Great Lakes Stones at Beth Millner Jewelry
The Great Formation
The formation story of Great Lakes stones feels like a mystical legend. It's hard to imagine ancient lava flowing through the lands of North America that we now know to be notoriously frigid and snowy. However, around the time of continental formation, roughly 100 Million years ago, the shifting of the continental plates caused molten lava to erupt.
The three main Lake Superior stones we work with are Lake Superior Agates, U.P. Thomsonite, and Michigan Greenstones. Each variety was formed by varying cooling scenarios of the lava and different mineral depositions. Sounds like the stuff of legends, eh? It's true! When lava hardens into rock, gasses trapped inside escape, leaving holes in the rock. Over time, these holes are filled with various minerals and additional lava, forming the coveted stones Great Lakes gemstones. Below is a unique selection of Lake Superior agates. Notice how much they vary from one another.
Journey From Beach to Shop
Understanding that these gorgeous natural beauties are over 100 million years old adds even more wonder to their splendor. Rock and agate hunting is not an uncommon hobby where we live in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. No two look exactly alike and each are exhilarating to find and beautiful in their own way.
All of our stones come from a couple of dedicated rock hounds up in the Keewenaw Peninsula who have made Lake Superior rocks their livelihood. They find and prepare each stone for its placement into a Beth Millner original design. Some Michigan Greenstone designs can be seen below.
Greenstones are the official gemstone of Michigan! It is also known as Chlorastrolite and is typically found in small pebbles on the beaches of the copper country. Larger pieces are extremely hard to come by, we are incredibly lucky to get our hands on some! It's known for its deep green hues and crystalline structures within that form the signature turtleback pattern.
Turning Gemstones Into Jewelry
Beth often designs jewelry based off the stones themselves. In her most recent collection of Landscape wonderland pendants, she created a mixed metal landscape to flow with the lines naturally found in the stones. Below is a shot of the pendants before the stones were placed into their bezels.
For the canopy series, she crafted up whimsical tree designs that appear to grow from their U.P. Thomsonite roots. U.P. Thomsonite is known for its pinkish hue and eye patterning.
Some geological spectacles come through and Beth can't help but simply build them a recycled metal pedestal to display their radiance. These Copper Banded Agate Pendants are a fine example. As previously discussed, throughout agate formation there is a process of gasses creating hollow cavities within stones and various minerals filling those cavities over time.
Since Michigan's Upper Peninsula is graced with an abundance of copper, the treasures that are copper banded agates can occasionally be found throughout the region. These rare beauties contain signature streaks and sections of copper throughout.
Whether you find them on the beach or on our shelves, the beauty and wonder of Great Lakes Stones is absolutely amazing. Stay updated with all news and new jewelry on our Facebook and Instagram pages.