Smithsonite

Smithsonite is a mineral named for James Smithson, a renowned mineral expert. It is often found secondary to deposits of zinc ore. This mineral is a member of the calcite group. It can be recognized by its appealing lustre. At times it almost looks like the mineral has an inner illumination, which is one reason it is so popular with jewelry makers. Because it is a secondary deposit, other minerals have an effect on the color of the smithsonite. For example, copper causes this mineral to take on green and blue shades. Cadmium causes yellow colors, iron causes red and brown colors, and cobalt makes smithsonite to turn shades of purple and pink.

Smithsonite is mined in many areas such as the U.S., Mexico and other regions, however Africa is most famous for the finest quality colored crystals. The wide range of available colors and the luminescent quality of this mineral are just two reasons jewelry makers enjoy working with smithsonite. While you may not find jewelry made with this stone in your local jewelry store or department store, there are smaller shops that may carry pieces that feature it. The Internet is a great place to browse for smithsonite jewelry, as you may come across independent jewelry makers who work with this versatile mineral.

One smithsonite piece worth looking at is available from QVC. It is the Smithsonian Smithsonite ring done in 14k gold with diamond accents. The rare stone is a milky green color, oval in shape. It is surrounded by diamonds and set in yellow gold. The price for this stunning ring is $354. One reason for the price is not only because of the gold and diamonds, but the rarity of this mineral. In addition to rings like this one, you can sometimes find strands of beads in necklace and/or bracelet form. Also, there are jewelry makers who use the raw crystal rather than cut and polished stones for a modern, unique look.

Usually you will find smithsonite with sterling silver. For silver to be designated as sterling it is required to contain a minimum of 92.5 percent pure silver. Pure silver is too soft for jewelry to be made from it, which is why other metals are added. These other metals, like nickel or palladium, impart hardness so the jewelry or other item does not scratch or chip. The combination of cool silver next to beautiful smithsonite is gorgeous, as the silver perfectly accents any color of this mineral you happen to be wearing.

Smithsonite is rather rare as far as minerals go, which is one reason there are not very many jewelry items readily available. However, there are loose stones and crystals if you want to make your own jewelry. There are no shortage of jewelry making supply stores online, in addition there are jewelry making supplies in most every major craft store. You may decide that you want to make your own smithsonite jewelry and find out that you have an aptitude and even a liking for the pursuit.

There are plenty of books and even video tutorials that can teach you the basics of making your own jewelry. It takes patience, creativity and a steady hand, but it guarantees you will get a piece that is one of a kind. Also, any jewelry is all the more special if you made it yourself. You can buy loose smithsonite online from a wide variety of vendors. The price will depend on whether the stone is rough or polished, and of course on the carat weight.

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