Dirty Plate

2013-05-17T20:52:41+00:00 Gemstones, Jewelry|

Ok, that’s it. If I read about one more jeweler write/talk about going green, I’m going to run screaming into the night. If you are using less plastic packaging but are “plating” your pieces, I’m sorry, you are not going “green”.

I made a decision a long time ago that I will no longer “plate” anything. You know what “gold dipped” means? Sounds romantic doesn’t it? How about “banded” in 24K gold? Vermeil? Gold overlay? Gold wrapped? Or my personal favorite “hand painted with 24K gold”? All these terms mean gold plated, or they have been electroformed. “Vermeil” means that it is plated on sterling silver. “Dipped”, “overlay” etc can be on anything, and that includes all kinds of crappy materials. If it’s from China, it probably has lead in it.  toxic symbol

“So what?” you say. Lemme tell you what: Silver/gold plating is a very toxic process that usually involves cyanide baths and protective gear. When you order plating solutions, they need to be shipped as “Hazardous”. You need a shipper that has been trained in “Dangerous Goods Shipping” to get the stuff. Electroforming also uses toxic solutions. Even the conductive paint that you need to coat your little seashell or geode has to be shipped as “Hazardous”. I’m going to let you in on another dirty little secret: most of the stuff like this, is not really “handmade”. It’s like Sandra Lee’s Kwanzaa Cake –  it’s “semi”. A better word would be “assembled”. You can order gold plated and electroformed geode slices from China similar to this:

Sliced Agate Geode from China

Sliced Agate Geode from China

Then attach hooks for earrings, or a chain (probably also bought wholesale from China), put in up for sale online, label it “gold dipped”  and say you made it by hand. Maybe you added some leather, or macrame with hemp. Still “semi handmade”. That’s me being generous. Just saying.

I make real geode jewelry. They are a pain in the butt to set, very time consuming, and frustrating. The end result is (for me) worth the aggravation and I know the metal won’t “wear off”. I usually set them in fine silver, and I can do them in 22K gold if you ask. I for one, never want to get a review like this:

“the seller is very kind, but unfortunately the gold vermeil has worn off on the whole band in just a week of wear. I love the stone and will have a jeweler set it in real gold”. (Real review I found online.)

I know it costs more to get the real deal, I personally would rather save my money for a well made piece of anything, than own a whole bunch of junk. That’s just me. Having said that, here are some geodes I’ve been working on.

Red Baby Geode Earrings

Custom Order: Red Baby Geode Earrings

Baby Geode Earrings with Lavender Chalcedony Drops

Baby Geode Earrings with Lavender Chalcedony Drops

Creamy White Druzy Double Drop Baby Geode Earrings

Creamy White Druzy Double Drop Baby Geode Earrings

Baby (Blue) Geode Ring

Baby (Blue) Geode Ring

Baby Geode Earrings with Andalusite Garnet Briolettes

Baby Geode Earrings with Andalusite Garnet & Pyrite Briolettes

All the pieces have been meticulously created by hand, by yours truly, using RECYCLED silver and gold. Silver and gold mining is not environmentally friendly either.

You can check out the complete geode selection (nothing dipped!) for sale in the shop here: GEODE JEWELRY


  1. huwbijoux May 19, 2013 at 8:05 pm - Reply

    I have loads of geodes, and I love them, but I can attest to the challenges in setting them. I frequently want to grab a lapidary saw and chop off the backs, and I have a pile of silver in my scrap bag to show for my efforts. 🙂

  2. ledajewelco May 20, 2013 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    I agree. Geodes are definitely unconditional love kind of rocks!

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