Thursday, September 17, 2009

Jade, JADE & more JaDe The Polished Pebble

We have been working on adding more cabochons to the website - and one of the finished cabs is Golden Rain Jade . We had gotten this gemstone rough from a longtime friend who's parents once owned a rock shop (here in Bakersfield) & a jade mine in the mountains above Fremont, CA.

The story goes, that there were many grades & different types of jade in this claim area. Some had black, feather like dendrites. Some had white inclusions, and most was beautiful gemmy green jade. Different shades where throughout the mine area.

But there was one inclusion that brought a premium price. That was the jade that had golden tendrils through it. It was called Golden Rain Jade. Sadly, I don't know the reasoning behind the popularity. I don't even know if our friends ever knew - there was one buyer that would pay a higher price than any of the others. Just so he would have all that was for sale.

Our friends sold tons of Jade from the late 1960's thru 1970's until there was a falling out with their partner that ultimatily lead to my friends losing their ownership of the mine. I don't know the statis of the mine at this time - but my friend thinks the new owner lost the claim many years ago.

When they were selling off their remaining stone I was able to get a few choice pieces. Some bigger than my saw can cut at this time. Many that are just waiting their turn.

Our friends were quite surprised when we uncovered this one piece of the Golden Rain Jade. They thought it had all been sold. I offered to let them keep it - but the declined. Too many rocks, not enough time & they were downsizing

That brings us to today. I had finally gotten around to slabing that piece & have one cabochon finished & listed on our website. It is a beauty, but that's what you would expect from Golden Rain Jade - right?

Don't forget to checkout the new Gemstone Cabochons on our website - The Polished Pebble  your source for quality designer gemstone cabochons for your jewelry needs.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hey, what is that stone??????? The Polished Pebble

OK, so we have touched on the importance of knowing the actual name of the Gemstone material your are working with. And if you are a lapidary, letting your customers know so that they can pass that info on to their customers.

And at times that can be challenging. Because most of the rough stone is purchased from others. At Rock & Gem Shows, estates, online sellers - the list goes on. While I personally love to go rockhounding, I could never justify only working what I found. So, the quest goes on.

There are a number of ways to uncover the identities of different gemstones or minerals. Some are as easy as looking on others websites. Venture out and look around. On alot of the available material the names & origins are easily found. Other times the info you seek could be difficult to find.

Once you start handling assorted material, it is best to expand your resources. There are a number of books that will help you in your quest. And an added bonus, you may just learn alittle more about the stones you are working with.

One of my favorite sources of info is . It is the website of Ron Gibbs. He shares his love of gemstones & photography with all that care to visit. Along with the most unbelievably beautiful photos, Ron sneaks in a lesson or two on just what make that stone so special. All in easy to understand text.

Ron has recently published a book - Agates and Jaspers.

A fantastic look at those wonderful works of art that could have only been made by mother nature.

This full color book is - in my opinion - a must for anyone that works with agate & jasper, in lapidary or in jewelry.

Check out Ron's website at or for more info on his book, go to

Be sure & tell him Connie @ The Polished Pebble sent you!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Holiday Weekend - The Polished Pebble

So, the last big weekend of the summer is upon us. I am soooo ready for the weather to start cooling down  so that we can get back to enjoying working outside! It seems that the older I get, the less I like the heat.

I was going thru some pictures we took in Yellowstone & figured it would be nice to end the week with some pictures of one of the greatest natural wonders.


Aaaahhhhhhhh.........Green & LOTS of water!

Have a great holiday weekend - me, I'll be cleaning out the oil in the rock saws - YUCK!

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Rose By Any Other Name 2...........The Polished Pebble

I went thru & did some editing on my last post "A Rose By Any Other Name" (cleaning up mispelled words or crazy phrases) & it was very evident that I need to add to what I said.

On the topic of imported stone beads & cabochons - I didn't intend to come off that EVERY imported stone bead or cabochon was junk. While it is hard to find a good dealer that sells quality imported stone - there are a few out there. My favorites is , Szarka is very picky about the stones she offers & hand picks most of her stock so she gets the best available. Check out her webstore - you won't be disappointed!

Rutilated Quartz

On the topic of "something - quartz". There are natural quartz gemstones that are used in beads & cabochons. Like Rutilated Quartz, Lodolite or Garden Quartz. Not to forget Rose Quartz & any number of quartz included stones that make beautiful stone jewelry. But, don't be fooled by fancy names like "Cherry or Ruby Quartz". They are just glass. If natural stone is what you are looking for you need to be very careful. And if you use a synthetic or manufactured stone - be sure & note it on your sale info. That way everyone knows exactly what they are buying.

Lodolite - Garden Quartz

So, the challenge is this - try to know exactly what your working with & be honest with your customers. Working with stone can be challenging at times, but the end product is work it.

Looking for quality hand cut Gemstone Cabochons for your jewelry? Check out our website:

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Rose By Any Other Name.........The Polished Pebble

OK, so I don't really work too much with roses. I think I have a dozen or so in my yard. All bought by my husband for my birthday or our anniversary - since I don't like paying $$$ for cut flowers. Stop booing & hissing, I am entitled to my opinion! I just prefer a living plant to something that will stay pretty for a week or so. Give me the plant & it can bloom again & again.

But, that is not what I really want to talk about anyway. Names, that's it - I want to talk about NAMES!

Here in the lapidary world, a name can mean a lot. There are tons of agates, jaspers, minerals & such that are used in many different forms of Jewelry. And it is important as a lapidary artist & jeweler to know them  not only their name - but their Hardness, Workability, Stability & also their Chemical Makeup. Why? Well there are lots of different reasons - but here is my take on this issue..............................

Names - this topic can get very interesting very quickly. Especially in the lapidary world. Since there have been stones that I have gotten thru estate sales, rock & gem shows, and other rockhounds that the location and or name of the stone is lost. Either the person forgot or they never even knew the name or location.

I mean, it's not like I can't tell you that it is an AGATE - but, does it have a name & where does it come from? Now, I see you rolling your eyes & thinking "What difference does it makes?" It CAN make a great deal of difference. Some agates, just from their name, comand a premium price. For example: Horse Canyon Agate.......
Horse Canyon Moss Agate Cabochon
Just by it's NAME you know the it is a quality agate from a known source. It is limited in supply due to the fact that it is located on private land & that the owners do not allow collection of the rough stone anymore. But there are many other moss agates that are in plentiful supply, so in this case the NAME says a lot.

Another problem is when people call a certain stone by more than one name. It can get very confusing. I had an older couple tell me about a jasper that they found in an area & their club started calling it "Halloween Jasper", since it was mainly black & orange in color. They ran into another rockhound that had some of this same stone from the same location & he was calling it "Pumpkin Jasper". Yes, the names were kind of close - and the two parties knew it was the same jasper. But when it hits the market, people think they are two different jaspers. This can happen a lot, and for the most part the end user or wearer buys the piece for it's beauty - not it's name.

The real problem is when a known name is used to sell or promote a stone & that stone is NOT what they are saying it is. Since the demand for natural stone beads & cabochons has increased, so has the abuse of misnamed product.

Natural Turquoise Gemstone Cabochon

One very easy one is Turquoise. Real turquoise in the desired "robin's egg blue" is rare, and most that is on the market today is stablized. There are a number of simular hardness white stones that are dyed the desired color & sold as REAL TURQUOISE. This is fraud & any jeweler or lapidary that sell such items that are misrepresented in such a way causes the trade great harm. We all need to just be honest & tell the consumer that it is say "Howlite" & dyed blue. If the customer just likes it for the color & design it won't matter to them. But, if the buyer is really looking to buy REAL turquoise - there in lies the problem. It is like selling someone a CZ, but you tell them it is a Diamond.

Colored & Stablized Turquoise

Other stones, because of their popularity & demand are often faked or another stone is passed off as the real thing. Ocean Jasper comes to mind. I have seen many strings of stone beads that the seller was claming that they were "Ocean Jasper" when they were made of a no name jasper. They didn't even have any of the color or orbs that Ocean Jasper is well know for. With most imported stone beads & cabochons it is "buyer beware".

Oh, and most beads & such that are called "something - quartz" are generally glass. I don't know about you - but I like to know what I am paying for. And if I am making something that takes time, effort & money. I want to use the best available.

Let's take this topic up tomorrow........

Don't forget to check our website  for your gemstone cabochon needs.