Thursday, February 14, 2013

Natalia’s Natural Treasures

Recently we gathered all the jewelers of our online store and dropped in for a visit with the new “master craftsman” of our shop – Natalia. As I wrote about her earlier, Natalia’s passion is collecting beautiful natural stones to set into original jewelry.
When Ester asked her which stones she has, her answer was simple: “All of them.” And as she began to pull out her treasure trove, it appeared that this was not an exaggeration.

Besides lovely beads made from familiar semiprecious gems – monochrome and multi-colored agates, turquoise, aquamarine, raw opals – we gazed with pleasure at a pile of truly rare stones.
She showed us caboshons (stones polished smooth without facets) created from a unique mineral called Charoite. Ranging in color from light lilac to deep pink-purple, it’s found in only one place on earth so far: the Sakha Republic in Yakutia, Siberia (Russia). Natalia is also the proud owner of some Amethyst Druzy, a crystalized surface that sometimes forms naturally on a gemstone and makes it sparkle like sugar.
And there I saw, for the first time in my life, Herkimer Diamonds – the unusual double-pointed quartz crystals found in the limestone along a particular river in New York state. These had a surprising transparency that explains why they were nicknamed “diamonds”.
Natalia even had Ammolite stones, which until now I had seen only in reference books. This is a newly discovered “organic gem”, similar to amber and pearls, formed by fossilized shellfish. The layers of iridescent blue, green, red, purple, gold and other rainbow colors are unique for each stone; they also change in the light like stained glass. Ammolites were unearthed by glaciers in Alaska and glacier-fed rapids in Canada, and were only recognized as a gem in the 1980s.  

  How does Natalia find them? She collects them where only she can… everywhere from the Internet to geological excavations with her husband. 
She is so knowledgeable about rare natural stones (from both reading and hands-on experience) that she serves as a consultant to other jewelers.

 Green Amethyst

Natalia’s treasures went on in a long, delightful parade. All the stones were organized and precisely labeled in boxes. All are waiting for some lucky customer to order a jewelry piece that calls for one of these unique treasures.
And – naturally! – you can access all of them, and more, right here at the Artleah online jewelry store.

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