All About Agates!

“Gemstones” are stones which can be cut and polished to be used as a jewel. All of our gemstones are sourced from the Upper Peninsula and are featured in the dreamscape series, rings, pendants, and custom pieces.

Read on to discover more about the Lake Superior Agates we use!

Over a billion years ago, the continent began to shift and lava spewed from the surface. Iron-rich lava flows poured along the fault lines, creating the volcanic rock we find along the north and south shores of Superior today. These volcanic shorelines can be found along the north and west shores of Presque Isle in Marquette. The locals refer to the most dramatic section as “Black Rocks”.

As the tectonic plates pulled apart, a large basin was left behind. This basin was baby Lake Superior and in her, agates began to form. Oxygen and carbon dioxide bubbles became trapped within the lava flows forming vesicles.

Time passed and the flows became permeated with groundwater rich with minerals. Quartz crystalized within the gas vesicles and formed the agates we know today.

Agates come in many variations and colors. These gemstones are found around the world, but Lake Superior agates are known for their rich reds, orange and yellow color bands. The coloration is caused by the high concentration in iron oxides in the area.

Pattern variations include fortification agates which feature bold, straight bands wrapping around a centerpoint (Below) and the rare eye agates which has perfectly round dot bands that speckle the surface of the stone (middle above).

Imperfections can become the most interesting elements of stones. In agates, composition variations are known as “inclusions”. Plume agates have fluffy inclusions which often appear to be soft and have depth, often resembling feathers, plants, or flowers. These inclusions are created when oxide minerals grow within the forming agate.  In the early stages, the agate is a gelatinous substance which provides support for the inclusions to expand. Over time it hardens and the patterns are solidified in the gorgeous gemstones we see today.

Lake Superior agates are the state gemstone of Minnesota. These stones can be found along the shores of Superior, but have also been carried inland by the glacial movements thousands of years ago. To find one yourself, look in exposed gravel near rivers or lake shorelines. The brightly colored bands will often be hidden under a top coat of minerals so other clues will have to be used. Look for translucent parts which indicate chalcedony quartz, the base mineral of agates. Rich red color bands might be visible when the stone is wet. This is often a good indicator of an agate, but the bands can also be pink, yellow, greenish, or even purple. For a more comprehensive guide to agate hunting click here.

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Weekly Staff Wishlist: Janna’s Picks

Janna’s Picks

Last, but certainly not least, we’re featuring Janna (our shop manager)’s favorite pieces.

Beth Millner Jewelry agate silver copper custom earrings greenstone

Of all the jewelry at the shop, tell us your top 4 choices and what draws you to these pieces?

Evening Twilight Lake Superior Agate Drop

Lake Superior agate Beth Millner Jewelry pendant

I love this particular agate. It’s such a subtlety beautiful stone. It’s a nice size and shape from afar, but up close this stone is just gorgeous. The ombré coloring caught my eye before Beth had even set it in the silver. Once set, the little speckles jumped out at us and we decided it looked like little stars. I often help Beth with naming the pieces and “evening twilight” immediately came to mind. Lake Superior agates are my favorite gemstone that we use because of the connection to the region and their history. It would be so nice to have a piece of the lake with me all the time and looking at a stone while thinking of its lifetime, it’d be like having a little piece of this regions geological history right near my heart.

Upper Peninsula Profile Ring

Upper peninsula ring copper UP Beth Millner Jewelry

I own this ring and wear it every single day. The fact that it’s native U.P. copper is really cool to me. It’s also a really unique shape and I’ve never seen anything like it. As soon as Beth showed me the design I fell in love with it. I really wanted one for Christmas last year and kept showing my husband to try and drop hints to him. As the shop manager, I see every transaction and numbers in inventory so I’d know if Nick got one for me.  As Christmas got closer and closer I kind of gave up on the hope that he was actually getting one. Little did I know, he and Beth were working together to create one that wasn’t listed in inventory so I wouldn’t know! He secretly had it shipped to his office then wrapped it in a bunch of nesting boxes so that the original present was this giant box. When I finally got to the surprise I couldn’t believe it was actually the ring! So, this ring is really special to me, not just because I love the design but because of the story behind it as well.

Twilight Dreamland Earrings

greenstone earrings rose gold diamonds dreamscape Beth Millner Jewelry

Yet another “twilight” named piece, I really love these earrings. The fan shape is rather unique and I’m reminded of an art deco vibe. I love that era of design and focused on it when I was in school studying Human Centered Design at NMU. Beyond being attracted to the overall shape of them, I like that they’re a little fancier and longer than most of Beth’s other earrings. They capture the balance between luxury and rustic which seems to be such a popular style lately. The rose gold is a warmer, calmer tone than the bright yellow gold on some of the other pieces. It contrasts the sparkle of the diamond well, but doesn’t overpower the rustic greenstone either. I also like that they still fit into Beth’s signature style, but it’s obvious that she pushed herself as an artist as well. This was the first series that she and I spent a lot of time consulting on and launched together, so that was a fun being a part of the design and promotional side of things.

 Custom Ladybug Pendant

Custom ladybug copper pendant Beth Millner Jewelry

This is my custom piece Beth made for me in honor of my daughter. It was a ton of fun to collaborate with Beth on design ideas and see it slowly come to life. We called my daughter, Eleanor, “bug” when she was a baby and Beth engraved Eleanor’s name and birthday on the back for me. While I love all my Beth Millner pieces, this one is my favorite because I know it’s completely unique and one of a kind. Beth also made an effort to finish it early over a weekend to surprise me so this particular piece is really wonderful.

Click here to find out how Beth can create a custom piece for you!

What type of occasion do you see yourself wearing these pieces? What type of outfit would you accessorize with the jewelry?

Lake Superior agate Beth Millner Jewelry pendant

I would pair the agate with an 18 inch tiny loopy silver chain. I have 3-4 pendants that are my everyday necklaces and this would definitely get added to the rotation. It works well with pretty much everything since it’s simple and not too large. To dress it up even more, I’d layer it with a small pendant (like the double minimalist wave) on a shorter chain. I would probably wear it with either solid or lightly patterned shirts to let it stand out a little more.

Upper peninsula ring copper UP Beth Millner Jewelry

I wear my profile ring literally everyday; I feel naked without it. The only time I ever really take it off is right before bed. Once in a great while I’ll switch it out for one of my other rings because I really only like to wear two at a time, my wedding ring and one on the middle finger of my right hand. I love to wear the UP ring out of the area since it’s such a unique shape. Most people in the midwest know what it is, so it’s fun to point out where I live, but it’s also fun to explain the area as a whole to people who aren’t familiar with it.

greenstone earrings rose gold diamonds dreamscape Beth Millner Jewelry

I would wear the dreamscape earrings out on special occasions; date nights out on the tow, work parties, to the symphony, or out to Zephyr wine bar.  I could also see myself wearing them on an everyday basis though. I don’t wear earrings often just because I would have to think about putting them on in the morning, but I could easily see myself donning them on an average day if I was feeling particularly artsy or dressed up a bit. Beth designed them to be luxurious and dressy, but also functional for everyday wear. She actually wore a pair of the dreamscape earrings and the large agate pendant when we went trash picking for adopt a highway in the fall. Haha my husband, Nick, did sort of a double take and questioned why Beth was wearing her newest pieces; she shrugged and replied that she always wore new pieces around town for a bit to test them out. So obviously these earrings are super versatile, but I’d probably try to stick to simple colors to not over power their design. I actually have a long sleeved, dark green dress that I’d love to accent with these earrings for Nick’s work party soon.

Custom ladybug copper pendant Beth Millner Jewelry

I don’t wear the ladybug everyday. It’s sort of a special piece that I like to pull out when I’m feeling whimsical or close with my family. It’s one of those jewelry pieces that carries more meaning than my other pieces, so I’ll wear it if I’m needing some good vibes or a reminder of those I love. It goes with most outfits, but it’s also a little quirky so when I wear it, it’s for me. I also like a range of sizes in pendants so some days I feel like wearing really little necklaces and other days I feel like larger pieces. The ladybug is on the larger side of the scale, so definitely a bit of a statement piece.

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Weekly Staff Wishlist: Beth’s Picks

Beth’s Picks

Happy New Year everyone! To kick off 2017 we’re revealing Beth’s favorite pieces.

nature Beth Millner Jewelry water trees greenstone copper silver

Of all the jewelry at the shop, tell us your top choices and what draws you to these pieces?

The Dreamscape Series are my newest work so obviously I’m pretty sweet on those lately. They’re much more elaborate than my other designs. I’ve always stuck with more practical designs, but this series really pushed me as an artist to create visually stunning and complex pieces. I recently invested in several trays of local gemstones and was inspired to highlight them in a line we describe as “naturally luxurious”. Most jewelry featuring gold and diamonds is so traditional. These pieces are for the person who wants that high end look while keeping their creative and natural self.

Dreamscape gold diamond greenstone Beth Millner Jewelry

I wanted to keep the round pendants reflective of my other mixed metal designs, but each piece is truly one of a kind due to the gemstones. In a way, the gold conifers and tree cut outs merge my landscape mixed metals with my recent fall conifer series. While designing the ring and some of the larger pieces, I used concentric and overlapping circles as influence for the fan structure. I’m partial to the “Together in Dreamland” pendant because of the large greenstone. A very earthy gemstone, the structure and pattern of a greenstone really catches my eye and compliments the fine gold finishes really nicely.

My other choices consist of the pieces I wear on a daily basis. I’m attracted to mixed metal because it seems to go with any outfit or other jewelry I choose. I prefer the smaller pendants while working in the studio and almost always keep the same earrings in. Despite being a jewelry artist, I keep my own style fairly minimalist most of the time.

 Mini Chocolay River Pendant

Chocolay mini copper silver river tree nature Beth Millner Jewelry

I usually string the Mini Chocolay on a long, darkened chain. I like all the pieces in the river series of course, but the Chocolay pieces speak to me the most. The design on the mini is detailed but very simple compared to the others. As I was designing the river pieces I tried to incorporate something unique to the actual waterway. I think when peopler first move to the area they hear “chocolate” rather than “Chocolay” so I figured the “chocolate” river should be made from copper!

Silver Wetmore Landing Pendant

winter wetmore waves trees Beth Millner Jewelry

The Wetmore Landing pendant is near and dear to me. Probably my best-loved piece I’ve designed due to what it represents; Wetmore Landing is my favorite place in the Upper Peninsula. I love to go on hikes out there and feel so at home among the pines near the shoreline. I began art school as an painting major and I think that training translates well into capturing a natural landscape with metal. I like the mixed metal version, but currently feeling the wintery silver one. Tis the season!

Little Long Copper Landscape Earrings

copper trees earrings Beth Millner Jewelry

I usually alternate between the little long copper landscape earrings and the solar reflections earrings. Since Amanda chose the solar reflections though, I’ll talk about the little coppers. They’re just the right size and the little tree design is used in a lot of my other pieces so they go with pretty much everything. I like the copper land the best since the copper is so warm and goes with my hair; but the little brass and silver are nice too. The name of the trees is rather literal, but many of the pieces have very unique names as well. Janna, our shop manager, helps me title a lot of them. She came up with “Solar Reflections” for instance; named to describe the wish for a bit of sun while watching Superior’s turbulent waves in wintertime.

What type of occasion do you see yourself wearing these pieces? What type of outfit would you accessorize with the jewelry?

The dreamscape pieces are jewelry I’d wear for a special occasion. Perhaps on a fancy date out with Mike or to an art gallery opening. The greenstone pendant could be worn on a casual day, but the ring is definitely an artistic, slightly extravagant piece. I love the way it looks, but since I work with my hands so much it’s a bit too large for everyday wear in the studio. I’d try to wear a fairly classy, yet simple outfit with any piece from the dreamscape series. The bold patterns I like to wear would compete with the complex designs of the series and stones. I’d wear a solid colored dress or shirt to highlight the stones and gold accents.

Greenstone Dreamscape ring gold silver diamond art Beth Millner Jewelry

gold silver rose gold diamond greenstone ring necklace Beth Millner Jewelry

The other pieces I do actually wear everyday so I’d classify them as causal, everyday wear! Usually I wear a dress with some leggings and a sweater to work. I wear my jewelry all the time. Honestly, the only time I take them off is to switch to the other pendant or earrings. I even sleep in the earrings and with the latching style hook they never come out on their own. I love wearing them out on hikes as well and seeing the the metal designs inspired by nature out in the actual natural environment. I get so used to seeing my pieces on the bench or in the display case, it’s nice to see them out in the world and where they really belong.

Beth Millner Jewelry necklace earrings mixed metal nature river trees

Wearing the Solar Reflections earrings out on a hike along the noquemonon trail. Check out our instagram for more behind the scenes of the jewelry!

Solar reflections earrings nature Marquette Hike copper

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Andrea’s Picks

Spice up your holiday wish list with our staff’s own favorite pieces!

New Beginnings Earrings

silver earrings mixed metals sun Beth Millner Jewelry

These earrings are some of my favorite in the whole store. They are so bright and cheery, slightly luxurious with the gold suns paired well with the rustic hammer texture and patina. Beth appropriately calls them “New Beginnings”. They give off such a positive vibe and wearing them allows you to just radiate alacrity. These earrings have always reminded me of a time in my own life when I had my own new beginning; the sun rises once more and everything is going to be okay.

Silver Framed Greenstone Drop Pendant

greenstone pendant Beth Millner Jewelry Michigan

I really like the rugged stone in a juxtaposition with the fine silver. It reminds me of the delicate balance between the natural and manmade world. The stone itself is rather little, but it is emphasized by the large plate of silver behind it. To me, this stone setting is less traditional than most stone pendants. It’s much more artsy and obviously handcrafted.

Entwined Branches Ring

engagement ring diamond recycled metal Beth Millner Jewelry

Holy wah… this ring is just a dream. It’s perfectly balances while seeming slightly asymmetrical just like a real twig system. When I put this ring on, I feel like a woodland fairy. I feel like it was made out of actual plants and somehow frozen in time to hold that little diamond. With the leaves, I’m reminded of a first snow when everything appears black and white and little ice droplets sparkle in the trees. It seems so ethereal yet very permanent at the same time.

Red Autumn Conifer Pendant

conifer copper mixed metal Beth Millner Jewelry

This conifer pendant really seems to capture my personal connection to the land. I live with the local land and work to preserve and protect the natural world. I studied outdoor recreation and currently I work with the land conservency so my whole life really revolves around playing outside and protecting the land we use. To me, this piece really captures the local conifer shorelines along Superior.  The terrain is often varied and the hammer textures can be interpreted as many different types of landscapes. Once more, like most of Beth’s pieces, this pendant really epitomizes “rugged yet beautiful”.

What type of occasion do you see yourself wearing these pieces? What type of outfit would you accessorize with the jewelry?

New Beginnings Oh goodness, these are my favorite earrings. I wear them in the shop whenever I get a chance to. Realistically I’d wear them everyday, but I would reccomend pairing the new beginnings earrings with simple outfits such as a plain t-shirt and a nice pair of jeans. I wear solid colored button up shirts to work each day, so these would brighten up my outfit in the office as well. These bright cheery earrings deserve to be highlighted and a simple outfit would do just that.

Greenstone Droplet – This little greenstone pendant is another piece I’d love to wear everyday. I work outside most of the summer and I feel that this is a necklace I wouldn’t be afraid to wear out in the woods. I try not to wear too much jewelry out there for fear of losing it, but this little drop pendant is a perfect size to string on an 18 inch chain and tuck under my shirt to keep safe while hiking. Then, when I’m back in the office for a bit, it’s easy to untuck and dress up the plain colored shirts I’m always wearing. The little greenstone is a very earthy gemstone and makes me feel connected to the earth. It’s subtly beautiful without being overly flashy. While I would usually wear it to dress up my work outfit, this drop pendant would look amazing with a little black dress on a night out. A few quick swipes of a polishing pad would result in a delicate, high shine silver piece perfect for a night out.

Entwined Branches Ring– This is such a uniquely gorgeous ring. Yet another piece I’d wear everyday if I could. For days I work in the office, this ring would be ideal. The entwined branches feel so fancy while still preserving my earthy self. It does’t have to be an engagement ring, I love to wear it on my middle finger. The tiny diamond accent it just enough that it can easily be worn on any other finger as a little sparkle added to your day. Though if you were to wear it on your ring finger it’d make the coolest engagement ring ever. It’s comfy yet is absolutely stunning all at once.

Red Conifer Pendant – I would love to wear the Red Autumn Conifer pendant while giving presentations. It acts as a conversation piece, yet isn’t overly distracting. A great way to dress up the khaki pants and solid colored button ups I wear for my job, this pendant would definitely be a staple in my professional wardrobe. The large conifer cutouts are recognizable from further away and the layering of shapes is rather unique. Beyond work, I’d wear this when I wanted to look nice, but still be casual; like on a first date or a night out with the girls.

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Amanda’s Picks

Amanda’s Picks

Spice up your holiday wish list with our staff’s own favorite pieces!

Which are your favorite pieces and what draws you to them?

1) Solar Reflections Earringsearrings mixed metal beth millner jewelry

These new designs are a fun twist on the circle based earrings Beth usually creates. The rounded diamond shape elongates the piece and is a nice length for my shorter hair. I really like the mixed metal look, combining my two favorite metals to wear; copper and silver. These have a patina but also have a brighter finish so they’re very eye-catching. I also am drawn to the minimalist wave design. I grew up on Lake Huron and have spent most of my adult life here, near Lake Superior. It’s nice to have an element which connects the two places so well.

This little guy is one of my favorite pieces in the store. I really like the small size (about the size of your thumbnail) and I love the design. Fall is a difficult season to capture, but I feel like Beth did it very elegantly in such a simple way. The other seasons in this series are nice as well, but I just really like the uniqueness of this one. The fall is my favorite season because I enjoy wearing cozy clothes and seeing the leaves change. It’s also when my birthday is, so that might make me partial to that time of year as well.

textured handmade silver ring

I have a 3mm tree bark textured ring that I wear all the time. (In the picture above, it’s the smallest size with the texture of the largest ring) I love this style because they’re made to order in not just the size, but the texture as well. It’s cool to have a highly customizable piece that is fairly casual and economical. The many textures are all made by hammering them while the metal is still a flat piece. The indented surface is then brought to life with a patina which creates a high contrast in an otherwise simple band ring.

handmade necklace trees pendant beth millner jewelry

This piece is so unique and beautiful. I love the boarder around it and how it almost looks like a little polaroid picture. It almost has a vintage flair while still modern in the landscape design. This piece also reminds me of the crisp winter days up here when the snow is crunchy but the sun is shining and making everything sparkle. The bare trees are very reminiscent of wintertime and I like the trio. The uneven land lines remind me of late winter, around March, when the snow is melting but leaving little lumps to still navigate around.

What type of occasion do you see yourself wearing these pieces? What type of outfit would you accessorize with the jewelry?

1) Since I’ve always mixed my metals, these two in one earrings seem to be perfect. I love that they have a unique diamond/leaf shape, but have rounded corners so they’re very comfortable and don’t catch. I like where they hang since they’re longer than the average earring but not too dangly. My shortish hair usually hides earrings, but these seem to be just the right length and the copper color compliments my darker hair. These earrings are great because they’re easily worn on an everyday basis, but could also add a bit of artistic flair to a fancy night out.

2) I would pair the small fall copper piece with a short darkened chain or a 16 inch brown leather cord. I personally prefer a shorter chain to wear with scarves or over a high necked sweater. When I wear the autumn pendant, I like to pair it with my tiny leaf charm. It’s small enough that it goes great with some of the charms we have here too. Beth has a initial charms would be a great addition as well. All the charms are silver so you can get the mixed metal look just by combining pieces. I really love the all copper pieces though. It’s such a unique looking metal that changes overtime, but can always be polished up again quickly.

3) I have a personal connection to this ring as it was my first completed piece when I started up in the workshop. After creating many more and wearing mine everyday, I can guarantee that these are super comfortable and the perfect casual ring. I’ve always gravitated towards silver, I feel like it’s a metal that goes with a lot. Its easy to wear because even if you mix metals, the darker parts contrast well with gold and copper. Its a casual piece and the texture is fairly simple, but it feels nice.

4) This is my splurge piece which features a 22k gold sun on a wintery landscape. I’d pair it with some gold bangles which I can never seem to find an excuse to wear. I like this piece though because its mostly silver with just a touch of gold to spice it up. It’s a versatile piece like most of Beth’s jewelry, but just as easy to wear with a evening dress as it is with a basic white t-shirt. I love my scarves and could easily string this on the adjustable chain so I could wear it tight against my neck, or down below my scarf. Great year round piece and the square shape is much more interesting than a typical pendant. It’s also reversible if you’re feeling like just a simple textured piece.

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We’re now open 7 days of the week all of December!

Get your holiday shopping done on your own time with our extended hours through late December, and for last minute shoppers we’re open Christmas Eve 10-5pm.

If you’re buying online or sending a piece elsewhere, take note of our SHIPPING DEADLINES to ensure your gift arrives on time. First Class is Dec. 20th, Priority is Dec. 21st, and Priority Express must be ordered by Dec. 23rd.

Visit our shipping page for more information.

Remember! Local customers have the option to pick up their order in the store, just be sure to use the coupon code MARQUETTEPICKUP .

Happy Holidays from all of us here at Beth Millner’s Jewelry!

Winter is here! Embrace the snow with some of our wintery trees.

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Sale! Beth Millner Jewelry ~ Up to 50% off Select Items


Take an additional 5% OFF, Starts Sunday 11/27 at 9am EST:
All orders over $100! Use the coupon code: 2016SALE5% at checkout! This includes all items, even our NEW Dreamscape Series!

Cyber Monday Sale Starts at 12:01am on Monday! First 10 customers online get a FREE charm included with their purchase by leaving a note during checkout. 

We are having online and storewide sales Black Friday through Cyber Monday! November 25th-28th! Select items up to 50% OFF! Plus Automatic Free Shipping! All promotions are available online or in store.

The first 10 customers will also recieve automatically a FREE suprise sterling silver charm with purchase of any pendant, earrings or rings!

Check out the Deals section on our website to take advantage of the sale!

It’s the perfect opportunity to get handmade holiday gifts for your friends and family (and maybe a little something for you!).

The sale starts at 12:01am EST on Friday for online shoppers and at 9am in the storefront for our regular hours.

Store Hours (during sale)
Friday 9-6
Saturday 9-6
Sunday closed
Monday 10-6

If you want to shop online, but pick your items up at the store, please leave a note during checkout with your request!

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