Stone of the Week - Copper

Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Copper is an elemental metal, represented as Cu on the periodic table. It is a very ductile metal, making it easy to shape and work with. Copper does not react with water (H2O), but does react to the oxygen in the air, forming a layer of brown-black copper oxide on copper metal. The green layer of copper carbonate (sometimes called a patina) that can form actually slows the corroding process. One of the most famous examples of this process is the green patina that has formed on the Statue of Liberty in the U.S. Copper can be found in mineral form as native copper, as well as in minerals such as chalcopyrite, azurite, malachite, and cuprite. Copper is very malleable as well as ductile, conducts heat well, and if near pure conducts electricity too.

Copper is mined and has a vareity of uses, particularly as jewelry components.

Due to the properties of Copper, it has a variety of uses, including copper pipes, copper wire, copper pans, and electronics. A special property of Copper is that it also can be used as an antibacterial and antifungal agent! Copper kills germs due to the toxic effect the metal ions has on bacteria, fungus, and mold spores. For this reason Copper has become more integrated particularly with hospital equipment. One example of this is brass doorknobs, which become disinfected within about eight hours or so.

This is what Copper looks like in a more 'raw' form as nuggets. Notice the green patina and the beginnings of oxidation occuring on the nugget to the left.

Copper exists in various locations through out the world, and has been used since ancient times. It has been in use for over 10,000 years, with the oldest known Copper pendant dating to 8700 BCE. Numerous artifacts comprised of Copper have been found world-wide, mainly as the alloy Bronze. Several copper alloys have been developed for different uses; common alloys with copper include bronze (copper and tin) and brass (copper and zinc). Today the world's largest mine for Copper is located at the Bingham Canyon Mine, located in Utah (U.S.), and is actually so large it is viewable from space!

Copper is a great alternative metal to use in jewelry work and is useful for practicing techniques as it is cheaper than Sterling Silver or Gold filled metal.

Copper has made a popular entrance into jewerly work recently as well. Although a slight greenish tint can occur when wearing Copper, numerous people have no reaction to it or don't wear the jewelry long enough for this to be a concern. Should this occur it can be easily washed off; additionally, some also try to coat the metal to protect both it and the person wearing it such as clear nail polish.

If there's a stone you would like to know more about - drop me a line! Have a mystery stone? Feel free to post a comment about it, including a link to a picture, and it could be featured on this blog!

Copper Facts:
Chemical composition: Cu, plus various alloy compounds
Color: Brown to coppery red
Habit: Branching and dendritic, can be massive
Fracture: Rough
Cleavage: None
Luster: Metallic
Hardness: 2.5-3
Specific Gravity: 8.9
Streak: Red-brown
Occurrence: Worldwide, some of the largest deposits in N. America and the UK

A Guide to Rocks and Fossils by B. Busbey III, R. R. Coenraads, P. Willis, and D. Roots. Published 2002 by Fog City Press. ISBN: 1877019518

Rocks, Minerals, & Fossils of the World by C. Pellant and R. Phillips. Published 1990 by Little, Brown and Co. ISBN: 0316697966

Wikipedia – Copper.

The Phoenix Has Landed!

Sunday, May 25, 2008
NASA's latest mission to Mars, the Phoenix Lander, successfully touched down about 3 hours ago now in the northern region near the pole. This lander is different as its designed not as a rover, but as a stationary instrument, meant to study soil samples and dig down into the surface of Mars and potentially study the subsurface ice. There's also weather instrumentation, so in conjunction with the orbiter studies of the Martian atmosphere can be conducted. This is also the first mission that is being lead by a university, the U. of Arizona.

The first images recently became available and are wicked! Not like where the rovers have been - very flat, and very small, angular rocks.

This is one of the first images released from NASA of the Martian surface at the Phoenix lander site.

Color photos are expected to be available soon as well!

Here's links to the sites and images as they'll be made available - keep in mind some are very slow right now due to everyone going to take a peek!

Phoenix Mars Mission at U. of Az
(If you can get into the image page, when you click on an image it will take you to their viewer, however it may not be loading at the moment again due to so much traffic, but you can click on the links to the right where it says 'Download Image' and it'll open it in a new window!)

NASA Phoenix Site

Did you know the lander twitters too?

Yay for iCraft!

Friday, May 23, 2008
Woo-hoo - I've been featured on the front page of iCraft again! The blue Amazonite and Copper earrings on the upper right are mine!

Stone of the Week - Geodes!

Sunday, May 18, 2008
I decided to try something a little different and talk about geodes this week. Geodes are typically rounded rocks with cavities (referred to as 'vugs'), and have a lining of crystals pointing inward. Because the crystals form inside the geode, they are often protected and form perfect crystals.

Geodes can come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, due to variations in the mineral content. These geodes are all mostly some variety of quartz. The one in the back right is chalcedony, which is a microcrystalline form of quartz. In front of it you can see a nice geode with lovely agate banding around it. To the left of it is one that has pyrite in it - more on this one later. Back and to the left of it is another quartz geode, with little black crystals inside of it. And in the back is a large geode of beautiful quartz crystals.

Geodes are found in igneous or sedimentary rock. Cavities form within gas bubbles of lava; the material around the void hardens to form the outer layers of the geode. They can also form within sedimentary rocks, often limestone, that has been dissolved (usually be acids such as carbonic or sulfuric acid). Minerals are carried in by water into the cavities, resulting in the growth of crystals. When the rock surrounding the geode erodes, these geodes are left behind.

This is what geodes typically look like from the outside; often they are a gray or tan to brown color. Sometimes they even sort of look like a brain!

Geodes can have many different minerals. Most contain some variety of quartz, including clear quartz, rose quartz, amethyst, jasper, agate, chalcedony, calcite, celestite, pyrite and so forth. Sometimes you even get minerals deposited on top of other minerals. The only way to tell what is inside a geode is to break it apart. There is no easy way of telling what the inside of a geode holds until it is cut open or broken apart, however, geodes from any one locality usually have a more restricted variety of interior mineralization.

Image from inside Crystal Cave, the largest known geode in the world, located in Put-in-Bay, Ohio, USA.

Geodes are common in several locations in the United States, including Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Utah, and Iowa. Iowa even has the geode as the state rock, and has Geode State Park. The largest known geode was found in 1897 at Put-in-Bay located in Ohio. It is called Crystal Cave, and you can even go on a tour inside this 30 foot deep cave, with crystals as big as 3 feet (1m) wide.

Some creative person decided to fill this geode with pyrite! How can you tell it wasn't like this originally? Well, the pyrite is overhanging the edge of the cavity. Yet it was cut in half - if the pyrite had been there originally, there would be none sticking out beyond where the geode was cut! However its still pretty - just be aware geodes are sometimes modified.

Geodes are used for decorative purposes and jewelry. They are sometimes dyed, so if you see one for sale with very bright colors like neon pinks, blues, and purples, then it has been dyed. As seen in the above picture, other materials are stuck inside that don’t belong there! Sometimes objects are also placed inside, creating little landscapes. Geodes have been used both as slices and cut halves; care must be taken using the slices of geode as they can be somewhat fragile. But what wonderful and unusual jewelry they make!

Using geodes in jewelry work can be a bit tricky, but can have great results!

If there's a stone you would like to know more about - drop me a line! Have a mystery stone? Feel free to post a comment about it, including a link to a picture, and it could be featured on this blog!


Rocks, Minerals, & Fossils of the World by C. Pellant and R. Phillips. Published 1990 by Little, Brown and Co. ISBN: 0316697966

Wikipedia – Geode.

Wikipedia – Crystal Cave (Ohio).

A feature, treasuries, updates, and more!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Woo-hoo, I finished another semester of grad school and am that much closer to being done! This was probably my hardest to date (I still don't think I understand stats, lol) but I did finish the last of my required core classes (said stats class) - those seem to be the hardest for some reason. Now I'm hoping to do an internship to finish off the rest of my hours I have to do, then on to my thesis! Which in itself is still evolving - who knows what I'll finally end up doing!

Now that the semester is over, I have many plans for my business and online presense. As you've probably seen I haven't been able to plan the weekly 'stone of the week' articles for awhile due to being swamped (they do take a bit of planning and research to do!), and I'm pleased to say that a brand NEW article will be up this weekend! Want to know what it is? You'll have to come back to find out! :D I'm also planning to do some more 'Adventures in Geology' articles, as well as a couple other additions, so stay tuned!

The Mad Scientists of Etsy team finished up their first team challenge not too long ago, the theme of which was 'Science as Art'. We had many great entries! For this challenge I made a beaded ACEO of the solar system (yes, without Pluto), as astronomy was my first love of science. I really love the bead I used for the Sun - the colors and pattern are marvelous (I even ended up using one for a cell phone charm for my phone!) The listing for it can be found here.

ACEO of our solar sytem with the Sun (vibrant lampwork bead), Mercury (silver crystal), Venus (tan glass), Earth and Moon (african 'turquoise' and seed bead), Mars (garnet), Jupiter (red adventurine), Saturn (lepoardskin jasper and glass beads for the rings!), Uranus (dyed jasper), and Neptune (frosted blue glass). These are fastened onto soft foam with pretty 'stars' and backed with felt. Measures 2.5" x 3.5" Great for framing! (ACEO = Art Card Editions and Originals - they're like collectible works of art on a small scale!)

Yart was a great success! I got to spend the day hanging out with fellow artists and sharing my art with many customers! It was great getting to hang out with my friends who I haven't seen in awhile since I moved to KY for grad school. I also did a drawing for a gift certificate for one lucky person - as you can see I even got my rabbit JD involved and let him pick the winner!

Holly from Etsy was so kind to feature me on her blog this week! She did a great job, and has a very fun blog. Check out her blog and her store for some wonderful items for the little ones

Last week I was also featured on Etsy treasuries by loosewirestudio and evanrhett - both were beautifully done, and one of the items recently sold!

That's it for now! Be sure to check back for new articles!

I'm on the front page of iCraft!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

How awesome is this! Made the front page of iCraft today - those are my earrings on the top left! I'm so excited!

For anyone unfamiliar with iCraft, it is a Canadian based website that allows artisans to set up online stores via their website. I've not been on there too long, so I'm still uploading new items, but I really like using the site! So now I have two great places (Etsy and iCraft) to sell online!

So go check it out ->

EMERGENCY SALE!!! Everything is currently 25% off plus FREE shipping!

Monday, May 5, 2008
EMERGENCY SALE!!! Everything is currently 25% off plus FREE shipping!

Jewelry, ACEOs and more great items are available at

Due to a family emergency I need to gather funds as quickly as possible, therefore everything in my store will be on sale until further notice!

Simply wait for a revised invoice for your discount, or you may choose to go ahead and pay then get a refund - choice is yours!