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.
I am constantly amazed and inspired by the beauty and artistry found in nature. The landscape images in these stones draw me in and evoke a sense of awe. To me, nature is the ultimate artist.
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.
For centuries amethyst has adorned the crowns of royalty. The most valuable member of the quartz family, amethyst ranges in color from pale lilac to deep purple and can have red and blue hues. The name is derived from the ancient Greek word “amethystos” which means “not intoxicated.” Carved amethysts were used as goblets and amulets for protection and in ancient Rome crushed amethyst stone was added to wine cups to prevent drunkenness.
Since purple has always been my favorite color, the first piece of handmade jewelry I owned had a small amethyst stone. Now, I frequently use amethyst in my work either on its own or blended with other colors to give added richness.
To view more amethyst and other gemstone mosaic art jewelry visit my shop Gray Raven Designs.
I am always looking for inspiration for my mosaic art. I might find a colorful leaf and take a picture for future reference or purchase stones just because I like the color. Somewhere down the road I know that the images and stones will come together.
I’m constantly on the lookout to expand my collection of minerals and stones to use in both my fine art and mosaic art jewelry. The stones in this collage I purchased at the annual Society of American Mosaic Artists vendor show. I was drawn to these calcite stones with their various shades of orange and think the colors are perfect to welcome autumn. To purchase these or similar pieces, please visit my online shop.
If you have pictures or stones you would like made into custom earrings, pendants, or cuff links, feel free to email me and we can collaborate on something unique.