I purchased some Sea Sediment Jasper and Picasso Jasper gemstones recently and after doing some research found a few discussions on forums that questioned their authenticity.  I know the color of Sea Sediment Jasper is obviously dyed but I wanted to know if the stone itself was just a porcelain slab with silk screened image or some sort of resin material or actual stone. I have a few great ideas for these beauties and I need to know what to tell my customers the “stone” actually is.

I found a website called The-Vug.com that has a link to their fake minerals site. I wrote to Justin from The Vug about my jasper issue and here’s what he suggested that I do some tests to find out. Oh boy, hammer time!

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So, I started with this piece of Picasso Jasper. I don’t care for the pattern so I didn’t mind wasting it for testing purposes (it came in a set with other pieces I actually do like).  Sorry for the bad lighting, I was testing at 5:30 in the morning and it was pretty dark.

Set on my little bench block I tried the first test, the needle heat test. First I heated the stone to see if the heat would travel. It took a minute but the stone did get hot all the way through. Not likely a resin. Then, I heated a sharp mandrel with a lighter and poked several places on the stone. It did not melt. Cool, not a resin or plastic. But was it silk screened? I took a hammer to it to see if the veins of color ran all the way through or not.

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Yes! The banding went through. I was pretty convinced that it was a real stone at this point but wanted to drill into it a bit to see if it crumbled apart like sand or what.

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It drilled like real stone. If it walks like a duck…

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I didn’t feel a need to break apart any other specimens but I was curious enough to keep inspecting.

This time I inspected a piece of Sea Sediment Jasper that has some pretty interesting patterning on it. Here’s the original piece.

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Close up I noticed the color veining ran through the stone when I inspected the drilled hole at the top.

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I also observed color inside of a little crack in the surface.

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I did the hot mandrel test on some of my other beauties and they all passed. I looked through the drill holes and once again saw the veining go through. Justin mentioned that he believed the Sea Sediment Jasper is white brecciated Jasper dyed pretty colors. Yeay! I’m happy to know I can use it in my work and feel comfortable about it. Just happy to know it is a real stone, dyed, but real stone. I love the colors and have some juicy ideas for them.

smooshed-clay hammered-clay

Ever have trouble with your clay? Ever sat there for an hour trying to work it with your hands and it’s still crumbling on the floor and you’ve got knots in your hands?

Here’s the quick and easy. Grab a plastic, leather or wooden mallet.  You want something with a wide face to smoosh as much surface area as possible at one time.  You also don’t want it to damage the surface you will be banging on which is why I don’t recommend using a metal hammer.

Grab your super hard chunky clay. Go find some tile or floor space (or work bench) that will not get damaged by the banging. You want your surface to be clean and free of pet hair, glitter and the like because your clay will pick up all of this gunk and it doesn’t look nice in your clay. Unless you like that sort of thing.

I start by banging on a small chunk at a time. If you are blending colors you can flatten out a few little pancake sized pieces and then stack them together and keep on banging. The friction from banging starts to heat up the polymer clay and make it more pliable. I have fixed some seriously dry clay this way.

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The next most useful thing I have found helpful in conditioning my clay is adding a few drops of liquid polyclay in the center of the pancake, layer another pancake of clay on top of it and bang a few more times, tearing, adding liquid clay, layering, banging, repeat.

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Once the clay is soft enough I run it through my pasta machine. I continue to add drops of liquid polyclay in the center of the sheet, fold and roll through the machine folded side first. Always roll the folded side through first so that air bubbles have a place to go as the clay gets flattened over onto itself. You don’t want bubbles ruining your finished product when it’s curing. You’ll know it’s fully conditioned when the edges of the clay are smooth and not torn or crumbly after being run through the pasta machine.

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The other way to quickly condition clay is to throw it in a food processor that is dedicated to clay. I do that when blending different brands of translucent or when going for a chunky turquoise look. Generally though, I use the hammer method because I’m working with one idea at a time and I don’t have a need to lug out the food processor for a tiny clump of clay. Plus, smashing clay with your hammer is very therapeutic!

march-photos-70 march-photos-70 Molded from paper thin shells, these polymer clay pendants are sure to catch a curious eye. Shades of deep Aubergine change into shades of bronze and copper. The lines of the original shell can be seen and felt as well as very small mica flakes that are embedded and adhered to the surface of the shell, front and back. The center of the shell has a large Swarovski crystal in the unusual shade of Tabac. The stains and mica are sealed to preserve color and protect the design from handling. I hand hammered red brass into swirling loops and attached copper balls with brass wire to them to give the piece a finished feel. The ear wires are oil rubbed bronze.  After carefully setting the polymer clay in the mold I had fun with painting stains and metallic finishes onto the clay and mica powder. Check my Artfire Shop to see if they are still for sale. I found these paper thin shells on the beach in Carmel, CA on my honeymoon nearly 13 years ago. I’ve never known quite what to do with them. Now that I’m designing jewelry these became a source of inspiration. At once I knew I had to make a mold of them and try my hand at making over nature in my own artistic way. The shells are so thin I was worried they would break in the molding process but they did not. Yeay! 

 

Pea Green Lily Pads  3 Turquoise, copper wire, red stones, Swarovski crystals and a bit of glitter Polymer Clay handmade lily pads with Swarovski crystal set in the center. Accented with dangling turquoise stones and complimentary Czech glass in turquoise set above the lily pad. Deep red Czech crystals and glass bead accent play against the shades of greens and teals. Copper wire is wrapped in around and through these dangles and is then distressed and buffed. At the very bottom dangles a teeny little Swarovski crystal in Palace Green and rests against a little asian coin drop. See my Artfire Shop to see if it’s still for sale.

SYMBOLISM:

Water lilies are symbolic of strength and transformation in a person’s life where that person has come from out of a dark place in life and into the light just as the lily rises up from the mud and breaks through the surface of the water into the light. The lily pad itself captures sunlight and sustains the plant. Water is symbolic of the emotions.

Turquoise: (5th Chakra, throat area) This yummy gemstone is representative of wholeness, communication and spiritual expansion. Especially good for spiritual integration. All parts are valid and make up the whole. On your spiritual journey it is important to integrate and validate all aspects of the self, even the parts that are perceived as negative. This stone is great for self-acceptance and self-forgiveness.

 

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A large Amazonite stone wrapped in copper and flanked by quartz, smokey quartz and dyed orange freshwater pearls. The chandelier earrings are made with copper and pearls.

To learn more about the healing aspects of these stones see Healing Gemstone Properties.

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Polymer Clay leaves molded from leaves that I found on a walk with my son. Made in deep shades of copper and paired with sea green Swarovski crystals. Part of my personal collection.

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