- NEW DVD Series – Stone Setting with Bezels
- Tube Set Charm by Kim St. Jean
- Prong Basket Pendant by Kim St. Jean
- NEW DVD Series – Stone Setting with Cold Connections
- New DVD Series – Stone Setting with Wire
- NEW DVD Series: Introduction to Stone Setting by Kim St. Jean
- Featured Tool: Bracelet Bending Plier
- NEW Dvd by Eva Sherman
- Fun, Fast Fold Forming DVD Series
- Double Band Ear Cuff from Alex Simkin
Gem Profile Oct. 5: What is Magnesite?
by Rose Marion, Wire-Sculpture.com
Magnesite is magnesium carbonate and is naturally a whiteish color with brown or cream matrix (lines running through it). Some vendors have labeled magnesite as white buffalo turquoise or chalk turquoise, but magnesite isn’t related to turquoise at all – it doesn’t contain copper. (Note: some authentic turquoise is also called chalk turquoise – more on that in a later gem profile.)
As you can see from the lovely jewelry featured in this article, while magnesite is naturally fairly colorless, it takes a dye phenomenally well. Dyed magnesite is one of the most popluar ways to wear turquoise-looking jewelry at a fraction of the price. There’s nothing wrong with using dyed turquoise magnesite in your jewelry – just make sure your customer understands what they’re buying.
Magnesite may also be heat-treated – possibly to stabilize the dye? – but any magnesite jewelry material that has a turquoise color, or lime or pink as well, has been dyed. Magnesite that has been dyed often has a tiny amount of white dots on the surface.
In magnesite that is intended to imitate turquoise, some bead manufacturers may employ a "crazing" method. Remember the craze effect on your aunt’s teacups? Same idea: quickly heating and cooling the stones, possibly with dye, so that there’s even more "turquoise matrix" to appreciate. Again, there is nothing wrong with using treated magnesite, as long as all parties involved are aware!
Magnesite can be found all over the world, including the United States, Austria, and Brazil. It’s best used in pendants and earrings, and I’d recommend against using it in rings and bracelets that would be bumped often.
Natural magnesite is soluble in saltwater, so be sure not to wear your magnesite jewelry swimming! Magnesite is also fairly soft and scratchable, rating a 3.5 – 4.5 on Moh’s scale. This is softer than real turquoise, which has a hardness of 5-6. If your magnesite is dyed, to protect the color, it’s recommended you clean the jewelry with a cloth rather than dipping it in a cleaner or cleaning solution.
Metaphysically speaking, magnesite is prized for aiding in meditation. It is said to relax and soothe the mind, allowing a deeper experience. It is also said to open the heart chakra, help one to learn to love oneself, and raise self-esteem. A natural remedy for restless sleep is to place a piece of magnesite under your pillow – provided you don’t have the sensitivity of a princess…!
Raw magnesite is often fluorescent - so if you go black-light bowling or to a fun Halloween party, this might be a fun jewelry piece to wear. However, before you make a special piece, test your magnesite under a black light, because the way that it’s been cabbed or finished may have altered how it fluoresces.
Just a reminder, Wire-Sculpture does not make any claim as to medical or beneficial properties of any of its stones.
Next Friday’s Gem Profile is on howlite. Have you made wire jewelry with Howlite beads or cabochons before? Dyed howlite counts! Send your howlite pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org, and they could be featured!
Resources & Recommended Reading
- Magnesite on Wikipedia
- Magnesite on WebMineral
- Magnesite Healing Properties
- Magnesite on Mindat
- Turquoise on Wikipedia
Gem Profile by Rose Marion