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PANTONE 2018 | Bringing The Color Classics
Posted by Erin to Articles


In addition to Pantone’s Fashion palette for the season, they also thoughtfully provide some classic staples that look great and can bring out the more subdued side of super-saturated colors.

Sailor Blue:

Coconut Milk:

Harbor Mist:

Warm Sand:
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A strong dose of neutral gray makes the bright red and green of Cherry Tomato and Arcadia into a completely wearable range. Remember that brighter colors can *always* become classy accents.



Cherry Tomato:
Red Coral



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A more saturated color can make a potentially “meh” palette into a sophisticated masterpiece. A dose of Spring Crocus kicks up the appeal of Almost Mauve and Harbor Mist.



Almost Mauve:
Matte Rose Quartz

Spring Crocus:
Matte Ruby

Spring Crocus:
Pink/Gray Tourmaline

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Does anything scream class quite like a warm cream color? Coconut Milk is, honestly, going to pair with just about anything. When you add stone to the equation, you also get to see the opacity of White African Opal against the chatoyancy of Peach Moonstone and the effect is perfection.



Booming Dahlia:
Peach Moonstone

Coconut Milk:
White African Opal


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A deep, dark blue, like Pantone’s Sailor Blue screams country club class. Pair it with Cherry Tomato and a classy, colorful bright blue to rock brights in the most tasteful of ways.



Sailor Blue:
Sunset Dumortierite


Cherry Tomato:
Carnelian

Got any great color combos you’re willing to share? Send pics or proposals to erin@dakotastones.com!

                                                                                            - Erin

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Rock Solid Foundation. Stones to Strengthen.
Posted by Erin to Featured Designers
'Twas the end of December, and all through the house, all creatures were frenzied; yes, even the mouse...

Reality check: Any mouse in my house *should* be frenzied. I have a kitten and she's speedy. However, the craziness that tends to come with Holiday season can get to be a bit much for us humans.

So, let's sit back, relax and take a look at some stones with metaphysical properties associated with strength.
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We know that attributing properties to rocks may not be everyone’s thing. This blog is meant to inform and entertain, not preach.*
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Quartz is said to strengthen and amplify any energy placed into it. It's also said to enhance the energy of other stone groups. Quartz is also believed to enhance the mind's ability to focus on the positive in place of the negative.If you're feeling like the whole "rocks having energy" thing is a little out there, it's worth noting that crystal quartz can can transform mechanical pressure or heat into electromagnetic energy, and vice versa. 

Carnelian is said to be a stone of action, helping us to overcome indecision or procrastination and increase feelings of independence. It is said to help enhance vitality and love of life and increase energy while helping to ward off negative energy, and feelings of jealousy or rage.

Red Jasper is known as the Stone of Endurance. It is said to bring physical strength, energy, and stamina. Red Jasper is also said to be a stone of emotional empowerment and courage.

Tiger Eye is said to boost will power, as well as emotional stability, and enhance energy. It is also said to boost hope, confidence, and optimism. Tiger Eye is also said to help people find confidence in their unique strengths and abilities while using them in alliance with their values.


Onyx is said to help develop emotional strength and stamina, and to bring extra support during stressful events. Like Tiger Eye, it is also said to help in issues of will power or self-discipline. It is also said to guard against draining emotional energy.

*If you 100% know that you don’t care or want to know about it - that’s totally OK. I’ve noticed that the metaphysical concept is like Cilantro or Black Licorice. It’s either something you like or something that makes your face go “eeew,” involuntarily. Since energy work and rocks are becoming more mainstream, we do want to take the time to offer some basic information.

All stones have an historic and/or contemporary reputation for various physical, mental, emotional and spiritual qualities. For our purposes, we’ll steer away from the physical healing aspect. As an artisan, you can certainly choose to provide that information to your customers. However, it’s extremely important not to offer your jewelry or stone lore as an alternative to care from a medical provider.

                                               - Erin, Dakota Stones
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Love Stones? Learn More...
Posted by Erin to Articles
Last week’s blog was all about the reputed power of specific stones to help bring peace. This week, love’s been in the air as we featured some of the stone types associated with love. Before we begin, I want to throw out there that love doesn’t just need to be about romance or family. It can be in the way we feel towards humanity or ourselves. Cultivating a sense of love allows us to feel more empathy and to speak and act with more kindness and generosity.
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We know that attributing properties to rocks may not be everyone’s thing. This blog is meant to inform and entertain, not preach.*
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Rose Quartz has a long history as a symbolic stone of love. It’s thought that it may have been used as a love token as early as 600 BC. Rose Quartz is most commonly known as a stone to beckon or strengthen romantic love. It’s even known as “The Stone of the Heart.” However, it’s also said to inspire love of beauty, nature, art, and the self. It is also said to help comfort the hearts of those who were deprived of love and nurture during formative years. Not enough for you? It’s also said to bring strength to the bonds of family and friendship.

Garnet is a stone attached to strong, intense feelings, as well as physical attraction. Throughout history, it’s enjoyed worldwide popularity for a variety of purposes. (An interesting, although not loving fact? Garnets have been weaponized. The idea was that a blood colored stone would inflict more damage to an enemy. They were used as bullets in 1892 by Hanzas rebelling against the British in Kashmir.) Garnet is strongly associated with physical acts of love and stimulating desire. It’s also thought to help widowed spouses through their journey of grief and to seek and find a new relationship.

Ruby is similar to Garnet, at least, energetically. It’s said to stimulate sensual and sexual energy. Ruby is also said to help deepen commitment and connection between couples. It’s also thought to help us communicate more lovingly with those who may have hurt us, and enhances our innate protective feelings of those around us. Ruby is also reputed to help those who feel unloved or unlovable and cultivate their personal power.

Kunzite is thought to help bring down our emotional walls and make us more receptive to love, and allow us to open our minds and hearts to unconditional, abundant love. It’s also called “The Stone of Joy.” Kunzite is thought help heal the heart after the loss of a relationship by allowing us to let go of past and inspiring us to be present. (Given current events, it’s worth adding that Kunzite is said to be a stone of mental and emotional protection and healing for pain caused by bullying, inappropriate flirtation, or harassment. It’s also said to promote acts of self-protection and free expression.)

You can find love-related properties attributed to almost any stone. Amazonite is reputed to make married life happier. All Opal varieties are said to inspire love, hope, and passion. Personally, this may explain why I always emerge from my basement bead cave with boundless love and a joyful energy.

*If you 100% know that you don’t care or want to know about it - that’s totally OK. I’ve noticed that the metaphysical concept is like Cilantro or Black Licorice. It’s either something you like or something that makes your face go “eeew,” involuntarily. Since energy work and rocks are becoming more mainstream, we do want to take the time to offer some basic information.

All stones have an historic and/or contemporary reputation for various physical, mental, emotional and spiritual qualities. For our purposes, we’ll steer away from the physical healing aspect. As an artisan, you can certainly choose to provide that information to your customers. However, it’s extremely important not to offer your jewelry or stone lore as an alternative to care from a medical provider.

                                                                  Erin, Dakota Stones
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The Power of Rocks: Peace?
Posted by Erin to Articles


For the month of December we’re diving into rocks in a new way. In the past, our blogs have ranged on topics from science-y to playful. As a stone bead manufacturer, we’d be remiss if we didn’t offer a little more information on an increasingly popular community topic: the metaphysical properties of rocks.

If you 100% know that you don’t care or want to know about it - that’s totally OK. I’ve noticed that the metaphysical concept is like Cilantro or Black Licorice. It’s either something you like or something that makes your face go “eeew,” involuntarily. Since energy work and rocks are becoming more mainstream, we do want to take the time to offer some basic information.

All stones have an historic and/or contemporary reputation for various physical, mental, emotional and spiritual qualities. For our purposes, we’ll steer away from the physical healing aspect. As an artisan, you can certainly choose to provide that information to your customers. However, it’s extremely important not to offer your jewelry or stone lore as an alternative to care from a medical provider.

So, long intro over, here’s the meat. We featured a few of the *many* stone types that are said to bring peace and calming.



Amethyst is said to bring us back to our center if we’re overworked, overtired, or stressed. It’s also said to help bring us to a place of wisdom when dealing with painful transitions. For example, it is said that Amethyst can help someone grieving to become more in touch with the joy of their loved one’s life than the pain of loss.



Green Aventurine  is said to be grounding, meaning that it can bring you more firmly into the present moment in a stable way. It’s said to calm nervousness and anxiety, and to be especially useful in dissipating the day-to-day stresses of a busy life.



Dumortierite is thought to help calm overexcitable tendencies and instill self-confidence. It is also said to enhance feelings of self-empowerment and competence.



Crazy Lace Agate is also said to promote feelings of inner strength and confidence as well as elevate feelings of joy. It is also reputed to help curtail ones fear of insects, spiders and crawly things. Anybody up for field testing this particular tidbit should email me: erin@dakotastones.com.


*** Important Note: If the metaphysical stuff is your jam, watch your sources. If, for example, a stone that looks like quartz has a trademarked name and a long and fascinating backstory involving alien life forms, put on your critical thinking cap. If *anything* doesn’t feel right for you, feel free to be pick and choose what resonates.

                                                                                   - Erin, Dakota Stones
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Three Quick Tips for Craft Show Season
Posted by Erin to Articles
Many of our customers are seasoned show veterans, and an equal number are just starting to get their feet wet. As you're looking at your pre-Holiday shows, here are some super quick tips.

If you're a seasoned seller, this blog might not be for you. However, your wisdom, experience, and input will be invaluable to the fresh faces in our group, so please share your thoughts in the comments.

1) Merchandising - Invest in busts and display props. If you can't buy everything on your wish list, budget for additional pieces throughout the season or year. If nothing else, invest in a good table covering. You likely have all sorts of items around your home or studio to place underneath.

*When buying your display items, devote some time to price comparing. You'll find that there are online or brick and mortar stores devoted to merchandising items, and the selection and price is likely to be best there.

2) Ear Wires - For most of us, earrings are the highest margin, highest volume seller. Consider using Niobium, Gold-Filled, Sterling, or Silver-Filled ear wires so that a metal intolerance isn't the bar to a sale. You could also bring higher-end ear wires to the show, and offer to change them out for a small "upgrade" charge,

3) Know Your Audience - Consider the location and target demographic of the show. If you regularly focus on higher-end and/or labor intensive pieces, you want to know you're in a selling environment that's right for it.

4) Always bring business cards!! If you find yourself at a show where you're not accessibly priced, you can take the time to curate future customers. Taking the time to build a relationship not only feels good, it can help convert a potential customer into a customer or even a regular down the road.

Erin, Dakota Stones
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Time Capsules: Kambaba Jasper, Fossil Coral & Turritella Agate
Posted by Erin to Articles
Rocks are all old, right?
Right.

Certain types of rocks just happen to make us feel more connected to that time. Seeing a giant dinosaur skeleton inspires awe and wonder- it's a tangible link to an undocumented time.

This week, we took some time to explore some more easily obtainable links to that distant past. I've recently been loving whimsical Dino charm necklaces with our Fossil Coral. I've been a dinosaur fiend since age 5, so talking about these stones was a pleasure.

PS - Not to get all 'Jurassic Park', but if any of you out there know where I can get a genuine velociraptor claw, shoot an email my way. ;-)

                                                        Erin, Dakota Stones





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Fashion Forward: Pantone and Wardrobe
Posted by Erin to Articles


We’ve been talking lots about Pantone lately. Why? Sure, you want customers to see pieces that work with their wardrobe. Mentioning the use of seasonal Pantone colors can also be a value-add to your customers. Accessories are a great way to dip a toe into a new color pool.

New accessories can also give an existing outfit new life. Using hot seasonal colors in your designs gives your customer a way to add a “trendy” element to their wardrobe without reworking anything else.

Here’s an example.

We used a gray top as the base. Gray is my favorite color. 3/4 of my tops are gray. If you follow our videos on Facebook you may have noticed this.



You can use just one color, and mix up the finishes:




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You can find a single stone type that combines multiple colors:



Venus Jasper is mostly Butter Rum, it also brings in subtle peaks of Neutral Gray, Marina, and Ballet Slipper.
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Mexican Laguna Lace Agate brings in swirls of Grenadine, Neutral Gray, Ballet Slipper, Butter Rum, Autumn Maple, and Tawny Port.
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And, of course, you can grab a few different stone types.



Combine Red Moonstone with AB Druzy and Kunzite for a dose of both Ballet Slipper and Tawny Port.
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Or grab some Peach Moonstone to play on Butter Rum and Ballet Slipper, and add some Carnelian for a bright pop. Bring the mellow and bright together with some Pyrite. (Design Hack: The right metallic can make almost any color combo work. It’s like magic.)

You can choose to incorporate Pantone colors, or completely ignore everything we’ve talked about. As always, the most important thing is to design *your* way.

-Erin, Dakota Stones
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Constructive or Destructive: Working with Other Artists
Posted by Erin to Articles
We’ve all been there. We see something someone else has made and it’s not to our taste. Our default is often to judge, to make blanket statements about how “good” or “bad” it is. Or maybe a friend or colleague asks for an opinion and all you can see is how much better you could make it.

Here are a few rules of thumb:


1) Look for the good.
The way we think of others often mirrors some of our strongest underlying self-criticisms. You may not even hear your inner critic’s specific thoughts any more, it may just manifest as an anxious vibe before, during, or after you create. If you seek the good in other people’s work, you’ll notice a corresponding appreciation for your own.


CASE STUDY 1:

I see a necklace that’s a mass-produced electroplated pendant on a chain. I have judgements. Strong ones. They’re not kind. Mostly based around all the areas I’m most insecure.


My own fear is that I’m not creative enough. That my work isn’t authentic. That I’m bad at having a business. My inner critic says that I should be original, true to my aesthetic and technique preferences, and working on high margin projects.

2) If your opinion hasn’t been solicited, don’t critique.
Let each person have their own growth process. Some things you gotta learn by doing them yourself. I like sharing favorite sourcing spots and brands. I feel like someone can take or leave that resource without feeling judged.


CASE STUDY 2:
Some things you just gotta do yourself.



3) If you feel the need to comment about a problem, propose a solution. That’s the best way to get what you want. If you don’t have a solution, then acknowledge that, too. This is just a good interpersonal practice and transfers into relationships, work, or dealing with a company.

4) If your opinion *has* been solicited, make sure you choose words with care. Be clear about what’s working for you, and what might accentuate that. Assist in construction, not destruction.

CASE STUDY 3:
Started with this and wasn’t crazy about it.



Asked a friend and he said, “I like where this is going with the color and placement. You might want to consider pulling the green and simplifying.”

5) There’s no shame in asking for help.

CASE STUDY 4:

Right now, lighting is a work in progress for our Facebook videos - if someone’s an expert, it would be great to get some thoughts on light brands and positioning, or favorite resources to learn about studio lighting!

- Erin, Dakota Stones
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Precious? Semi-Precious? What’s the Deal? | Navigating Stone Classification and Grading
Posted by Erin to Articles

Let’s break down some basic definitions.

Gemstone: Any stone that’s used to make jewelry and other adornments. You can plunk a random landscaping rock into wire to form a ring and BOOM it’s now *technically* a gemstone. I don’t recommend selling random garden rocks as gemstones. It falls into a murky area of exploiting already misunderstood terms. As a working, ethical, definition, we’ll say that gemstones are any minerals or other stones commonly used in the making of jewelry. The $5 strand of Fossil Coral is gemstone and the $3000 strand of diamonds is gemstone.


Precious Gemstone: This has historically referred to Diamond, Sapphire, Ruby and Emerald. The classification is starting to fall out of favor. It’s considered inaccurate as it doesn’t account for all factors that contribute to the cost of a natural stone. For example, diamonds are quite abundant, but tightly controlled by cartels like DeBeers to keep the prices high. In addition, industrial-grade diamonds are inexpensive enough to be used on common tools. Lower quality Sapphire, Ruby, or Emerald can also carry a lower price tag than fine specimens of semi-precious stones like Garnet or Amethyst.


Semi-Precious Gemstone: This is literally everything else. Agate. Amazonite. Amethyst. Aventurine. And on down the alphabet. All semi-precious. Garnet. Lapis. Morganite. Still all semi-precious. Fossil Coral? Kambaba Jasper? Red Creek Jasper? All semi-precious.


Synthetic Gemstone: This is a really important thing to understand. Some commonly accepted “stones” are synthetic. Goldstone and Cherry Quartz are both synthetic. They do NOT occur in nature. It’s pretty common knowledge that other types of naturally occurring stones can also be artificially created in labs.  For example, all Cubic Zirconia is lab-created. (Note: Don’t confuse Cubic Zirconia with Zircon. Zircon actually comes out of the ground.)


Composite Gemstone: These stones have pieces of gemstone in them, but are not entirely made of stone. Generally, these are made from a combination of stone fragments and resin. The stone fragments and/or the resin may also be dyed. Mardi Gras Impression Jasper or Serpentine with Bronzite are good examples of composite gemstones.


An important note on grading: There isn’t a universal system for grading gemstones. The GIA has a commonly accepted method for grading diamonds. Only a gemologist certified by the GIA for grading diamonds is qualified to assign a GIA grade. In all other stone types, terms like “A-Grade”, “AAA-Grade”, or “B/C Grade”, are SUBJECTIVE terms used by the seller. One vendor’s AAA-grade Amethyst may look like another’s B-Grade. Other vendors may have no grading system at all, and the price tag will tell the story. I like to take a “what do I like?” approach. Sometimes that saves me money because I honestly prefer some inclusions. Other times, it means that I pay an embarrassing amount for “practically perfect.”

- Erin, Dakota Stones

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Quality Control: The Struggle is Real
We’ve touched briefly in the past week about how difficult it was to find a reliable source for high-quality Malachite. We had leads on plenty of lower quality rough. But none of that rough material resulted in truly beautiful beads.

Our quality control is exacting. Each shipment we receive is fully inspected, and each year, we reject about a ton of beads. Literally. A ton.

In 90% of those cases, we’ve tried working with outside factories. And those factories don’t deliver. Here’s a sampling of recent rejects.

Amazonite


Oh look, a random bead that doesn’t fit. We ordered Amazonite. Not Black-Gold Amazonite. Not Amazonite with a random accent bead. Out the door they go.
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Rondelles


Don’t be deceived by the size of the beads. The hole size varied so much that we could get 22 gauge wire through some beads, and barely squeeze 26 through others because the drilling was so poor. Out the door with those.

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Rounds


No. Double drilling is NOT acceptable. Nor is off center drilling. Nor are “round” beads with dimples, divots and shape irregularity. Out the door with those.

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Strawberry Quartz


Um? Uh? What?

Both of these strands were sold to us as “natural” Strawberry Quartz. These came from a factory we’d never used before and never will again.

~The Takeaway~

All the beads we reject go back from whence they came. Eventually, they’re sold to other distributors and retailers. These beads are then received by employees at other companies that know inventory, but *not* stone. So, yes, some vendors are blindly selling product that’s not properly identified or quality checked. They’re not trying to be deceptive in most cases. They simply don’t have the team to adequately inspect incoming merchandise. Other times, their business model is to offer low quality strands at super-low prices.

Whether you choose to buy from Dakota Stones or another vendor, we recommend that you always look at your product after you receive it or before you buy. Make sure that the beads are usable for you. If you’re shopping bargain strands, factor in the number of beads on the strand you can actually use- it may make more sense for your bottom line to pay a bit more for a strand with usable beads throughout.

                                                                                                                         Erin, Dakota Stones
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 Quality Control: The Struggle is Real
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 PANTONE 2018 | Bringing The Color Classics
 Rock Solid Foundation. Stones to Strengthen.
 Love Stones? Learn More...
 The Power of Rocks: Peace?
 Three Quick Tips for Craft Show Season
 Time Capsules: Kambaba Jasper, Fossil Coral & Turritella Agate
 Fashion Forward: Pantone and Wardrobe
 Constructive or Destructive: Working with Other Artists
 Precious? Semi-Precious? What’s the Deal? | Navigating Stone Classification and Grading
 Quality Control: The Struggle is Real
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