Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Gemstone of the Week: Crocoite

(Image of Crocoite found on

Crocoite is a brilliant, fiery red to orange gem. It is a secondary mineral that forms in the the oxidized zone of lead deposits. Crocoite crystals tend to form as slender and elongated prismatic crystals, but they can also be hollow, or be granular or massive in form.  Some of the best examples of Crocoite come from Russia,Tasmania, Germany, and the state of California.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Gemstone of the Week: Citrine

(Image found on

Citrine is a gorgeous gemstone and one of the possible birthstones for November.  Citrine is the yellow to orange to brownish variety of Quartz and ranges from $2-$60 per carat.  Citrine is coloured by hydrous iron oxide and forms as hexagonal crystals.  Natural Citrine is actually quite uncommon compared to the other varieties of Quartz, however most of what is on the market is actually Amethyst or Smokey Quartz that has been heat-treated to look like Citrine.  Generally, Citrine will form  anywhere that Amethyst forms, and often is found combined in the same stone as Amethyst.  When this occurs if is known as Ametrine.    Gem-quality Citrine may be found in Russia, Scotland, India, France, Brazil, Spain, and the U.S. (specifically, in North Carolina).

Thursday, May 24, 2012


("Savannah" by Handmaden Designs LLC)

This delicate and elegant Steampunk and Barrelweave chainmaille necklace is perfect for any outfit!  The necklace is 19.75 inches long and is made of copper, pocket watch and wrist watch parts, and Garnets.  There are even a couple of small rubies in some of the pocket watch pieces!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Copper Orc Sheet Bracelet

("Copper Orc Sheet bracelet" by Handmaden Designs LLC)

Beautiful copper Orc Sheet chainmaille bracelet that is sure to get noticed!  Every ring in this bracelet has been painstakingly made by hand taking countless hours to make this piece.  This bracelet is just over 7 inches long and is just over 1/2 inches wide.  The weave is highly intricate containing well over 700 rings in the weave and over 800 rings total to the bracelet.

Orc Sheet is an original weave by Handmaden Designs LLC.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Gemstone of the Week: Serpentine

(Image from Cochise College)

Serpentine is an unusual stone.  Actually, it is, in fact, a group of some 16 hydrous silicate minerals, and so there are many different stones that fall under the name "Serpentine." There are four major varities of Serpentine: Crysotile, Antigorite, Lizardite, and Amesite.  Each of these have their own lesser varieties.  The Crysotile varieties are fibrous in structure; Antigorite varieties are either corrugated plates or fibers; Lizardite is a very fine-grained platy variety; and Amesite occurs as platy or pseudohexagonal, columnar crystals. They all generally form as masses of tiny, intergrown crystals and may be white, gray, yellow, green, or greenish-blue in colour.

When cutting Serpentine, particularly the fibrous varieties, always cut it wet to prevent dust.  The reason for this is that fibrous Serpentine is used for asbestos and so the dust is highly dangerous to breath in.  Serpentine is often used to create some beautiful pieces of jewellery or decoratively carved sculptures.  It may be  translucent to opaque.  Serpentine is extremely widespread, but some of the major locations where it is quarried are England, the U.S., Germany, China, Afghanistan, South Africa, and Italy.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Orc Sheet

("Orc Sheet" by Handmaden Designs LLC)
Orc Sheet, as the name suggests, is the sheet version of Orc Weave.  It is a European-Moibus weave that combines the inverted interactions of Gridlock and connections from Elfweave.  It is closely related to the Elfweave variant Telerin.

Orc Sheet, Orc Weave, and Telerin are all original weaves by Handmaden Designs LLC.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Gemstone of the Week: Spodumene

(Image from "The Mineral & Gemstone Kingdom" website)

Spodumene is a very interesting and beautiful gemstone.  It also has two other distinct varieties: Kunzite (pink Spodumene) and Hiddenite (green Spodumene).  Spodumene was discovered in 1877 but it was not until 1879 that it was realized that both Kunzite and Hiddenite were actually the same mineral as Spodumene.  Mineralogically, Spodumene belongs to the pyroxene group and is a lithium aluminosilicate.  Spodumene can be gray, white to green, pink, or colourless. It is because of this tendancy to be gray that it gets its name "Spodumene" which comes from the Greek word spodumenos meaning "reduced to ash."  Spodumene is rather widespread in its occurrence, although the varieties of of Kunzite and Hiddenite are much more rare, with its major sources being many locations in the U.S., as well as, Brazil, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Gemstone of the Week: Tuquoise

(Image from Nevada-Outback-Gems)

Turquoise is a beautiful gemstone.  It's one of the possible birthstones of December, and is also the 11th anniversary stone. Turquoise has been used in jewelry and other decorations for centuries.  While most often people think of Turquoise as only being blue, it can also be green in colour.  Much of the Turquoise on the market will be seen with dark veining in it; this veining is the matrix rock that the Turquoise was found in.  Personally, I think it adds to the beauty of the rock, but the most valuable Turquoise is that with little to no veining. It is very common for Turquoise to be treated to improve the colour so unless a reputable and knowledgeable dealer writes on the receipt that it is untreated Turquoise, assume that it has been treated in some way.  Be careful when cleaning Turquoise as it is a relatively soft stone.  Clean it with warm soapy water and never with ultrasonics, steamers, chemicals, or heat.  Turquoise generally ranges from $1 to a few hundred per stone.  The value has gone down some due to large amounts of low-grade Turquoise jewelry on the market.