Quartz, Topaz, Emerald, and Fairy Crosses!!

Quartz, Topaz, Emerald, and Fairy Crosses!!

I went rock hunting with my brother and niece recently. We found lots of great rocks and I thought I’d share a few of them. First is a nice piece of quartz (I like to call them pencil quartz but this would be a BIG pencil!). The rusty color is internal to the rock, which is pretty cool! I think I’ll try to polish it a bit, but don’t really plan on changing it much. I like the way it looks!

Quartz

 

The second find of the day was a great piece of topaz. The topaz we find is usually clear or maybe has just a touch of blue in it. As you may have read in previous gemstone posts, topaz’s blue color can come from heat and exposure to radiation. North Georgia ‘s mountains have a lot of granite (which may contain trace radioactive elements). I think I’ll play around with a smaller piece of topaz and a butane torch to see if I can get color enhancement. If so, maybe I’ll try it on this piece. At 168.4 carats, I don’t want to damage it.

 

The last find I want to share is this great piece of moonstone (I think). I love the orange colors and I believe it will make a great cabochon. I’ll cut a slab or two off it and see if I can get it to shine. I’ll post pictures and let you know how it works out.

In addition to the ones I found, I ordered a bag of chiastolite fairy crosses and staurolite fairy crosses (these came from Fannin County Georgia). If you recall from The Gemstone Chronicles Book One: The Carnelian, the elf Findecano was trapped in a chiastolite fairy cross, so I had to get me at least one. And Aidan found a bunch of staurolite fairy crosses before Maggie found Findecano’s prison. Given how important fairy crosses are to the books, I just had to have some.

Quartz

The last picture I wanted to share with you is this emerald. I found this one a while back and want to take it to my friend for him to examine and cut for me. This one is about 16 carats, but it has a great green color and I hope he’ll be able to create a beautiful stone from it!

I’ll be heading out for another rock hunting excursion soon. If I find some noteworthy specimens, I’ll be sure to post pictures. In the meantime, check out the blog for other gemstone posts and subscribe so you don’t miss any updates. Connect with me on social media, too! I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest! I look forward to meeting new friends!!

My Collection – Gemstones and More Gemstones!!

After digging through a box the other day, I decided I finally needed to organize my collection of rocks garnered from my many trips to the North Georgia Mountains. I was surprised and excited when I went through my plastic bags and grouped the stones together. I didn’t realize all the cool stones I had!

Let’s start with hematite. If you recall a previous post on hematite, this stone looks like a dark gray lump, but, once tumbled, turns into a beautiful silver color. The cool thing about hematite is that when rubbed against sandpaper, it leaves a red streak (hence the name hematite, which comes from the Greek root word for blood). Hematite is one of my favorite stones!

Hematite Collection

Hematite Collection

Quartz is a great stone, too! It comes in many colors and I haven’t found one I didn’t like. In my collection, I have clear, rose, lemon (yellow), smoky, and the cool pencil quartz. I had clear quartz cut into round brilliant cut stones and they are gorgeous!

Round-Brilliant-3-Carats-Web

Round Brilliant Cut 3 Carats

 

Faceted Gemstones Round Brilliant Cut Quartz

Round Brilliant Cut Quartz Pair

The stones below are quartz as I found them. I will start with the pencil quartz. It is a misleading name, as some of the crystals are much larger than a pencil!

Pencil-quartz-Jan-2016

Pencil Quartz Collection

I think some of these would look great just hanging from a chain, but a couple of them are too big for anything except maybe a paperweight! Below is a picture of one of the large crystals.

Large-Pencil-Quartz-Jan-2016

Large Pencil Quartz

 

Clear and lemon quartz are beautiful stones, too. I think I might send my gem cutter a couple of the lemon quartz to see what he can do with them. I expect they will be gorgeous! Here are some of each.

Clear-Quartz-Jan-2016

Clear Quartz Collection

 

Lemon Quartz Collection

Lemon Quartz Collection

Aventurine is another quartz stone and usually has bits of mica or other minerals that give it a shimmering appearance. Here is my collection of aventurine.

Aventurine Collection

Aventurine Collection

 

Amethysts and citrines are other forms of quartz. I have a nice collection of each and I have some large amethysts. Which are your favorites?

Amethyst Collection

Amethyst Collection

 

The two large amethysts are shown on the scale below. Using the conversion of 5 carats per gram, the first stone is 630 carats and the second is 575 carats!

Collection 630 Carat Amethyst

630 Carat Amethyst

 

Collection 575 Carat

575 Carat Amethyst

Both of these stones are too fractured to cut into gemstones, but I love the deep purple color of them.

The citrines are a golden version of amethyst. I like the lighter color ones, but the darker ones (second picture) are the ones I might send to the gem cutter to see if he can get anything out of them.

Citrine Collection

Citrine Collection

 

Collection Citrine Dark Tips

Citrine Dark Tips

I have a large number of emeralds, too. One of my all-time favorite stones, these are rough and ready to tumble. I might have a few that are suitable for gem cutting.

Emerald Collection

Emerald Collection

Collection Emeralds to Facet

Emeralds to Facet?

If you recall from The Gemstone Chronicles Book Two: The Amethyst, Laura used a moonstone to turn her friends and family invisible during a battle. Now, I haven’t tried invisibility with these moonstones, but I like them!

Moonstone Collection

Moonstone Collection

I find lots of garnets. The garnets are a deep red and its hard to show the color in a photo. I did manage to capture one, though. What do you think of them?

Garnet Collection

Garnet Collection

 

Collection Garnet Red

Garnet

Lastly, I wanted to share my collection of rubies and sapphires. Now, I don’t believe any of these are gem quality stones, but I like them anyway. I think when I start cabbing (making cabochons) in the near future, I will do a few of these just to see how they turn out. Stay tuned for them!

Rubies and Sapphires Collection

Rubies and Sapphires Collection

 

Collection Rubies and Sapphires 2

Rubies and Sapphires

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I have more, but these are the favorites of my collection. What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment, subscribe to the blog, email me at bill@williamlstuart.com, or connect with me on social media. I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, or Tumblr!

Gemstones Again!! Faceted Emerald, Quartz, and Citrine!

Gemstones again! I haven’t done a gemstone post in a while (partially because I haven’t been gemstone hunting due to other commitments – like marketing The Gemstone Chronicles), but I now have some very cool stones to showcase! Before I get to the final versions of the gemstones, though, I wanted to show you what the stones looked like when I found them.

The first stone is an emerald. I sent this one over to my gem cutter friend because it had a great green color when illuminated by a strong light. And, the natural shape was pretty cool!

Gemstones Again Emerald

I know the picture doesn’t show the green color. It was difficult to capture…

The second stone I want to show you is a quartz crystal. I found this one and it was extremely clear. Now, I believe the stone is beautiful in its natural state. What do you think?

 

Gemstones Again Quartz

The final stone is a citrine. For those not familiar with citrines, they are the same stone as an amethyst, but with different impurities to give them a yellowish-orange color.

How did the gemstones turn out? I think they are amazing! Here is the finished emerald. While not as green as Lana’s emerald from posts past, or what I envision the Emerald from the Elven Bow in Book Three: The Emerald, it is a great stone!

Gemstones Again Emerald-Cut-Emerald-6.5-Carats-Web

If you recall from my Rubies and Diamonds post, I asked my gem cutter friend Gene to facet two round brilliant cut quartz stones. They are 1.25 carats each. Here is a picture of them!

Gemstones Again Faceted Gemstones Round Brilliant Cut Quartz

Round Brilliant Cut Quartz

 

To match these, I asked Gene to cut the quartz rough above in a brilliant cut, as well. I think he did a fantastic job! I can see this as a pendant or perhaps a really big ring!

Gemstones Again Round-Brilliant-3-Carats-Web

 

The last stone is the citrine. I have a bunch of citrines, but they are usually so fractured inside that they aren’t really suitable for faceting. The stone above seemed very clear and, as it turned out, it was!

Gemstones Again Citrine-Princess-Cut-1.7-Carats-Web

Apologizes again for the pictures as they really don’t show the beauty of the stones, but, as you can see, this Princess Cut weighed in at 1.7 carats and is a great yellow color!

I have to go through the stones I found this past weekend and see if I can find a few more to send to Gene! I also plan to start creating cabochons after the holidays, so stayed as I post progress on them!

What do you think of the finished stones? How do you think they should be mounted? Gold or Silver settings? Pendants or rings? Let me know how you would mount them?

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You can connect with me on social media, too, and let me know what your thoughts about the stones are. I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, Tumblr, or just send me an email to bill@williamlstuart.com!

Happy Holidays!!

Faceted Gemstones – Newest Additions!!

Regular readers of my blog (or my books) know that I’m a big fan of gemstones. I love faceted gemstones, cabochons, and tumbled stones. My books, The Gemstone Chronicles series, use the magical and mystical properties of gemstones as the basis of the magic the characters discover. I frequently go gemstone hunting at my favorite spot in the North Georgia Mountains, Gold n’ Gem Grubbin’, in Cleveland, GA. My two rock tumblers run almost all of the time, smoothing out the rough edges and polishing the stones I’ve found to a brilliant luster. Occasionally, though, I find a special stone that can be cut and faceted. Shown below is the first stone I ever had cut (an emerald)!

 

Faceted Gemstones Lana's emerald

Lana’s emerald

 

A 2.25 carat stone, it appraised nicely, and is still loose. Lana hasn’t decided on a setting yet. The stone is gorgeous, and since it was my first find, it is extra special!

My brother John found the peridot shown in the photo below. I had it cut for Lana. It weighed in at about 2.5 carats and I had it set in a sterling silver ring for her birthday. Beautiful!!

 

Faceted Gemstones

Lana’s peridot ring

 

Now, I have two new additions to the faceted gemstones family! I was hunting and found this rough ruby and sent it over to my faceting friend and he worked his magic. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the rough.

After cutting and polishing, here is the final faceted stone. Not huge by any means, but still weighing in at 1.3 carats, it is a great little stone!

 

Faceted Gemstones Ruby

Faceted Ruby

 

Note the description in the picture says sapphire, which is true. Recall that red sapphires are rubies! Gene cut the stone in a Cushion Cut, and it turned out beautifully!

I also sent over a piece of clear quartz that was stunning as a rough piece. Gene cut me two round brilliant cut stones about 1.25 carats each. I wanted to see how the quartz would turn out in a traditional diamond cut. I think they turned out great! What do you think?

 

Faceted Gemstones Round Brilliant Cut Quartz

Round Brilliant Cut Quartz

 

What do you think about my faceted gemstones! I have some garnets that might facet well, but I have to get them cleaned up and see what they look like. A nice sapphire (blue not red) or a piece of aquamarine to have cut might be nice, but no such luck yet. I guess I just have to keep on looking!

Which of my faceted gemstones is your favorite? What setting would you use for the emerald or the ruby? Do you think the quartz brilliant cuts look like diamonds? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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Rubies and Diamonds (OK, the diamonds are quartz)!!

Everyone who reads this blog or who has read The Gemstone Chronicles knows that I, like the character of Beebop from the books, love to hunt gemstones. Rubies and diamonds and sapphires, oh my! I try to go about once per month and see what I can find. A few weeks ago, I went and had a great day finding rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and a great piece of clear quartz. I went with my brother John, and we made a significant dent in the dirt pile! Here is what it looked like when we arrived.

Dirt Pile Before Rubies and Diamonds

And this is what it looked like when we left. Like I said, a significant dent.

Robies and Diamonds After Dirt Pile

But, I don’t want to talk about the dirt pile or what we found overall. What I wanted to show you today is what I did with some of the stones I found. Below are a couple of pictures of ruby rough that I sent to my gem cutting friend (whom John and I refer to as “He Who Cuts Stones”).

bis and Diamonds small Ruby RoughThis is the small piece of ruby rough that I sent. I didn’t weigh it before I sent it for cutting, but He Who Cuts Stones was able to make a nice little faceted ruby (picture to come later).

This is the second piece I sent to be evaluated for faceting. I didn’t think it would yield anything that was gem quality, and I was right. I think it might make a great cabochon, though!

Rubies and Diamonds Ruby Rough

As promised, here is the picture of the faceted stone made from the small ruby rough. I think it is a beautiful little ruby!

Rubies and Diamonds Ruby facetNote that the description in the picture says this is a sapphire. Rubies and sapphires are both corundum. The red variety of corundum is the ruby. All other colors are sapphires. The cut is similar to an emerald cut, and I think this stone is gorgeous and, at 1.3 carats, is a very nice stone. Not as big as the Ruby from Book Four:The Ruby, but still beautiful!

I also sent an extremely clear piece of quartz that I found to Gene. I asked him to cut a couple of brilliant cut pieces between one and one and a half carats, but I wasn’t sure what how they would turn out. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised! This is the piece of quartz after the pieces were cut.

Rubies and Diamonds Quartz roughI know it isn’t the best picture. The stone was about twice that large before it was cut. There is still a good-sized piece of quartz, and I could probably get a few more cut pieces from it. What I did get, though, was beautiful!

Rubies and Diamonds Quartz FacetedThe picture doesn’t do the stones justice, but I think they will make a great pair of earrings for the lovely and adorable Lana! They are round brilliant cuts and, as the picture shows, 1.25 carats each. They look like diamonds!

It is results like this that make gemstone hunting worthwhile for me. I want to learn how to cut the facets, but that is a topic for another post.

What is your favorite hobby? What do y’all think about the stones? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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Sodalite!! Can You Talk to Animals????

Do you remember Dr. Doolittle? The guy who could talk to the animals? While not the same as the good doctor, in The Gemstone Chronicles books, Maggie is able to communicate with different animals using the magical powers of the sodalite!

What is sodalite? From a mineralogical viewpoint, according to our friends over at Wikipedia, sodalite is a royal blue widely enjoyed as a gemstone. The stone has characteristic white streaks in it and its poor cleavage planes can show up as cracks in the surface. Originally discovered in Greenland, a vast deposit found in Canada made it accessible for ornamental purposes.

What does sodalite look like? Below is a picture of the rough (stone in its natural form).

Sodalite Rough

You can see the gorgeous blue color of the stone with the white streaks.

Use polished stones in a number of ways. Cabochons are common, as are beads. I included a picture of some sodalite beads.

Sodalite beads

Translucent sodalite, when faceted makes a beautiful jewel!

Faceted Sodalite

I know you must be wondering how these beautiful rocks allow someone to talk to animals. While researching the gemstones I would use in the books, I came across the idea that sodalite is a communication stone – and one that fosters calmness, serenity, and helps unify efforts. It is also considered a truth stone, much like the lapis lazuli. Since Maggie had to communicate first with the white stag, and then with a unicorn, it seemed a great stone to use.

I have found sodalites on some of our rock hunting trips. I tumbled some and they are gorgeous! One of them is my lovely and adorable bride’s favorite of all my tumbled stones.

If you want to know how Maggie used the sodalite and talked to the white stag and the unicorn, check out Book Two: The Amethyst or Book Three: The Emerald. When you do, leave me a comment or leave a review at Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords!

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MOONSTONE – AND I’M INVISIBLE!?!?!?!

In The Gemstone Chronicles Book Two: The Amethyst, Aidan and Maggie’s mother, Laura joins them for the return to Celahir. Keeper presents Laura with a gift of moonstone – the ancient birthstone for June. Among moonstone’s many magical properties is one that Laura and her friends and family found lifesaving – invisibility!!

Before we talk about the invisibility, let’s explore what moonstone is. According to our oft-cited friends at Wikipedia, there are two varieties. The first and most common is the adularia. The second type is a feldspar with a pearly and opalescent luster.

Because two feldspar species compose moonstone, the stone forms in layers. This makes the stone a great candidate for cabochons and for tumbling. Below is a picture of moonstone rough that I found during one of my many trips to Gold ‘n Gems Grubbin’. You can clearly see the layers of the stone.

Moonstone rough

Here is a great picture of tumbled stone. Again, you can clearly see the layers within the stones.

Tumbled moonstone

Moonstone also makes gorgeous jewelry! I added a couple of pictures of cabochons. the first is from Africa and has an amazing color.

African Moonstone

The last photo is of a cabochon ring. I think it’s beautiful!

Moonstone ring

I know you must be wondering where the invisibility comes into the picture. Moonstone has many properties associated with it. The Romans believed that the stone was made from solidified rays of the moon. The stone was believed to keep travelers safe, provide protection to swimmers, and make the wearer invisible!

In The Amethyst, thugs attack Laura and our intrepid group of adventurers on a pier. As the attack commenced, Laura wished for her group to just disappear – and they did! She drew upon the power of the moonstone and poof – invisibility! This turned the tide of the battle and they escaped to face Brendon the Giant!

Moonstone played a small but crucial part in The Gemstone Chronicles! Beautiful, lustrous, and full of legendary magical properties, it’s a favorite stone of mine and one that will be in tumbler soon. And who know, maybe I can turn invisible, too!

Do you think that gemstones have magical properties? Do you use moonstone for protection while traveling? What about other gemstones? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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Lapis Lazuli – Beautiful Blue Gemstone

Lapis Lazuli!

One of the most beautiful semi-precious stones I discovered while writing The Gemstone Chronicles is the lapis lazuli – a beautiful blue gemstone!! I haven’t found one, but I’d certainly like to!!

One of the interesting characteristics of the lapis lazuli is the golden flecks that are found within the structure of the stone. According to Wikipedia, the stone has been mined since at least the 7th century BC! It has long been highly prized due to its intense deep blue color. The main mineral is lazurite and the golden flecks are pyrite. Below is a picture of the gemstone rough.

Lapis Rough

Wikipedia also tells us that lapis was used in the eyebrows of King Tutankhamen’s death mask!

In The Gemstone Chronicles Book One: The Carnelian, I used the lapis lazuli as a stone to detect truth. In the book, Alatariel, one of the Elven Scouts, tried to determine if Beebop and Nana were enemies of Celahir by using the stone. For whatever reason, both surpassed the stone’s ability to detect their intentions. But, it isn’t a stretch from one of its most commonly believed attributes. Truth and wisdom are two of the lapis lazuli’s characteristics. Perhaps that is why the stone decorated many priestly garments in ancient times.

Other uses:

The stone, once it is ground into a fine powder, is used to create the color ultramarine, an intensely blue color that artists the world over have used – including Michelangelo!

Jewelry from lapis is gorgeous! Below are a few pictures of lapis lazuli stones. The first is a lapis cabochon.

Lapis lazuli cabochon

I couldn’t resist adding a picture of a of an Egyptian style necklace!

 

Lapis lazuli necklace

I was glad to come across the lapis lazuli gemstone! Brilliantly blue and a stone of truth and wisdom, it played its part extremely well in Book One: The Carnelian!

What unique gemstones do you have in your collection? Do you have a lapis? If so, share a picture with me or just leave me a comment and let me know what you think! If you have read any of The Gemstone Chronicles books, leave me a comment, too, or, even better, write a review! I love to know what you think!!

Bloodstone – The Great Healing Stone!!

In the middle grades/young adult fantasy adventure series The Gemstone Chronicles, one of the most important stones is the bloodstone. The stone isn’t one of the gemstones from the Elven Bow or the Elven Sword, but it gets used often. Why, you might ask? Well, the bloodstone is a healing stone and, as readers know, the heroes of the stories need a lot of healing!!

What is a bloodstone? According to Wikipedia, heliotrope is the more common name for the stone. Bloodstone is a form of chalcedony (which is a form of quartz). The most common version is green with red inclusions of iron oxide or red jasper. A stone with yellow inclusions is called plasma. Below is the “classic” bloodstone with the red inclusions.

Bloodstone

Throughout history, many believed bloodstones had magical properties. Chief among those beliefs was the ability to heal a bleeding wound simply by touching the injury. In The Gemstone Chronicles, Nana learned to use the gemstone from the elf Alatariel. She healed Beebop’s ankle when Aidan injured him while playing with levitation. Beebop was also able to use the stone quite well as the bloodstone (along with the aquamarine) is the traditional March birthstone. in the books, simply touching the injury didn’t heal it, but they had to draw power from the stone to use it. Although it wasn’t part of the books, another very common belief is that the bloodstone could defeat enemies magically.

I discovered that bloodstone is also known the “Martyr’s Stone.” Legend says that drops of Jesus’ blood fell during the crucifixion. The blood stained jasper at the foot of the cross, and imbued it with magical powers. Many scenes of martyrdom were carved from the stone because of that legend.

I loved using the bloodstone in the books. A beautiful, glossy, and magical stone, it ranks right up there as one of my favorite gems. It can be awesome as a faceted stone, a cabochon, and a tumbled gem. Now, if I can just find one…

Do you have bloodstone jewelry? If so, leave me a comment and let me know about it. If not, what are you waiting for?

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Gemstone Hunting – Back in the Creek Again!!

If you recall, I wrote a post a few weeks ago about how I was ready to go gemstone hunting again after a long wait. Despite an iffy weather forecast, brother John and I made it to our favorite spot today! Yep, gemstone hunting – back in the creek again!

We were very fortunate today as the hunting was good! The dirt piles we filled our buckets from was fairly fresh, and were lots of nice stones. Emeralds, rubies, sapphires, topaz, amethysts, and many more were dug out during our visit.

Readers of The Gemstone Chronicles will recognize many of the stones listed above, since they played such a big part in the series. The only stone I didn’t find today was a carnelian (the stone from the first book).

The second book has an amethyst as a key component. Here are some of the amethysts I found today!

Amethysts Back in the Creek

 

 

Not a bad haul for four hours of work! Below are the pictures of my two favorite amethysts of the day.

Large Amethyst Creek

 

Although it may not show up very well in the picture, the purple tip is very dark and has some great faces!

Small Amethyst Creek

 

I love this little stone. The color is only a spot and if you rotate the stone, you can see exactly where the purple begins, Very cool!

To celebrate Book Three: The Emerald, I found a few emeralds today. I don’t think any of them are faceting quality, so I will either try to make cabochons with them, or tumble them in my rock tumblers.

Emeralds Creek

 

It was not a great day for rubies, but I did find a couple. Rough rubies aren’t faceted like the one in Book Four: The Ruby that we all love, but I like the way the look when I find them.

Rubies Creek

 

Finally, my absolute favorite stone of the day is a double-terminated quartz! Aidan used that type of stone often in the books to enhance the powers he drew from the gemstones. I often find pencil quartz, but this is my first double-terminated stone. Simply awesome!!

Double-terminated QuartzCreek

 

I did find a lot of other stones today and John found a large sapphire among his many gemstones. We will be going back to the creek again soon, so stay tuned for more! I also am going to be trying my hand at making cabochons, so I will post about that, too.

Of all the stones I showed today, what is your favorite? Leave me a comment and let me know. If you haven’t read The Gemstone Chronicles, why not pick up the first one and give it a try. I would love to know what you think!!