Looking at these rock nodules from the outside, it is often hard to guess at the wonders hidden inside.. many of mine looked like a simple lump of basalt.
In reality they were a basalt shell that was formed as a bubble in a vulcanic explosion that brought bits of mantle up inside of the bubble and trapped the crystals as the bubble cooled and hardened.
The shell in many cases for the nodules I have is fairly thin, and sometimes the inner crystals are visible in small amounts.. perhaps this is what led the original collector to pick them up in the first place..
But the real fun is in smashing the nodules open and letting the crystals inside come tumbling out. In some cases, the crystals are glued together with basalt or other stone.. but in many cases cracking them open creates a waterfall of crystals. I smashed enough the other day to get about a quart of crystals which I will sort and use in future jewelry pieces– either embedded in resin or cast metal. If you would like to enjoy watching them being smashed, check out this video I made of the process of smashing a few.. there is still a lot of work to do for the crystals to be usable, but this was fun.
I love playing with alternative ways to see the world, and UV light is a fun way to do that. Because of mineral and organic matter “Contamination”, some rocks have striking fluorescence. I recorded this episode of Sunday Slices very late last night, just as it was getting ready to turn to Sunday, so we could have dark to play in and explore the fluorescent effects in some of our slices.
Kentucky Agate, with the stunning bands of red and black is not only Kentucky’s State stone, it has a beautiful book written about it, that explains the science, the geography and explores the beauty of this gorgeous stone :
We were lucky enough to have some of this in the rough we purchased, and David sliced some up this week. How would you use this in Jewelry? Take a look in this week’s Sunday Slices:
David created this gorgeous Bruneau Jasper Cab this weekend and inspired me to explore some Bruneau Jasper, from rough rock to finished Cab. Bruneau is a type of Picture Jasper, so we explore a few of those as well. I am always happy to spend a few minutes on a Sunday Morning Exploring some rocks with you.
Comment and let me know what kinds of rocks you are interested in seeing in future episodes of Sunday Slices.
Interested in acquiring some slices for your own lapidary work? We will be selling Slices in a livestream on Sunday Sept 20 from 2-5pm EST as part of the Not Denver Online Rock Show here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1819389488150815. Jump over and check out the group and join for the sale.
All slices and cabs you see in our online media are available for custom orders. Contact Us with questions and requests.
Want some Picture Jaspers of your own? Check out these items in the store:
When rocks come off the saw, they are covered in the cutting oil that runs in the slab saw. They get a soak in dishsoap water over night to degrease, but there is often still residue.
It takes a few days of “baking” in the sun and repeated hose washdowns ( and sometimes either a final soapy water scrub or a vinegar rinse) to get all the oil off. Earlier in the summer, when this adventure started, I would use the pond- as it was drained for repairs. But now that we are refilling the pond, I had been testing other spaces. I filled a garden with old bricks and was using that surface to let them lay and cook, but it involved a LOT of bending and being down very low. Some days the bending is fine, but other days this body gets cranky and that was not the best situation. David ( as usual) was brilliant and thought outside of the box and adapted some old fan guards into “basket” shelves and then welded them like a giant pastry dish.. and I can do most of my rock processing without being on the ground! I am so excited and this is an easy hack someone could do, so I wanted to share. You can see in the preview that there are lovely agates, and there is a special surprise appearance by David in this video as well.
It is easiest to get a feel for a rock, slab, or cab if you spend a little time with it. In this age of COVID, that is challenging, so I am going to start doing more short ( 15 min or less) videos of a handful of rocks. This morning, it was slabs on the processing racks that were so interesting. I am also looking forward to doing some themed ( all agate slices, or all Bruneau jasper, the drawer of amethyst, etc..) where we can talk a bit about the rock itself in-depth, and then look at some of the specimens we have. As always, any slice or can you see in a video can become a custom order. if you love a slice, we can create custom cabs. You can stop there and buy the cab for your creative making, or take it a step further and we will design custom jewelry from the cab of the slice you pick out.
Even if you are not in a buying mood, I hope that this video series will give you some new information, or just expose you to some rocks you might not have seen before.
I am glad to entertain requests for certain rock types or themes, if you have something you really want to see- comment away.
The sheer force of the energy of youth makes me hopeful.
The fiddlehead unfurls in the spring, driven by hydraulic pressure. New life unfolding, by sheer force- pushing aside the dead and dying to make room for its own expansion.
Shattukite Chrysocolla is a stone of sacred truth and of sharing sacred truth with others through actions—not words. Shattuckite is the stone of ‘walking one’s talk. ‘ Fiddlehead is a time of action, of motion, of growth- not pondering.
Apatite is a dual-action stone, known for its positive use of personal power to achieve goals. It clears away confusion, apathy or negativity, then, stimulates the intellect to expand knowledge and truth, which may be used for personal growth or for the collective good. This Blue Apatite Sea Sediment bead is a beautiful balance in this mix, bringing the power of apatite with the grounding of earth itself.
Labradorite is known as a stone of change imparting strength and perseverance.
Hope burns with righteous passion.
Springing from rot like a fiddlehead
ever-expanding, full of strength.
Curious, Creative, persistent
she nurtures our dreams
with contagious laughter
and bountiful grace.
Traveling the world to gather souls,
she wraps her arms around us and
gathers us in her garden
Where we can root,
and spring forth again with righteous passion.
--nan braun 1/27/2020
The new spring collection, “Hope Springs” will release on March 28.
Stay tuned here as I explore the facets of hope and share sneak peeks as the collection continues to take shape.