Semi-Precious Gemstone, Mineral and Shell – Paua and Abalone

Information– Paua and Abalone are marine gastropod mollusks (snails) that belong to the genus, Haliotis, known as ormer shells. The Paua, is a common species, which grows up to 18cm wide. These giant sea snails have a large muscular foot which helps them to cling to rocks. They live in tidal areas and feed on seaweed. Mother of Pearl is the colorful covering nacre that is created within the inner lining of many types of mollusk shells, the lustrous & iridescent material is produced in the same manner as pearls are created.

History– Paua is derived from the Maori word for the sea snail. The genus “Haliotis” means ‘sea ear’. The industry was started in New Zealand in the 1980’s on small scale farms which produced meat, shells, and in some cases blue pearls. Most of the products were exported to the US and Asia. Historically, Mother of Pearl has been found in tombs of Sumerian Royalty and was often used not only for jewelry but for inlaid furniture, art ,and even in musical instruments.

Location- They are found in tidal regions along the New Zealand Coasts. New Zealand and Stewart Island are the main production areas. “Haliotis iris (colorful Paua) are commonly found in shallow coastal waters. Paua juveniles of 7cm are discovered in crevices and under stones in shallow intertidal zones and adults are found in subtidal zones.” (

Folklore- Mother of pearl is said to have a calming effect and and allows for better memory recall. Some feel that this stone is helpful in healing wounds and improving vision.

Care- Wearing often is an excellent way of keeping the shells lustrous. The natural oils of your skin actually help and protect the shells from drying out. Use of a jewelry cloth for mild wear or lukewarm water and a soft toothbrush for exceptionally dirty shell jewelry. Avoid exposing Mother of Pearl to acidic or alkaline subjects. Store out of direct sunlight in a separate compartments, storage containers, or jewelry bags.

Semi-Precious Gemstones and Minerals – Astrophyllite – Hardness – 3.0

Information-Astrophyllite has small tabular or bladed crystals which are translucent to opaque. The crystal colors which occur in matrix may be golden yellow to greenish brown and often form in star-like patterns or clusters.
History-Astrophyllite has a Greek name with “astron” meaning (star) and “phyllon” meaning (leaf)
Location-It is found in Khibina, Russia; in Quebec, Canada; and in Colorado in the USA.
Folklore- Astrophyllite is said to be a stone of self-acceptance and self-knowledge . It is said to bring calm especially for ADD, ADHD, and anxiety.
Care-Being a very soft stone it should be stored separately in a jewelry bag to avoid scratching or maring its lovely surface. Do not use detergents, or chemically based cleaners. Buff with a soft cleaning cloth to renew its shine.

Semi-Precious Gemstones and Minerals – Aquamarine – 7.5-8.0

Information- Aquamarine is a member of the Beryl Group. The colors range from pale blue to sky blue with the most prized color in the 19th century being a deep-blue aqua color. Today the most prized colors are sky blue or dark blue.
History- Aquamarine is derived from the Latin words of aqua (water) and mare (sea). Ancient pendants have been carved in the image of Poseidon or Neptune the gods of the sea.
Location- The best gem quality aquamarine is found in Russia, USA, and Brazil but has also been mined in South America, The Middle East and Asia, Russia and has recently been exploited in Nigeria.
Folklore-Legend has it that aquamarine comes from the treasure chests of mermaids and was worn by sailors as a good luck charm, to prevent seasickness, and to protect against shipwrecks. Metaphysically, Aquamarine is said to have curative abilities, soothes, calms, and alleviate fears.
Care- Aquamarine is a relatively hard gemstone therefore it is quite durable. It is sensitive to heat and should be protected from excess sun which could pale it’s color, however heating at extremely high temperatures enhances and deepens the color and clarity of the stone. The best stones of course are the ones that have the natural color of the deep blue sea. Aquamarine is brittle and sensitive to pressure. Care should be taken in cleaning. Use a soft damp cloth to buff and polish your lovely stones.

Favorite Jewelry books

“Starving” to Successful is an excellent book by J. Jason Horejs who has been a successful business owner for the past 17 years in Scottsdale, Arizona. He gives many exceptional ideas to the new or growing artistic business owner to help them make it into Galleries and to have a more productive business. The ISBN is 9780615568324. A worthwhile purchase and read.

New Necklace Design – Dichroic Diopside


This amazing necklace is made of diopside, copper, and beautiful baroque pearls. The central is the showcase of this lovely and unusual necklace. It is comprised of a spectacular handmade glasswork flower accented by Living Gold leaves and pinecone. A spectacular piece.

Semi-Precious Gemstones & Minerals – Aragonite Hardness 3.5-4.0


Description- Aragonite is a soft mineral which occurs in radiating groups or in stalactite form. The crystals may be transparent to translucent. It may vary in color from white, yellowish, red-brown, or brown, however it has also been found on rare occasions in blue or violet.

History-Aragonite was named after the province in Spain called Aragon where it was first discovered.  Aragonite is found as a deposit with beds of gypsum near hot springs or in association with calcite in mineral veins.

Location- It may be found in gem quality crystals in Czechoslovakia.  It is also said to be located in Turkey, Spain, France, Morocco, Italy, England, Namibia, and in the U.S. it has been discovered in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and South Dakota.

Folklore- It is said to aide in deep, peaceful meditation and is noted to uplift emotional stress. It is saidto be an excellent groundig stone which fortifies strength, confidence, and energy.

Care- Due to its fragile and unstable disposition it is rarely used in jewelry unless it is a more stable gemlike quality stone.  The base is often formed in conjunction with calcite or gypsum so most mineral forms are too soft to use.  It should be kept from cleansing products which contain ammonia which could weaken it or damage the exterior radiating form with pitting, scratches, or other exterior damage. Store separate from other gems, minerals, or jewelry items.

You can find more information about and necklaces made of this gemstone or mineral  at:

Gemstone Information

Apophylite                Hardness: 4.5-5.0

About-  Apophylite is generally colorless or white however it can take color from other minerals around it like prehnite, quartz, calcite, zeolites and others.  Some of the specimens are fluorescent and crystals will flake when heated.  It occurs mainly in ancient basalt flows in and around the world.

History- Apophylite’s name is derived from the Greek meaning “to leaf apart”.  The name was given because the crystals tend to peel or flake apart especially when heated.

Location- It can be found worldwide from the Deccan Traps in India to the Isle of Skye in Scotland.  Mexico, Canada, Norway, Germany, Brazil and even in Japan are other sites it has been discovered.  In the U.S. it is found in the Christmas Mine in Arizona, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Oregon, Virginia, and North Carolina.

Metaphysical-Apophylite is said to be the stone of growth, universal love, and nature.

Care-Apophylite fuses easily and bubbles and swells to an enamel mass when heated.  It is wise therefore to keep from excessive heat.  Due to it’s nature to leaf apart it can be quite fragile and should be treated with care.  Store separately from other necklaces to ensure it’s beauty and longevity.  Brush gently with a soft toothbrush to clean.  Do not use cleansers or chemicals.