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Waste Not, Want Not
Posted by Dakota Stones to Articles
                ds Impression Jasper Pendant Sets

Ever noticed that some bead cuts are more expensive than others? The price isn't only due to differing labor costs, it also reflects the amount of the stone that is "lost" in the cutting process. In the 1980's, these stone remnants started to find new life as composite stone.
Composite stones go by several other names: reconstituted stones, assembled stones, reconstructed stones. These terms refer to any stone created using stone remnants from the cutting process mixed with resin to create "new" stone that is cut into blocks and then turned into beads or cabochons.
Merits
Possibility. The options available in composite stones are only limited by imagination. You can find everything from wild, funky parties of color to stones with striking metallic inclusions. Bold, contrasting color pairings or beads in solid, subtle tones.

Value. Even though these stones are created by adding steps to the cutting process, they offer a great savings over traditional stone. Composite stone gives stone cutters additional revenue where they previously had a loss, so they can offer composite stones at a great price.

Warm fuzzies. There's something beautiful in decreasing our environmental footprint and increasing our creative thinking.
                          Composite stone slabs 
Some Favorite Uses
Since composite stone is the embodiment of repurposing, upcycling, and responsible environmental citizenship, we love seeing these stones used with other upcycled, vintage, and repurposed components. These designs combine the creative energy in a one-of-a-kind piece with implicit messages about the beauty that's just waiting to be discovered in things we may normally overlook, throw away, or simply regard as object, not ornament. 
Since many composite stones may be dyed or color-enhanced to create wonderfully saturated colors, and there are lots of stones available in knock-your-socks-off combinations, we see some great statement pieces. These are designs that show us that sometimes more is more. Add some crystals, add lots of crystals, add in some other stones in uncommon shapes, throw in layers of chain. Composite stones can make a statement design both more cohesive and more striking.

      Mixed Impression Jasper 30x40 Ovals 
Because the price point of composite stones is more accessible, I've personally found value in creating two versions of a design. I'll do a version in natural stone, and another with composite. Some of my customers want only natural stone and they're willing to pay the premium to get it. Other customers are just looking for something pretty, and they're making their decisions based on price. The upcycled element may add value for them, other times, they're just thrilled with their frugality... which I think helps sell multiple items where I may have only sold one.
Closing FYI
The best practices for the care and cleaning of composite stones will vary based on the materials. It's important to remember that all composite stone uses resin, and some may use dyes. For that reason, let your customers know that ultrasonic and steam cleaning may destroy the integrity of the stone.

                                                                          - Erin, Dakota Stones
 
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