Touchstone has created an assortment of heartfelt jewelry. The beautiful blush pink druzy jewelry collection are specifically created to be a supportive and commemorative gesture to those who have had struggles with cancer in the past. Our hearts go out to the families that are currently fighting their own battle with cancer. We hope that these pieces of jewelry can show tenderness, love, and hope in the face of adversity.
Seven Years Strong!
Touchstone offers some wonderful choices when it comes to opal and tourmaline jewelry for your October birthdays.
Opals are translucent with flashes of color due to the amorphous non - crystalline order. It is like a liquid caught in a frozen state with particles floating around with no defined order so we call it a mineraloid and not a mineral.
Care: Opals are a delicate gemstone that need special care. Please do not knock them as they can scratch easily. (Not recommended to wear while doing house work or gardening!) Clean your opal jewelry with a mild soap and a very soft brush.
Source: Opals are found in Australia, Brazil, Czech Republic, Ethiopia, Honduras, Indonesia, Mexico, Poland, Tanzania, and the United States.
Tourmaline is one of the most vivid of gemstones. IT comes in many combinations of color including "watermelon" tourmaline as shown in this pair of earrings and the necklace pictured.
The necklace has a full display of tourmaline in both rough gems and also natural forms of dark greenish black tourmaline crystals at each station. The center piece is a large watermelon tourmaline showpiece. Source: Tourmaline is found in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Australia, Canada, and the US. Tourmaline is also the gemstone for the state of Maine.
New Shipments in Geode Tables, Cathedrals, Wings, Hearts and Jewelry
Citrine is our colorful birthstone for the month of November. Citrine, not unlike Fall leaves is pale yellow to orange brown, to root beer like deeper hues. So lets cozy up to citrine with its warm earth tone colors to bring into our décor and fashion jewelry. To help you with finding the right piece of citrine Touchstone Gallery offers many choices in citrine in carved hearts, wonderful geode tables on hand crafted metal stands, geode butterfly wings, and faceted jewelry.
Metaphysical properties: Abundance, prosperity, things that are related to the harvest this time of year.
About: Natural citrine is rare when found in nature. It is a type of crystalline quartz that may have started as amethyst. You may ask why would you turn amethyst to citrine? Well, like all things we like to have variety. So we take amethyst and heat treat it to change amethyst to citrine. It is still a natural mineral, just that we have speeded up the process by a few million of years of climactic forces on the mineral.
Care: Since citrine is essentially quartz it is a hard mineral and makes wonderful faceted jewelry. Clean your citrine jewelry with warm water, mild detergent and soft brush.
Source: Brazil is the leading producers of citrine but can be found in other areas of the world like Bolivia; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Madagascar; Mexico; Myanmar; Namibia; Peru; Russia; South Africa; United States; Zambia.
Sapphire is a precious gemstone that is a type of corundum, consisting of aluminum oxide (α-Al2O3) with trace amounts of elements such as iron, titanium, chromium, vanadium, or magnesium.
Sapphires are typically blue, but can also be in fancy colors like purple, pink, yellow, orange and green. Some even have two colors and called "Parti" sapphires.
This month though, we are talking black star sapphires, stones that due to their unique crystal structures reflect light in the shape of a star. This stone’s black color is a result of iron and titanium traces present in the mineral.
Susan's Pick of the Month, has it all - An original necklace featuring black star sapphire, crazy lace agate, freshwater pearl, coconut druzy geodes, black onyx, faceted quartz crystal - all captured in a sterling silver "Circle of Life" design.
Where Found: Sapphires have been found in Kashmir, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka, the world leader for the source of sapphires for over 2,000 years. Black Star Sapphire is mostly mined in Thailand, West Africa and India
Legend and Lore: depending on the color, sapphires can symbolize different things, sincerity, truth, faithfulness and nobility. Black Star sapphire symbolizes strength and confidence, and brings calm in stressful situations.
Care: Because Sapphire is a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale it is an excellent choice in jewelry. Warm, soapy water is always a safe choice for cleaning the September birthstone.
When we travel many times we look for that special something that reminds us of our journeys. So. if you are visiting our great state of Arizona consider our state gemstone and also the birthstone for August. May we suggest something in Peridot? It is a brilliant lime green gem when used in jewelry creates an excellent eye catching choice. Touchstone gallery has many selections in peridot from loose bagged stones, and as it is found in basalt matrix to wonderful jewelry made from the vivid green gemstones.
Although peridot can be found in several locations across the world, the bulk of it is found in Arizona, from the San Carlos Indian Reservation in Southeastern part of the state. This deposit is on the Apache Indian Reservation and is mined by freelance tribal miners. Peridot Mesa is comprised of a huge basalt flow. Primarily by use of hand tools, tribal miners break the basalt/olivine rock and screen out the larger fragments of gem material.
A few areas in Arizona are well known for ant hill peridot. Where ants remove them when they are building or repairing their ant hills. People will collect them by picking the rough stones up by hand after the ants have excavated them out of their colonies. I would suggest doing this in winter when the ants are dormant. As you know how the saying goes "stirring a stick in an ant hill" can cause all kinds of ruckus!
Legend and Lore: The Native Americans discovered them long ago and marveled at their color and beauty. They regarded them as special and sometimes sewed them into ceremonial rattles or gave them as tokens of appreciation.
Care: To clean Peridot jewelry at home, soak pieces briefly in a solution of warm water and gentle dish detergent. Use a soft brush to clean around the setting and restore the gem's luster. Be sure that Peridot is never subjected to ultrasonic or steam cleaning, as these methods can easily damage the gemstone.
Ruby, the unsolved mystery.
The most fascinating fact that I find about rubies is that they do not contain silica, the most abundant mineral on the planet! Just think of all of the sand in the world to wrap your head around this notion. Rubies do not contain silica so how did this happen? To this day geologist are still unsure.
There are several theories on how rubies were formed but it remains a mystery today as there is no definitive answer. Some geoscientist think that they may have formed when the tectonic plates of two continents colided, India and Asia smashing into each other, in turn rising the mountains of the Himalayas over 40 to 45 million years. Tremendous preassures played upon an inland sea between the two continents, the Tethys Sea. The minerals in the sea contained the elments that are in ruby, alumina which is thought to have been separated out from the silica. For the next 40 million to 45 million years, the two continents slowly squeezed together, raising the Himalayas. Erosion eventually exposed a necklace of ruby deposits along the scar where the two plates collided.
Color: Rubies range in color from pink to red with tints of blue or orange depending on which impurities play into the coloration.
If you were to shine an ultra violet light on Rubies they would ignite with color! This radiance is from a rare mineral, corundum, which is made up of tightly packed aluminum and oxygen atoms which is normally colorless. When these minerals are replaced with aluminum then you get bright colors that emerge.
Legnd or Lore: Rubies quality was determined to the first two drops of blood from a pidgeon's beak. Today we look for quality by looking for clarity, color, transparency and inclusions. Other factors like facets and the country of origin can also play into the determination of quality. The rubies from Burma are known for their surperior quality as they have the best "Pidgeon Blood" red color.
The ruby jewelry that touchstone gallery offers has a natural flare that is fun to wear on any occassion and is at price points that make it accessible for our customers to own this rare gemstone.
Care: Rubies are the second hardest gemstone after diamonds which makes them a durable gemstone for jewelry.
Just know to avoid heat, household cleaning solutions, ultrasonic cleaning, repairs; they can cause damage, as this treatment is not considered permanent or stable. Ruby is a durable gemstone and like all gemstone jewelry with attention to care will last forever.
Thinking back to my childhood, I was around twelve years of age at the time when my first awareness of the value of pearls occurred to me. It was during the summer, we had a young Japanese college student who came to live with us. Her name was Masako. Masako was from Osaka. At the time of having entered the US, she was only allowed to bring in but a limited amount of money and she did not want to return home. She had asked my mother if she would help to sell some pearls that her family had sent with her to the US ? Masako took down from the shelf in the bedroom closet a box which from which she pulled out a folded cloth. Unwrapping the cloth there were several very large egg - sized pearls. They were as my mother said the largest pearls that my mom had ever seen or would she ever see again! (I think the reason that I remember this detail is because I heard her retell the story a few times to her friends.) Masako told her that they were handed down through her family who were descendants of Japanese royalty. My mother looking at the pearls and then folding them up into the cloth, took a long pause, then said to her, put these away and N-E-V-E-R sell them. Don't worry about the money, I will help you. I relay this story because it must have left an impression on me to remember this small event out of the many things over my life time. I only wish now that I had been more inquisitive about the pearl's history and if they could talk the stories they could tell?
Pearls from the South Seas are the most valued of pearls.
The pearl trade in Japan has a rich history of female Japanese divers (Ama) who are renowned for how long they are able to hold their breath - up to two minuets under water while collecting mollusks and placing them in netted purses worn on their chest. The Ama free dive into the ocean depths up to 100 to 150 times a day. There are about 2,000 "Ama" left today down from when there were once around 15,000. Currently, over time due to their deep search for pearls later wore white protective diving suits and helmets.
China: Early woodcuts recorded pearl divers in 1637 in the encyclopedia of technology.
Persian Gulf: Once a leader is exporting pearls but is now replaced with exportation of oil.
Things you may ask about pearls:
Pearls are a sustainable gem as the oysters are not killed when the pearl is removed. Pearl farmers take care as the older oysters produce the better quality pearls.
Kokichi Mikimoto, considered the father of the cultured pearl industry was successful in cultivating a method to produce a perfectly round pearl called the Akoya Pearl and granted a patent in 1916.
Natural pearls are more organic looking than cultured pearls. You can test if a pearl is real by rubbing it against your front teeth side-to-side. Real pearls have a gritty texture from the layers of nacre. Fake pearls will be smooth and could be made from glass or plastic. Real pearls have a luster produced from layers of calcium carbonate other wise called nacre.
One last very important thing to note: Please, wear your pearls! Pearls benefit from wear against the skin to keep them from drying out. Keep them in a soft cloth or pouch but not in an air tight container as pearls need to breathe.
You can not go wrong when wearing pearls as there is no set rules when to wear them. Pearls are "okay" to wear with casual jeans and perfectly Devine with dressier evening attire. Pearls make a heartfelt wedding gift from mom to daughter.
So all said, enjoy your pearl jewelry! We invite you to see our latest collection of pearl jewelry featuring freshwater pearls, baroque, and some are combined with other gemstones see pictured below..
The Taos Lilac Festival is a community event held each year during the two weeks between Mother’s Day and Memorial Day to celebrate the arrival of blooming lilacs throughout the Taos area.
This year the festival will be held virtually due to the pandemic. But not to worry, there will be plenty of enjoyment to be had with lilac themed window decorations and a walking tour map showing locations of lilacs. The maps can be obtained at local downtown businesses.
At Touchstone Gallery our 'natural art experts' have had tons of fun decorating the gallery for the joyous event welcoming in Spring. They will be there to answer your questions and to introduce you to some of the most fascinating natural art ever created by "Mother Nature". We are fully stocked with many more new items including amethyst, the star of this year's event as we have many wonderful affordably priced amethyst in jewelry, geode hearts, cathedrals, amethyst portals, wings and an array of amazing crystals. We also have many new fossils, natural home décor items, and minerals. We invite you to stop by the gallery and to take a walk around the plaza to view the window displays all the while taking in the intoxicating perfume of lilacs. Yay, Spring!
May's Birthstone: Emerald
Do you have someone in mind who has a May birthday or a twentieth and thirty-fifth wedding anniversary? Why not present them with a lovely emerald specimen from Touchstone Gallery?
Emerald is a type of beryl with Chromium, vanadium, and iron are the trace elements that cause emerald’s color. The presence or absence of each and their relative amounts determine the exact color of an emerald crystal.
Emerald Jewelry offered by Touchstone Gallery
Touchstone Gallery for the month of April is offering a fun to wear line of Herkimer Diamonds. Herkimer is not a diamond but gets the name from its locality in Herkimer County, NY. It is a quartz with 7.5 on the hardness scale. The really special thing about this stone is that it is double terminated, in the metaphysical world double terminated crystals with its pure, crystal light, clears the chakras, opening channels for spiritual energy to flow. The double terminated quartz also lends itself to making beautiful settings with a point at the bail end and the drop. Our customers really love the BoHo look of this line of jewelry with its casual style that can be dressed up or down.
Care: Although as before mentioned Herkimer Diamonds are a durable stone, it is advised to take your jewelry off when doing things like gardening or other physical activities that might knock against the settings. A gentle cleaning with a soft brush and a mild soap or glass cleaner is all you need to keep your crystals sparkling and your chakras humming. OMM. Namaste!
To find out more about Herkimer Diamonds we encourage you to speak with one of our natural art experts. We invite you to see this line of jewelry either for yourself or as a unique and affordable gift.
Taos, Sedona, Santa Fe
Aquamarine, even the name conjures up the mystery of the gemstone that ancient mariners believed would protect them at sea and bring calm waters. The beauty of this gemstone is the green-blue to blue variety of the mineral beryl, usually a clear gem with no inclusions. The crystal formation is hexagonal and can grow into large crystals big enough to cut into jewelry.
Brazil: The most abundant source for Aquamarine is from Brazil, in the state of Minas-Gerais, where it is found in pegmatites.
Siberia: First documented discovery in 1723 where abundant sources were mined. The most being in 1796. More than seventy kilograms of gem-quality aquamarine was mined that year.
United States: Early in the 20th century Individuals could hike the mountains and find fragments on the ground without digging. Colorado had an abundant source of deposits at one time but with mining and tourism, not so much.
California has some small veins that don't produce high yields and now have become tourist attractions where one can go and see old mine camps and play prospector for a day.
We invite you to visit one of our three locations to see our collections of aquamarine jewelry.
Learn more about minerals & fossils.