I love to work with stones and have been encouraging my mosaic students at The Art Center of Highland Park to explore the wide variety of color, texture, and beauty found in this material. The 36th Annual Gem, Jewelry, Fossil, and Mineral Show and Sale, sponsored by the Chicagoland Gems and Minerals Association, provided a wonderful opportunity for us to spend time in stone paradise. Several hours and pounds of stone later, we left with our treasures. Black spinel, hessonite garnet, labradorite, iolite, carnelian, and tanzanite were among my finds for my mosaic jewelry. I also came away with quartz, chrysocolla, apatite, and fuchite for future fine art projects.
Recently, I felt like I struck gold. I was invited by a lapidary (art of cutting and polishing stone) instructor to come raid the scrap buckets of stone at the studio where he teaches. He has been saving the discarded pieces for years, for what, he wasn’t sure. In the back of his mind he must have known someone would appreciate them as I do.
As I sort the stones by color, texture, size and shape, I’m taking my time to admire their natural beauty as I try to identify them. In my treasure trove I’ve discovered lapis, jade, obsidian, chrysocolla, copper, quartz, agate, jasper, fossils and so much more. Already, I have numerous projects in mind for my find.