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Gem Profile Feb 15: What’s Druze?

by Layna Palmer, Wire-Sculpture.com

Today's Gem Profile is...

Druzy

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I think I’ve already let you know how much I love rocks. I think what I love most about rocks is the processes that create them. There are so many varieties, colors, structures and types of rocks it’s almost mind-boggling. Even more amazing though are the sometimes violent and sometimes quiet ways rocks can be formed or changed over time.

One process that I love the outcome of is the formation of Druse on or in rock. Druse, pronounced drooz , is the small sugar-looking crystals that form on the outside of some rock and on the inside of others either through a sedimentary or volcanic process.

Drusa was the name used by Saxon miners to describe the small crystals lining the sides of rock cavities as early as the 1750s. Drusy, Druzy, Druse and Druze are all different spellings for the same thing, though druse and drusy are more commonly used in geological terms, due to druze being a religious sect in Syria with its members being called druzys; however, either spelling is acceptable.

How Druse Forms

Druse that forms on the outside of rock is usually caused by precipitation in sedimentary processes, where groundwater saturated with dissolved silicates or carbonates floods a rocky area and slowly, over time, crystals form on the surface of the rock. This process can also form geodes under specific circumstances. Geodes form when a cavity in a rock, or even a stump, is filled with saturated water and crystals form in the space. When the water drains away, a crystal matrix is left behind and a geode is formed.

Druse that forms on the inside of volcanic rocks happens when a lava flow begins to cool and the gasses within the lava form bubbles. These bubbles are then filled with water, either groundwater or hydrothermal solution, that is again saturated with silicates or carbonates. Over time, the druse begins to grow within the bubble, or vug. After the bedrock is weathered away, geodes are left behind.

Jelena Louie's druzy necklace

Jelena Louie netted this blue druzy in wire and created a necklace around it, winning the 2012 Druzy Contest on Wire-Sculpture.com.

Types of Druse

One of the most common types of druse is quartz which gives us clear crystals reminiscent of sugar-coated jelly candy. Another type of druse is the purple hue of amethyst crystals, green of uvarovite, and even rainbow druse from the rainbow pyrite and all colors in between. Like other stones, heat treating can change the color of the crystal matrix forming druse and change the color in fun ways from bright pinks, fluorescent purple and will sometimes change just the host rock, leaving the druse its natural color.

Metallic coatings like titanium, platinum, or gold are done the same way mystic topaz is made, with a vapor coating in a vacuum chamber. These treatments and enhancements make for some fun and beautiful druzys! Drusies used in jewelry making are most commonly geodes that have been cut and calibrated to use as cabochons maximizing the beauty of the druse within.

Titanium druzy wrapped by Joan Madouse

Titanium druzy wrapped by Joan Madouse

Druse and the metaphysical

Druse crystal is said to enhance the properties of the stone it is formed on or in, helping to get rid of any negative feelings or thoughts, directing them away from you. Druzy crystals are also said heal feelings of worry, self-doubt, and pessimism or any other negative thoughts and emotions. Placing a drusy crystal in your home can help bring in feelings of happiness and joi de vivre.

Carmel-brown druzy pendant wrapped by Joan Madouse

Caramel-brown druzy pendant wrapped by Joan Madouse

Where is Druzy found?

Druzy and geodes are found all over the world, but the most common areas of mining are the United States, Brazil, Australia, China, Russia and parts of Africa… okay, so all over the world! Geode Road Trip; if you’re in for an adventure, there are several places in the United States to find geodes! The Hauser geode beds near Blythe, California are ancient volcanic ash beds. The geodes here are beautiful with different colors of agate, mostly hues of blue, within the gray stones and well defined banding within the rock.

Another great place is Utah at the Dugway geode beds. Here you can find geodes in a range of colors from white quartz, amethyst and all colors of agate. These geodes are formed through volcanic processes, while the following are through sedimentary. In the Keokuk region of Missouri, Iowa and Illinois, you can find geodes of chalcedony, calcite, quartz and banded agate in all colors of the rainbow. Kentucky, near Dannville and Hall’s Gap, gives us light pink amethyst and banded agate while in the limestone of the Mississippi River valley we find quartz, calcite and chalcedony.

Emilie's Druzy Angel

Emilie Jefferson wrapped this druzy angel, named Gabriel.

Caring for Druzies

Drusys are beautiful and dynamic stones with an interesting and fun heritage. Care should be taken when making jewelry out of drusy, they’re not very good for rings and bracelets, but do great in pendants. Clean with a soft brush and gentle care, though the crystal matrix is fairly sturdy you don’t want to clean it off with a lot of elbow grease or an ultrasonic bath. Just as another wonder of geology; it takes approximately 240 million years to form a geode, so you are truly wearing a piece of the amazing processes of planet we call home.

Next week, we’re going to take a look at basalt. Have you ever used a piece of basalt in your jewelry – or do you have pictures of basalt in nature? Send us a picture at tips@wire-sculpture.com and we’ll feature it in next week’s gem profile. See you then!

Resources & Recommended Reading

Gem Profile by Layna Palmer

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Special Sterling Silver Clearance & Druzy Savings

We have been finding some great deals in Tucson! But we can’t be having all the fun. You can save 30% this weekend, getting wholesale pricing on these amazing finds:

Take 30% off Druzies:

Save 30% on sparkling druzies

Plus – we found a great stash of silver findings and I don’t know if there’s room for them in our warehouse! So why don’t you rummage through our silver clearance section and see if there’s anything you like. I bet there is…

Sterling Silver Findings, beautifully shaped, but they won't last long.

You can save 30% on these amazing silver findings. There are over 500 pieces, but they’re going fast!

These are all genuine sterling silver findings and beads (with some copper accents and even some gemstones). Toggles, bead caps, charms, rosary components – you might even find some Hill Tribe Silver in this mix.

Save 30% on Sterling Silver Clearance Findings

You have to see this selection, it’s very rare for us to carry these ornate silver findings and with such low quantities I don’t know how long they’ll be there!

Wire Jewelry Idea August 22: Pattern Wire Druzy Pendant

by Rose Marion, Wire-Sculpture.com

Wire Jewelry Idea for
August 22, 2012

Name: Pattern Wire Wrap
Submitted by: Elizabeth Bisogni
Technique used: Pattern wire shaping, cabochon setting, snapset technique

Materials used:

Green Druzy Wire Wrapped Pendant by Elizabeth Bisogni

When you’ve learned how to make a cabochon frame, why not start dressing it up? Elizabeth dressed up this druzy pendant by using pattern wire for the frame as well as twisted square wire. Then, she embellished the frame with a snapset stone surrounded by pearls! What a dose of inspiration!

Elizabeth says, I always loved pattern wire and I wanted to create something different besides bracelets. I took my Olive Green Druzy that I purchased at Wire Sculpture and wrapped it with 3mm Brass Pattern Wire accented with 20-gauge Sterling Silver twisted wire added 4mm white pearls and 8mm olive cz snapset. Then took a small piece of pattern wire and wrap it around the bail. Pattern Wire can also be used to make rings, which I have done also.

Have a Wire Jewelry Idea you’d like to share? Click Here to submit your idea. You could be featured on our Blog!

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Daily Wire Tip: Removing Sticky Tape from Cabochons

Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip

Question:

Hi Dale, I don’t know how to get rid of this paper stuck on the back of my druzy that I bought. I don’t want my customers to see something like that on my work, so what do I use to get rid of this paper?

-Judy in Danielsville, Georgia

Answer:

Hi Judy, in order to ship our druzy cabochons with the least amount of damage, the manufacturer carefully adheres each cab to poster board with double backed tape. Yes, it sticks really well! As such, there is a bit of residue left when the cab is removed from the poster board to be photographed and then bagged for inventory in our warehouse.

There are several products that will remove this adhesive. Personally, I use Goo-Gone. I simply hold my cabochon over the sink, spread a bit of the product over the mess, and wait a moment or two. Then I run warm water over the cab and rub it slightly with my finger. Usually this takes care of the issue. If the residue is a bit older and more stubborn, I repeat the process using denatured alcohol. Some of our Faculty members have success using pure acetone or another product called Un-Du.

I would like to point out that using any of the products I have mentioned in this post are safe on any of the dyed druzy cabochons sold by Wire-Sculpture. I have personally experimented with all of the adhesive removers I listed, and I also know the druzy manufacturer personally! He has kindly explained the difference between the dye process used by his company and that used by his competitors. His process causes a chemical change, which is permanent. If you are not sure of using a chemical on anything that has been irradiated or vapor-coated, please try a small amount on an inconspicuous area first!

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
May 19, 2011

Question:

I was wondering if the insides of a geode can be used in jewelry or will the crystals just crumble apart? Thanks!

-Cindy in Lake Station, Indiana

Answer:

Well Cindy, using the crystal formations inside a geode to make jewelry with really depends on the crystals. (Of course, another way to use these crystals is as cut druzy cabochons.)

Quartz Crystals in Raw Geodes
Quartz Crystals in Geodes

Most quartz crystals are pretty stable (including amethyst, citrine, etc) and small botryoidal formations (like azurite, malachite and chrysocolla) are good because even though they are a softer material they are rounded and compact.

Azurite Crystals
Azurite Crystals

When we see lovely, feathery crystals of more delicate minerals such as the zeolite natrolite, in my opinion specimens such as these are way too fragile to consider using in jewelry making of any type!

One suggestion, with regards to how to make crystal clusters into wire jewelry, is to use a minimal amount of wire so the focus remains on the featured material. In the picture below, you see a silver-dollar sized amethyst crystal cluster made into a pendant I titled Vineyard Harvest. The cluster reminded me of grapes, so I mixed half hard and dead soft 20-gauge square wire for the simple frame (carefully entwining the softer wire between crystals) and accented it with Bali silver leaf beads. (The modified frame is based on my Anything Pendant Harness.)

Vineyard Harvest by Dale Cougar Armstrong
Vineyard Harvest by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

Of course, you also should take into consideration the back of the crystal cluster, the geode matrix. If it is very rough you may want to make a woven, open mat-style frame from round or square wire for the back first (or crochet the backing) and then attach the cluster as described above.

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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