falling in love with fordite...
I love semi precious stones.
In fact I think I love them more than the regular precious numbers. But the other night I cam e across a stone I had never heard of - Fordite.
It turned out to be the most wonderful wonderful thing...
Also known as Detroit Agate, fordite is not a stone at all!
These stones, are actually paint deposits from old car paintings racks.
Before the car painting process was automated like it is now, automotive bodies were painted by hand on long production lines. The vehicles’ paint would drip off and dry on the equipment used to move the automotive bodies. This enamel paint would then get baked onto the rack and solidify. After this process is repeated hundreds or thousands of times, the deposits can grow to be several inches thick.
Enterprising workers who recognised their potential value chipped off these waste products and saved them to be turned into jewelery later. When these stones are ground down and polished, they reveal a dazzling array of colours.
Some these stones can represent America’s automotive history – the older Fordite specimens contain colors that are no longer popular today, like pastel yellow or sea-foam green. Although modern jewelers are moderately successful at recreating the process and creating their own Fordite, the stones with an actual history to them are the most valuable.
Naturally, these fake rocks are patterned too: when you slice into them, you get zig zags or whirling colorful stripes and circles. Almost like Missoni made by machine.
Some of the best uses of it can of course be found on etsy. I especially love the work of Patti West-Martino who makes glorious handmade one of a kind pieces. You can find them in her Red Paw shop here