is our 'soft launch' so be patient as we populate this website with content over the next few months.
Photos courtesy of West Coats Gemstones, Inc.
Turquoise is a copper-rich, water-bearing phosphate mineral, part of a larger group of similar minerals (1) that vary in color from pale green to the rich, highly valued turquoise color. These minerals in the Turquoise Group are all hydrated phosphates, have similar structures, and contain varying amounts of Fe, Zn, Al and Cu.
One of the oldest known minerals found as human decoration in China to Eygpt to the American West, Turquoise has generally been considered through the centuries as a talisman for good luck.
Turquoise forms from waters percolating through rocks which have a certain amount of copper. Minerals from dark to light are usually associated with real turquoise as various amounts of other minerals from the same groups as well as amorphous silica, quartz and various clays are usually mixed with the turquoise mineral. For historical and gemological purposes, we call all the minerals of this group turquoise as they are all valued for their color.
Unfortunately, real turquoise is relatively rare and most of what you find in stores and online is either another mineral (howlite and magnesite are common) which has been dyed or ground turquoise mixed with a resin.
Our turquoise has been sourced from an artisan mining operation in Nevada whose principals, Helen and Richard Stull, mine and cut their own turquoise. Each piece has a certificate identifying the mine, county, and gemstone cutter.
To learn more than you probably want to know about the Turquoise Group minerals, you can access this article here.
1. Foord, E.E. & Taggart, J.E. (1998): A reexamination of the turquoise group; the mineral aheylite, planerite (redefined), turquoise and coeruleolactite. Mineralogical Magazine, 62, 93-111.
Snow Drift Agate
Snow Drift Agate is a trademark for a massive white agate from the Polka Dot Mine in central Oregon. Usually, agates have obvious banding, hence named agate rather than chalcedony. However, this particular agate is known for its natural snowy white color – no bleaching on this one!
The Polka Dot Mine also produced other colors of chalcedony and agate – icey blue and the famous polka dots.
These beads were mined by West Coast Gemstones, Inc and cut by Columbia Gem House, Inc – both based in Oregon.