Lake Superior and Lake Michigan both provide some of the most unique gemstones known for local jewelers, artists, and rockhounds.
Handmade Michigan jewelry has become a cottage industry in the towns and cities along the Great Lakes. Much of this industry is focused on the popular gemstones of the area. This jewelry is as unique as the snowflakes that fall there in the winter. Just as no snowflake is the same as another, each handmade piece of Michigan jewelry is unique.
Each stone is known for its unique qualities and we've covered five favorites!
1. Petoskey Stone
For instance, the Petoskey Stone, Michigan’s “state stone” named as such in 1965, is a coral fossil. These fossil stones are an intricate combination of shapes from the lake polished roundness of the stone to the hexagonal shapes of the coral fossilized in the stone.
2. Isle Royale Greenstone
Along with the Petoskey Stone which is Michigan’s “state stone” is the Isle Royale Greenstone (Chlorastrolite) which is the state's “gemstone.” It is associated with native copper deposits. The Greenstone is not unique to the Isle Royale in particular, but the wave and sand action of Lake Superior has done much of the polishing work. Adding to the gemstone effect of the Isle Royale Greenstone is that collecting these stones from the Isle Royale beaches has been prohibited since 2000.
3. Leland Blue
Another Michigan gemstone is the Leland Blue Stone. The Leland Blue Stone is named for the harbor town of Leland, Michigan. Much like the Petoskey Stone, the Leland Blue Stone is not a stone but a piece of slag. A by-product of the iron ore smelting industry, the intense heat of smelting separated the iron from the ore and left behind the blue colored slag. The slag once disposed of, now washes along the shore polished into a blue gemstone.
4. Copper Firebrick
Copper Firebrick Stone is another stone of the Great Lakes that is not exactly a stone. A by-product of the copper smelting industry. These are artifacts from the Calumet & Hecla Mining Co., at Hubbell Michigan. Unique handmade Michigan jewelry has been created from these copper-infused bricks.
If you are especially seeking the newest bright and shiny object, you may find Yooperlite fills the need. Yooperlite was discovered in 2017 by Erik Rintamaki. Rintamaki discovered a rock that glowed under ultraviolet light. Yooperlite is the name Rintamaki used for the rock, but samples examined by Michigan Technical University and Saskatoon University, discovered the rock to be Syenite rocks rich in fluorescent Sodalite.
Handmade Michigan Beach Stone Jewelry
As with the many and varied stones and their unique qualities, the handmade jewelry instrumenting these stones makes each piece unique and special unto itself.
Just imagine how you will feel as you are complimented on the interesting cut and size of your Leland Blue Stone and Petoskey Stone necklace — accompanied by Royal Isle Greenstone earrings and bracelet.
Have a great time displaying your bright new shiny handmade Michigan jewelry.