And it all started over coffee a when Pyramid Studios’ staff got on the subject of really, really, old, -positively ancient materials for jewelry making. The discussion continued through lunch and ended by skyping Dr. Hawking with a simple question “How do we build a time machine?” The answer was fairly simple,” Have you got a Hadron Collider and a black hole?” Well, as it happens, Pyramid never throws anything away! The Hadron, a Sagan ’93, hadn’t been fired up in years and our dusty box of black holes didn’t have one within expiration date but we decided to chance it. And this is how our time Time Travel Tuesdays began and our weekly digs in prehistoric periods.
Here are some of the cool treasures we dug up for you:
Fossilized or Mineralized Walrus Tusk
This ancient fossilized ivory is anywhere from 500 to 3,000 years old– young by fossilized jewelry standards. It is legally obtained from native owned land, having been excavated by Eskimo families from old village sites on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska on the Bering Straits. Ancient Eskimos carved walrus tusks as spears, ice axes, harpoon tips, and sled runners as well as jewelry items and figurines. The fossilized walrus tusk in our ivory jewelry can span the neutral tones from creamy white to honey, reddish brown to black, depending on the minerals the walrus tusk was in contact with and the length of time it was in the ground. (The piece at left is Carved Tusk with a Jasper in Sterling Silver)
All mammoth ivory is pre Ice-Age, 10,000 to possibly a million years old, except for a single herd of pygmy mammoth that died out around 3000 years ago on an isolated Siberian island. Ancient mammoth ivory is a byproduct of gold mining being found in the layer just above the gold by both American, Canadian, and Siberian gold miners. The Russians mine the tusk for it’s own sake and have become industrious in developing a world market for their product. To the North American’s the ivory is a pleasant bonus for the gold mining efforts. Mammoth ivory has a nice creamy, almost skin tone. Occasionally available is mammoth ivory from Siberia, which is generally whiter than North American mammoth ivory from resting in ice rather than soil.
Yep. Dinosaur bones for jewelry. Agatized, fossilized dinosaur bones are petrified with silica or quartz crystals which gives them their colorful, glassy appearance. This process preserves the actual cell structure of the once living dinosaur. These “gembone” specimens can be traced back to dinosaurs that roamed the earth during the late Jurassic Age around 150 million years ago. Most quality specimens are found almost exclusively in the four corners region of the Colorado Plateau in the USA (where the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado touch). These make for wonderful pendants and conversation pieces. “Oh this? This is just an old dinosaur I threw on.”
Pyramid Studios has rough and uncut quality Dino Bone ready for your creation!
Except for diamonds these are definitely the oldest jewelry pieces in Pyramid Studios and are truly fascinating. Trilobites were marine invertebrates that ranged in size from less than 1/4 inch to over 2 feet long, they are among the earliest of known arthropods. They evolved over 500 million years ago (the Paleozoic Era), and went extinct 248 million years ago (the late Permian period). Trilobites were very common and very diverse; over 15,000 species of trilobites are known. The different trilobite species probably had different diets; some were herbivores (eating plants), some were detrivores (eating decayed material) and some were scavengers (eating carrion). Some trilobites crawled along the sea floor, some swam, and others drifted with ocean currents. Many trilobites had protective spines. Some could roll up into a ball, and some could burrow into the sea floor. However it is thought that the evolution of jawed fish in the oceans may have contributed to the decline of the trilobites, which are not seen as having effective protection against predation.
Orthoceras rocked evolution and were among the most advanced of the invertebrates having eyes, jaws and a sophisticated nervous system. They are members of the cephalopod class similar to nautilus, squid and octopus. Orthoceras thrived about 345 – 395 million years ago (the Devonian age). They swam freely using a jet propulsion system by squirting water from their bodies. As they died, their shells sank to the sea floor where they were aligned by currents, buried by sediments, and over the ages transformed into the fossils we use today.
The name “ammonite” is derived from the ancient Egyptian god Ammon, who considered them to be divine. He is represented by the head of a ram with twisted spiral horns, reminiscent of the twisted shells of the ammonite. Ammonites thrived from around 435 million years ago. During the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, ammonites evolved more streamlined shells for swimming and the structure of their shells became stronger. Different shell shapes also emerged, such as snail-like or uncoiled. (An
AmmoLITE is an Ammonoid that over millions and millions of years and through contact with various minerals obtained a rainbow hue. In 1981, the International Commission for Colored Stones accepted ammolite as an organic precious stone.)
Turritella is an agate, it is believed to have been formed 46 to 51 million years ago, with crazy, swirling patterns of silicified fossils, known as Elimia Tenera, the spiral shells of freshwater snails. Pyramid normally works with Turritella beads. Each bead is 10 to 12 millimeters thick, a little less than a centimeter and a half. They are bulky, smooth, and very specific in taste. Typically, they are made up of browns and whites. We have fashioned some beautiful necklaces using Turritella beads.
Everyone remembers the mosquito trapped in amber from the film Jurassic park. Amber is not pine sap, but rather amber is the vascular tissue of the trees, the resin exuded during either injury or radical climate change. This fossilized tree resin has been appreciated for its color and natural beauty since Neolithic times. Much valued from antiquity to the present as a gemstone, amber is made into a variety of custom jewelry (it’s also an ingredient in perfumes). The bulk of amber in the world is found in the Baltic region of Poland and Russia and these origins help trace trade routes by how the substance found it’s way to all corners of the earth.
Amber occurs in a range of different colors. As well as the usual yellow-orange-brown that is associated with the color “amber”, amber itself can range from a whitish color through a pale lemon yellow, to brown and almost black. Other uncommon colors include red amber (sometimes known as “cherry amber”), green amber, and even blue amber, which is rare and highly sought after. (This pendant of Amber, Trilobite and Ammonite shows how we can mix and match prehistoric periods to your specifications.)
So Pyramid Studios has been busy traveling – near, far, and across dimensions to find you perfectly distinct (and extinct) jewelry.
We are Pyramid Studios at 10 State Street in Downtown Ellsworth, Maine. And, when it comes to custom jewelry, we rock!
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