As with any stone, there is a broad range of differences among the individual beads, yet enough similarities remain that we know they are of the same classification. Kind of like people or giraffes or fish or what have you, right? With Botswana Agate, it was basically white or crystal and black (slightly shaded toward very dark brown sometimes).
Well, with Fireworks Jaspar (known to mineralogists and rock hounds as Astrophylite–for shooting stars?) the array of colors expands to more than just black or white. The background color is the deepest black, with no variation. But the light color that contrasts with that will vary between cream to pistachio to terra cotta and from a lot to very little. So that did complicate my job of sorting, which is the very first thing I do to start the designing process. Add to that the sheer number of beads on ten 15” strands; and the muffin pan I use to sort beads got very FULL (the company where I purchased them had a great bundle price and I do enjoy a challenge, right?)
Let me just say this: I have discovered that I may be a little Obsessive-Compulsive. Since my husband passed away, I don’t have a scheduled time to eat or sleep or clean house. So guess where I spent my days in June. You’re right – I binged out with the Fireworks Jaspar (found worldwide only near Pike’s Peak) in my muffin pan. Day after glorious day, I tried to match the stones in my muffin cups with those gemstones (sorted by color) residing in my BIG square rattan box (its former use was as an ottoman). I do not rate all the resulting matches as equally successful, but when you are in a beading frenzy, there is no time to search online for better gemstones; and the colors there can’t to be trusted anyway for my purposes.
One final story about how I work: several years ago I bought several geode slices, one of which you can find with the Botswana Agate photo above. The other one was quite irregular and showed more matrix than usual. Somehow, I liked it even though I couldn’t imagine how I might use it. Now, in June, trying to design 15 ways to use Fireworks Jaspar, I found some Mother of Pearl shapes left from the process of cutting buttons from the shell. I had sorted them a few years before and now came upon them in a final search of my “ottoman” for any possible matches. Using them in their graduated order, I finally finished off the last muffin bunch. “Not bad”, I thought in my stupor. But even in my dazed state, I knew it needed a pendant. Something sophisticated and smooth would not do at all. Then the memory of that rough hewn geode floated up through my nearly comatose creativity. It was the perfect accent for the somewhat primitive look of the jewelry piece. Now all I have to do is make a hanger!
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