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Vibrant Color | A Forecast of Optimism
Posted by Dakota Stones to Articles
fire agate & star cut sardonyx


An upcoming design trend for AUTUMN/WINTER 2020-2021 is embellished with kitsch, optimism, and an unapologetic use of color.

This striking design trend is made up of bold, saturated colors presented in almost manic patterns. It is filled with art and adventure and embodies a sort of futuristic impressionism, what the PANTONE Color Institute calls a “rabble rousing design direction [that] brings together like minds in optimistic rebellion.”







With a few exceptions it is rare that one would find such energetic color and pattern in natural stone, but we are definitely seeing this trend come out in dyed stones like our new fire agate, dyed wood jasper, star cut sardonyx, multi-color impression jasper & lava beads.


So if you’re feeling this vividly optimistic ‘MORE IS MORE’ vibe, you should definitely give yourself the freedom to multi-layer, mismatch, pile-on and play outside the lines of convention for the 2020/21 season!

Love, Dakota Stones








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Whiskey Quartz
Posted by Dakota Stones to Articles

Whiskey Quartz is a variety of Smoky Quartz given its name for the unique color found in this stone.This stone goes by other names like Whiskey Citrine, Champagne Quartz or Bourbon Quartz. The metaphysical properties of this stone are a combination of the benefits of smokey quartz and citrine. Citrine is said to have the properties of prosperity or the “merchant's stone” while quartz varieties like smokey quartz are said to transmute negative energy to positive. This stone possesses a unique combination of metaphysical properties while also displaying a hard to find level of craftsmanship.

The lapidary that cut these rounds cuts for some of the most well known names in the world of fashion jewelry such as Cartier. They cut beads with the craftsmanship of a seasoned diamond lapidary and deliver unique pieces of art. These pieces are seldom, if ever, seen on the market.

At Dakota Stones, we work directly with stone cutters to ensure that our beads meet strict standards. That means good color and pattern, perfectly round rounds, consistent size in each bead, and laser-drilled holes. It also means that we know that all our beads are produced by fairly paid workers in safe conditions.
The craftsmanship in these rounds is clear. The differences may be subtle but those subtle differences are what make these stones stand out. Small details like the precision and polish of the holes drilled in a clear bead like this make it unique and very distinct.

At the end of the day, we manufacture products that meet the quality standards of our in-house design and production teams, and the highest ethical standards in the industry. We take pride in making sure Dakota Stones branded products come from a source we trust.


             - Dakota Stones



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The Mystery of DZI
Posted by Dakota Stones to Articles

Knowledge of dzi beads is derived from oral traditions. Few other beads have provoked more controversy concerning their source, and how they were created. This all gives rise to one of the most interesting and unique beads on earth.

Tibetans have never allowed Archaeological digs in Tibet, so no accurate field dates have been established. According to "The History Of Beads" by Lois Sherr Dubin, dZi is placed in the 700's AD alongside the introduction of Buddhism in Tibet. Her assumption is that dZi is connected with Tibetan Buddhism, so the beads are linked to the same date that Buddhism started.


There is a lot of speculation about how the original dZi was etched because the modern technology of heating beads in a vacuum chamber was not available at the time. One theory is the stones were heated at an extremely high altitude where the air is much thinner than lower altitudes resulting in less expansion. Tibet is the highest altitude country on the planet so this theory seems plausible.


Since dZi are typically made of agate and agate is porous, it contains air and moisture within the stone which, when heated, expands and causes the stone to crack. In a vacuum the air has been removed which greatly reduces the chance of cracking. This technology was not available 100 years ago in remote Tibet. It certainly was not around thousands of years ago, hence the mystery of how they were made.


The process of marking dZi stones is also interesting . After the bead was shaped, it was baked with sodium carbonate which gives the stone a white ashy look. Sodium carbonate is currently used in the manufacture of glass, paper, rayon, soaps, and detergents. The pattern of the eyes and lines were marked out in wax and when the wax hardened, the beads were soaked in a sugar or chemical solution until the solution had seeped into the porous surface of the stone where it had not been covered in wax. The stone was then baked again, burning the sugar within the stone and turning it a brown color.. This method was somewhat hit and miss as the density of agate varied greatly, allowing different amounts of the solution to penetrate. This gave rise to variations in the depth of color of the markings, a problem still happening today with the modern 'dZi' style beads.

The modern method of making 'dZi' style beads is known as quench cracking. The agate is first heated and then subjected to quenching in a cold, liquid solution like water. The sudden contraction causes the material to develop a series of cracks that radiate throughout the stone. Because these are surface-reaching fractures, the agate can then be subjected to additional coloring, giving the 'dZi' style beads a unique look and texture inspired by the ancient dZi beads.

Large wood replica of ancient dzi bead


- Dakota Stones



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dsPANTONE 2019 | Fall/Winter Color Story
Posted by Dakota Stones to Articles

Below is our Dakota Stones Pantone color story featuring the most market-relevant colors for the 2019 Fall/Winter Season!




Each season the Pantone Color Institute provides an accessible guide highlighting important color trends in all areas of design. These colors are pulled directly from fashion designers upcoming collections as key indicators for color stories we can expect to see in the coming year.






“Colors for Autumn/Winter 2019-2020 range from easy and sophisticated to strikingly different and unique...[t]his palette of versatile hues builds a sense of empowerment and confidence, enabling the wearer to choose the colors that best reflect his or her mood and persona.” - Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute (pantone.com)

SHOP ALL dsFALL/WINTER 2019 PANTONE PICKS!






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Jasper or Agate: What’s in a (Trade) Name?
Posted by Dakota Stones to Articles


The names the bead industry uses for materials aren’t always scientifically correct or precise. The best example in recent years is the widespread use of “Cacoxenite” to describe a stone that’s a blend of Quartz and other minerals, including Cacoxenite. More generally, this issue appears when “Agate” and “Jasper” seem to be used by different vendors to describe the same material.

HOW DO YOU KNOW WHICH IS ACCURATE?

The easiest test it visual. Put light behind the material. If you can see light through it, it’s Agate. If you can’t, it’s Jasper.






It’s an easy test, but the underlying science is more complex. Let’s start with Quartz basics. Quartz is one of the most abundant materials on the planet with two major varieties; macrocrystalline and cryptocrystalline. Macrocrystalline Quartz includes the varieties forming in visible points and clusters. Amethyst, Smoky Quartz, and Citrine all fall into this category. Cryptocrystalline Quartz crystals are only visible under magnification.

Within the realm of cryptocrystalline quartz we start to see where and why the confusion occurs. When viewed under a microscope, Quartz crystals will either appear parallel to each other or they will appear randomly. When the crystals are parallel, it’s considered a “fibrous” cryptocrystalline. If the crystals are not, it’s considered “grainy” cryptocrystalline.

On a microscopic level, you can see the difference between Jasper and Agate based on their crystal structure. Agate is a fibrous cryptocrystalline, which is visible to the naked eye in its areas of translucence. Jasper is grainy cryptocrystalline, and this manifests to the naked eye in its opacity.



Within the bead industry, confusion arises when long-accepted trade names conflict with science. Language can also play a part in the misidentification of a stone. Most stones are not mined and cut in the same country, and not every member of the gemstone mining and manufacturing community is a stone, mineral, or geology expert fluent in multiple languages.


At Dakota Stones, we choose to use trade names for materials in most cases. We make every effort to identify both other common names for a stone, as well as to fully disclose the composition of a stone within each product description.

Note: Not all opaque material is Jasper, nor is all translucent material Agate. This article is meant to help readers understand why similar materials may bear different names or have characteristics at odds with them.




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Waste Not, Want Not: Composite Stones
Posted by Dakota Stones to Articles
purple impression jasper
ds Blue/Purple Impression Jasper Rounds

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. Mixed Impression Jasper is very a popular 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. Mixed Impression Jasper 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 re-purposing, up-cycling, and responsible environmental citizenship, we love seeing these stones used with other up-cycled, vintage, and re-purposed 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. Mixed Impression Jasper can make a statement design both more cohesive and more striking.

Black impression jasper
Black Impression Jasper Rounds
Because the price point of Mixed Impression Jasper 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 up-cycled 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 Mixed Impression Jasper 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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Care and Keeping of Meteorite Beads
Posted by Erin G. to Articles

Muoinioalusta Meteorite requires routine care in both specimen and jewelry form. Once you receive your pieces, it’s important to properly and regularly care for them. This article applies only to the care and keeping of Muoinioalusta Meteorite in bead or other “finished” form. Different types of meteorite and meteorite specimens may require different care.

DO
- Immediately remove from any sealed plastic packaging and put in a dry place with a controlled temperature.

- Clean your meteorite thoroughly in anhydrous (water-free) alcohol. Anhydrous alcohols include 95% ethyl alcohol which can be found at hardware or home improvement stores or 99% isopropyl alcohol found in drug stores.

- Seal it. Appropriate sealants can be found in hardware stores and include brands like WD-40 or RustGuardIt. You can also use microcrystalline wax, but this process involves prolonged exposure to high heat. 

- Store in a dry, temperature controlled area. 

- Store with a desiccant (silica gel packs) and recharge or change them out.

- Re-clean and re-seal as needed. The amount, type of wear, or individual wearer can all impact how frequently the stone will need to be cleaned and sealed.

- Clean and re-seal after exposure to sweat or heavy or prolonged handling.

- Remove rust with anhydrous alcohol and a steel brush.


DO NOT
- Clean with water.

- Store long-term in anything sealed without controlling the moisture in the container.

- Submerge in water or use any product including water for cleaning.

- Wear while exercising or in environments where the piece will be in contact with a high amount of sweat and moisture. 

At Your Own Risk: Seal with lacquer or acrylic agents. They can alter the appearance of the piece and be difficult to remove. They are also NOT a permanent solution or impervious to moisture.

                                                    - Erin G, Dakota Stones


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They're BACK! Muonionalusta Meteorites
Posted by Dakota Stones to Articles

The meteorite was first discovered in Sweden, nearly 100 miles north of the Arctic Circle, in 1906 by two children who stumbled over a metal object stuck in the ground. Later determined to be an iron meteorite, it was thought to have fallen approximately 800,000 years ago.



A meteorite is a portion of a meteoroid or asteroid that survives its passage through the atmosphere and hits the ground without being destroyed.



These rare Muonionalusta (pronounced /MOO-oh-ne-oh-nah-loo-stah/) meteorite impacted the Earth, shattering into many pieces, ONLY 40 of which are known today. Smaller pieces of this meteorite have been found in the area, spread by the impact with the earth or moved through glacial changes. Since the meteorite collided with Earth it has experienced four ice ages!

When cut, the meteorite's inner structure becomes visible. Lines and layers, known as the Widmanstätten pattern, are an interweaving of kamacite (an alloy of iron and nickel) and taenite (a mineral found naturally in iron meteorites, also an alloy of iron and nickel) bands. This patterning is visible on our meteorite beads but on a smaller scale, of course.

Because of the high iron content these beads are surprisingly heavy -- much the way a meteorite is far heavier than a normal rock of the same size. Customers should also note that our meteorite beads are untreated and, because of their high iron content, they are subject to rust and oxidation over time. Needless to say, we have very limited stock of these meteorites!

6mm Round Meteorite Strand

8mm Round Meteorite Strand



6mm Meteorite (set of 2)
8mm Meteorite (set of 2)
Meteorite Pendant (1 piece)

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Druzy Agate: What are they? How are they made?
Posted by Dakota Stones to Articles

The term 'druzy' refers to natural, glittery crystals found on the surface of a host rock. This geological process occurs as water collects and evaporates on a stone's surface over a period of millions of years, leaving behind mineral build up that form tiny crystals. You will find druzy mainly near riverbeds and shorelines.

Druzy is most commonly found as quartz crystals on the surface of agate, but can be found on a variety of other host rocks as well.

Natural crystals other than quartz can also form druzy, either atop their own surface or upon other host rocks. These include (but are not limited to): garnets, calcite, dolomite, malachite, chrysocolla, hematite, cobaltocalcite, pyrite, carnelain and uvarovite.

Druzy colors often vary from white to yellow, red, orange and brown. The attributes of druzy depend mainly on the type of stone that is underneath.


Metaphysically, druzy is thought to strengthen the body's healing potential, energize the spirit and help the wearer shine his/her light. It can also provide balance to offset feelings of fear and anxiety.

There are essentially three major druzy manufacturing practices used today:


Natural - Druzy is formed naturally and cut to required needs and then sold without much or any brightening or coloring. Sometimes it may be washed in acid to get rid of rust deposits or any other coatings left on the druzy.

Electroforming - A thin, metallic bezel is formed around the druzy to make the beads and pendants.

Metallic Vapor Deposition - The stone is placed in a vacuum chamber where a metal, or metallic salt, is heated until it vaporizes. The thin vapor deposits on the surface of the gemstone giving it a new color (or dichroic effect) depending on the material vaporized. Although this coating is considered to be permanent, thin-film surface coatings of any kind are susceptible to scratching, particularly along facet edges and junctions. Care should be taken to not allow any hard or abrasive objects to come in contact with coated gems.

*A very special Thank You to Ken Rogers for sharing his druzy expertise with us!



Druzy Earring Designs by Katie Hacker! Learn How!

Groovy Druzy Earring Designs & Instructions
by Katie Hacker


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Quartz Varieties
Posted by Dakota Stones to Articles

Let’s get started by clarifying that the term “Quartz” goes deeper than the stones commonly called Quartz. Understanding how the mineral term is used can be useful information, especially if you’re trying to cut your own material or make educated guesses about a stone in your stash whose name you’ve forgotten. 

Natural Quartz comes in three varieties, but today’s blog is all about the Crystalline variety, which is what we know and love as “Quartz” as a stone type.

Crystalline Quartz is a natural stone, but the gem and mineral markets are full of gemstones that have been enhanced, treated, and even created.



Enhancements can include:
• Dying and coating the stones to strengthen or change their colors or add a colorful surface
• Heating a gemstone to enhance clarity or change the color
• Irradiation to restore colors that have been lost or faded




Created gemstones may be either lab-grown crystals or glass.

Why does this matter?

Price. Why is one strand more expensive than another?
Durability. If the gemstone has been enhanced, is the color stable & permanent? Or will the color fade or scratch off?
Knowledge. Is the gemstone real, or “man-made”?
Reputation. With the interest and popularity of metaphysical healing and therapy there’s a demand for natural stones. People with these interests rely on the authenticity of their stones.
Distinction. Establishing yourself as a knowledgeable, honest resource distinguishes you from designers or bead stores dealing in lower priced or mass-produced items of unknown origin.

_____________________________________

If all you or your client cares about is the outward appearance, then many of the following points may not be of interest. However, if you deal in gemstones, you’re likely to be asked at some point about whether a stone is natural.

Cheat Sheet

Buy from a knowledgeable and trusted vendor. If the vendor buys rough material directly and then has the factory cut the beads, the vendor has the most knowledge of any treatments. If your vendor is buying existing factory stock, they’re relying on the factory to disclose the origin and treatments of the material. There’s a higher likelihood of mistakes if you aren’t buying from a vendor with a close relationship with their suppliers. Your vendor should be able to tell you if a product has been created or enhanced. If they don’t know, they should disclose that.

Knowledge Upgrade

Quartz Points:
Let's get this clear, quartz can naturally have a single or double termination. Tibetan Quartz and Herkimer Diamond naturally grow within a host rock. They come out of the ground resembling a cut gem. They may get a helping hand from polishing and drilling, but otherwise, they're 100% natural. Since most natural Quartz crystals grow out from a host mineral they must be separated from their host and have only one termination. When looking at a natural Quartz point, one end will showcase the natural termination point, and the other will be a bit irregular and flat. This is where the point was cut away from the host material. Natural points may also be tumbled to smooth their edges and create a high shine. Tumbled natural points will have a rounded, but still defined, point on one end, and a flatter, possibly more jagged end.

Sometimes, if a Quartz crystal is not perfect (or broken); a skilled gem cutter will enhance and polish the crystal’s shape. This is especially true for stones like Amethyst and Quartz which have naturally occurring termination and immense popularity. These components can be incredibly beautiful, but it's good to know that this may not be the stone's natural shape. People drawn to stone jewelry for its energetic or metaphysical gemstone properties often consider the shape of the stone and a natural termination is preferable.



Colorful Quartz crystals:

There are two types of natural colorful Quartz crystals.

Clear crystals naturally colored by a few atoms of different elements embedded in the crystal’s molecules: Amethyst, Citrine, Rose Quartz, Smokey Quartz, etc.

Other natural, colorful Quartz crystals get their color from inclusions of other crystals and materials.

Rutilated Quartz with golden to reddish-brown needles. Because the natural colors of Rutilated Quartz are so vibrant, it's not commonly enhanced- even if the needle-like inclusions of the Rutile aren't highly defined.

Tourmalineated Quartz with black or green needles.


Blood Quartz or Golden Blood Quartz with red platelets of iron within the crystal.

Phantom Quartz is just Quartz that formed over other minerals. Depending on the size and type of mineral inclusion the "phantoms" may be clearly visible or simply alter the shade of the Quartz.

Champagne Quartz, Beer Quartz, Strawberry Quartz, Cherry Quartz, and Lemon Quartz can occur naturally but buy with care if absolutely natural is important.




It's Had A Helping Hand:
Champagne Quartz - It might be natural if it's hanging out at a higher price point. If it's beautifully cut and pricey, it's most likely natural. Since it's a rarer stone, it's far more likely to have a showy, high-quality cut.

Mystic / Aura Quartz - It's been treated in a vacuum chamber with platinum and magnesium to create a new layer (not a plating). It's considered an electrostatic metal coating, which, for practical purposes, means it's more durable than a plating, but should still be treated with care. Some, but not all, see the addition of these elements as a value-add since different metals are also said to have energetic properties.

Aqua Quartz - Much like Opalite, this is a euphemism, for glass. Like Opalite, it's often also found hanging out with stones.

Lemon Quartz - Can occur naturally, but only very, very rarely. It's most likely that Lemon Quartz beads have been irradiated and heat-treated. (Don't worry, there's no residual radiation, it's safe according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission). It's virtually impossible to visually identify between natural and treated Lemon Quartz, lab testing is the only way to be certain.

Cherry Quartz - can occur naturally, but is most often a synthetic.

Strawberry Quartz - can also occur naturally, but may be treated- if it's especially vibrant and relatively low cost, proceed with caution.

At the end of the day, what matters the most is that you create with materials that speak to you. Information about natural vs. synthetic vs. treated stones can be useful information. In working with stone, at some point, you're likely to get a customer asking if a stone is natural. If you're not sure about any of our products, contact us. Since we're the manufacturer, we know everything that's happened to our beads from mine to design.

Erin, Dakota Stones

Specials thanks to California-based stone expert Ken Rogers. Ken has been an uncredited resource for Dakota Stones for years and we're privileged to work with him.



Read More

 Vibrant Color | A Forecast of Optimism
 Whiskey Quartz
 The Mystery of DZI
 dsPANTONE 2019 | Fall/Winter Color Story
 Jasper or Agate: What’s in a (Trade) Name?
 Waste Not, Want Not: Composite Stones
 Care and Keeping of Meteorite Beads
 They're BACK! Muonionalusta Meteorites
 Druzy Agate: What are they? How are they made?
 Quartz Varieties
 From the Ground Up: Stone Classification & Grading
 North American Turquoise: Q & A with Jeff Elvin, Owner
 The Artistry of Hand-Cut Stones
 Why Stone Types Become Unavailable
 A Simple Guide to Stone Cuts
 Chakra Stones and Metaphysical Attributes
 Keys to Working with Microfacets
 NEW! 6mm Diamond Cut Disco Rounds
 Featured Designer | Emmy Starr
 Mined in Northern Mexico | New Agates
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