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........

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