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In the Rough
By Alison Burwell
Our country's best-kept secret may be its vast deposits of gemst ones. From the emerald-rich hills of North Carolina to the sapphire-laden mountains of Montana, the United States is home to a breathtaking array of geological wonders. Our crafts editor, Hannah Milman, shows how to take advantage of this native bounty and create your own precious jewelry.
It takes thousands of years for gems to form -- the result of liquid, heat, pressure, and elements deep inside the earth. In their natural state, gemstones often have a rough but luminous quality that's amplified when they are cut and faceted. Seen here: Herkimer diamonds from New York State, raw amethyst from Georgia, and an Oklahoma freshwater mussel shell with a natural freshwater pearl intact.
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No two pearls are alike. Play with tones and scale when creating your own strand. Right A graduated strand of silver, blue, and gray freshwater baroque pearls, strung on a #4 silk beading cord and finished with a natural freshwater baroque button pearl.
Freshwater pearls, U.S. Pearl Company; contact Noreen Paris (551-200-6990) for purchase.
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Beads give these hoop earrings a playful feel. This is a simple project to master. Consider hammering the wire to add texture and dimension and keep the stone in place. Beads, from top Arizona peridot, California pink tourmaline, Montana garnet, Arizona turquoise, New York Herkimer diamond, and Arizona peridot -- all on gold wire.
Earrings, Mary MacGill, marymacgill.com
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Add gemstones to create a dazzling accent to a finished chain. Beads, from left California pink tourmaline, raw Montana sapphires, raw Montana garnets, Herkimer diamonds, Arizona turquoise rondelle, Tennessee freshwater pearls, and Arizona peridot -- all on gold and gold-filled chains.
Tourmaline, Pala International, Inc.; turquoise, AMC Beads and Jewelry, LLC; freshwater pearls, U.S. Pearl Company; and peridot, Barker & Company; contact Noreen Paris (551- 200-6990) for purchase.
Sapphires and garnets, blazengems.com
Herkimer diamonds, herkimercrystalsonline.com
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Two simple knots, two stones, and a leather cord are all you need to fashion jewelry with a decidedly bohemian flair.