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Neutral Colors: The Perfect Base for Your Design
Posted by Dakota Stones to Articles

The best thing about neutral (or natural) colors is they can be a consistent backdrop for ever-changing trends -- you can offset pretty much any color with a good base. This means that whatever colors are brought to the table, whatever year, you can seamlessly blend with a solid, classic neutral that will only serve to support your design.

Here, I mixed neutrals like our new dendritic opal, natural druzy & black jade with a gorgeous pop of deep purple lepidolite.






I have also found that stones can be very forgiving in terms of color matching. Natural colored stones can blend in almost any direction -- from red to yellow to blue and green. Here is an example of how to mix and match off-white, such as our new mother of pearl, with pops of orange, teal and gray/beige.






This theory also works in reverse, you can use a neutral shade like river stone as the standout color by blending in darker stones like black silver leaf and picasso jaspers.




Happy Stranding!
Meredith @ Dakota Stones


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Cut for the Japanese Market: RARE Black Eye Agate
Posted by Dakota Stones to Articles

Crafted from the highest-grade Sardonyx, rare Black Eye Agate beads take a highly skilled lapidary to cut and make consistent.

Due to tight banding in rough sardonyx, these stones are especially beautiful with concentric circles that closely resemble an eye. Our specific strands were cut for the Japanese market -- where precision and balance are oftentimes requirements -- and only top-grade materials and exacting lapidary is accepted.

Dakota Stones is fortunate to be partnered with a cutter that produces mainly for the Japanese market. We are thrilled whenever we get the opportunity to acquire any available overruns or rejected strands because, in any other market, even their seconds still carry a AAA grade strand rating.




Look for more of these Japanese cut strands in limited quantities offered at Dakota Stones. Be mindful that buying strands cut from the very top 1% of rough material and crafted by the leading lapidary artists in Asia can carry a price tag equal to the unique pieces of art they truly are.
These might be best as a gift for your personal collection.



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The Only Branded Line of Gemstone Beads
Posted by Dakota Stones to Articles


Dakota Stones manufactures the only branded line of gemstone beads and jewelry components in the world. We travel the globe to discover unique and interesting rough rock to cut into our product lines. Our products range from top-quality, affordable stones like jaspers and agates to more rare stone types like rubies and sapphires.

Why is that significant?

Tying our brand to our products is our guarantee for stone quality and consistency. We are a company of artists and adventurers that appreciate quality, rare, and unique products. We value the trust of our customers, fellow artists and adventurers in life.


By selecting Dakota Stones, you trust us to become a part of your art.

Dakota Stones works only with businesses that mine and manufacture responsibly, which results in living wages paid to workers operating in safe conditions. We look for high-quality materials and are always finding new products to add to our stock. We are there at each step in the process -- from selecting top-grade rough material, through the cutting and polishing stages, to quality control -- before we present our stones to you.




Our Products


Stones in the dsPremier collection are exclusively designed, cut, and produced by Dakota Stones. They are cut from unique and premium rough materials to exacting specifications to create one-of-a-kind pieces. Many strands in the dsPremier collection are very limited.





We carry a wide selection of stones in 16-inch strands, many of which are limited editions, and offer these products depending on availability. These can include unique or rare finds that we might not have again.





Our 8-inch continuity collection is composed entirely of stone types and cuts that we can continue to source. Of these are some of our top picks and best sellers. We also specialize in unique shapes cut for consistency and all holes are laser-drilled for smooth edges. This line is perfect for designers to replicate designs in quantity.

If you are a business owner or a designer, you can buy from us confident that we supply the highest quality strands of on-trend, unique and rare stones. We offer a 100% guarantee and return policy.




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Mining the Facts: Blue Chalcedony
Posted by Dakota Stones to Articles

Blue Chalcedony is a stone for creators. As a naturally occurring soft blue translucent stone, it is revered for its smooth ‘effortless’ quality that reflects and moves with light, much like water. This elusive and airy quality is what makes the stone so compelling...and difficult to capture in a photograph. So we made a video:







Known in antiquity as the Speaker’s Stone, Chalcedony is believed to have been worn by Cicero, the great Roman orator. This ancient connection solidifies Chalcedony as a stone that promotes expression, truth and a sense of optimism. It is a member of the Quartz family, a form of silica with a cryptocrystalline structure that incorporates Moganite along with the Quartz. Chalcedony can sometimes be further dyed or treated to create vivid colors but we find it best in it’s simple, natural state.


Blue Chalcedony pairs well with:






We know that these more expensive strands can be a little intimidating to buy online, and we want you to love your strands as much as we do. If they don't meet with your approval, or they won't work for your project, or you spent the kids college fund on beads, feel free to send them back.


                                                                                          - Dakota Stones

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Rare Find: Purple Fluorite & Green Fluorite Quartz
Posted by Dakota Stones to Articles

Purple fluorite is a natural and unusual opaque material and is new to Dakota Stones. We have not seen this specific material or the beads before and were only able to acquire a small batch of rough to cut into a select few rounds.

Mined in Russia, it differs from the more common transparent purple tones you normally find within banded fluorite. The colors range from a deep purple to a softer opaque pastel tone.



Green fluorite and quartz combine to create an interesting effect where the green color looks almost phosphorescent and the quartz remains transparent. Our lapidary artists cut many of the beads to have both distinctly quartz and distinctly fluorite parts. Dakota Stones only acquired a small batch of this material to cut into rounds, so the supply is limited.



More common fluorite is mined in China, Germany or the United States and is a colorful mineral that lends itself to ornamental and lapidary uses. Industrially, fluorite is used as a flux for smelting, and in the production of certain glasses and enamels. The purest grades of fluorite are a source of fluoride for hydrofluoric acid manufacture, which is the intermediate source of most fluorine-containing fine chemicals. Optically clear transparent fluorite lenses have low dispersion, so lenses made from it exhibit less chromatic aberration, making them valuable in microscopes and telescopes. Fluorite optics are also usable in the far-ultraviolet range where conventional glasses are too absorbent for use.

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From Diamond to Rough: A Guide to Stone Cuts
Posted by Dakota Stones to Articles

Do you ever wonder how stone beads get their unique shapes? Below is a simple guide to some of our most recent and popular stone cuts!


Star cut stones combine the traditional round and faceted round with fewer facets to create a more modern cut. The 24 facet cut eliminates excess weight without sacrificing visual impact. May also be call “Rose Cut”.





Rough Cut and Simple Cut stones are individually shaped and cut by skilled artisans. Each stone type needs to be treated differently in the cutting process as the hardness of the stone and its formation dictate the way the stone is handled and its suitability for different cuts.





Diamond cut stones are faceted with diamond drill bits for sharper and more precise facets for more sparkle than a conventionally faceted stone.









"Checkerboard" Cut
Tons of industry innovation has led to a way to mass-produce this diamond cut “checkerboard” pattern. At first glance, it appears to be a 4mm microfacet. Take a closer look - the puffed edge leads to a checkerboard faceted face. That’s a lot of surface to catch and move light in a multitude of directions. Dakota Stones did not assist in the creation of the cut, however, we noticed its unique beauty and design attribute and quickly added it to our diamond-cut microfacet line.



Cabochons
Each cabochon is cut and shaped by hand to precise dimensions that coincide with commercially available pre-fabricated bezels and settings. The consistency is also meant to help designers create continuity within pieces that need to be sold at a large volume.





Stones in the dsPremier collection are exclusively designed, cut, and produced by Dakota Stones. They are cut from unique and premium rough materials to exacting specifications to create one of a kind. Please note that many strands in the DS premiere collection are unique and may only be available in limited quantities.





Our 8-inch Continuity collection is composed entirely of stone types and cuts that we can continue to source. This line is perfect for designers to replicate designs in quantity. We also specialize in unique shapes cut for consistency. All holes are laser-drilled for smooth edges.


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Mining the Facts: Stones from Madagascar
Posted by Dakota Stones to Articles



A wide variety of gemstones containing a spectrum-spanning range of colors originate in Madagascar, an island southeast of the African continent that has recently become one of the leading sources of gemstones in the world. Our featured stones this week – Kabamby Ocean Jasper and other Ocean Jaspers – are some of the latest unique types of stones Madagascar produces, and they only come from two locations in northwestern Madagascar.



In 2006, while searching for Ocean Jasper, geologists discovered another unique gemstone: Polychrome Jasper. As its name suggests, the stone contains multiple colors, often highlighted by the banding in the stone. This is a gemstone that looks exceptionally great in its polished form.



Labradorite, originally discovered in Labrador, Canada, has been found and mined in other parts of the world including Madagascar.




One of the most-interesting items we sell at Dakota Stones also has a Madagascar origin: the Bivalve Majunga Drilled Pendants. These once served as homes for simple aquatic clams near the Mahajanga (aka “Majunga”) Basin, but 144-206 million years have fossilized these shells and made them perfect beads or pendants that will definitely attract attention. And now if someone asks where they’re from, you can tell them – Madagascar!

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Manufacturing Large Hole Beads
Posted by Dakota Stones to Articles

Large hole stone beads present unique challenges for manufacturers. The larger the hole, the more commonly breakage occurs in drilling. This means that manufacturers spend more time inspecting and sourcing raw materials, along with inevitable loss from breakage. As a result, you'll notice that large hole beads usually cost more.

There are multiple ways to drill stone. The best method (and the one we use for large hole beads at Dakota Stones) uses ultrasonic technology, a drilling device that uses vibrations in order to hammer its bit through materials, as opposed to traditional drilling methods. If you're interested in the science, it's fascinating (CLICK HERE.)





The results are even more exciting. Ultrasonic drilling gives the cleanest possible hole edges, minimizing potential abrasion and damage to stringing material. It also gives a consistent hole through the entire bead, eliminating the frustrating, and often impassable, narrowing in the middle of the bead that can result from poorly executed traditional drilling methods.
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Spooky Gemstone Week!
Posted by Dakota Stones to Articles
Today we venture to the creepier side of the gemstone industry to find out how these strange, beautiful stones got their names.


Bloodstone is also referred to as Heliotrope in Greek, which simply means "sun turning." Many believed that the sun turns red when this stone is immersed in water.




Cat's Eye displays a narrow band of concentrated light -- also known as chatoyancy -- due to inclusions of fine, parallel fibers in the stone.





Dragon Blood Jasper. Local legend in Western Australia, where Dragon Blood Jasper is mined, has it that the stone is the remains of ancient dragons.





Dog Teeth Amethyst is a combination of amethyst and white quartz, and is named after a flower, the Dog Tooth Violet, which has a similar color.





Moonstones owe their name to the quality of adularescence -- the diffraction of light as it hits thin layers within the gem.






Phantom quartz is a variety of quartz, or "rock crystal", that forms over pre-existing crystals. The included crystal is visible due to some variation in composition making the boundary of the included crystal visible. Such crystals display the outlines of numerous smaller crystals, known as "phantoms."


Dumortierite is a minor blue gemstone that usually forms as inclusions in Quartz. Its most common color is blue or grayish-blue, though pink and purple colors are also known. "Sunset" may just be a descriptive addition that denote a dark blue color.



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Mining the Facts: North American Turquoise Q & A
Posted by Dakota Stones to Articles


At Dakota Stones, we're aware how much our customers love turquoise. Even when it's not featured in a sale, our various styles of turquoise are in steady demand, particularly the North American turquoise.

To get a better perspective, we talked with Dakota Stones Owner Jeff Elvin:

So, why is North American turquoise in such short supply?
The number of active mines is fairly limited and shrinking. Converting the Sleeping Beauty mine back to the copper industry was a huge loss. Also, the amount of material the mines are yielding has reduced and the size of the pieces the mines are producing are smaller in size.

What do people love about it?
It's got to be the color. It is such a unique color to come out of the ground, as well as the long history of turquoise in finished jewelry design. It seems to be as American as apple pie.





What is it that you like about turquoise?
I like how a lot of turquoise has a very distinct look and how you can identify it by the mine originated from. There are only a select few gemstones that you can do this with.

How does it differ from the Chinese varieties, or African varieties, or others?
"African Turquoise" is not an actual turquoise, but rather an industry name given to a green-and-turquoise-colored Jasper.

The North American versions we carry have the names of the mines associated with them?
"Sleeping Beauty, Kingman, Campitos, Caballo Campitos -- these are all names of turquoise mines, either in the U.S. or Mexico."

What are the histories of the turquoise mines?
"The Sleeping Beauty Mine produced copper and turquoise for 40 years, before ending turquoise mining in 2012 in order to focus on copper. The Kingman Mine, which began mining in the 1880s, is still exploring and could continue to find new veins. The Campitos turquoise comes from a mine in Sonora, Mexico, that has been in production since the 1980s. There are a few other mines -- some still producing, some closed -- scattered across Arizona, Nevada and into Mexico."

When the turquoise from these mines is gone, where will customers get North American turquoise?
Once the mine is closed, you will only be able to find "old stock" collections of rough, cabs or slabs. Luckily, mine owners, miners and collectors have always kept a nice stash of turquoise from various mines and will usually part with it down the road for the right price.

Are we going to continue carrying N.A. turquoise?
We will do our best to keep some version of a top-quality line of American-mined turquoise available. It is often out of our control as to whether we can continue to get a specific stone type or shape.



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 Neutral Colors: The Perfect Base for Your Design
 Cut for the Japanese Market: RARE Black Eye Agate
 The Only Branded Line of Gemstone Beads
 Mining the Facts: Blue Chalcedony
 Rare Find: Purple Fluorite & Green Fluorite Quartz
 From Diamond to Rough: A Guide to Stone Cuts
 Mining the Facts: Stones from Madagascar
 Manufacturing Large Hole Beads
 Large Hole & Leather Bracelet
 Spooky Gemstone Week!
 Mining the Facts: North American Turquoise Q & A
 Curating Color: Bringing A Collection Together
 Pome-GARNET: Mining the Facts
 Tiger Iron: What's in a Name?
 dsSchool of ROCKS: Tiger Iron (Video)
 Difference in the Details: Carved Beads
 Getting Real: Quartz
 Always the Designer...
 Art in the Stone: Hand-Cut Focal Pieces
 Apatite: Mining the Facts
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