Local Gemstones: 3 Gemstones Of the Adirondacks

I don't remember the precise moment when I discovered the world of magical or metaphysical gemstone properties, but it seems like I've known there was something special about gemstones and gemstone beads all my life. As an undergraduate in college, I loved studying geology and learning about the physical and chemical structures of some of gemstones. I was even more excited during my geology field trips in college when I discovered that three of my favorite gemstones occur naturally in this part of the Adirondacks!

This strand of labradorite beads was a treat for myself after a very long, and humorously disastrous, weekend at the Syracuse Gem & Mineral Show many years ago. While I sometimes feel guilt for buying beautiful strands of gemstone beads and then letting them languish in my stash, in this case, I felt it was more a case of being patient while I waited for the right design to pop into my head. It was well worth the wait, too — I purchased these Ethiopian silver spacers on a whim, and only realized when I had them in my hand that they were perfect for my labradorite beads.
Moonstone is another gem that's found locally in my part of northern New York. I found this rainbow moonstone pendant at a local gem shop, and decided that I wanted to make an earthy braided leather necklace for it. When used for meditation and healing, the energy of moonstone helps with the changing structures of life on the emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical levels. It's perfect for easing from endings into fruitful and successful new beginnings!
I've always had a thing for the rich, deep, dark colors of garnets, and I'm not alone: Native Americans, Aztecs, and African tribal elders all regarded this gemstone as sacred for use in healing rituals. These large gemstone nuggets came from The Beadin' Path many years ago, and they, too have been waiting patiently to be turned into something spectacular. What do you think of the organza ribbon and the Blooming Beaded Bead (designed by Carol Dean Sharpe) with these nuggets? Maybe all I need is a couple of wire-wrapped beads to make a new necklace today!

Do you love learning about gemstone beads and getting new ideas for how to use them? Stay up to date with all the great gemstones heading your way at local bead shops and bead shows when you subscribe to Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine. Each issue features a different gemstone, with lots of great inspiration and information about where to find it, and how to use it! 

What are your favorite local gemstones? Do you know what kinds of gemstones can be found where you live? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and tell us where you are, and what gemstones you can find in your area!

Bead Happy,


Related Posts:


Beading Daily Blog, Native American Beadwork
Jennifer VanBenschoten

About Jennifer VanBenschoten

Born in New Jersey in 1974, I escaped to the Adirondacks for the first time in 1995, making it my permanent home in 2000.  I have been interested in beads, buttons and making jewelry as long as I can remember.  It's probably my mother's fault - she was a fiber artist and crochet historian, and whenever she ordered supplies from one mail order source, she would order a huge bag of assorted buttons and beads for me and my sister!    

5 thoughts on “Local Gemstones: 3 Gemstones Of the Adirondacks

  1. I also love local gemstones. In my local area, we are fortunate to have what is considered to be, the rarest gemstone, it’s called Ammolite. It is made up of fossilized sea creatures, from the time when dinosaurs walked on earth. It’s many colours and iridescence boggle the mind, when the sun hits it, it can be seen from a city block away. This I found out first hand, when a young child came running, to see a necklace I was wearing. When Calgary, Alberta, hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics, all of the Heads of State,(Presidents, Royalty, etc), received gifts of Ammolite. Unfortunately, it’s popularity is also it’s demise. There is just one location where this gemstone can be found, the Foothills of the Rockies in Southern Alberta, and the mine is petering out. So, while I possess several pieces of this gemstone, I do not take it for granted, but realize just how lucky I am, to have evidence that dinosaurs once lived, in Southern Alberta

  2. We moved to the Arizona desert 1 1/2 years ago, joined the local Gem & Mineral Society, and now have boxes & buckets of local rocks!!! The desert is filled with quartz, agates, chalcedony, jasper and banded river rock.

    It’s been so much fun collecting and learning lapidary skills that we are now in the process of building our own studio – complete with slab saw, trim saw and grinding wheels. I love to wire wrap, now I have lots of material to wrap!

  3. I live in Ontario Canada, I’m surrounded by Quartz, I can pick them up off the ground. Canada as a whole has a variety of gemstones including diamonds, Ammolite is my favorite, my husband gave me an ammolite pendent ( from Korite who mine and design this beautfull stone) for my 30th birthday and I never take it off. Another fav Canadian gemstone is labradorite.

  4. Michigan has lots of wonderful gemstones and minerals, including raw copper and Petoskey Stone (a fossil coral). But a local favorite of mine is actually a “pseudo stone”. It’s called Leland Blue or Leland Bluestone, and is a stone-like material that was a by-product of iron smelting in the late 1800s. When iron smelting ended, heaps of slag were dumped in the harbor, and it washes up on beaches. The nicest pieces, in my view, look like a winter sky: Dark to light blues with cloud-like areas of white or gray. But colors can range through blues, grays, greens and purples. Another Michigan pseudo-stone used in jewelry is Fordite, aka Detroit Agate. Back when cars were hand spray-painted, layers of paint built up on equipment that went through multiple heat-curing cycles to become sufficiently hard that it can be cut and polished like stone. It looks like a psychedelic agate.

  5. Hi, Jennifer, I am from upstate NY and have spend much time in the Adirondacks. I know about Barton’s garnet mines. I was there many years ago with my children and have a small piece at home. I am very interested in knowing what types of gems are from the Adirondacks and where to find them. You mentioned stones found where you live. Where would that be and what stones are found there. I am just getting stared with lapidary, making cabichons, and would love to learn more.
    Thank you for your article.