You've decided to select a rock to turn into jewelry. Simple, right? Not so fast! After decades of rock collecting, I know that it can be difficult to pick the right stone. Or to pick only one!
At Waystone, you can send us your own stone to make custom jewelry, so we've cut into many a rock. Sandstone, turquoise, brick, marble, quartzite, cement, limestone... (really, almost any kind of stone!) can be made into beautiful jewelry. We've even made jewelry from brick and cement.
There are a few things to keep in mind before you send us a stone, however. Here are a few guidelines to help you select the perfect stone for the Waystone process, or any other jewelry-making method that involves polishing natural stones.
Make It Meaningful
What kind of stones are you attracted to? Or do you have a stone that reminds you of a special someone?
When reading the stories of where our beta testers' stones were found, almost all of them were mementos of time spent with another person. That special person might even be yourself, if you've had an experience where you felt truly connected to your inner self and picked up a stone so you wouldn't forget that feeling.
Sometimes, you may just find a stone interesting. You may be attracted to a stone that sparkles in the sun or has beautiful colors when it is wet. The colors of wet stones can indicate what color the stone will be after it is polished.
The Perfect Size
The stone should fit comfortably in the palm of your hand. A larger, adult fist-sized stone is preferable. To get specific, most Waystone jewelry requires a stone that's at least 2"x3". A palm sized stone will give us plenty to work with.
Not to mention -- after you receive your jewelry, you may want to make more jewelry out of the same stone! A larger stone will leave behind a remnant that you can make into matching necklaces, earrings, and cuff links (watch for these new jewelry options launching in 2023).
The Right Texture
Pick a stone that seems solid with no cracks. If a stone crumbles as you touch it, the stone may not hold up to our polishing process. Composites like cement, though, are fine!
We do have ways to stabilize stones, so if you have one that's really special but crumbles a bit, just send us a message and we'll let you know if it's a good candidate to be polished.
This stone is not solid enough for polishing.
This stone crumbles a bit, but it will work!
If you find a geode (they look like a rocky baseball), be aware that not all are solid. Some have a hole in the middle of the rock. We (and you!) will only find that out when we the stone is cut in half. When there’s a cavity, it will limit the size of the jewelry that we can make.
This is a geode!
This geode has a solid interior.
There was a cavity hiding inside this geode.
One of the most fun parts of making jewelry from your own stone is seeing what it looks like after it's polished. The texture of the stone has a big impact on the final result.
Generally, when rocks have fine particles, the resulting piece will have a high polish and be very shiny. Other times, how well the stone polishes depends more on how tightly the particles are glued together rather than the size of the particles.
For example, sandstone has small particles when compared to granite. However, sandstone will normally result in a matte appearance since the particles are not very tightly consolidated. Whereas, granite, which has large particles that are more tightly consolidated, will polish up to a high shine.
Confused? Here are some examples of stones with small particles and large particles!
This stone is made up of very small particles.
This is sandstone, which will polish to a matte finish.
This is granite. Its large particles are tightly compacted.
It's Gotta Be Mineral
Remember how we said we've made jewelry out of cement? You can get creative with your material, as long as it's a mineral. Bricks, petrified wood*, and fossils will work! Bones and shells, not so much.
We think fossils are awesome! If the fossils are embedded in another rock, or are solid, like dinosaur bone, petrified wood, or coprolite, they will produce a spectacular polished stone.
However, if the fossil is what is called a "cast fossil," which is a rock that resembles a formerly living organism, Waystone cannot produce a cabochon. If you would like to incorporate a cast fossil into a piece of jewelry, I can create a piece for you at my lapidary studio, GeoArt Studio! Send me an email at email@example.com.
This is an example of a cast fossil.
This is an example of a stone with fossils embedded.
Collect It Ethically
Don't forget the most important part: only collect stones that you know other people won't miss. That means no collecting from national parks! It's always best to check before you collect a stone in nature. You don't want to be the last person to pick up a rare stone from protected land.
The good news is that there are plenty of places where rock collecting is welcomed and encouraged. Read about the best places to collect your stone.
I hope you find these tips helpful as you select your stone to make into Waystone jewelry. Happy hunting, and feel free to reach out to us firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.