Tag Archives: gold

Chrysocolla Family Reunion

Some more about the Impressionist chrysocolla (and its sisters).

A treasure trove:

Dusty's Find of a Lifetime

The fantastic Dusty found two slabs of chrysocolla amongst other treasures in a thrift store and had one cut into cabochons. She sent pieces from the same slab to a few different wireworkers. I thought it’d be fun to show several pendants in different styles that were not just from the same type of stone, but from the same original slice.

I wrote about my nympheas piece the other day.

Here’s the one of the pieces Dusty made from her fabulous find.

A lush profusion of color (and skill with spirals that I so envy) is a hallmark of Jennifer’s work. I mentioned her wirework in passing when I was showing off her wild bird photography, so I had to eventually do her jeweler side justice 🙂

Jennifer's Shades of Chrysocolla


And the third beauty by the always elegant Krista.

About the stone:

Chrysocolla is a copper silicate. Because of the copper its colors stay in the green/blue range with occasional black or brown inclusions. Unsurprisingly for a silicate it is often described as having a glassy luster. (Sometimes it’s unflatteringly described as greasy.) It is a relatively soft stone without much of a solid structure. It can be a pseudomorph, like pietersite, replacing other minerals that have been dissolved away. Chrysocolla is often associated with other copper ores like azurite, malachite and limonite.

(A variation found near Eliat in Israel is called Eliat stone, it is chrysocolla with malachite and turquoise.)

Trista's Malleable


Chrysocolla is most commonly found in Chile, Israel, Mexico, Peru, Russia, the American southwest and Zaire. It’s name comes from the greek words chrysos (gold) and kolla (glue) because it resembled the material they used to solder gold. (I don’t know what the ancients used for soldering, but color me curious…)


Filed under Crafts, Gems, Natural Science

November Gems

Citrine, tiger’s eye, and topaz have all attributed to November birthdays. And while I’m not big on limiting myself to any single type of stone (even though my birthstone is opal, which I adore), it’s always fun to dabble in the stones of the season! Especially when they come in such wonderful rich colors. Here are some of my favorite November gems.

And here’s another. In 1900, the artist Alphonse Mucha created a series images inspired by different gem stones (he’d already done the times of day and flowers) and one of the ones he created was Topaz.

Topaz, Precious Stones Series, Alphonse Mucha

Topaz, by Alphonse Mucha

By this time he was already a well established artist. He’d taken Paris by storm at the very end of 1894 with a poster he knocked out in a few weeks for a Sarah Bernhardt play. The poster was such a hit (presumably the play was as well) and he designed several other posters for her. His flowing lines and pastel colors were strikingly different from the bolder colors of many advertisements of the time. (With the flowing hair and sort of vaguely classical/medieval outfits I tend to think of him as a distant cousin to the much less stylized but also ‘flowy’ Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood.) In the year of the creation of the Precious Stones series the style he’d created, which had once been called Style Mucha, became known as Art Nouveau.

Supposedly he tried to distance himself from being labeled Art Nouveau after the style took off on it’s own, and was troubled by his commercial successes, worried that it wasn’t real art. He spend a good chunk of the rest of his life trying to prove he hadn’t sold out.

Look at the quality of the design and the detail. It’s amazing how great the art in advertisements for things like beer and chocolate and champagne used to be. And sad that someone who put so much effort into it couldn’t realize that it was real art.

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Filed under Art, Gems