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Welcome
 
What is Stone Mosaic Made Of?
 
What are the Metals Employed in this Jewelry?
 
The History of Pewter
 
What is Fine Silver Overlay?
 
The History of Silver Mining in Taxco
 
What isTaxco .925 Silver Jewelry?
 
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Sterling Silver Jewelry
 
Sea Shells
 
Other Natural Materials we employ in our Handcrafted Jewelry
 
Design Development
 
What is Jeweltone Jewelry?
 
Product Statement
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Frequently Asked Questions
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lapidary artisan mexico

    What is Stone Mosaic Jewelry Made Of?

 

These beautiful new jewelry mosaics are composed
of natural stones, stabilized stones and treated stones.

ethical fair trade lapidary mosaic jewelry

Natural Stones

Guerrero is  the most mineral rich land
on planet Earth. 
Here in this beautiful place,
exist a great variety of precious 
and semi-precious stones,
as well as innumerable rich deposits
of antimony, tin, copper, gold, and silver and many more metals.

The stones employed
in our unique handcraft jewelry
include serpentine jade, hicorita, 
jasper, onyx, jet, and obsidian. 

None of the stones employed 
in our expert mosaic jewelry inlays
comes from a corporate mine.  
All of these natural materials are extracted 
from these mountains by the local artisanal miners, many of whom 
have been on strike in the Taxco silver mines for more than six years.

ethical fair trade lapidary mosaic jewelry

What is Stabilized Stone?

Between the real and created in the world of turquoise and other natural gem stones is stabilized stone composed of real turquoise or other kinds of semi-precious gem stones, yet it also contains adhesives, and sometimes dyes. Some stones have additions of pyrite, to help to make the turquoise stones and beads that are reconstituted look even more real. The Ancient Egyptians made stabilized turquoise, in slightly different form, about 4000 years ago. Actually, the Egyptians weren’t using turquoise, but they created what is called faience when they pounded quartz into a paste, which was then dyed and heated to create what looks to be turquoise. Over the centuries, this method has been adapted to make use of imperfect and tiny true turquoise scraps. Since turquoise is a fairly soft gemstone, it is not too difficult to pulverize it into powder, add resins and dye, and create stabilized stones. Some defend this practice as a way to recycle small pieces or marred pieces that would otherwise be wasted. It’s less valuable than gem stones, but it is stronger, and it is really made of authentic turquoise stone. A most important advantage of stabilized turquoise and similar prepared lapidary materials is the fact that these stones lend themselves to the expert artisan who intends to grind and shape them into mosaics. Natural stones are irregular in their texture and color.  By the time the lapidary artisan gets down to a very small stone section, he or she can only hope that it will hold together and not crumble.  A more homogeneous stone material is a great help to the craftsperson who is going to be working with it. There are several natural stones that may be dyed to look like turquoise and are imitations of the real turquoise stones. These include howlite, which is a white stone that readily absorbs turquoise colored dyes because of its porosity. A few natural stones can look like turquoise but really aren’t. These include variscite, a hydrated aluminum phosphate mineral, amazonite and serpentine. Again, there isn’t anything wrong with using these kinds of processed stones in artisanal jewelry work, provided the customer knows he or she is not buying gem-quality turquoise.Short Answerut Treated Stone
ethical fair trade lapidary mosaic jewelry

About Treated Stone

Turquoise is an opaque blue-green mineral that has been used in jewelry since antiquity. Treated turquoise is commonly used in modern jewelry and has been altered from its original state by a process intended to improve the color and/or durability of the natural stone. There are a number of different ways that turquoise and other lapidary stones may be treated. Treated stones have always been used in jewelry.  The earliest kinds involved a fine application of oil or wax to the stone, making it shine and deepening the color. This process was employed in Mesoamerican pre-history. Treated turquoise tends to "sweat" when exposed to heat or sunlight and can become cloudy over the years; however, the treatment can be successfully reapplied. Most American turquoise today is stabilized or bonded with a treatment of water glass. This type of treated turquoise retains its look and lustre better than oil or wax treated turquoise, and the stabilization process can be used on turquoise that is too unstable to benefit from the oil or wax method. Epoxy stabilization was developed in the 1950s by Colbaugh Processing of Arizona.
Native American jewelers in the Southwestern United States strengthen thin pieces of high-grade turquoise through a process termed backing. The turquoise is glued to a stronger material to prevent its cracking. Early turquoise backings were made of car battery casings and phonograph records, while modern jewelers usually use a variety of materials including epoxy steel resin. Some turquoise is dyed to improve its color or make it more uniform. Prussian blue is the most common dye used in this treatment. A relatively new type of treated turquoise is made through the Zachary Process, which involves chemically treating the natural stone and then heating it to improve appearance and durability. Natural turquoise may also be impregnated with vaporized quartz or treated with natural chemicals and soaked in water.
The other way imitation turquoise can be manufactured is through created plastic or glass materials dyed to match the true stones’ colors. It may be cut or injected with other dyes that make it look even more like the natural stone. These may be called synthetic instead of imitation gemstones, and frequently they appear more natural and real than the natural stone itself. A little experience with analyzing gems and using magnification may help to identify some versions of synthetic turquoise. Under magnification strengths of 30X to 50X, you may note what appears like tiny blue threads. It’s still hard to always identify turquoise as true if you’re an amateur. Some forms of imitation turquoise aren’t very good. You should  be able to easily spot some plastic forms of turquoise and other natural gem stones, especially in children’s jewelry because they weigh much less than natural stone.
Reconstituted turquoise is the lowest quality treated turquoise. Small fragments of turquoise are pulverized then bonded together, often with foreign filler material. Turquoise purists do not consider reconstituted turquoise to be a genuine gemstone and we never employ reconstituted turquoise in our Stone Mosaic Jewelry. Imitation turquoise can refer to certain stones made of natural minerals, or to glass stones that have been dyed to look like true turquoise. There are some excellent imitation turquoise stones, and to the eye, it often can be difficult to tell some apart from true turquoise. There isn’t anything wrong with imitation turquoise, unless the stones are marketed as true natural turquoise. Along with reconstituted turquoise, which does contain low-grade turquoise chalk or powder, imitation turquoise is inexpensive and has little value in the jewelry market. As such, imitation turquoise has NO part of the Stone Mosaic Jewelry.
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