Own a Piece of History
The beauty of Michigan Gemstones
Found only in Michigan and named for the Kona Hills in Marquette County, Kona Dolomite is the oldest known fossil in the state. It can be found in many colors determined by the minerals that precipitated into the Dolomite as it formed. Pink Kona Dolomite is colored by the iron famously present in the Marquette area. The stones used in my jewelry were collected during one of the rock-hunting adventures I had with my son, Mark, and were cut and polished by him.
This unique material is blue glass slag that was discarded from the iron ore foundries that operated in the northwest corner of Michigan's Lower Peninsula. The iron came from the Mesabi Iron Range in the Upper Peninsula, and was smelted in furnaces fired by high grade charcoal made from the the hardwood forests around the Leelanau Peninsula. The charcoal and flux made from local limestone gave the glass slag its color and texture. I was given a large chunk of Leland Blue that I then cut and polished on my son's lapidary equipment.
The Petoskey stone is the state stone of Michigan and is made of fossilized rugose coral. It is found in the northwest portion of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, and comes in a variety of grays and browns. The stones used in my jewelry were collected over many years by me, my rock-hound dad, and polished by my son, Mark.
MICHIGAN GREENSTONE (CHLORASTROLITE)
Michigan's State Gem, Greenstone, is found on Isle Royale and the Keweenaw Peninsula. The most desirable specimens have a pattern resembling a turtle shell. The feature I especially love about Greenstone is its chatoyancy, an optical phenomenon giving it a reflected cat's eye within each pattern segment. The Greenstone I used was found in yet another rock-hunting adventure with my son, in which we picked through old copper mine dump sites in the Keweenaw. It is difficult to polish, as much of it is embedded in hard basalt rock, so KUDOS to Mark who did a fine job finishing it!
Why I use Argentium Silver
Argentium Silver 935 is a modern sterling silver alloy, containing 93.5% silver. The traditional sterling alloy (92.5% silver + 7.5% copper) is modified by removing some of the copper and adding germanium. I use Argentium Silver for its tarnish-resistant properties, brighter color, superior strength, and greater purity. It is hypoallergenic, thus more comfortable to wear for those with sensitive skin, and it is responsibly sourced. To care for Argentium Silver, clean with soap and water and buff with a soft cloth. A silver polishing cloth, or rouge cloth, may be used occasionally. Please do not use "dip-style” silver cleaners with Argentium Silver. As Argentium Silver may tarnish slightly over time, I suggest storing your pieces in zipped plastic bags.