Karla Rosenbusch is the associate editor of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine
From Jennifer: I love making beaded jewelry with gemstone beads, mainly because of the huge variety of gemstone beads available! Today, Karla Rosenbusch of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine shares with us some of her favorite new gemstones. These stones aren't just gorgeous, they're also affordable!
Well, I admit it. I'm a stone addict. Yes, that sounds really bad, but
what I mean is that I love gemstones. And when it comes to the stones I
select for my jewelry, the rarer and more esoteric, the better. I love
to browse the booths at gem and mineral shows, looking for little-known
"alternative" gemstones for my jewelry designs. I particularly like
"earthy" stones such as jaspers, agates, and feldspars, and I'm always
looking for new ones to use.
Peruvian Blue Opal. This necklace combines
Peruvian blue opal with freshwater pearls and
features a delightful ceramic dragonfly pendant.
As I've spent time hunting for new stones for jewelry, I've discovered
that you don't have to spend a lot of money on them. Many of the stones I
select are very inexpensive, but the jewelry you can make from them is
Below are some of my favorite lesser known—and lower priced—stones.
When most people think of opal,
they usually think of the stunning milky stone with sparkling pops of
color. But there are many other forms of opal. I'm a huge fan of African
blue opal, a great earthy stone that features blues, tans, browns, and
whites. You can also find wonderful African yellow opal, which is more
brown and white than the blue variety.
Peruvian Blue Opal
Another opal variety that I've
recently started using more and more is Peruvian blue opal. This stone
has an incredible sky-blue color and blends well with any number of
other stones. This gemstone is quickly moving up my list of favorites.
Jaspers. I love the color combination of using
apple jasper and turtle shell jasper together.
Mookaite. The pendant of this necklace uses one
of my favorite jaspers, mookaite from Australia.
One of the most common stone classifications, the name "jasper" covers
an amazingly wide range of stones. But this most basic of gemstones can
be incredibly beautiful. Recently, I added two new jaspers to my
repertoire, apple jasper and turtle shell jasper. Apple jasper is a
delightful red, while turtle shell jasper is mottled red, brown, and
white. I love to use these together for a jasper celebration.
One of the loveliest "jaspers" I've ever found is not actually
jasper. It's called Red Creek jasper although sellers suspect that it's
actually a marble. It's also not red; although it can display some
lovely red highlights, Red Creek jasper is primarily green and brown.
It's actually named after the only location in which it's found, China's
One of the more rare jaspers that I just
love to use is mookaite. Yes, the name sounds a little odd, but it
comes from the Mooka Creek in Western Australia. It's a red, gold, and
cream stone that's a real eye-catcher.
Bamboo Agate. This necklace uses large
bamboo agates with smaller ocean jaspers for
a multistone piece.
Unakite. I particularly love this piece's unakite
Another common earthy stone with myriad varieties is agate. My special
favorites are the lovely fire agate and the more earthy bamboo agate
with its brown, white, black, and tan color combinations. You'll find
these two stones—as well as a range of other agates—all through my
jewelry. They work great with just about any other earthy stone.
There are many, many other
inexpensive gemstones that I love to use in my jewelry. I'm a huge fan
of unakite, a green and red stone that is actually a form of granite. If
I want to use a less expensive form of onyx, banded onyx with brown,
black, and tan stripes is a great alternative stone. I also love the
vivid blue-green color of amazonite.
Aventurine. For a great color contrast, I used
pink aventurine with vivid green malachite.
But my very favorite inexpensive
alternative stone is aventurine. I'm one of this stone's greatest
advocates, and I love to urge people to try it out in their jewelry
designs. It comes in green and "pink" forms—although I prefer to call
pink aventurine "salmon." That's actually a more accurate description.
If you look at any of my jewelry, you'll find aventurine popping up
everywhere, either as the primary stone or a great "background" stone
that I use to show off the focal stone of the piece.
African Blue Opal. For a mixed-media jewelry
set, I used African blue opals and bronze metal
Designing With Alternative Gemstones
One of the best
ways I've found to use inexpensive earthy stones is to combine them
with other unusual stones. I love to mix and match the colors and sizes
of my stones to come up with an amazing variety of looks. Unakite with
aventurine, Peruvian blue opal with jade, Red Creek jasper with bamboo
agate-the possibilities are endless. I also love to mix stones with
other jewelry media. One of my favorite necklace-and-bracelet sets
combines African blue opal with bronze metal clay beads. I get tons of
compliments every time I wear that set.
As I play with my favorite stones, I like to keep my designs simple
to show off the gemstones to their best advantage. The best way I've
found to do that is by stringing them. I'm especially fond of stringing
stones with gold or silver spacer beads or with freshwater pearls to
create fabulous necklaces and bracelets. It's really an inexpensive way
to get an expensive look.
If you want to learn more about your favorite
gemstones and how they make their journey from rock slab to polished gemstone
cabochon, you won't want to miss a single issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine.
Each issue is full of inspiring and informative articles about your favorite
stones and new ideas and techniques for turning them into stunning finished
jewelry. Subscribe to Lapidary
Journal Jewelry Artist magazine today and read more about your
favorite gemstones! And if you're the kind of person who takes your magazines
with you wherever you go, now you can get a digital subscription to Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine
and have your issues delivered right to your laptop, desktop or tablet
What are you favorite gemstone beads? Share your favorites here on the blog!
Filed under: Gemstones, Pearls, Beaded Beads, Bead Making, Stringing, How To Bead, Lapidary, Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist Magazine, Beaded Jewelry Design, Beads, Jewelry Making, Cabochon