November 10, 2018

Natural topaz comes in many colors but mostly shades of yellow or clear.  That’s probably why it is grouped with citrine as the birthstone for November.  The most valuable of the natural topaz is “Imperial topaz” a bright yellow to gold-brown color.  It is rare and oft...

August 31, 2018

“There aren’t any sapphires around Yellowstone.  No, we aren’t going that way.”

“…And to our east is Montana!  Sorry, there are no sapphire hunting excursions planned at this time.”

“We don’t carry no Montana sapphires, just local stones.” (In response to the question: “...

August 4, 2018

Sunset Crater was too hot!  There were no trees (or bushes, or grass), too much dust and I had a rock in my shoe. I was walking around the base of a giant pile of bits of red cinder of the sort I had previously encountered in xeriscape gardens looking for olivine.  Eve...

July 28, 2018

Mokume, or “wood grain” shibori is very similar to karamatsu shibori.  Both are space filling techniques that create a ripple effect through stitch spacing.  Mokume though, does NOT need to be bilaterally symmetrical and can be used to fill any shape or size space....

July 24, 2018

Karamatsu, or “larch” patterns are so named for their symmetrical ripple pattern that looks very much like wood grain.  It is a cute space filling pattern that can be used to stitch any shape with bilateral symmetry.  Traditionally, the shape is round, but squares, dia...

July 20, 2018

Last weekend was Convergence, a biannual meeting of spinners and weavers in North America!  The meeting location alternates between the East and West Coasts, this year it was in Reno, Nevada.  I am fabric dyer and shibori artist, not a spinner or a weaver, but did mana...

July 3, 2018

I have a confession to make.  As a geologist, some part of my psyche mandates that I love rocks.  ALL rocks, ALL minerals.  In kindergarten I was a magpie, attracted to rocks, gemstones and generally anything colorful and shiny.  (My collection of shiny pennies and peb...

June 29, 2018

I had heard that Ueno Park could get crowded, but “crowded” didn’t begin to describe it.  It strongly resembled a state fair, complete with rock bands and every sort of food on a stick being served from tents.  There were walkers, joggers, families out for a stroll and...

June 28, 2018

On every trip there are always travel days: those days where you stare moodily out the window of the airport terminal wondering why small children rubbed their faces on it, on airplanes wondering if it would disturb the person in the aisle seat if you voiced the desire...

June 1, 2018

There are actually three birthstones for June!  (Lucky June people.)  Pearls, moonstone and alexandrite.  I’ll probably get to all three minerals eventually, but today’s post is about the Mikimoto Pearl Company in Toba, Japan.

As an aside of geology: pearls ar...

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