I come by a love of stones naturally..my grandmother was a rock hound who carefully tumbled and polished and set some of her favorite found stones into pendants and key chains. I can remember poring over the ground with my mother every walk or beach visit and have brought home many a wishing stone to sit on my dresser over the years.

This year the travels were a little further from home and I slipped some tiny treasures from the shores of the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean Sea as well as Boston and Piney Point in Maryland into each Christmas gift.
I have accumulated quite a few pebbles and shells and pressed leaves [still need to get scrapbooking :-)]

Great karma must come from Earth dna wouldn't you say?

Anyway. I love stones... since my sabbatical from glass has moved me toward other materials for a time, I've begun perusing the gem sites and noticing stones of the semi-precious variety...actually I noticed these for the first time at the Santa Barbara Gem faire last week-end.

How is it that I got this far in life and never heard of this amazing ..well, not stone..its a shell, but its definitely one of the most beautiful jewelry making materials that I've seen.

Spiney oyster.. mmmm. gorgeous gorgeous.
Also known as thorny oyster, this is what it looks like in its natural habitat.

Their shells are sometimes called “chrysanthemum shells” because of the delicate, flower-like appearance.
They're asexual and do not mate.
They are not consumed but rather valued for their colorful shell which is used in artwork and jewelry.
The colors range from coral like shades of reds, oranges and yellows to deep shades of purple, depending on their age and the depths of the ocean in which they've lived.

Look at these fabulous beads!

and these~ :-o

Outstanding yes?!

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