Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Mardi Gras at Touchstone Gallery

Mardi Gras is coming up soon- February 28th!
Here at Touchstone Gallery, we love to celebrate the fun traditions of Mardi Gras. 

A fascinating story resides within the making of the King Cake:

The King Cake story originates from the Christian religious holiday Epiphany, which is when the Three Wise Men discovered the Christ Child. The cake is an oval coffee cake, that traditionally has a special gift baked inside. Depending on where you celebrate in the world, the gift is different things. In Latin cultures, a bean or a pea is baked into the cake. In European cultures, a coin or a plastic baby is found (but not baked) in the King's Cake. The cake is decorated in Mardi Gras colors: green, gold, and purple. Purple represents justice, gold represents power, and green stands for faith. Whoever gets the gift in their King's Cake is blessed through the new year with prosperity and happiness. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

New Arrival: Fordite!

"In the world of jewelry designs nothing goes to waste they just keep getting more creative",
words of SMHW.

Fordite, also known as Motor Agate, have amazing "psychedelic" designs! Fordite is a by-product made by using the many collected layers of baked automotive enamel slag (rough) that was removed from factories. The over spray in the painting bays slowly built up on the tracks and skids that the car frames were painted on. Each layer was hardened in the ovens that the car bodies went into to cure the paint. Some pieces have been baked 100 times!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

February's Birthstone: Alluring Amethyst

Amethyst in Jewelry and Home Décor:
            Amethyst is a beautiful, purple gem that is commonly used ornamentally in jewelry and is designed into home décor pieces. Touchstone gallery has many pieces of amethyst to offer, ranging from delightful, elegant jewelry pieces to small mineral clusters to large spectacular home décor pieces! Touchstone Gallery invites you to see how our amethyst cathedrals and stunning amethyst jewelry will fit into your life!
Scientific Information:
            Amethyst is most prevalent as small stubby pyramidal crystals, although several localities such as the Mexican occurrences are well-known for producing elegantly tall prismatic crystals, which are very highly regarded by collectors. Amethyst also forms the internal lining of geodes, some of which can be over 10 feet tall and weighing several tons!

Revealed by Man:
           The gemstone was first discovered in Europe circa 3000 BC., where many different superstitious beliefs formed. The ancient Greeks believed it to be able to ward off intoxication, which transferred the Greek word “amethystos”, which means “not drunken”, to amethyst. Amethyst was as expensive as ruby and emerald until the 19th Century, when Brazil’s large deposits were discovered.
Legend and Lore:
            The patron of romantic love, St. Valentine, wore an amethyst ring carved with the image of Cupid. Amethyst is the traditional birthstone for the month as February as well as one of the emblems of the twelve apostles. Amethyst was also reputed to control evil thoughts, increase intelligence and render men shrewd in business matters. For travelers it was worn as a protection from treachery and surprise attacks, kept soldiers from harm and gave them victory over their enemies. It lent assistance to hunters in the capture of wild beasts and fowl, and was considered to be a powerful psychic stone of protection against witchcraft and black magic. Like other royal stones it protected its wearer from disease and contagion.

Friday, December 30, 2016

January's Birthstone: Glimmering Garnet

Garnet in Jewelry and Décor:

            Garnet comes in a variety of colors, making it an interesting and beautiful stone to use in jewelry. The red and most common variety of garnet is called almandine. Spessartite garnet refers to garnet that is yellow, rose, orange, or deep brown colors, rich and dazzling. The most rare and prized color of garnet is the emerald and bright green variety, called demantoid. Touchstone Gallery has a wide variety of garnet jewelry, in many different colors, perfect for January babies and jewelry lovers alike.

Scientific Information:
            Garnet is the name of a group of minerals that comes in a rainbow of colors, from the deep red of the Pyrope garnet to the vibrant green of tsavorites. Some rare garnets are even blue, colorless, or—most rare of all—change colors in different lights. But the most common color is a beautiful range of reds, from rust colored to deep violet-red. Red garnet is one of the most common and widespread of gems, found in metamorphic rocks (which are rocks altered by heat and pressure) on every continent. But not all garnets are as abundant as the red ones. A green garnet, tsavorite, also occurs in metamorphic rocks, but it’s rarer because it needs unusual rock chemistries and special conditions to form.

Revealed by Man:
            The garnet is so durable, that remnants of garnet jewelry can be found as far back as the Bronze Age. Other references go back to 3100 BC when the Egyptians used garnet as inlays in their jewelry and carvings. The Egyptians even said it was the symbol of life. The garnet was very popular with the Romans in the 3rd and 4th Century.

Legend and Lore:
            Garnet was used as a talisman for protection both by warriors going into battle and to those who wanted to ward off pestilence and plague. Some ancient healers and wise men even placed garnets in wounds and praised its healing powers. Garnet jewelry has been a fixture throughout the ages. Garnets were often used as signet rings in ancient Rome, and the nobility favored garnets in the Middle Ages. In metaphysical use, garnet is thought to reduce body toxins, purify vital organs and blood, and assists in assimilation of vitamins and minerals. Emotionally it provides a protective and calming influence during use and is thought to heal melancholy and depression, strengthening the survival instinct, and bringing courage and hope into critical situations.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

It's Holiday Season at Touchstone!

Touchstone Gallery is the place to go if you want an elegant and unique gift for a loved one. You can see the stunning work of Mark Hines on the was of the Santa Fe gallery (pictured above). We also offer many types of jewelry inlaid with lustrous minerals. Our unusual fossil collection is sure to amaze the receiver of such a gift!

Light your way through the Holidays with these handcrafted oil lamps!

We invite you to take a look at what we have to offer for your home and office. Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

December's Birthstone : Zealous Zircon!

Zircon in Jewelry:        

          Zircon comes in many natural colors, making this gem a versatile one for its use in jewelry. Its range of colors include completely colorless (white), yellow, orange, red, green, blue, violet, brown and combinations in between. Yellow-brown to orange and red zircon are the most common. Blue is the most popular, but its color is obtained through the heating of brown zircon. Zircon is very vibrant, making it a sought-out item in earrings, rings, necklaces, bracelets and more!

Mineral Formation:
          The formation of Zircon itself is a tetragonal crystal system. Zircon crystals grow in a wide variety of rocks, and have many different physical and optical properties. Geologists typically classify Zircon in three ways: high, immediate, and low. These classifications have to do with the effects these crystals have due to radioactivity. “Low Zircons” have to do with the intense breakdown that radioactivity has had on the Zircon. They have severe crystal structure breakdown, with no clear crystal order. If you heat a low zircon gem at high temperatures, sometime reduce the damage. “Immediate Zircons” have had some structural damage due to radioactivity, but not nearly as severe as low Zircons. “High Zircons” have little to no impurities due to radioactive destruction. These Zircons are the one with the typical optical and physical properties. 

Legend and Lore:
          Zircon’s name is derived from Persian word “zargun” meaning golden-colored. This word is at some point transformed into "jargoon", a term applied to lighter zircons. The English version of the word "zircon" is derived from "Zircon," which is the German adaptation of this word. One shade of Zircon, that being Red zircon, is called “hyacinth”, from the flower Hyacinthus, whose name is of Ancient Greek origin.

          Throughout the years, many have wondered if Zircon is a dangerous crystal due to its radioactivity. A few occurrences throughout history have seemed to stunt the sales and distribution, however it has since been proven that there is very little to no danger when it comes to these crystals. Especially when Zircon is in jewelry or on a small scale, there is truly no need to worry about health risks whatsoever. 

Revealed by Man:
          Zircon is the known oldest mineral on the planet, dating back 4.5 billion years. That’s older than the moon! It is unclear when the very first piece was discovered, however there are many known deposits worldwide. Australia is where the oldest piece has been found, but Myanmar, Cambodia, and Brazil are also notable sources.

Touchstone Gallery invites you to view our current offerings of zircon and many other fascinating natural art pieces in our Touchstone Galleries in Santa Fe (127 W. San Francisco St.), Sedona (320 N. State Route 89A) and Taos (110 S. Plaza), or online at www.touchstonegalleries.com.  

Thursday, November 3, 2016

November: Tantalizing Topaz

Topaz in Jewelry:

Topaz is commonly thought of as shades of blue and the birthstone for November babies. However, Topaz can be a range of colors such as London (dark) blue to Swiss blue, burnt orange, clear (white topaz), and mystic topaz (a collage of color). Touchstone Gallery currently has blue topaz, mystic topaz, and white topaz in an array of jewelry. These exquisite pieces are wonderful gift giving purchases that can be found online at touchstonegalleries.com.

Legend and Lore:

            The ancient Hebrew High Priests, mentioned in the Book of Exodus, had a breastplate filled with 12 stones to protect the gate to heaven. Topaz was one of these stones used to protect these Priests. Topaz helps in establishing a practical point of view when it comes to life in general. It is thought to be able to point in the direction of the most practical solution to any problem or situation.  As a healing stone, it is said to help with blood disorders, promotes rejuvenation, and helps in curing endocrine problems, thrombosis and asthma.

Science of Mineral Formation:
            Topaz occurs in pegmatites, which is a type of rock that contains feldspars, quartz, and mica that has a similar composition to granite. Topaz is also found in high temperature quartz veins and sometimes in granite and rhyolites. The element chromium causes natural pink, red, and violet-to-purple colors in topaz. Imperfections at the atomic level in topaz crystal structure can cause yellow, brown, and blue color. Brown is a common topaz color, and the gem is sometimes mistakenly called “smoky quartz.

Revealed by Man:
Topaz was first found on the island or Topaoas in the Red Sea, from where it got its name. Topaz has been found and mined in the United States, Russia, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Australia, Germany, Norway, and many other countries across the globe.
Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone

We invite you to view our current offerings of topaz and many other fascinating natural art pieces in our Touchstone Galleries in Santa Fe (127 W. San Francisco St.), Sedona (320 N. State Route 89A) and Taos (110 S. Plaza), or online at www.touchstonegalleries.com.