Friday, August 29, 2014

August: 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 August, seeing that it is one on 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.   

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Happy Trails Introduction & Volume 1 (August 20th-27th)

Happy Trails is our Southwestern good-bye to Touchstone Gallery’s most extraordinary pieces. Every week we sell many items and every week we would like to take time out of the week to show you one of the pieces that was sold. Happy Trails will feature pictures with background information to where it is going and a bit on the legend and lore of the item at hand. We hope you enjoy our new addition to the blog! Read below to see our first Happy Trail post!


Volume 1 (August 20th-27th):


Good-bye to this ‘natural art’ décor cocktail table. This table features a fascinating geode of citrine. Citrine is the traditional birthstone for the month of November. This beautiful orange gem gained popularity during the Art Deco period (in-between World War I and World War II.) Today, the gem is known as the merchant’s stone. This neat table was sold and is going to be displayed at a commercial medical building near Miami, Florida. This piece is for now a cocktail table and will later be set upon a higher base to make it a conference style table. What an extraordinary piece this is to add to a home near the beach! Check out more citrine geode tables on our website at touchstonegalleries.com. 


Monday, August 25, 2014

Carnelian: Gemstone of Courage

Carnelian in Jewelry: This gem is known as a semi-precious gemstone. Carnelian is believed to have many healing powers and is popularly worn as jewelry. Here at Touchstone Gallery we have charming jewelry pieces that are great as gifts especially to outgoing women!


Legend and Lore: Carnelian was favored by the Arabic people. It was one of the stones for the kings. This gem was thought to lend courage to those in need and helped people publicly speak. The Prophet Mohammed wore a carnelian seal set in silver on the little finger of his right hand. This explains the Carnelian’s appeal as a talismanic (powerful and magical) stone for his followers.


Formation of Carnelian: Carnelian ranges from brownish red to a light orange. This mineral is commonly used as a semi-precious gemstone. Carnelian is a variety of the silica mineral, chalcedony and it is colored by impurities of iron oxide.

Revealed by Man: This gem is one of the oldest known stones to be used in jewelry. This stone has been used in jewelry dating back to 3000 BCE. Carnelian was discovered in Egyptian tombs and was one of the gemstones in the breastplate of Aaron (Exodus 28:17.) Carnelian is commonly found in Brazil, Germany, India, and Siberia.

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

Mud Crab (Harpactocarcinus)

Décor Factors and Suggestions: These Fossilized crabs are a unique species that appear in the tide during the night. These still life creatures would look perfect on a desk at the office or at home. They even add a beach theme to your home or bathroom.  

These crabs are set on a piece of sediment they were fossilized in. The décor piece makes it appear that the crab is about to crawl right out of the sediment rock! This would be a neat piece to display anywhere and have the claws of the crab peering out at you.

Home Décor Featuring a Fascinating Story

Legend and Lore: The mud crab is a unique creature of the sea. The crab is hatched from an egg and grows by molting 4 times over 12-15 days. On the 5th stage of molting the crab has functional claws. Mud crabs rarely occur in sandy and rocky areas and live in burrows in the intertidal zone. They move during the night to forage for food. These night crawlers feed on slow, bottom-dwelling creatures such as worms, snails, and other crabs.

Science of Mud Crab: The Mud Crab not only uses its claws for foraging food, but also for bluffing its way out of fights. The crab grows its claw and delusions it to be large and mighty to imitate its opponent. Over time the preservation of the crab’s body took place. The body of the delicate fossil was made of chitin that hardened and thickened with limy material.

Revealed by Man: This crab has been roaming around since the Eocene age (45-55 million years ago.) Though it is uncertain how these crabs were discovered and classified.

Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of fossilized crabs 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, August 20, 2014

Did You Know?


Opal has diverse and cultural legends, which makes this gemstone so unique. The ancient Greeks prized the gem highly as if it were a diamond. The opal was conceived to be tears from one of their gods; Zeus, the god of the sky. While the opal was thought to be the gift of prophecy and foresight to the Greeks, the ancient Arab cultures believed the opal fell from the sky and that the light creamy iridescent color was trapped lightning. The Romans believed differently, they believed the gem could cure illnesses and they wore it as a symbol of hope and purity. What a precious and cultural gem this opal is!

 

 

Wednesday, August 13, 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, August 11, 2014

Galena: A Mineral of Many Uses

Decors Factors and Suggestions – Galena’s metallic luster is both intriguing and remarkable, glimmering beautifully. The grey metal color of galena should not be considered dull, but rather subtle yet elegant and striking. When galena is paired with other minerals, the beauty just increases, creating many different décor opportunities. Bring the splendor of this mineral into your home or office’s décor setting!

 
The sample on the right is galena with fluorite, a common pairing, and the picture on the left is of galena with barite and pyrite. This incredible mineral would look spectacular placed in a well lit room, so that it can really dazzle all those who see it. When galena is paired with different minerals, like those pictured above, it creates a radiant center piece, full of sparkle and wonder. Galena specimens should be handled with care due to their delicate nature.
Home Décor Featuring a Fascinating Story
Legend and Lore – Galena was used in ancient Egyptian times as kohl, which was applied around people’s eyes to deflect sunlight and to keep away flies. Galena is the primary ore mineral in lead and has been worked into lead since 3000 B.C. Because galena is an ore mineral of lead, it can be found in bullets, gasoline, batteries, and paint. This mineral is also a semiconductor, so it is often used in wireless communication systems.

 
The Science of Galena Formation – Galena contains a considerable amount of silver and is considered a silver sulfide mineral. Some specimens are up twenty percent silver! Galena crystals make many different shapes and are quite interesting to look at. It is a primary mineral, meaning that the mineral has not been altered chemically since its crystallization. Galena is commonly associated with quartz, pyrite, calcite, and fluorite.
Revealed by Man – The Rocky Mountain states of Colorado, Idaho, Utah, and Montana have significant galena deposits. Galena can also be found in throughout the United States, in the Mississippi Valley, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Galena is the state mineral in two different states, Missouri and Wisconsin.

Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of galena 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, August 8, 2014

Fluorite: The Most Colorful Mineral in the World!

Décor Factors and Suggestions: Fluorite is commonly used as home décor. It can decorate a home in its natural form. Fluorite can also be a decoration to a desk with its beautiful colors carved into a buffalo and other shapes, such as hearts. Touchstone Gallery has many carvings of fluorite to offer! Look for fluorite on our website or our four galleries.

Home Décor Featuring a Fascinating Story
Legend and Lore: The origin of the word fluorite came from Fluere. Fluere is the Latin verb for to flow. Ancient Romans believed that if you drank alcoholic beverages in a drinking vessel made from fluorite it would prevent drunkenness. Powdered fluorite in water was used to treat kidney disease in the 18th century. This is believed to be derived from the Roman myth! The ancient Egyptians used fluorite to carve statues and scarabs while the Chinese have also used it in carvings for over 300 years.

Science of Mineral Formation: This translucent mineral forms in cool conditions and shallow depths. Geologists and Mineral collectors prize the mineral because of such a wide range of colors. This rock shows its fluorescent colors under an ultraviolet light. This mineral really pops out and glows!
Revealed by Man: Significant Fluorite finds come from around the world. Fluorite deposits are located in Argentina, Austria, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar (Burma), Namibia, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States. However a bluish-purple variety of fluorite is named “Blue John” and is only mined in Castleton in Derbyshire, England. A small amount of this blue fluorite is mined every year for gemstone and ornamental use.

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

August: Precious Peridot

Peridot in Jewelry- The brilliant green of peridot draws you in, grabbing your attention. This gemstone, the birthstone for August is quite simply stunning and the perfect gift for that special someone born in August. This stone would also look wonderful on someone with green eyes, making their eyes pop gorgeously. Whether this stone is in earrings, a necklace, or a bracelet, it is sure to wow who ever sees it.

 
Peridot is often paired with other minerals and gems. A common gem paired with peridot is usually the pearl. An example of the pearl and peridot together is pictured above. The picture below is a beautiful ring created by the artesian Marta Howell. The Peridot gem is faceted on top of a black lip oyster shell. What a beautiful combination the peridot and shell make!
Legend and Lore- The Egyptians called peridot the “gem of light” and originally it was mined on an island in the Red Sea called Topazios, now known as St. John’s Island or Zabargad. It was believed that this island was covered in snakes, making it an unpleasant place to be a miner. Fortunately, the pharaoh rid the island of the snakes by sending them into the sea. Some historians believe that Cleopatra’s emerald collection may have actually been peridot, the two are often confused. Peridot is also used to celebrate a 16th wedding anniversary.

Science of Peridot Formation- Most peridot is formed deep under many layers of Earth by a lot of heat and pressure in the mantle region. Most often peridot is exposed by volcanic activity. Some peridot comes to Earth as a part of meteorites, but this peridot is rarely used for jewelry or décor.
Revealed by Man- The most important peridot deposits are in Pakistan, Burma, Vietnam, Australia, Brazil, the United States, China, South Africa, and Mexico, just to name a few. Peridot is polished and cut before it is used in jewelry. There is also some jewelers that facets peridot when it is rough (natural form.)

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