Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy Trails: Volume 8 ( December 22, 2014-December 29, 2014)


This past month has been a very busy time for Touchstone Gallery and we would like to share with you a recent piece that has been sold! This interesting fossil piece of a Dyrosaurus skull was sold in the Santa Fe gallery and taken home with a customer in Florida to be put on display for everyone to see. This carnivorous crocodile was a marine predator during the Cretaceous period. Around 14 million years ago this large animal reached 6 meters in size with slender jaws and curved teeth indicating a fish diet. Fast moving fish were easily caught by the long and sharp teeth this predator possessed! This crocodilian creature swam as fast as it walked indicated by its large leg bones and overall size with a lightly built skull. This Dyrosaurus is a wonderful display piece that is being sent on its happy trail home!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Mystic Gem of the Caribbean Sea

Larimar in Jewelry: Larimar is a rare, natural occurring, blue gem that reflects Touchstone Gallery’s motto, “nature’s art etched in stone.” This beautiful gem is so mystic and is commonly featured in jewelry. Touchstone Gallery offers several Larimar jewelry pieces that are the perfect gift to those blue color lovers or even a gift to treat you! When designed into jewelry, this blue stone gives a sophisticated and confident look that shows well in any place!


Legend and Lore: Larimar is a beautiful, rare, blue gem. The natives of the Dominican Republic believed the stone came from the sea and called the gem, Blue Stone. The beautiful blues of the stone are believed to be the colors of the Caribbean Sea, where it was discovered. Miguel Méndez, the second person on record that discovered the stone, had a daughter named Larissa and named the blue gem after her and mar (Spanish word for “sea”) forming the name Larimar.

Science of Gem Formation: Larimar is a type of pectolite. Pectolite is commonly found in many places, but none have the unique volcanic blue coloration of Larimar, which makes this gem so rare. The blue color that is so distinct from other pectolites is the result of copper substitution for calcium. This rare, blue pectolite then fills volcanic cavities in the south coast of the island. After the volcanic cavities erode the gem is then carried into the sediments of the sea which wash up along the shore.


Revealed by Man: On November of 1916, Father Miguel Domingo Fuertes Loren of the Barahona Parish discovered a blue rock in the Dominican Republic. He later asked permission to explore more of the land where he had discovered the rock and the request were rejected. Later on in 1974, Miguel Méndez and Norman Rilling rediscovered Larimar. Larimar is now mined only in the Dominican Republic.

Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of larimar 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.   

Monday, December 15, 2014

Peacock Marble: Seven Colored Creations

Home Décor Factors and Suggestions: Peacock marble is a beautiful marble décor piece that is the perfect accent to your home. Peacock marble has many gorgeous colors that are caused by different traces of minerals. Add these home décor pieces to your home!


 Home Décor Featuring a Fascinating Story
The home décor pieces pictured have several uses. The black and orange canister pictured below can be perfect to store your sugar and flour or it can be simply used as a cookie jar. The bowl above can accent your hallway table; even add a few sunflowers to really make this marble pop! The vase below could be the perfect flower vase!
Legend and Lore: Marble is derived from many root words of several different languages that are similar in context. The Greek term, mármaros, meaning “shining stone” is the most accurate comparison to marble. Marble is a natural gleaming stone! Marble was a popular carving stone to the ancient Greeks. The most well-known marble sculpture is the sculpture of David, done by Michelangelo.

Science of Formation: Peacock marble is formed from limestone by the heat and pressure of the Earth’s crust. The recrystallization of the marble causes the limestone to change in texture and color. The impurities present in the limestone during the recrystallization process affect the color and pattern composition. Peacock marble contains several traces of minerals that give the marble a wide variety of colors giving it the name of seven colored creations.

Revealed by Man: These beautiful colorful pieces of peacock marble are mined near the Himalayas and Yunnan of Southwest China. The marble is then carved into beautiful pieces of art and put on display at Touchstone gallery.

Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of Peacock Marble 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, December 12, 2014

The Perfect Gift: Mark Hines’ Creations

Décor Factors and Suggestions: Mark Hines’ designs range from beautiful vases to candle holders to colorful clocks. There are many uses for these home décor creations. Gift a lovely ruby red vase to a dear friend while keeping the oil candle leaf trivet for you. This trivet is perfect on a dining table centerpiece for any holiday dinner.


Mark Hines’ clocks are the best gift to someone who is always conscious of the time. Add some color and bubbliness to your home with these colorful clocks. Accent your walls with the ruby red candle holders that are sure to make any occasion illuminated.
  
About the Artist: Mark Hines began his artwork career in prestige blown glass pieces and the patient art of ceramics. He now creates modernized slumped glass pieces that are created from his previous knowledge he gained when working with ceramics and glass blowing. He has been working in visual arts for more than 36 years. Mark Hines’ design has been featured in Architectural Digest and has been commissioned by the City of Tempe Arizona for their Annual Awards.








The Making of the Art Products: Glass ceramics is a tedious art technique that combines the skill of glass making and ceramics. Glass ceramics has a beautiful artful outcome. When sculpting you add glass in the clay before you place the art piece in the kiln. This is a very difficult art technique that Mark Hines proves to accomplish in the most beautiful manner!

Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of Mark Hines’ Artwork 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, December 10, 2014

December: Tasteful Topaz

Topaz in Jewelry- Topaz comes in many different colors and varieties. Touchstone Gallery offers many different kind of topaz, including champagne topaz, white topaz, mystic topaz, and blue topaz, all pictured below. At Touchstone Gallery, we have topaz earrings, necklaces, and bracelets that are sure to please. Topaz jewelry would be the perfect gift for someone special that was born in December, seeing that it is one of the birthstones for that month.

Champagne topaz has a light brown color and when paired with white topaz, like in the earring above, it looks spectacular. The mystic topaz has an exciting display of colors, from purple to green to yellow. Blue topaz is a simple yet elegant variety of topaz that is so very stunning.



Legend and Lore- In the Middle Ages, topaz was used to refer to any yellow stone, but the name is more specific now. Blue topaz is the birthstone for the month of December and yellow topaz is the birthstone for the month of November. The name topaz comes from the Sanskrit word for fire. Topaz is sometimes referred to as Imperial Topaz because it was found in the royal jewels of the 18th and 19th century Russian Czarinas. The Greeks believed that topaz was able to make a person stronger and possibly make the wearer invisible as well. 

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.

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.), Scottsdale (4168 N. Marshall Way), Sedona (320 N. State Route 89A) and Taos (110 S. Plaza), or online at www.touchstonegalleries.com.  

Monday, December 8, 2014

Mexican Onyx: Banded Form of Calcite

Home Décor Factors and Suggestions: The layers in Mexican Onyx are very diverse and apparent. These natural formed layers are what make these bowls so unique. Mexican Onyx bowls are fascinating home décor pieces that are perfect for your dining room table or even your coffee table! Touchstone Gallery offers many bowl pieces that will be sure to feel just right for your table.


These particular bowls were mined in Mexico, carved, and polished into naturally stunning bowls. The bowl above still maintains a natural forming rim and clearly distinguishes each band of color and design. The bowl below is a long wave form with the distinguished bands showing as well.

Home Décor Featuring a Fascinating Story

Legend and Lore: This stone was used as early as the Second Dynasty in Egypt. The Egyptians used onyx to create bowls and other pottery accents. The name, Onyx, is a Greek word that means ‘nail of a finger or claw.’ The Greek myth derived this name after Eros had cut Venus’ fingernails in her sleep and left the scattered nails on the ground, and since no part of a gods’ body can die the gods had turned the nails into stone.


Science of Mexican Onyx: Mexican Onyx is  not even onyx, it is banded calcite that resembles the mineral, onyx. Banded calcite forms from the precipitating calcium filled water inside caverns or on limestone cliffs. This particular type of calcite forms as a strange globular growth. These growths continually accumulate in the caves and begin to form layers. Layers frequently have impurities when forming, trapping in leaves, twigs, moss etc. which makes these bands so diverse.

Revealed by Man: Banded Onyx is commonly found and mined in Mexico and in Pakistan. Onyx is mined and carved into home décor bowls, jewelry beads and cabochons that are shipped off to our galleries and put on display for consumers.

Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of Mexican onyx 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, December 5, 2014

Heartfelt Cure Collection

Touchstone Gallery is proud to present Heartfelt Cure Collection. This inspirational jewelry collection was designed with a heartfelt spirit of love, hope and remembrance, by Susan Heike-Wilhelm. Its intention is to extend our support for those who have been touched by cancer, whether it be a patient, family member or friend, all of whom need our tenderness as they hope for a remission and cure. Susan and Joseph Wilhelm, owners of the Touchstone Galleries are honored to contribute proceeds from these beautifully crafted art-forms to the "American Cancer Association", research department, to one day realize the cure. In remembrance of the loved one lost to this disease, our sincere gratitude for your support.


--Joe & Sue






Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Tanzania’s Gem: Tanzanite

Tanzanite in Jewelry: Tanzanite is a stunning purplish blue gem that is commonly featured in jewelry. Tanzanite is so naturally stunning that many jewelry pieces feature the rough, unpolished tanzanite. The naturally formed tanzanite is extremely rare and is only found in the Mererani hills of Northern Tanzania. Touchstone gallery offers marvelous jewelry pieces featuring the precious blue gem!



Legend and Lore: Legend of the gemstone, Tanzania, says that the cattle herders of Masai, Tanzania were the first to notice the stone. This gem was said to be noticed 30 years after a fire caused by lightening had burned areas in Masai. The herders noted that the brown zoiscite crystals had turned a different color. The color was a deep blue-purple due to the heat from the fire.


Formation of Tanzanite: Natural tanzanite is trichroic, meaning it shows three colors. The three concurrent colors are brown, blue, and violet. These crystals are formed through heating which occurs underground by metamorphic occurrences or is heated in a furnace by man to remove the brown of the gem.

Revealed by Man: In 1967, this beautiful blue gem was discovered in the Northern part of Tanzania. The gem was then named after the country in which it was discovered by Tiffany & Co. The American Gem Trade Association then decided to use Tanzanite as December’s designated birthstone in 2002. This was the first change to the December birthstone list since 1912.

Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of tanzanite 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, November 26, 2014

Terrific Topaz with Sovereign Touch

Topaz in Jewelry: Topaz naturally occurs in a variety of colors! There are many names such as mystic topaz, imperial topaz, and precious topaz. Orange topaz is the traditional birthstone for the month of November while blue topaz is the traditional birthstone for December. Blue topaz is the state gem for Texas in the United States. Natural blue topaz is considered rare. Topaz is the perfect present for the months of November and December!



 Legend and Lore:  The name topaz, meaning fire, comes in a range of colors. Pink and red topaz were used in the 18th and 19th century (Russian Czarinas Century) which is why this variety is known as imperial topaz. During the middle ages people thought that topaz could prevent death. The Egyptians wore topaz in amulets as a form of protection from injuries. This mystical stone was used to increase strength to the Greeks. What a mighty gem this is!

Gemstone Formation: Topaz is such a beautiful gem that is known for its different varieties. Topaz is heated and cooled in the cavities of volcanoes. Topaz colors vary based on the amount of heat the gem undergoes. This precious gem is a silicate mineral of aluminum and fluorine.


Revealed by Man: This diverse gemstone is found in Brazil, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Russia. The gem is mined and then packaged and shipped off to jewelers that turn this gem to a true beauty that anyone and everyone can wear!

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.), Scottsdale (4168 N. Marshall Way), Sedona (320 N. State Route 89A) and Taos (110 S. Plaza), or online at www.touchstonegalleries.com.   

Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Trails: Volume 7 (November 2014)

This month has been a spectacular and busy month for our Sedona gallery! A few great meteorite pieces have been taken home on the journey of their happy trails for meteorite month in the Sedona gallery. These unique meteorite pieces are perfect for the holiday season! Find your perfect meteorite piece at the Sedona gallery!


A pair of rings that were created from the Gibeon meteorite made by Sedona’s local artist Arne Christopherson was adopted this week! A gentleman from San Francisco, California was blown away by the beauty of these rings! He felt that the rings would be perfect as wedding bands to his spouse. Then it was meant to be when the two rings that he admired the most were only available in the two sizes that would fit his partner and fit him perfectly.

On a Thursday afternoon, a lovely couple found an “out of this world” watch with the Gibeon meteorite faceted in the watch. This watch was made by the same local artist that was mentioned above. The wife gifted the handsome watch to her husband. Now he can wear this lovely time piece to any upcoming holiday celebration. A happy trail to the meteorite wrist watch and the happy couple.


Last week, Dustin Dickens came to speak at the Sedona Gallery! This meteorite month presentation at the Sedona gallery sure was 'out of this world.' We were visited by the Sedona Red Rock News and two more area photographers, as well as Sedona Experience Magazine (annual chamber of commerce publication) and Arizona Vacation Magazine. Touchstone Gallery is looking forward to a nice article and feature about the Sedona gallery. Many locals, visitors and staff alike were mesmerized by Dustin's amazing presentations on meteorics. A lawyer from Wyoming happily went home with her new meteorite necklace and matching bracelet! These two jewelry pieces were the most impressive at the meteorite event!

Another wonderful piece went home to a lovely couple! New Sedona area residents, Tom and Kathleen just could not resist adding this glorious, almost eight pound Canyon Diablo meteorite to their highly prized possessions! As a geologist, Tom has always been interested in Northern Arizona and is fascinated by the historic significance of the Canyon Diablo impact site. A ‘Happy Trail’ to Tom and Kathleen’s wonderful meteorite piece! Welcome to Sedona and enjoy the many conversations your meteorite will start in the future.

Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of meteorites 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.   



Monday, November 17, 2014

The Serpent’s Stone

Serpentine in Jewelry: Serpentine is a spotted brownish, green mineral that is found among serpentinite rocks. The olive color and smooth or scaly appearance is the basis of the name of the gem. The gem was named after the Latin word, serpentinus, meaning “serpent rock.” The ring pictured below facets the mystic gem. This particular stone appears to have a rich light green color mixed with a darker shade of green. The colors mixed portray a scaly texture similar to the textures of snakes and is popularly used for ornamental use.


Legend and Lore: To the Assyrians, serpentine was an important gemstone used in seals and cylinders and was called Za-tu-mush-gir and has been traced back to around 4000 B.C. It is said that the 30th chapter of the Egyptian Book of the Dead was carved from a tablet of serpentine. The Aztecs also prized this green stone highly and valued its beauty. In the medieval times Italian peasants carried around serpentine pebbles in hopes the stone would protect them from the venom of poisonous creatures such as snakes.

Science of Gem: Serpentine is a semi-precious gemstone and is a magnesium silicate mineral. This mineral forms when water metamorphoses with igneous or sedimentary rocks during its cooling period. The water comes from within the magma. The water is then released when the eruption of a volcano occurs. This whole process then produces a mesmerizing serpentine gem.


Revealed by Man: Occurrences of serpentine are worldwide. Notable places this gem is mined in is Afghanistan, Austria, Canada (Quebec), China, France, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Norway, and Russia. Serpentine is also mined in Northern California. In 1965 the California Legislature designated the mineral as “the official state rock and lithological emblem.”

Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of serpentine 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, November 12, 2014

Did You Know?

Peridot is one of a few minerals and gemstones that only occur in one color. Peridot occurs in only an olive green color. The tint and intensity of the green color varies. Peridot crystals have been found in meteorites and are the birthstone for the month of August. The largest Peridot crystal found is 310 carat specimen that is now on display in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. This Peridot necklace, bracelet, and earring set is a Touchstone Gallery limited addition set and is truly one of a kind. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Moonstone: Droplets of the Moon

The Moonstone in Jewelry: This precious gemstone is a symbol for romance. Moonstone is traditionally decorated in jewelry pieces and is perfect for a marriage anniversary or a gift to your significant other. Touchstone Gallery has many beautiful jewelry pieces of moonstone to offer! 



Legend and Lore: The moonstone was believed to be created from the beams of the moon. According to the Hindu Legend, if you put a moonstone in your mouth during a full moon you would be able to see into your future. Similar to the Hindus, the Romans also believed the stone was droplets of the moon. The sacred gemstone represented intuition, romance, emotions, and dreams.

Science of Gemstone Formation: Moonstone is formed from a variety of albite feldspar, known as adularia. The variety of feldspar forms with potassium at low temperatures. The stone then crystallizes and creates an iridescent effect. This beautiful gemstone shimmers in the light! The shimmer effect is caused by the different types of feldspar that form in layers. The different layers are shown when put under the light.


Revealed by Man: The moonstone has been dated back to many centuries. The moonstone has been used in jewelry within ancient civilizations. This iridescent gemstone became popular during the Art Nouveau period when French goldsmith, Rene Lalique, and others created large quantities of jewelry using moonstone. Today, the precious moonstone is the gemstone of Florida and large deposits can be found in the United States, Australia, Mexico, the Austrian Alps, Madagascar, and India.

Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of moonstone pieces 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, November 7, 2014

Dugway Geodes: Celestial Blue Minerals

Home Décor Factors and Suggestions: These beautiful geodes have fascinating colors that all blend well together. Featuring blues, purples, greys, and white these geodes are sure to accompany the colors of the walls in an office or living room. The celestial blues and purples of these rocks would also work well as great book ends, while at the same time decorating your book shelf.

 Home Décor Featuring a Fascinating Story


The geodes pictured have been discovered in the Dugway Geode Beds and contain large cavities filled with beautiful quartz drusy. The geode pictured below resembles the design of a hurricane. The geode above contains larger crystals inside the cavities and is a smaller rock perfect for beginner rock collectors.


Legend and Lore: Around 32,000 to 14,000 years ago, a large body of water known as Lake Bonneville covered a majority of western Utah. The wave activity of the lake then eroded the geode-bearing rhyolite and redistributed the geodes several miles away. This place is now known as the Dugway Geode Beds. The lake sediments are the distributed geodes. The name “Dug Way” is derived from an old technique. The technique was to build a trench along a hill to prevent a wagon from falling to its side.

Science of Formation: During the Miocene epoch period, 6 to 8 million years ago, in western Utah volcanic activity occurred. The volcanic activity deposited a large amount of igneous rock, known as rhyolite. The cavities are formed from the trapped gasses inside the rhyolite and the millions of years of ground-water circulation allowed minerals, especially quartz to parade into the cavities. This creates the beautiful drusy cavities and swirl designs of other minerals surrounding the cavities, similar to a bird-view of a hurricane.

Revealed by Man: These geodes can now be unburied by tourists or geologists coming to Utah. The Dugway Geode Beds include areas of public access on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The “geode area” allows active mining and in other areas you must be allowed permission.
Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of dug way geodes 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, November 5, 2014

Citrine: The Brazilian Topaz

Citrine in Jewelry: Citrine is a variety of quartz with sometimes deep colors of orange and yellows or other times light colors of orange and yellows. Citrine is a popular gem used in jewelry and home décor and has a similar color to the stone amber making the stone perfect to wear in the season of Autumn. 


The pendant below facets a teardrop gem of citrine with a freshwater pearl and above the two gems is a piece of rutilated quartz. This pendant is made to wear at a Thanksgiving dinner. The dangly earrings below facet rough citrine and show what citrine looks like in its natural structure. The earrings to the left show an elegant appearance and looks good when accompanying the pendant on the left.





Legend and Lore: Citrine is commonly known as the traditional birthstone for the month of November. Citrine is often mistaken for topaz and shares the same title for the month of November, because of the similarities citrine was nicknamed the Brazilian topaz. This yellowish orange gem was named after the French word, citrin, meaning lemon. Citrine was a highly valued gem to the Romans. The ancient Romans used the gem for intaglio art work and decorated themselves in jewelry with the gem.

Science of Formation: Most citrine is formed from heat treating the purple quartz of Amethyst; this produces the darker and redder stone of citrine. Citrine is also heat treated smoky quartz.  Natural citrine, which is rare, is yellow to orange-yellow and is highly valued for its light lemon color. On the market it is often called the “Lemon Quartz.”

Revealed by Man: A notable place that natural citrine is mined is in the Ural Mountains of Russia, in Dauphine, France, and in Madagascar. In Brazil, Amethyst is heat treated producing the orange, reddish colored citrine. Natural dark colored citrine and medium golden orange is highly valued.


Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of Septarian 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.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Pyrite: The Fool’s Gold

Décor Factors and Suggestions: In the 19th century conmen would trade you pyrite instead of actual gold! Pyrite is a mineral that truly glistens! A glistening that is similar to the mineral gold. Hence, the nick name Fool’s Gold. A metallic mineral like this would accent any office desk or room!



The pyrite pictured to the left features a large natural cubic structure. The larger pyrite cubes are in gray marl.  The one pictured below has many small pyrite cubes in gray marl. These stunning decorative pieces would go lovely with a deep colored curtain next to a window, where the lights would reflect off of this stunning mineral.



Home Décor Featuring a Fascinating Story

Legend and Lore: The Incas of Peru and the Aztecs of Mexico would polish large slabs of pyrite crystals to use as mirrors. One side of the mirror was polished and the other side was carved with special symbolic markings. Pyrite crystals were known as stones of power and great magic by North American Indians. The medicine men of the tribes would wear amulets of pyrite during healing ceremonies and incantations. Pyrite has also been used as a source of ignition in the 16th and 17th century’s firearms. 

Science of Formation: Pyrite has the same chemical formula as the rare mineral Marcasite, but crystallizes differently classifying pyrite and Marcasite as different minerals. Pyrite crystals usually form in a cubic structure or an octahedron (8 sided solid.)

Revealed by Man: Pyrite is a common mineral that occurs through numerous places in the world. The most abundant pyrite mines are located in Peru. Peruvian mines include Huaron, La Libertad, Huanzala, and Huánuco. There are also mines in the United States in Utah, Colorado, and Illinois.

Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of pyrite 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 31, 2014

Septarian: The Dragon Stone

Décor Factors and Suggestions: This stone has a mixture of yellows, grays, browns, and blacks that would accommodate an elegant office with a deep brown desk. Touchstone Gallery currently has beautiful Septarian geodes or Septarian carvings of buffalo in which show the unique concretions of the mineral.

Home Décor Featuring a Fascinating Story

Legend and Lore: The Septarian concretions are angular cavities or cracks that is Latin for "septaria." The process in which the concretions occur and characterize the fascinating stone is still a mystery. Many people believe that Septarian is the stone to prepare one for the twists and turn of life. Septarian is a breathtaking gemstone that is commonly called the 'dragon stone' for its unique and mysterious concretions similar to the scales of the mystical creature, the dragon.


Science of Formation: Septarian is a unique geode that is a mixture of numerous minerals. This fascinating stone is a combination of yellow calcite, brown aragonite, grey limestone, and white sometimes clear barite. This stone is so unique because it holds the properties of each of its component minerals in the stone.

Revealed by Man: Septarian geodes are commonly found in Utah and in Madagascar. When they were formed during the Cretaceous Period, around 65 to 70 million years ago, the cretaceous seas were raised 100 meters higher covering a majority of our land masses today. The formations of the stone happened around the two areas of Utah and Madagascar. These are the two places where the stone is found and shipped off to consumers to use as beautiful decorative pieces.

Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone

We invite you to view our current offerings of Septarian 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 29, 2014

Happy Trails: Volume 6 (October 2014)

Here at Touchstone Gallery, October is our meteorite month and we would like to share with you a couple of interesting meteorite pieces that have been sold throughout the month! At the Scottsdale gallery we made great sales.



              Beautiful pairs of these earrings featuring the meteorite Seymchan and accompanied by the green variety of amethyst, prasiolite, were recently sent on their happy trail home. At our Scottsdale gallery we had a group of ladies visiting from Boston. These lovely ladies, Maria, Lisa and Cori each clung to a pair of these nice dangled earrings to wear home and to show off. They were all so pleased  that the Scottsdale gallery was open later than the gallery next to them. These Boston women wanted to shop around in Arizona before returning home early the following day.

Mother and daughter, Joanne and Jan came to the gallery later on in the month. Joanne and Jan had a girls day. They took home to Tampa, Florida the wonderful Seymchan Meteorite pendant that is faceted in a sterling silver coin bezel on a rolo chain. 


A couple of months ago, Chris proposed to his beautiful fiance Taylor in our Scottsdale gallery. The lovely young couple revisited the gallery to attend the ArtWalk. At the 40th annual ArtWalk, Chris added to his collection with a Mars Micro Rock. The lovely couple also brought the gallery a beautiful bronze chrysanthemum plant, to thank the wonderful staff for helping Chris pull off such an enjoyable proposal!

Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of meteorites 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 24, 2014

Malachite: A Cultural Treasure

Decors Factors and Suggestions – Malachite had been sought after because of its rich, but simple colors by cultures for thousands of years. Adding malachite to your home or office décor will be like having a piece of history and culture on display. The dark colors present in malachite are mysterious, acting as accents to the mineral as a whole. The hints of color would nicely compliment color schemes of blue and green, the small traces really pulling the color scheme together beautifully.

The specimen above is fibrous malachite. The variety of colors makes this specimen one of a kind. From light blue to deep greens and blues, malachite will fit into many different décor settings.

Home Décor Featuring a Fascinating Story

Legend and Lore – Malachite has been used since ancient Egyptian times, as early as 4000 BC, and has appeared throughout history ever since. Malachite was very popular with the Romans and the Greeks. They used the mineral in jewelry, ornaments, and even ground it up and used it as eye shadow. In the middle ages, malachite was worn to protect people from sorcery and black magic. In Russian folk lore, it is said the when someone drinks from a vessel made of malachite, they are able to speak and understand the language of the animals. 


The Science of Malachite Creation – Malachite is technically considered a secondary mineral because it is created by a chemical reaction between minerals that are already formed. Malachite is formed in a couple different ways. The first way it forms is when water containing carbon dioxide or dissolved carbonate materials comes into contact with rocks containing cooper. The second way it forms is when a solution containing copper minerals interacts with a rock containing carbonate materials. 

Revealed by Man – Most malachite comes from The Democratic Republic of Congo, Chile, and Australia. This mineral forms in masses, lumps, or on the crust of other rocks. Malachite is a soft mineral so it is easy to carve, shape, and polish. Because of this, it has many decorative uses.


Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of malachite 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 22, 2014

Did You Know?



Amber is a fossilized tree resin. The resin or sap releases when the tree has a present injury, such as a torn branch. The tree resin takes millions of years to fossilize into amber. Amber is mostly found in rocks where it has been dated back to 30 to 90 million years ago. Most amber made into jewelry is from a species of pine trees that is extinct. Amber that contains insects or specimens fossilized inside of the amber is highly valued. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Kyanite: Two Strengths

Decors Factors and Suggestions – Kyanite is a gorgeous mineral, occurring in many different colors. Most commonly, kyanite is blue, but has also occurred in gray, white, green, pink, yellow, and black. Color often varies by crystal, making kyanite specimens incredibly beautiful. This mineral has a wonderfully stunning pearly luster, making this piece really shine. Kyanite would be a unique addition to your home or office!



Kyanite is often found alongside other minerals. The specimen pictured above is kyanite with quartz, making this mineral that much more interesting. This piece, like other blue specimens of kyanite, would really bring out blue and silver in décor settings. This fascinating mineral comes with a story to tell and demands attention. The unusual formation of kyanite crystals will make them stand no matter where they are placed.

Home Décor Featuring a Fascinating Story

Legend and Lore – The name Kyanite comes from the Greek word Kyanos, meaning blue. Kyanite is an interesting mineral because it has different hardness over the length of the crystal. On the Moh’s scale of hardness the parallel length of the minerals measures at 4 to 5, but if the hardness is measured one the side of the crystal with the shorter dimension the hardness is around 7.  The Moh’s scale compares relative hardness of minerals by seeing which mineral can scratch others. The scale is from one to ten, with diamonds at ten, talc at one and orthoclase at six. The mineral is also referred to as disthene, which means "two strengths”.

The Science of Kyanite Formation – Kyanite is mainly formed in metamorphic rock. It is formed when sedimentary rock goes through metamorphism. Metamorphism is the process in which the structure of a rock is altered by heat, pressure, or other naturally occurring factors. In this instance, the sedimentary rock is transformed through a high pressure alteration. Kyanite is often associated with minerals such as garnet, staurolite and corundum. When Kyanite is found in metamorphic rock that indicates that the pressure levels during metamorphism reached above 58 pounds.

Revealed by Man – Kyanite can be found all over the world. Countries that produce Kyanite include India, Brazil, Switzerland, Serbia, Kenya, and the United States. The most notable deposits in the United States are in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Although kyanite has many commercial uses, it is a very desired and sought after collector’s mineral.

Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of kyanite 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 17, 2014

Happy Trails: Volume 5 (October 2014)

Here at Touchstone Gallery, October is our meteorite month and we would like to share with you a couple of interesting meteorite pieces that have been sold throughout the month! At the Scottsdale gallery we made great sales. The first piece that was sold was a beautiful Muonionalusta meteorite slice pendant with faceted Iolite and blue topaz gemstones to accent the meteorite slice. Touchstone Gallery’s customer, Fran, went home happily to North Carolina wearing her new pendant!


 A wonderful meteorite slice was sold to a happy grandfather and grandson. Grandfather, Bert, came into the Scottsdale gallery with his grandson Trevor. Bert and Trevor picked out a very out-of-this- world chrondite slice that was found in Morocco. How cool! A few Mars micro rocks were sold to the gallery’s favorite window washer, Loughlin. Mr. Loughlin intends to take these spectacular mars rocks back home to Ireland and give them to his family.  


A few other neat pieces were sold to wonderful and happy customers as well! A brecciated Chrondite (NWA 7450) was sold to one of the gallery’s photographer neighbors, Airi. Airi purchased the fascinating meteorite for her boyfriend!


Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of meteorites 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 15, 2014

Did You Know?


Slumping is the process of shaping glass at very high temperatures. This technique had been perfected by Mark Hines, the creator of these gorgeous clocks. This process is very technically and hard to do. Different ways of slumping glass have been used since the Romans, who made bowls and plates out of glass that had rough surfaces. Mark Hines beautiful creations can be found in all four of our galleries.