Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Did You Know?


Did you know that quartz is the second most abundant mineral in the Earth’s continental crust after Feldspar. There are several varieties of quartz that are commonly used minerals in the making of jewelry and hardstone carvings. Europe and the Middle East hold several varieties of quartz. Amethyst, Citrine, and Smokey quartz are all a type of quartz. This mineral is called grian cloch in Ireland which means, ‘stone of the sun.’ This name followed when quartz was discovered to be a reflecting mineral of the sun and would produce colors from the rainbow.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Selenite: The Stone of the Moon

Décor Factors and Suggestions: Selenite is a marvelous mineral that has a colorless tone and smooth texture. The colorless tone of this remarkable mineral is the perfect host to light. Here at Touchstone Gallery we collect marvelous selenite lamps that look magnificent when the lights are reflecting into the mineral!

Home Décor Featuring a Fascinating Story

These lamps are wonderful additions to a home in need of an illuminous and comforting light. These selenite lamps would accent a bed comforter on the bedside table and even bring out the intricate design of your bed comforter! Picture this lovely orange tone colored lamp on your bookshelf perfectly matching the dark mahogany wood of the shelf. These are colorful creations made to make your home bright and happy!

Legend and Lore: Selenite was believed to be a mineral directly from the moon! The word, selenite, is derived from the Latin and Greek languages. From Latin, selenites and from Greek, selēnitēs, both meaning moonstone and stone of the moon. The ancients believed that the particular transparent crystals would wax and wane with the moon. Have your very own stone of the moon illuminate your home!

Mineral Formation: Selenite is a variety of the mineral Gypsum. Selenite is formed through an evaporative formation process. The evaporation of a water solution crystallizes a mineral sediment concentrate forming the soft crystal of selenite.

Revealed By Man: Selenite is an evaporative mineral that is commonly found in alkaline lake beds, clay beds, evaporated seas, salt springs, and caves. You can find selenite in the Great Salt Plains Lake bed in Oklahoma, USA as well as other countries like Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Europe, Japan, and Mexico. Here at Touchstone, we not only offer selenite lamps but samples that have been mined in Utah and are not directly to the public!

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.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Vanadinite: A Lustrous, Red Mineral

Home Décor Factors and Suggestions: Vanadinite is a lustrous mineral with beautifully formed crystals. These crystals commonly occur in red but can be seen in yellow, orange and a brown color. This stunning secondary mineral is closely associated with wulfenite. These two colorful minerals contrast well with each other as home décor.


The large mineral pictured above is a perfect example on how well the crystals luster. The bright red clusters would accent any home! This mineral would perfectly match a patterned rug or a southwestern style rug. Even displaying this mineral on a dark colored table would look ravishing!

Home Décor Featuring a Fascinating Story

Legend and Lore: This striking mineral was first discovered in 1801 in Mexico by the Spanish mineralogist, Andrés Manuel del Río. The Spanish mineralogist named the mineral “brown led” from its appearance and believed that the mineral held a new element that had not yet been discovered. However, he was later led to believe that this was not a new element in the mineral. In 1830, Nils Gabriel Sefström had discovered the same mineral and officially determined that it contained a new element and named the element vanadium. The mineral derived its name from the element because this stunning mineral has high vanadium content.

Formation of Mineral: Vanadinite is composed of (by weight) 73.15% lead, 10.79% vanadium, 13.56% oxygen and 2.50% chlorine. The crystals of vanadinite form in a hexagonal system of symmetry and this is often reflected in the internal hexagon shape of the crystals. The perfectly formed shape of the crystals is what really creates the crystals luster and appeal to rock collectors.

Revealed by Man: This intriguing mineral is found worldwide including Austria, Spain, Scotland, South Africa, Namibia, Morocco, Argentina, Mexico and 4 states of the United States: Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and South Dakota. Vanadinite deposits are found and mined in 400 mines throughout the world. Some notable vanadinite mines are located in Argentina, Mexico, Morocco, and South Africa and in the United States: New Mexico and Arizona.

Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of vanadinite 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, January 21, 2015

Did You Know?


Hematite is a mineral form of Iron. The name hematite is derived from the Greek word for blood, αἷμα haim. This name was derived because hematite can be red when it is in its powdered form.  This mineral was used for writing in the earliest history of humans. Hematite residues have also been found in old grave yards from 80,000 years ago.  Deposits of Hematite have been found on the island of Elba and have been mined since the time of the Etruscans. An interesting mineral to wear!


Monday, January 19, 2015

Rose Quartz: The Stone of Love

Rose Quartz in Décor and Jewelry: Rose Quartz is a beautiful pink variety of the mineral quartz. This pink mineral can be designed and worn as a beautiful jewelry piece or carved into an intricate piece of art. The necklaces below hold the pink, polished stone along with the perfect color of jade to really make these jewelry pieces pop! Below is a carving of a hedgehog done by Peter Muller and is a perfect addition to any home looking for some pink accents!


Legend and Lore: Rose quartz is nicknamed the love stone because of certain legends. One legend says that Cupid and Eros brought rose quartz to the Earth in hopes that the beautiful pink color of the stone would arouse love and desire among people. Another legend states that the Egyptian goddess Isis searched in rivers for the mineral. Once she found the pink stone she would rub the stone against her cheeks to restore and preserve her beauty.


Science of Mineral Formation: Rose quartz originates deep within the Earth’s crust and is an igneous mineral. This unique mineral forms during the solidification of granitic magma, also known as molten rock. Rose quartz gets its beautiful, blush pink color from the titanium impurities in the molten rock.

Revealed By Man: Rose quartz can be mined and found throughout various places in the world including South Dakota, California, Montana, Germany, Brazil, Madagascar and India. Most of the world’s supply of rose quartz comes from Brazil, even though the first rose quartz crystals were discovered in Rumford, Maine.

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

Friday, January 16, 2015

Orthoceras: The Torpedo Shaped Creatures of the Sea!

Home Décor Factors and Suggestions:  Orthoceras are interestingly, unique fossils that are commonly used to accent a home. These fossils are not only home décor pieces but fossils that are the ideal addition to any fossil collection! Related to modern day squids they hold an intriguing history that is sure to spark up a conversation with someone who is fascinated by nature’s art etched in stone. 


These cone shaped creatures make unique and intriguing home décor elements! The orthoceras fossil plate picture above on the left is an intriguing mantel piece. The table top on the right uses its focal points to distract you with its intricate patterns while you eat or drink. The fossil pictured in the middle is a great addition to your front door or hallway as it is sure to start a conversation.

Home Décor Featuring a Fascinating Story

Legend and Lore: Orthoceras is an extinct genus of cephalopods that lived more than 400 million years ago. The name orthoceras means straight horn, indicating its long conical shell. These compelling marine creatures had several ranges of body length and were able to grow to a centimeter or to about 14 feet long! These cone-shaped cephalopods were predators of the sea and lived on a diet that consisted of smaller fish and crustaceans, as well as eating trilobites for breakfast!

Fossil Formation: Orthoceras fossils are often found in dense assemblages, dense enough to be rock forming. Orthoceras were often preserved in limestone. These unique fossils are incredibly important to fossil records. The large amount and population of orthoceras fossils found indicate what scientists believe was a mass death after a massive decrease in reproduction.

Revealed By Man: These orthoceras fossils are globally distributed. The orthoceras assemblages that were mentioned have often been found in Morocco, Scandinavia, the Alps, and Iowa (USA).

Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of Orthoceras 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, January 14, 2015

Did You Know?


Agate was given its name by the Greek philosopher and naturalist, Theophrastus. Theophrastus discovered this natural formed geode along the shore line of the Achates River around 2,200 years ago during the 3rd centuries B.C. The Achates River at which agate was discovered is now present day Dirillo in Sicily, Italy.  Agate is a frequently used material in the art of hardstone carving. This precious stone has been found and recovered at numerous historical sites, helping geologists and archaeologists demonstrate that this stone was in widespread use in the ancient world. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Citrine and Amethyst Décor Tables

Home Décor Factors and Suggestions: Both citrine and amethyst are beautiful minerals that are designed into jewelry pieces, left in their natural formation and even designed into appealing tables. These tables can serve as a delightful coffee table that accents the colors of the rug and couches. Or perhaps as a small table that is a glamorous addition to the entrance hallway. These tables are designed to display their colors!


Legend and Lore: Amethyst has a deep purple color, because of its wine-like color early Greek legends associated amethyst with Bacchus, the god of wine. Since this mineral was associated with the god of wine, it was believed that wearing the purple gem would prevent drunkenness. Use an amethyst cocktail table as a table where you place your glasses of wine! Citrine on the other hand is an orange yellow gem that is formed naturally or is also heat treated amethyst. To the Chinese myths and legends, citrine was the ‘stone of success.’ Early Egyptian legends perceived this gem’s warm gold color as the light casted by the sun god ‘Ra.’


Mineral Formation: These two geodes form in the same process. The formations of amethyst and citrine geodes start when gas cavities form in lava. These gas cavities form from bubbles in the lava. After the cavities are formed, then fill up with a liquid containing small amount of iron and silica then over time this forms the crystals of amethyst. If the cooling process takes longer and the heat protracts then the purple begins to lighten and creates orange, now citrine crystals.

Revealed By Man: Amethyst and citrine geodes are now designed into home décor pieces that accent a home very nicely and are also worn as jewelry pieces. These geodes of amethyst and citrine have been discovered around the world!

Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of geode cocktail tables 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, January 9, 2015

January: Glamorous Garnet

Garnet in Jewelry: Red Garnet is commonly featured in jewelry. This gemstone comes in a variety of colors and shades of green, red, yellow and orange. Garnet is the traditional birthstone of January and is found at Touchstone Gallery in earrings, pendants, and necklaces.


The pendant above facets beautiful lighter red to orange pieces of garnet and the elegant pearls blend with the garnets beautifully. The earrings below match the necklace pictured perfectly with the same shade of garnet and opal. The necklace below is a beautiful example of how well garnet blends with other gems, particularly opal. This gem is perfect to wear for a sophisticated look and perfect for those born in January!



Legend and Lore: In the Late Antique Roman world, red garnets were highly prized gemstones and used for ornamental decoration. Garnets were also given as gifts of affection between friends to assure one another that they will meet again. This gem represents the 2nd and 6th year of a marriage and is a genuine jewel to be gifted to your spouse.

Gem Formation: High temperatures and pressure is a factor in the formation of garnet. Geologists often use garnets as a gauge of the amount of temperature and pressure that was present during their formation. There are several colors of garnet including red, orange, yellow, blue and black.

Revealed by Man: Garnet is discovered and mined in Arizona, U.S., South Africa, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Scotland, Switzerland, and Tanzania. They are then designed into fine jewelry pieces and sold to consumers that appreciate the gem’s beauty.

Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of Garnet 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, January 5, 2015

Rutilated Quartz: The Hair of Venus!

Rutilated Quartz in Jewelry: Rutilated quartz is a form of quartz that forms needle-like crystal inclusions inside of the clear quartz. These small bars of embedded gold perfectly accent other minerals and gems when being designed into jewelry. Citrine accents the rutilated quartz beautifully; the orange yellow color of citrine really makes the rutile strands pop!

Legend and Lore: This unique mineral has often been referred to as Cupid’s darts or the more romantic term Fleches d'amour and as well as the Venus hair stone. The name of this particular type of quartz, “rutilated” was derived from the Latin word rutilus meaning red. The rutile strands range from gold to brown to red. The rutile strands can even be green, which is a rare color in quartz.

Mineral Formation: What makes this particular quartz so unique is the gold strands that are formed inside of the mineral. Rutile is a major ore of titanium, titanium is the metal used for high tech alloys. When the metal is an inserted alloy in quartz the titanium often forms those gold needle-like strands. Although quartz is a 7 on the Mohs scale, rutilized quartz is a 6, meaning it is a softer mineral with the titanium inclusions.

Revealed by Man: Rutilated quartz is found in Australia, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Norway, Pakistan and the United States. Rutilated Quartz is a rarer form of quartz and is designed into beautiful jewelry pieces.


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

Friday, January 2, 2015

Diplomystus: The Surface Feeding Fish

Home Décor Factors and Suggestions: These fish fossil plates are handsome natural creations that would be the perfect accent to any room of a home. Just picture the fossil plate below on your living room mantel or framed and hung on the kitchen wall. These fish fossils tell a fascinating story of their past just from their appearance!


The colors of these fossil plates have beautiful dark, subtle complimentary colors that are sure to appeal to the eye when it is placed anywhere. These pieces sure draw attention and would accent a deep oak table in the entrance hallway, attracting any guest that walks in.

Home Décor Featuring a Fascinating Story

Legend and Lore: The Diplomystus is a distinct fish with an upturned mouth distinguishing that the fish feeds from the surface and not the bottom. These surface feeding fish feed on small surface dwelling fish, such as knightia. This is evident due to the fact that many Diplomystus fossils have been found with a small fish in its mouth or stomach. These 50 million year old fish were mostly five to ten inches in length, typically eight inches, and weighed a few pounds. Occasional examples of up to twenty inches have been found. Diplomystus are distantly related to modern-day fish species such as alewives and sardines.


Fossil Formation: This neat fish species lived in intermountain lake basins. The Eocene fish fossils were preserved in the lake basins while the Rocky Mountains were still growing! This formation is known as the Green River Formation and other fish like Diplomystus were preserved in the Rocky Mountains as well.

Revealed By Man: The Green River Formation took place in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. Many fossil deposits are found in Wyoming where a large lake basin used to lie.

Touchstone Gallery Offers a Wide Variety of Nature’s Art Etched in Stone
We invite you to view our current offerings of 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 (110 S. Plaza), or online at www.touchstonegalleries.com.