Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Amethyst: A Royal Décor Addition


Decors Factors and Suggestions – Purple is often regarded as the color of royalty, and amethyst has helped establish this reputation. This lavish gemstone is beautiful and radiant, perfect for anyone who wouldn’t mind feeling a little like royalty. Amethyst varies in color, from deep and dark purples to lighter violet colors. The variation in colors can be seen in each amethyst specimen, each piece of amethyst having a different distribution of color. The bright purple of amethyst lends its self well to other powerful colors, such as green, brown, and coral.


 
Amethyst geodes make stunning additions to any décor setting. Large geodes can be used as a table with a glass cover. Imagine looking at the intriguing crystal of an amethyst geode while having a drink with friends. Smaller geodes would look pleasing as an accent item. Touchstone Galleries offers many different amethyst pieces, from jewelry to geodes, one is sure to fit your liking. All ways of displaying amethyst are truly amazing; this vibrant gem is truly one of a kind.
Home Décor Featuring a Fascinating Story
Legend and Lore – French poet, Remy Belleau, invented a myth about amethyst in one of his poems. He wrote that the Greek god of wine, Bacchus, had a love interest who was a maiden named Amethyste. The maiden denied Bacchus affection and prayed to remain chaste. Diana, the goddess of birthing, heard Amethyste’s prayer. Diana transformed her into a white stone, showing how pure she was. Bacchus was humbled by the maiden’s desire to remain chaste, so he poured red wine all over the white stone as an offering, dying the crystals purple and creating the amethyst we know and love today.
The Science of Amethyst Creation – Amethyst is a violet/purple variety of quartz. It is made up of oxygen and silicon with very tiny amounts of iron impurities that help give the crystal its purple color.  Amethyst is often found with thumb markings, meaning there are small fractures in the crystal. The color of this variety of quartz comes from impurities in a part of the crystal structure. Geodes are formed in two steps. First, a cavity is formed in the rock. Second, the cavity is filled with crystal, making the exquisite geodes we see today.
Revealed by Man – Today most amethyst comes from Brazil and Uruguay. Amethyst is often found in volcanic rock formations,  where it is removed from the basalt deposits with large amounts of hand labor, cleaned, and often coating the outside of the geode with a tiny protective layer of cement and then carefully packed and shipped to the US so customers can enjoy its elegant beauty.
Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of amethyst and many other fascinating natural art pieces in our Touchstone Galleries in Santa Fe (127 W. San Francisco St.), Scottsdale (4168 N. Marshall Way), Sedona (320 N. State Route 89A) and Taos (110 S. Plaza), or online at www.touchstonegalleries.com.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Knightia: A Small Fish with a Big Past


Décor Factors and Suggestions – Knightia fish fossils would add so much to the décor of your home or office. The rich colors that are present in these fossils not only bring attention to these stunning pieces, but will remind one of the true history that is contained in these beautiful creations. The definition in these fossils is absolutely stunning. The detail makes these fossils that much more interesting.



The natural colors present in these fossils would look great with in most décor settings. Framed knightia fossils look captivating hung a wall and smaller ones make great additions on book shelves or on coffee tables. Not only do these fossils have many décor possibilities, these fossils would also be a great gift for the fisherman or fisherwoman in your life, opening their eyes to the exciting past of an interesting and different species of fish.
Home Décor Featuring a Fascinating Story
Legend and Lore – Knightia is a type of fish that went extinct over 50 million years ago. This small fish lived in fresh water lakes all around North America. Knightia is the most commonly excavated fish fossil in the world and is the state fossil of Wyoming. These bony fish are related to herrings and sardines. Knightia were also very small in size, usually no larger than 6 inches in length. Knightia were considered a schooling fish, meaning all of the fish stayed together. Knightia were on the bottom of the food chain, an easy snack for larger fish due to their small size. Fossils have been excavated that show larger fish preying upon Knightia. Although these fish were small and common prey, their preservations are very interesting. 
Science of Knightia Fossil Formation – This fish fossil is found in the Green River Formation in Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado. The remarkable preservation of the Green River Formation fish fossils is accredited the conditions in the lakes. Dead fish would sink to the bottom and then be covered by a layer of calcium carbonate. The layer of calcium carbonate preserved the fish in limestone, making the wonderful fossils we see today.
Revealed by Man – Knightia fossils are found and then carefully removed from the layer of sediment they are found in. This is done through a very grueling process where layers of sediment are chipped away until fossils are revealed. Once the fossils are found, they are cleaned. Next, they are stabilized so that the rock does not crack. Then, these fascinating fossils are carefully packed and shipped for consumers to enjoy as unique décor pieces.
Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of knighta fish fossils and many other fascinating natural art pieces in our Touchstone Galleries in Santa Fe (127 W. San Francisco St.), Scottsdale (4168 N. Marshall Way), Sedona (320 N. State Route 89A) and Taos (11 S. Plaza), or online at www.touchstonegalleries.com.  


Monday, October 21, 2013

Calcite Lamps: Bands of Crystal and Color


Decors Factors and Suggestions – Calcite lamps are a simple, attractive way incorporate natural art into your décor. When you light up these lamps, the wonderful beauty of the stone is revealed through the translucent parts. One can see many layers of crystals and different formations, illuminating a whole other dimension of this piece. The colorful bands of the calcite crystals beautifully contrast from the pale backdrop, making these lamps stunning.


 
Incredibly functional, these lamps will fit well in many décor settings. Touchstone Galleries offers smaller lamps, perfect for a corner table or a bed side stand, and larger floor lamps that look lovely standing alone. These lamps provide a soft light, making them calming and relaxing. The soft light given off by the lamps would lend well to sitting rooms or bedrooms, providing a relaxed glow and exquisite beauty.
Home Décor Featuring a Fascinating Story
Legend and Lore – Calcite is the primary mineral component in cave formation. Stalagmites, stalactites, and all the other cool formations found in caves are made up of mostly calcite. Caverns and cave are formed by water dissolving calcite rick rock. The calcite enriched water then precipitates in the caves and caverns, resulting in the amazing cave formations. Also, many animals use calcite to form their shells and other hard parts.
The Science of Calcite Creation – Calcite is common and found in all three kinds of rock, sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks. Limestone and marble is largely made up of calcite. Calcite forms in a range of settings, from hot springs and underground caverns to growing coral reefs and seashells. This mineral forms in both crystal forms and massive forms.
Revealed by Man – Calcite is considered one of the most useful minerals in the world. Calcite is used in construction materials, soil, pigments, and even in pharmaceuticals. Calcite is mined using quarrying or underground mining. Calcite is found in many states in the US as well as many countries across the world. Carved, polished, and finished into colorful décor items including hearts, spheres, animals, and in this case lamps.
Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of banded calcite lamps and many other fascinating natural art pieces in our Touchstone Galleries in Santa Fe (127 W. San Francisco St.), Scottsdale (4168 N. Marshall Way), Sedona (320 N. State Route 89A) and Taos (110 S. Plaza), or online at www.touchstonegalleries.com. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Ammolite: A Colorful and Rare Find


Décor Factors and Suggestions – This truly amazing gemstone captures the eye of whoever views it. A large array of colors can be seen in ammolite, including vibrant red, calming blue, radiant green, and marvelous hints of blue and purple. The colors shift from brighter, to lighter when you view the gemstone from different angles, making this gemstone even more mystical. Not only do the colors change at different angles, the brightness of the colors varies as well.

 

 
This amazing creation would lend its self well to calm surroundings, so that the colors present in the gemstone are dominate. Ammolite will truly shine when placed in a well-lit place, so you can truly enjoy all of the colors this gemstone has to offer. This gemstone will attract attention no matter where it is placed!
Home Décor Featuring a Fascinating Story
Legend and Lore – Ammolite has a very interesting backstory. The legend of ammolite comes from the Blackfoot tribe of Montana. The story goes that during a very harsh winter, the tribe was on the verge of starvation. One Blackfoot woman was out looking for firewood when she heard a voice singing. She followed this vocie and found ammolite in a cave. The voice that came from the gemstone told the woman to take the gem back to the tribe and they would be supplied with all of the buffalo they need. She listened and the next morning, there was a herd of buffalo for  the tribe. The ammolite brought the tribe buffalo and saved the their lives.
Science of Ammolite Creation – Ammolite is a gemstone that is made from fossilized ammonite shells. Ammonites were a squid-like sea creatures that existed 65 million years ago. They became extinct around the same time as the dinosaurs.  These shells are made primarily of aragonite, which is also found in mother of pearl, another beautiful gemstone. Each layer of color in ammolite represents a different layer of the gemstone. Depending on how many layers of gem material there is, one or many colors can be present.
Revealed by Man – Ammolite is one of only three gemstones that has been introduced in the last 50 years. It is also only one of three orangic gemstones, the other two being amber and pearl. Ammolite is only found in two deposits, one in the region of Southern Alberta, Canada and the other, in southern Montana. Because this gemstone is only found in two places on earth, the supply is very limited. To put it into perspetive, it takes moving two times more material then mining a diamond. Ammolite is one of Earth’s most beautiful and most rare gems. 
Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of ammolite and many other fascinating natural art pieces in our Touchstone Galleries in Santa Fe (127 W. San Francisco St.), Scottsdale (4168 N. Marshall Way), Sedona (320 N. State Route 89A) and Taos (110 S. Plaza), or online at www.touchstonegalleries.com.  
 

 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Ammonite: History and Elegance in Every Chamber


Decors Factors and Suggestions – Ammonite fossils are beautiful creations. The different chambers and colors tell the history of the ammonite, each ammonite fossil possessing unique qualities.  The exceptional details and intriguing history make these fossils dynamic pieces, perfect to put on display in your home or office. These elegant shells would fit nicely in a library or study, the historical value on display. The rich colors that are represented in these fossils stand out, making these fossils even more remarkable. The colors and shape of these fossils would look wonderful in a wide variety of décor settings.


 

These ancient shell fish not only look beautiful, they have a fascinating past. These interesting fossils will shine in any place you put them because of their beauty and uniqueness. Ammonite can be found in a wide variety of color, from neutral tans and browns, to lively yellow, and sometimes even powerful golds. These intriguing fossils truly stand out, making them a great center-piece. Smaller ammonite fossils would look striking set on the center of table, acting not only as a center piece for your table, but also for your conversation, while larger ammonite fossils can standalone due to their elegance. These unique pieces are the perfect thing to discuss over coffee or a drink with you clients or friends.
Home Décor Featuring a Fascinating Story

Legend and Lore – Ammonite is an extinct shell fish. These squid-like creatures lived 65 to 240 million years ago! Some people believe that ammonite fossils look like ram horns. Interestingly enough, ammonites are named after the Egyptian god Ammon, who was often pictured with ram horns on his head. In feng shui, ammonite and wooly mammoth tusks are often placed together. It is believed that tusks put out good energy and ammonite take in that good energy.
The Science of Ammonite – Ammonites are among the most abundant fossils found today. They went extinct, along with the dinosaurs, about 65 million years ago. Scientists use the different shapes and sizes of ammonite shell fossils that appeared and vanished through the ages to date other fossils. Ammonites were thought to have been good swimmers. They lived in the open water, rather than the ocean floor. Because ammonites and their relatives are extinct, only a little is known about the lifestyle of these creatures, but the fossils do provide us with an interesting look into the life of these ancient sea creatures. 
Revealed by Man – Ammonite fossils have been found worldwide with notable deposits in the United States, Canada, Russia, and Madagascar. The fossils are extracted by chipping away layers of sediment and stone. Then they are polished and carefully packed and shipped to the United States to be for consumers to enjoy.
Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of ammonite fossils and many other fascinating natural art pieces in our Touchstone Galleries in Santa Fe (127 W. San Francisco St.), Scottsdale (4168 N. Marshall Way), Sedona (320 N. State Route 89A) and Taos (11 S. Plaza), or online at www.touchstonegalleries.com.  

 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Selenite and Fluorite Lamps: A Colorful Display


Decors Factors and Suggestions – These lamps are an original way to incorporate natural décor into your home or office. The translucent properties of selenite allow these lamps to put off a soft glow. Adding a colored bulb makes these lamps even more enchanting. The variation of light and color in the fluorite contrasts beautifully with the translucent selenite, making for striking show of color and light.  

 
 
 
These attractive lamps are perfect for areas that need a soft light source. These lamps are not designed to light up a whole room; instead they make a nice calm light. Selenite and Fluorite lamps would look great placed in a dark room, where they can really glow. These lamps are incredibly versatile. They can really be placed in any décor setting, working well with lots of different color schemes and designs.
Home Décor Featuring a Fascinating Story
Legend and Lore – In the past, selenite was used to make glasses lenses because of its glass like qualities. During the eighteenth century, Fluorite was ground into powder and mixed with water to treat kidney illnesses. That may have been based on ancient Roman belief that drinking from vessels carved of fluorite would prevent drunkenness. These two minerals put together create an interesting story to tell your guests. 
The Science of Selenite and Fluorite Creation – Fluorite is found in cavities of sedimentary rocks, as a cementing material in sandstones, and in hot springs deposits. Selenite is a crystal variety of gypsum. It forms in sedimentary rocks, and specifically in limestone.
Revealed by Man – Fluorite and Selenite are both found all around the world, from Europe, Africa, and in the United States. Fluorite and selenite are both chipped away from the rock it is formed on. Then, the two minerals are polished, shaped, and prepared into the beautiful lamps pictured above.
Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of selenite and fluorite lamps and many other fascinating natural art pieces in our Touchstone Galleries in Santa Fe (127 W. San Francisco St.), Scottsdale (4168 N. Marshall Way), Sedona (320 N. State Route 89A) and Taos (110 S. Plaza), or online at www.touchstonegalleries.com. 

Selenite – Marvelous Moonstone


Decors Factors and Suggestions – Selenite is fascinating, dazzling, and absolutely stunning. This mineral comes in many different colors, ranging from clear, to deep browns, greens, and even golds. The pearly luster of this mineral adds a nice, finished touch, making this mineral all the more splendid. Selenite comes in many different forms. From carvings to natural mineral formations, selenite is the perfect choice.

 
 
 
Selenite would look delightful as an accent piece in your home or office.  The wide variety of colors makes fitting selenite pieces into your décor incredibly simple. Imagine an eye catching formation of selenite on your bookshelf. This stone will draw people in and have them wanting to know more about this intriguing mineral.  Selenite is an amazing way to incorporate natural art into your décor. 
Home Décor Featuring a Fascinating Story
Legend and Lore – The root of selenite is selēnē, which means moon, so selenite is often referred to as moonstone or stone of the moon. Ancient people believed that the stone became pale and waxed because of the moon. This mineral is often associated with the Greek Goddess Selene, the goddess of the moon.
The Science of Selenite Creation – This mineral is one of the four gypsum crystalline varieties. All varieties of gypsum are composed of calcium sulfate dihydrate, meaning they contain two water molecules. Gypsum is formed as an evaporative mineral, meaning the stone is water-soluble. It is frequently found in lake muds, clay beds, evaporated seas, and salt springs. Selenite is a very soft mineral and this is one of the defining characteristics of the different gypsum minerals. Selenite is clear, like in the second picture, in its purest form. When it is a different color, there is another mineral present, like in the first picture.
Revealed by Man – Gypsum is found on every continent and is quite common.  Selenite, specifically, can be found in Peru, Mexico, Madagascar, Morocco, and the United States. The mineral is mined and then cleaned. Selenite is often cleaned by placing it water, allowing all the dirt and clay to wash away.
Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of selenite and many other fascinating natural art pieces in our Touchstone Galleries in Santa Fe (127 W. San Francisco St.), Scottsdale (4168 N. Marshall Way), Sedona (320 N. State Route 89A) and Taos (110 S. Plaza), or online at www.touchstonegalleries.com. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Diplomystus – An Upturned Nose from Long Ago


Décor Factors and Suggestions – Diplomystus fossils are remarkable pieces. The long and fascinating history that comes with a piece like this will add another layer of dimension to your décor.  Not only will the dark and soft colors of the fossil complement its surroundings, it will provide a natural and earthy feel to the room you place it in. The defined qualities of the Diplomystus fossil offer a look into the prehistoric world this fish lived in.    


 
These captivating fish fossils would only add to your décor. Touchstone Gallery offers both framed and unframed Diplomystus fossils, both styles perfect for your home or office. These fish fossils would be a unique addition to your décor. These pieces draw attention. Placing them in an entrance way or at the end of a hallway would allow for their true artistry to be appreciated.
Home Décor Featuring a Fascinating Story
Legend and Lore – Diplomystus is an extinct genus of freshwater fish distantly related to modern-day herrings and sardines. These 50 million year old fish were five to ten inches in length, typically eight inches, and weighed a few pounds. The Diplomystus had an up-turned mouth and that indicates that the fish fed in open water and from the surface, rather than feeding from the bottom. Sometimes specimens of Diplomystus have been preserved with smaller fish in their mouths or intestines, giving insight as to what the fish ate.
Science of Diplomystus Fossil Formation – Diplomystus along with many other species of fish are found in the Green River Formation in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. The Green River Formation dates back to the Eocene era, 50 million years ago. If you were to visit southwest Wyoming 50 million years ago, the climate would look very different from today’s climate. This is because the climate in this area during that time period was 10 degrees warmer than it is now. The weather was similar to the weather of Florida and Georgia. You would see tall palms, cat-tails, sycamores, and other familiar plants from North America. You would also see several plants that are now found in Asia.
Revealed by Man – The fish from the Green River Formation are found in one lake in particular, Fossil Lake. The fish fossils are carefully removed from the lake. Then, they are packed and shipped to be put on display and for purchase as fascinating décor focal points.                   
Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of Diplomystus fish fossils and many other fascinating natural art pieces in our Touchstone Galleries in Santa Fe (127 W. San Francisco St.), Scottsdale (4168 N. Marshall Way), Sedona (320 N. State Route 89A) and Taos (11 S. Plaza), or online at www.touchstonegalleries.com.  


Friday, October 4, 2013

Crystal Quartz – An Icy Addition to Your Décor


Decors Factors and Suggestions – Crystal quartz has so many appealing qualities. Crystal quartz glassy luster and translucent appearance allow for this gem to shine in many décor settings! The variety of shapes available of quartz crystals makes fitting one of these lovely pieces into your décor incredibly simple. Whether you are looking for a simple addition for your book shelf or for a stunning center piece, look no further. Crystal quartz has unlimited opportunities.



 
Crystal quartz truly shines when placed where natural light can pass through. The captivating  crystals will cast a rainbow of colors on the walls and surfaces surrounding. Place your crystal quartz on a window sill or in a well lit room so that you can enjoy all of the beauty it has to offer.

Home Décor Featuring a Fascinating Story

Legend and Lore – Roman naturalist, philosopher, and author Pliny the Elder had an interesting theory related to quartz. He believed that quartz was ice, which was permanently frozen after a great deal of time. He supported his theory by saying that it was found near glaciers in the Alps. He also believed that large crystal quartz were formed into spheres so people could handle then and cool off their hands. Pliny the Elder’s idea influenced the naming of the mineral, the word crystal comes from the Greek word for ice, but Pliny’s theory only lasted until the 17th century.  

The Science of Crystal Quartz Creation – The color and shape of crystal quartz is influenced by the space available.  Quartz crystals form veins in cracks of rocks. In these veins, hydrothermal solution runs through. The crystals form when the vein cools down.  The way a crystal looks depends how the solution was cooled and how long the vein was flooded. Quartz often occurs in granite and can be found in all rock types – igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic!
Revealed by Man –Specimens of crystal quartz have been found in Brazil, the United States, the Swiss Alps, Peru, the Himalayas, and Madagascar. Quartz is mined by surface mining, meaning the specimens are generally found close to the surface. Miners carefully remove the quartz from the veins with a variety of tools. Quartz is then cleaned, and finally packed and shipped for customers around the world to enjoy.
 
Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of crystal quartz and many other fascinating natural art pieces in our Touchstone Galleries in Santa Fe (127 W. San Francisco St.), Scottsdale (4168 N. Marshall Way), Sedona (320 N. State Route 89A) and Taos (110 S. Plaza), or online at www.touchstonegalleries.com. 

 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Petrified Wood Artist, Ed Rigel Featured During 39th Anniversary ArtWalk in Scottsdale


Touchstone Gallery is thrilled to be hosting 3rd generation lapidary artist, Ed Rigel, during this year’s ArtWalk in Scottsdale. Primarily, Ed works with petrified wood from Arizona, collecting, cutting, and polishing the wood to make outstanding tables, wall art, and gift items. Collected on private land near Holbrook, the petrified wood that Ed works with is 225 years old! Each piece reflects Ed’s years of patient attention to detail and love of the natural beauty found in these priceless treasures from nature.
On display especially for the ArtWalk, will be a 5’ 10” tall half-round log Ed has worked to a beautiful, mirror-like finish. This exquisite example of petrified wood showcases a number of the natural knots and beautiful colors. This is amazing example of Rainbow Wood, known as auracarioxylon arizonicum, the state fossil for Arizona. Pictured below is the before and after pictures of the piece, showing how much time and work went into creating this absolutely gorgeous piece.


 
 
 
Also on display for October 3rd only, will be Ed’s very own Cave Bear skeleton. This magnificent fossil skeleton stands 8’ 8” tall and 50,000 years old. Ed obtained this wonderful find through his work as a member of the Board of Directors for the Association of Applied Paleontological Sciences (AAPS). From the Ural Mountains in Russia, this Cave Bear fossil skeleton is sure to amaze all those who view it.
Stop by the Scottsdale gallery from 6 to 9 on October 3rd to view the wonderful creations of Ed Rigel. We are so excited to share his truly marvelous pieces with you during the 39th anniversary of the ArtWalk.