I’ve got a bit of a thing for rocks – pretty ones, colourful ones, ones with interesting patterns – always have had. I have fond memories of visiting the Opal Museum at Kurrajong Heights as a child. We’d stop off there before heading up the hill to visit my Nanna (she of the Shakespeare obsession) and we’d be allowed to have a go at the lucky dip from which one got a small piece of rock with tiny veins of opal through it. I coveted the larger specimens and I was fascinated with the story of how they were formed, the physical and chemical processes that produced these beautiful things.
Recently my mum dug out an old sticker activity books that belonged to me in my primary school days, it was titled Rocks, Minerals and Gemstones. I have field guides to rocks and minerals that I’ve had on my bookshelves for more than 20 years. I even went so far as to enroll in first year Geology when I was at Sydney Uni despite having no interest in geology as a career simply because I like rocks (it didn’t work out – we had to study fossils and I couldn’t make head or tail of the buggers). I remember reading articles about mineral formation and composition in the Encyclopedia Britannica the 30 volumes of which dominated the bookshelves in our lounge room, I don’t remember the details now of course but I do remember being fascinated by the way that a mineral such as corundum can give rise to so many different colours depending on the impurities present in the crystal (red rubies, blue sapphires and a whole range of other colours which are referred to as yellow sapphire, green sapphire and so on).
A few weeks ago I gave in to the lure of the colour and lustre of some of the gorgeous gemstones on the Fire Mountain site – a collection of intensely green malachite, some lovely rich purple amethysts and the complex rich brown, red and gold of tiger iron made their way to my front door and here’s what I’ve done with them so far.
Tiger iron (a quartz-lignite aggregate found in Australia), tiger jasper (a granular microcrystalline variety of quartz) and antique gold coloured czech glass beads. I’m keeping this one but I’ve been commissioned to make another for someone after I wore it to their Tupperware party.
The next three are destined for my etsy shop once I’ve got some photos in slightly better light.
Malachite (Copper Carbonate Hydroxide), cultured pearls, Swarovski crystal and sterling silver.
Malachite, cultured pearls and sterling silver.
Amethyst (quartz crystal with ferric iron and aluminium impurities), malachite, Swarovski crystal and metal beads (I bought these pre any plans to sell stuff and as a consequence I don’t know what they’re made of).
Wow, this post took quite a while to write, I kept getting side-tracked reading about the mineralogy.