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Q: Recycling semiprecious stones ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   12 Comments )
Subject: Recycling semiprecious stones
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: archae0pteryx-ga
List Price: $3.00
Posted: 17 Jun 2006 20:09 PDT
Expires: 17 Jul 2006 20:09 PDT
Question ID: 739046
Let's say I have a decent pair of earrings--not fine jewelry, but not
cheap stuff either.  Maybe $50-75 purchase price.  Let's say it
features semiprecious stones:  moonstones or garnets or amethyst, for

Now let's say that after a lot of wear, the mounting gives out:  the
hinged backs lose their snap, the gold vermeil wears away, the wire
gets permanently twisted or breaks.  We know they weren't made to last
forever; but the stones--aren't they worth something?  What do I do
with them?  Is there anything I can do with a pair of moonstones that
were good enough for my favorite earrings when the earrings are no
longer nice enough to wear?  I can't see just throwing them away, but
I have no idea what else to do.

Suggestions, please.

Thank you,
Subject: Re: Recycling semiprecious stones
Answered By: czh-ga on 26 Jun 2006 16:24 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

I?m so glad you liked the idea of recycling your jewels in a
kaleidoscope. I have the maple Treasure Tray kaleidoscope by Henry
Bergeson. One of my friends is an expert in beading and she?s made
some wonderful contributions to my kaleidoscope jewel stash.
Treasure Tray by Henry Bergeson
Henry Bergeson Kaleidoscopes -- King's Ransom -- $362.00 
There are two levels of objects and cells hidden in the base of this
"treasure chest" style scope, which makes for a scope with infinite
viewing possibilities. Choose from pre-made oil-filled or dry cells,
or use the loose pieces to create your own cell.

The friend who gave me the kaleidoscope also gave me a book by Cozy
Baker which led me to discover the world of kaleidoscope enthusiasts.
She?s the founder of the Brewster Kaleidoscope Society and the author
of many books. The website offers lots of very informative resources
and links to kaleidoscope artists.
The Brewster Kaleidoscope Society

The wikipedia site also provides some interesting links for further
exploration of kaleidoscopes. Browsing the site took me to the page
for the kaleidoplex, a projecting kaleidoscope. I think I saw a
version of this at the San Francisco Exploratorium years ago and
thought it was quite wonderful. They no longer have it but apparently
they have a new addition, the Duck Into Kaleidoscope.

Kaleidoscopes with refillable object chambers seem to be either very
cheap or very expensive. Here is a more moderately priced one that
might be suitable.
Custom Kaleidoscopes

Thank you for remembering my comments about your pricing scheme.
Someone said you have a very special and fascinating reason for it. I
would have kept my opinions to myself, had I known.

How is your book coming along? My hope is that you?ve found a graduate
student who loves your topic and is able to consult with you just for
the fun of it. I envision them laboring on a thesis that dovetails
with your need for detail about medieval daily life.

All the best.

~ czh ~

Request for Answer Clarification by archae0pteryx-ga on 10 Jul 2006 20:42 PDT
Thank you, czh-ga.  I'm exploring options now.  I sent an inquiry to
the Stowe Craft Gallery, and, amazingly, it turned out to be the eve
of their annual kaleidoscope festival.  So I told them what I was
looking for and they said they would get back to me.

The maple one was the one I thought was loveliest--but, alas, a little
steep in price for my purposes, and out of stock as well.  I admire
your friend's good taste.

My book is still progressing, thank you.  I continue to work on it
every day.  But I have had no success in finding a research assistant
who'll make the sort of deal you describe.  So, to avoid retarding the
writing too badly, I am leaving a lot of question marks as
placeholders and moving along.  I keep hoping that when I fill in
correct information as I get to it, it doesn't derail the scene or
plot development too badly.  I am still struggling with the aftermath
of the discovery that garments simply did not have pockets, not
anyone's, not at all, and think it was perfectly perverse of the
Middle Agers to be so slow with such an obvious contrivance, causing a
great inconvenience to an early scene in my story.


Clarification of Answer by czh-ga on 11 Jul 2006 12:32 PDT
Hi Tryx,

Good luck with finding a kaleidoscope you'll love for your recycled
jewelry. Thanks for the update on your book. Tracking down the
day-to-day details of medieval life seems extremely challenging.

"I am still struggling with the aftermath of the discovery that
garments simply did not have pockets, ..." Aaah! This must be why nuns
are so famous for tucking hankerchiefs up their voluminous sleeves.
Their habits are based on medieval models.

I love historical novels and look forward to reading yours.

Thank you for the kind words and generous tip. I'll keep an eye out
for your future questions.

~ czh ~
archae0pteryx-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $6.00
Everything I wanted, czh-ga, and more besides.  Thank you for your great rersponse.


Subject: Re: Recycling semiprecious stones
From: ponder852-ga on 17 Jun 2006 20:24 PDT
Take them to a jeweller and ask how much it will cost to re-mount them
on a similar, or different, fitting.
If the cost of re-mounting is too great then the jeweller may be
interested in purchasing the stones or refer you to a purchaser. They
deal in such items so they should know the market and value.
Subject: Re: Recycling semiprecious stones
From: probonopublico-ga on 17 Jun 2006 23:19 PDT
Sorry, Tryx, but they are probably not worth a lot.

Such stones are very cheap to buy (if you are in the trade) and the
added value comes from the mounting and presentation.

There is a HUGE markup on jewelry.

How else could jewellers afford their expensive showrooms, etc?

If you do decide to have them re-mounted, shop around!

All the Best

Subject: Re: Recycling semiprecious stones
From: myoarin-ga on 18 Jun 2006 19:16 PDT
Hi Tryx,

Bryan is right, but if you like the stones   - for your own use or to
pass on to a  daughter or godchild, or the like, you could try to find
a young gold- or silversmith who would  set them.  This will, no
doubt, cost more than the original pieces, but would be a very
personal gift, having been made for the individual with something from

If you just don't want the stones to be thrown away, give them to the young -smith.

Cheers,  Myo
Subject: Re: Recycling semiprecious stones
From: pinkfreud-ga on 19 Jun 2006 11:14 PDT

For many years I have made most of my own jewelry. Have sold a few
pieces, too. It is very easy to re-mount stones inexpensively. I
highly recommend Fire Mountain Gems as a source for earring findings:

Earring Findings, Lever-Back, Sterling

Earring Findings, Lever-Back, Gold Filled

Subject: Re: Recycling semiprecious stones
From: archae0pteryx-ga on 19 Jun 2006 23:24 PDT
Thank you all for your ideas.  And how nice to see some special
friends ofering suggestions!  Sorry I've been so reclusive lately. 
Still working hard on the book, and trying to do most of my own
answer-finding.  Now and then I still do come here for help, but I
don't have much time just to stop in and play any more.

This one's not research, though, just personal perplexity.  I'm not
trying to recover the value of the stones; I figure I've had my
money's worth by the time I blow out the backing.  And I don't think
it's likely to be worth the time and trouble and cost to remount
anything.  I just can't bring myself to take up a little handful of
amethysts and turquoises and topazes and citrines, hold them over the
trash can, and let go.  Giving them to someone who makes jewelry
sounds like a good idea to me.  Now I just have to find the person who
can use them.

Pink, before I toss anything, I will examine the findings at the site
you recommended and see if there's anything I can just rebuild.  Great

Any other comments are still welcome.

Many thanks & warm regards,
Subject: Re: Recycling semiprecious stones
From: pinkfreud-ga on 20 Jun 2006 11:14 PDT

Here's a hint: if your stones are loose, with no mounting and no
holes, you'll want to look for findings that have prongs (which are
bent in such a way as to hold the stone) or a cup (to which the stone
is glued). Another option is to mount the stone separately and create
a "dangle" style earring, using findings that have loops. Fire
Mountain Gems is a wonderful merchant. I can't speak too highly of
their service and selection.
Subject: Re: Recycling semiprecious stones
From: pinkfreud-ga on 20 Jun 2006 11:17 PDT
Well, that didn't turn out very well. "I can't speak too highly of
their service and selection" sounds critical, somehow. What I meant is
that I have great praise for their service and selection. I've dealt
with numerous merchants who sell jewelry parts, and Fire Mountain Gems
is the best I've found.
Subject: Re: Recycling semiprecious stones
From: pinkfreud-ga on 20 Jun 2006 12:05 PDT
Another interesting thing that you can do with loose stones is to
create a wire wrap or "cage" for them. There's an example on this page
(scroll down):
Subject: Re: Recycling semiprecious stones
From: czh-ga on 20 Jun 2006 13:32 PDT
Hello Tryx,

I have a kaleidoscope with a refillable object chamber. I fill it with
bits of beads and jewels from jewelry that's not worth repairing. I'm
constantly losing post style pierced ear rings and many of the single
orphans have made wonderful additions to my kaleidoscope.

Here are some options for kaleidoscopes with refillable object
chambers. The price ranges from practically nothing to exorbitant.


~ czh ~
Build your own kaleidoscope. Create millions of dazzling patterns by
filling in different trinkets into the object chamber.
Nature Kaleidoscope Kit
Make your own kaleidoscope! Recreate it again and again! See how many
interesting and colorful patterns you can create! This 8" kaleidoscope
features a refillable object chamber, so you can change the contents
time and time again.
You can make endless combinations of views with this handsomely
crafted birdseye maple kaleidoscope.  The object chamber unscrews so
you can easily change its contents and create new images.
Glass rod Image disc
kaleidoscope, stained glass with a glass rod base and the glass discs
come apart to fill with your own viewing goodies
Subject: Re: Recycling semiprecious stones
From: archae0pteryx-ga on 25 Jun 2006 20:16 PDT

A kaleidoscope~!  Just the thing.  A way to keep and use those pretty
little faceted stones and cabuchons without the labor of jewelry
making.  I don't have to feel guilty throwing them away or do the
footwork of finding a jeweler who might want them, and I don't end up
keeping a lot of worthless items that I can't wear again.  Perfect

(I'd have been glad to leave them for you in your drop box, Pink, but
I don't know how to send them electronically.)

The price range is amazing, though, isn't it?--from about $7 to $450
or more.  The maple one is a beauty, but out of stock.  Now that
you've given me the idea, though, I will find something.

So I would like you please to go ahead and post your suggestion as an
answer.  Just for you, I've changed the fee to an even value so you
won't have to be annoyed by a paycheck in an unconventional sum.

For bonus points, please describe your kaleidoscope to me.  I promise
not to tip you an odd amount, too, although I confess the temptation
does arise.  It's just terribly hard for me to sustain good behavior
continuously for more than a short while, so please don't wait too

Thank you,
Subject: Re: Recycling semiprecious stones
From: myoarin-ga on 26 Jun 2006 06:22 PDT
Hi Tryx,
Did you lose sight of your question about head colds:   Question ID: 739045?

Subject: Re: Recycling semiprecious stones
From: archae0pteryx-ga on 10 Jul 2006 20:44 PDT
Thanks, Myo, for the nudge.  I guess I did.  As you know, my
appearances here have been very spotty of late, and sometimes I just
don't check in at all for days or weeks.  Looking now.


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