Monday, June 30, 2014

Copper: An Ancient Discovery

Home décor and suggestions: Not only can copper be produced into jewelry but other items such as home décor. Copper can also be used as décor in its natural form! A copper piece in its natural form would look elegant if placed on a desk or on a bookshelf next to a stack of classical literature.


Legend and Lore: Copper was an important resource for the Romans and Greeks during the Roman times. The seven heavenly bodies (Greek gods) correlated with the seven metals of antiquity. Venus represented copper in mythology and alchemy. Venus (Aphrodite) corresponded with copper because of the lustrous beauty copper held. Copper was found in Cyprus which is sacred to the goddess. Copper was used in ancient times for production of mirrors.
Formation of Mineral: Copper is commonly found in deposits around Earth’s crust. The formation of copper occurs after the solidification of molten rock. Molten rock holds small amounts of copper, so as the rock is melting the copper becomes more concentrated. The molten rock begins to cool and solidify and the copper still remains as a concentrated liquid. Once the rock is almost solid, it begins to shrink and crack. When the rock cracks the copper begins to fill the cracks and spaces and finally the copper solidifies. Thus, creating deposits of copper!


Revealed by Man: Natural copper is known as native copper and was used throughout some of the oldest civilizations on record. The history of use dates back to at least 10,000 years old! Geologists estimate it was discovered at around 9000 BC (The Copper Age) in the Middle East. The oldest piece of copper was found in Northern Iraq. It was a copper pendant that dates back to 8700 BC.

Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of aquamarine 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, June 27, 2014

Opal: A Medieval Past


Décor Factors and Suggestions: In its natural form, Opal is a fascinating collection to add to your shelf. Most opal has a porcelain appearance that is transparent with colors of green, sky blue, Smokey greys, and hints of orange. Opal is beautiful in its natural form and would definitely add some color to your office! For the month of October the traditional birthstone is opal and an opal also represents the 14th year of marriage.
 

Legend and Lore: Opals have a long history full of myths and legends. During the medieval times, blonde maidens believed that by wearing a necklace of opals, the opals would prevent the blonde in their hair from fading or darkening. The opal was also thought to be a stone of good luck because it was believed to contain all the virtues of every gemstone whose color was shown in the color spectrum of the opal. The opal was said to make a man invisible whenever he chose to be, if the opal was wrapped in a fresh bay leaf.

Formation of Mineral: The formation of opal is from the solution of silicon dioxide and water. As the water runs down through the earth, the water picks up silica from sandstone. The water then carries the solution into natural faults, cracks and voids. When the water evaporates it leaves behind the silica deposit known as the iridescent mineral, opal.

Revealed by Man: The term opal is adapted from the Roman term Opalus. The word Opalus means “to see a change in color.”  Historians say that the opal was discovered after the Romans had conquered the Greek states in 180 BC. Today, the opal is the national stone of Australia, since more than half the deposits of the gemstone are found and produced in Australia.

Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of opal 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, June 23, 2014

Did You Know?


 
Amethyst is violet purple variety of quartz. Amethyst come from the Ancient Greek words for not intoxicated because it was thought that amethyst protected its owner from drunkenness. Ancient Greeks and Roman wore amethyst jewelry and made amethyst drinking vessels in order to prevent alcohol intoxication. Although this table will not prevent drunkenness, the beauty of the crystals and the deep purple color is intoxicating. On display on our Santa Fe gallery, this table embraces out motto, nature’s art etched in stone.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Fascinating Agate!


Décor Factors and Suggestions: Agate is such a unique stone! It can be worn or in its more natural form agate can be used as home décor. Agate can be a wonderful and resourceful book end. It would also look divine on a bookshelf next to a collection of Archaeology books!

Legend and Lore: Around 3,000 years ago the stone Agate was found along the shore line of an ancient river, now known as the Dirillo River in Sicily, Italy. A Greek philosopher and naturalist, Theophrastus discovered and named the stone, Agate. Theophrastus named the colorful stone after the ancient river, Achates, in which it was found.

Science of Fossil Formation: Layers of silica fill the voids in volcanic vesicles and/or other cavities creating natural formations of agate. The layers of silica form in stages that produce color throughout each stage of formation. Every piece of agate is unique and different in its pattern! The patterns form based on the curves and shape of the volcanic cavities. Once the cavity is filled, the cavity is transformed into a large mass of agate.

Revealed by Man: After the discovery of agate from Greek philosopher, Theophrastus, the stone was commonly found near Idar-Obstein, Germany in addition to the Achates River. Idar-Obstein, Germany has been long since exhausted its supply of agate. Today agate is found around the world. The most abundant sources of Agate are found along the Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil. Many forms and varieties are found in Brazil.

Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of agate 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, June 16, 2014

The Pāua Shell: Opal of the Sea


The Pāua Shell in Jewelry: The Pāua shell is found only in the rocky coastal waters of New Zealand. Ever since the discovery of the Paua shells, the shell has been very popular in the creation of jewelry. The iridescent colors of the Paua shell bring attention to the jewelry piece itself! Paua shell jewelry pieces designed by Marta Howell can be found on our gallery website.

 
Legend and Lore: In the Maori legend of the Paua, it is said that the mollusk had no shell in the days of the old. The god of the sea, Tangarea, noticed the difficulties the sea creature had in the ocean. The god decided to create a beautiful shell for the mollusk. Out of jealousy, the other creatures of the sea destroyed the shell. Again, Tangarea recognized the difficulties and created an even stronger shell with layers of blues of the ocean, the greens of the forest, the violet of the dawn, and the pink of the sunset. In return for the god’s gift, Tangarea required the Paua to continually add on more and more colorful layers to the shell.
Science of Shell Formation: The Paua shell is the shell of edible sea snails. These creatures are found along the rocky coast of the ocean in New Zealand. These sea snails live a majority of their lives clinging to rocks and feeding on seaweed. The beautiful iridescent colors of the Paua shell vary based on the sea snail’s diet. The Pāua shell is known as the “Sea Opal” because of its unique opalescent colors!

Revealed by Man: Aquaculture of Pāua shells is booming in New Zealand. The industry was started around 1980 and currently there are 14 Pāua farms around New Zealand. The farms produce blue pearls and these beautiful shells that are then featured in stunning jewelry.

Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of Paua 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, June 6, 2014

June: Picturesque Pearls


The Pearl in Jewelry: The finest quality of wild and natural pearls have been appreciated as rare gemstones throughout the world. The pearl is admired highly for its beauty from centuries past to today. Today the pearl is a metaphor for something rare and valuable. Touchstone Gallery has many jewelry pieces of cultured and freshwater pearls to offer. These sophisticated pearls at Touchstone Gallery can be found in beautiful jewelry pieces that suite your liking.


Legend and Lore- In the Hindu custom it was traditional that kings of Malabar wore a necklace of 104 pearls and rubies. The necklace was given to every generation of kings. They wore the necklace because the king had to say 104 prayers every morning and every evening. In the Hindus folklore and stories the Lord Vishnu would wear pearls on his chest that would form into snakes and elephants! Today the pearl is popularly used as a birthstone for the month of June.
Science of Pearl Formation- Pearls are rare finds and creations that begin in a sea mollusk. The formation of a pearl occurs when a parasite enters and settles inside an oyster. Being irritated by the intruder, the oyster forms a pearl sac to cover the irritation of the intruder. This process is repeated numerous times which then overtime forms a single elegant pearl. These natural pearls come in many shapes but the perfectly round pearls are rare.
Revealed by Man- Most seawater pearls were found and retrieved by divers working in the Indian Ocean around the Persian Gulf and Red Sea. Around 206 BC to near 220 AD known as the Han Dynasty the Chinese hunted for seawater pearls. Before the 20th century pearl hunting was the common way for harvesting pearls! Not all oysters produce pearls. Only 3-4 oysters hold pearls out of a haul of three tons. Many modern seawater and freshwater pearls are cultured by man.

Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of pearls 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, June 4, 2014

New Additions: Ammonite on Shale "An Intriguing Creation"


Décor Factors and Suggestions- This beautiful piece would go perfect on an office desk. These beautiful colors of the ammonites glistening on a bookshelf. The polished ammonites show their iridescent colors on the shale. 

 
Legend and Lore- Ammonites are fossilized mollusk shells that are similar to squids today. These creatures lived the same time the dinosaurs did! They lived during the Mesozoic era. It is said that these unique shells are compared to ram horns. Matters of fact, ammonites are named after the Egyptian god Ammon, who was distorted with ram horns on his head.
Science of Fossil Formation- Today ammonites are one of the most abundant fossils found. About 65 million years ago these sea creatures went extinct after being buried by sediment layers of bentonite. The bentonite helped to keep the shells preserved by also creating the opalescent colors you see in the fossil. Interestingly, these fossils provide us with a look back to life of these sea creatures.
Revealed by Man- Around the world these fossils can be found. Commonly these ammonites are found in the United States, Canada, Russia, and Madagascar. In fact in the picture above these two ammonite shells were found in Madagascar. After chipping away sediments of rocks to find these shells they are then polished and used in various ways 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 vertebrate 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.  

New Additions: The Common Crystal


Décor Factors and Suggestion- Quartz is the second most abundant mineral on the Earth’s crust! Use this beautiful crystal as a book shelf end. When put directly in the sun this crystal produces beautiful colors! This piece would look lovely on the windowsill or shelves!

 
Legend and Lore- In Ireland, quartz is commonly found in the passage tomb cemeteries. The crystal is used for a burial context. The Irish commonly use the word ‘grian cloch’ for quartz, meaning “stone of the sun.” This common crystal was used in prehistoric Ireland and other countries as stone tools.
Science of Fossil Formation- Quartz is commonly found in sedimentary rocks such as sandstone and shale. Most quartz forms by crystallizing from the molten magma. Quartz is also chemically created from hot hydrothermal veins (hot water in small canyon like structures) with other minerals like gold, silver, and copper.
Revealed by Man- Before the 17th century, Pliny the Elder was a Roman naturalist who discovered quartz and believed the crystal to be water ice, that was permanently frozen for great lengths of times. Pliny the Elder also discovered the ability of quartz to split light into a spectrum. Did you know the largest documented single crystal of quartz was found near Goiaz, Brazil? It weighed more than 44 tonnes.
Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of vertebrate 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.  
 

New Additions: Amazing Ammonite!


Décor Factors and Suggestions- You can wear these beautiful and naturally formed shells! These intriguing ammonite shells have beautiful opalescent colors that can be worn as pendants. They commonly show red and green colors and protrude other colors. They can bring out any ordinary blouse and glisten in the sun!

 

Legend and Lore- Ammonites are fossilized shells of cephalopods or squid-like creatures known as Placenticeras meeki. These crustaceous ammonites lived and thrived in the Mesozoic era along the Rocky Mountains in the tropical seas. These creatures lived and went extinct the same time the Dinosaurs lived and went extinct!

Science of Fossil Formation- At the time of extinction these ammonites were buried under layers of bentonite sediment keeping the shells preserved. The area that the ammonites are found in today is known as the Crustaceous or Western Interior Seaway. This is where the ammonites inhabited a prehistoric, inland tropical sea that used to border the Rocky Mountains.
Revealed by Man- These iridescent fossilized shells were first revealed in the Kainah (Kainaiwa) reservation located in southern Alberta in 1979. Today, the Korite International maintains an agreement with the Kainah tribe for permission of ammonite mining.

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