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dsSchool of Rocks: White African Opal
Posted by Erin on 3/5/2017 to Articles
White African Opal is my new favorite thing. I frequently use pearls in designs that need an opaque and cream-colored note, but there are times I've wanted an additional option.

I wanted something that could pair well with everything from glass and crystal to rough matte stones.

Enter White African Opal to the rescue!



I'm loving it paired with bright Swarovski fancy stones. This combo is going to have a bead woven cluster of bright fancy stones, with White African Opal on the sides. The bulk of my design clients want pieces that can go with an LBD, flowing blouse, or crisp button down. The pattern in White African Opal adds both visual interest and a more earthy balance to the crystal.

I'm also planning to rework this piece that includes 10+ years of leftover Agate, chalcedony, pearl, and Quartz. This piece is in my personal collection. It fell out of my necklace rotation when I threw most of my business casual ensembles out the window. I wanted to cut back the number of pearls without sacrificing length. I was afraid I was going to be gutting the entire piece, but I'm confident 20 minutes and a couple well-placed swaps will have me loving this necklace again.

 
 
I recently did a commission project for a client that featured tons of DS Premier Garnet, Green Apatite, Citrine and Chinese Turquoise. I've got about 2 inches left of each strand. I wanted to create a design that would make the colors "pop". Metal beads and chain made it look dull. Ditto leather. White African Opal, you may have guessed, has now saved the day.

My most recent Friday night project was my first attempt at a beaded tassel. I'm really loving all the new 2mm rounds! (I had a terrible time trying to shoot this - I'm planning to post a journey of awful outtakes on Facebook, so give Dakota Stones a follow. After you see my attempts, you're sure to feel like a better product photographer by comparison!)

I cannot wait to do more with this multi-tasking neutral, and I'm looking forward to seeing any designs you may want to share with me and our social media followers. Email erin@dakotastones.com with questions, comments, concerns, pictures of your creations, or requests for future blog topics.


If you want to learn a little more about this stone type, you can also check out our most recent YouTube video (below!)
 

- Erin, Dakota Stones 

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dsSchool of Rocks: Fire Opal
Posted by Erin on 2/26/2017 to Articles
New Multi Color Sapphires!
We've just gotten some gorgeous new 16" Multi Color Sapphire strands. The colors are absolutely captivating and these beads are perfect as focals, accents, or re-strung as-is. We're featuring a limited number online through Thursday. These strands are currently a Limited Edition and we can't guarantee future availability at this time.
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dsSchool of Rocks: Fire Opal  
In honor of the debut of 8" Fire Opal strands, we've made a new video for the blog. You can learn more about Fire Opal here.
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Video: Master the Guru bead with Jess
We introduced new sizes and stone types to our Guru bead line. The 8mm and 10mm sizes are perfect for stackable bracelet designs. (Plus, they're available in quartz and amethyst for all our chakra jewelry lovers!) Using a guru bead in your design is easier than you might think. Check out Jess's tutorial for stringing Guru beads on silk here.

Namaste
Erin, Dakota Stones
PS - The same technique works with elastic, too. Just use a Big Eye needle and .7mm stretch material!

Dzi = "Zee". Crash Course for Stone Lovers.
Posted by Erin on 2/20/2017 to Articles

ds Dzi rounds in various patterns
Dzi-style beads
are a new arrival at Dakota Stones and we've gotten tons of questions from customers in Tucson and in our showroom. Since we'll be continuing to stock them, we wanted to give our customers some need-to-know info.

How do you say the name?
Dzi = Zee. That simple. (dZi and gzi are common alternate spellings.)
 
What's with the patterns?
The lines, designs and circles (eyes) on Dzi beads are related to different powers that the Dzi is said to magnify within the wearer. Different patterns are associated with unique gifts and protective qualities, and said to be more or less beneficial to an individual based on their birth year and/or the current calendar year.

Why do you say 'Dzi-style'?
Glad you asked. We use the term "Dzi-style" to distinguish these replica beads from their antique counterparts. Antique Dzi beads are hundreds or thousands of years old. Depending on the size, pattern, and material, they can command as much as $2,000,000. (No, that's not a typo.) Dzi beads made as recently as the 1990s even sell for hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Where do they come from?
The etched agate Dzi beads that are highly prized by collectors come from Tibet, Buthan, Ladakh, and Nepal. They are surrounded by myth and legend. One legend holds that the stones themselves are insects that turned to stone after coming into contact with a human. Dzi beads were frequently used as protective amulets, and some traditions held that a Dzi bead chose its owner and would even leave an unlucky owner. Due to the protective attributes of the stone, powder was often ground from the ends for medicinal use. Antique Dzi that have been used in medicine will show small dig marks where the stone was carved.

Got any great Dzi resources to share? Pass them on! Since these beads are so popular and have such rich history, we're hoping to share more useful information soon!

Erin, Dakota Stones 
We'd love to see what you do with our Dzi-style beads. If you're willing to share your finished designs using Dakota Stones Dzi-style beads with our followers on social media, please email erin@dakotastones.com.
Ethiopian Opal Madness | New Colors and Sizes!
Posted by Erin on 2/12/2017 to Articles
AA Grade Ethiopian Opal 3-8mm Graduated Rondelle Cream
We've pretty much DOUBLED our online variety of Ethiopian Opals.
We're now offering additional colors, and incorporated a subjective, in-house grading system to help distinguish between strands.
Our A through AAA system is based on the transparency and fire of the stones. The higher the grade, the more transparent and fiery.
IMPORTANT - Ethiopian Opals have been very popular,
so we cannot guarantee their future availability or pricing.

Trend Watch Tucson 2017 | What's Hot in the Desert
Posted by Erin on 2/5/2017 to Articles
Trend Watch: Tucson 2017
Right now it seems like everybody's either been down to the show or is there already. Instagram and Facebook are full of friends posing with gigantic geodes or showing off their favorite finds.

If the show wasn't in the cards for you this year, we've compiled a list of some of the most popular items at the Dakota Stones booth so far this year.
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Lapis everything.
As designers eye the S/S color and style trends, Lapis is an obvious pick. After all, how many times does Pantone's swatch name just give you the name of the coordinating stone type? Plus, the rich blue works great in boho OR classic designs. 
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Customers are feeling the bright colors and clean lines in these sets. Several buyers have mentioned that the "upcycled" nature of composite is a big draw. In addition to packing lots of visual punch for a low cost, it's also relatively light weight. Customers have also mentioned that these can be kept together in one design, or broken up and used in several.
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K2 Slices Tucson is a great place to see new or uncommon stones. K2 is granite with copper-bearing mineral inclusions (there's disagreement on specifics, most sources claim Apatite or Azurite). It's mined at the based of the second-highest mountain in the world, Pakistan's K2. The unconventional color and pattern of the stone combined with its unique source, has made this stone popular with novel-stone seekers.
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Phantom Quartz
14-36mm Crystal Points
12-32mm Crystal Points
Quartz Points From large Phantom Quartz points to delicate Crystal Quartz matchsticks, these strands are flying to buyers. We brought down more than we thought we'd need, and they're going at an unprecedented rate. In addition to earrings and pendants, customers are using points to up the wow-factor in statement pieces. As jewelry trends continue owards pieces that can be dressed up or down, quartz is subtle enough to wear with distressed denim and sparkly enough for a night on the town. Designers are loving quartz points to incorporate more angular elements in designs, too.
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10mm Faceted Rounds
 6mm Matte
Rounds
12mm Rounds
8mm Matte
Rounds
Blood Quartz
People are loving the rusty red and pink tones. This stone has been one of our biggest "Oooh - what is this?!" items of the show. It's also gotten lots of love in our showroom and online since its debut a couple weeks ago.

If you're at the show, we're at the G&LW Gem Mall
 in the Fiesta Tent, Booth #2209.


Erin, Dakota Stones
If you Tucson's not in your cards, or if you've already left and need another stone rush, we'll be continuing to release new product online (and some online exclusives!) for the length of the show. 
Tucson, Here We Come!!!
Posted by Erin on 1/22/2017 to Articles
Survive (and Thrive) in Tucson 2017
Some of you have been going to Tucson for decades, and others may be excitedly packing up for their first trip, while others are planning to go some day. Regardless of which camp you fall in, we've assembled some hints to help you make the most out of your show experience. 

FIND US!
Fiesta Blue Tent
Booth #2209

Click on the .pdf (right) for a detailed map of our location.

GEM MALL
4475 S. Country Club Rd.  Tucson, AZ
January 28th-February 8th
Show Hours: 10-6pm, final day 10-3pm


Before You Go: 
Pre-Register Lines are always long, but pre-registration will lessen your line time. Remember to bring multiple copies of your Tax ID.

- Consider checking an extra bag, using the suitcase in a suitcase method, or bringing some boxes and scoping put the Tucson Post Office- you want to have lots of room to bring back rocks!

- Speaking of packing, plan to do lots of walking since most of the shows are within walking distance of each other, so bring good shoes! Even though it's Arizona, the temperature can range from warm to cool, so make sure you've got the basics for both types of weather. The tents can get pretty warm, so make sure you've got layers!

At the Show: 
-  Dakota Stones will be at the G&LW Gem Mall, Fiesta Tent, Booth #2209. We recommend that you get a show book to help you navigate.

- If you see something you love, buy it immediately. You don't know if it will be there later.

- Hydrate! You're in the desert. It's exciting! You're excited! Make sure you take time to get water and food and bathroom breaks so you can feel good and have fun.

- Get to know your vendors. A good relationship with your vendors is a great way to find the best things at a show. If they know your preferences, they'll be able to steer you towards the right products at the show and will keep you in mind when new product that you might like comes along throughout the year.

Heading Home: 
- Regardless of how you're bringing your beads home, pack them carefully.

- It's easy to forget how quickly a suitcase can be overweight when beads are involved. Portable luggage scales are relatively cheap and will help you avoid any nasty surprises at the airport.

- Yes, it is perfectly acceptable to ship your clothes and toiletries home and just bring back a suitcase full of beads.

Safe Travels!
See you in the Fiesta Tent at the G&LW Bead Mall, Booth #2209
  
dsPremier Presents: New Rocks to Know
Posted by Erin on 1/15/2017 to Articles
We just launched some great Dakota Stones' exclusives last week, and we thought we should take the time to introduce you to some of the newcomers to our family.

Gem Silica (also known as Gem Chrysocolla) is extremely rare. It forms when deposits of Chrysocolla are present with silica-rich solutions. Despite the alias "Gem Chrysocolla", and the conditions under which its formed, Gem Silica isn't Chrysocolla - it's a unique mineral in its own right. Gem Silica has the beautiful greens and blues associated with Chrysocolla, and can be easily differentiated by the translucence visible in Gem Silica.

We wanted to highlight these Watermelon Ruby slices because they're so often mistaken for Tourmaline. Our specially sourced ruby slices have been cut preserving the surrounding material, so that the naturally occurring outline of the original stone remains intact and visible within the slice.

K2 is a very recent discovery just beginning to enter the Western jewelry market. It's named for the mountain in which it was discovered, the second highest in the world, Pakistan's K2. This combination stone has granite with blue or green spots. Currently, the only consensus is that these blue and green inclusions are due to the presence of a copper-based mineral like Malachite or Azurite. The exact nature of the inclusion is disputed by various sources.


Erin, Dakota Stones
Enjoy your Monday, and check out the dsPremier section on our website to see all the new additions, including Peruvian Amazonite, Lapis, and Larimar slices, Citrine rondelles, and more.
Color Me Spring 2017
Posted by Erin on 1/8/2017 to Articles
If you're a designer working in stone, incorporating a very specific color or set of colors (like Pantone throws our way each year) can seem a little tricky. After all, Pantone was originally developed for printing and stones do NOT follow a specific ink formula. Fret not.

The key to making Pantone's oh-so-fashionable palette work lies in the details. Sure, some stones with match perfectly, and sometimes, they give you a freebie like "Lapis" to give you a hint. Other times, you're looking at something a little less obvious. In every case, remember that stone isn't a color swatch- clarity, chatoyance, and natural color variations give you more flexibility in your options. It can be less about perfect matching and more about picking up the right tone, if not the exact saturation.


Case Study One: Morganite

It's easy to see the way that this stone picks up Hazelnut, Dogwood, and Island Paradise. If you look closely, you can also see little bits of a subdued green that looks like Kale. Since it's Morganite, the color is more muted, and incorporated into a cohesive design with this palette.

Case Study Two: Druzy, Jade, and Citrine

In this example, all three of the stones have varying shades of their Pantone inspirations. The variations range in intensity, and they're all playing well together.


Case Study Three: Carnelian, Multi-Tiger Eye, and Citrine

Sure, most stones pick up just one Pantone color, but the Multi-Tiger Eye in this combo shows that you can spice up a two-color combo using a stone that has both colors. In this case, you can also see that the chatoyance in the Tiger Eye bridges what might otherwise be a stark gap between the opacity of the Carnelian and the clarity of the Citrine.

Case Study Four: Pink Tourmaline, Chalcedony, and Denim Lapis

When our designer put this combo together, I thought she was off her rocker. I was NOT seeing Pale Dogwood in this. My eye was drawn immediately to the pink in the Tourmaline, and it took a second glance to see that the pale, almost white parts of the chips were, in fact, very much had the soft peachiness of Pale Dogwood. In all of these stone types, the Pantone color is NOT the visually dominant color in the stones - it's a subtle background player.

After all this lecturing, I want to leave you with a final thought. Customers buy your designs because of YOUR unique talents with color and materials. However the Pantone colors fill in or fall out of your upcoming designs matters far less than authentic designs that delight you.

                                           - Erin, Dakota Stones 

Druzy? Drusy? Druse? Drusie? It's too awesome for just one spelling!
Posted by Erin on 1/1/2017 to Articles

Druzy is distinctive. It's easy to spot and identify. But what about the easily overlooked science-y stuff? This week, we're taking a quick look.

dsDruzy
Druzy (AKA Drusy, Druse, Drusie) is a thin layer of crystals covering the surface of a host stone. The term refers to the tiny crystals formed within or on another stone. Druzy Quartz is the most commonly found due to the presence of silica worldwide, however, druzy can be formed from many other minerals. Different druzy varieties will have distinct color, crystal size, and luster.

dsDruzy Blue Shards
Formation
Druzy crystals form when water brings minerals onto a rock's surface. After the water evaporates, the minerals left behind form crystals on the rock.The colors of the crystals will vary based on the minerals forming the crystal.

Care and Cleaning
Wipe druzy clean with a soft, dry cloth. DO NOT use harsh chemicals or ultrasonic cleaners. Other chemicals that can damage druzy include chlorine bleach, denatured alcohol, turpentine,acetone, and ammonia. These chemicals can dull the surface and cause pitting. (This can be true with other stones, too.)

Erin, Dakota Stones 
It's always good practice to remove jewelry before showering, swimming, or bathing. In addition, common beauty products like shampoo, hair spray, lotion, and perfume should be applied before your jewelry to minimize exposure. 

I Spy Agate...
Posted by Erin on 12/11/2016 to Articles
We're agate obsessed right now at Dakota Stones, and with good reason. Care to see why?

Let's start with a little game of
"I Spy".

Check out these Botswana Agate rounds and nuggets - can you find the gray, rose, pink, mauve, tan, beige, cream, violet, khaki and fatigue green?

ds Botswana Agate Tumble Nuggets
ds Botswana Agate Nuggets
Or, if warm colors are more your style, how about the orange, rust, brown, brandy, and gold in the Montana Moss Agate?

ds Montana Moss Agate Rectangles

ds Montana Moss Agate Nuggets

Skewing even more into trusty, rusty brown, are you seeing the pearly cream, soft peach, deep brown, and purple-red in Brown Sardonyx?

ds Brown Sardonyx

ds Green Line Agate Rounds

If you thought this was fun in photos imagine these little pieces of heaven in your hands.

Pure gorgeousness aside, agates are incredibly practical for design. Here are my personal reasons:

1) Appeal - Customers love agate. They request it. They seek it out. They oogle it even over sparklies. I've found this true of customers across age spectrums and regardless of dollar power. My personal theory is that agates are some of the first rocks we learn to hunt and identify, and they maintain a magical connection to youthful days of rock picking on beaches, trails, and roads.

2) Color - You get an incredible variety of color within a single strand. For one-of-a-kind designs, it gives me more purchasing bang for my buck. (Also, pulling out the dominant color in particular stones helps me understand colors that naturally "work" together, so it's a great color cheat.)

3) Pattern - Need a focal with some interest? Use an agate. Earrings? Agate. A glorious blend of colors through a necklace? The blend of colors in each stone make this a no-brainer.

4) MORE COLOR - I like sorting each bead by color and subtle color variations and then graduating the colors subtly. This gives me an excuse to examine each bead closely, and put them in many different piles. I find this soothing to the max.

5) Price Point - Not only do customers love them, they're also easier on the wallet than many stone types. For me that means I can devote more time to a design and keep my margin up without making something that is going to drain my profit.

6) Metaphysical - If you're into this, agates have a fantastic world of properties common to agates generally, as well as properties specific to a type. For example, Botswana Agate is said to help with big picture thinking and problem solving, while Sardonyx is said to promote optimism and happiness.

Erin, Dakota Stones 
FYI - as of this writing, we just got a bunch of new shapes and sizes in stock in both Botswana Agate and Montana Moss Agate. They're on our site, but so new they aren't even in the showroom yet.

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 dsSchool of Rocks: White African Opal
 dsSchool of Rocks: Fire Opal
 Dzi = "Zee". Crash Course for Stone Lovers.
 Ethiopian Opal Madness | New Colors and Sizes!
 Trend Watch Tucson 2017 | What's Hot in the Desert
 Tucson, Here We Come!!!
 dsPremier Presents: New Rocks to Know
 Color Me Spring 2017
 Druzy? Drusy? Druse? Drusie? It's too awesome for just one spelling!
 I Spy Agate...
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