Locket Lore

Be sure to not miss out on Beth’s latest and greatest new creation: Lockets!

Locket mixed metal Beth Millner Jewelry

After several experiments with design, Beth has created a perfect picture locket for your special someone. Secure and easy to use, each metal piece has been specially built to interlock with the other parts and keep the latch tight and your picture safe.

Locket Beth Millner Jewelry Nature mixed metal

Throughout history, locket design has remained fairly consistent with a hinge and latch with a space inside to hold the small keepsake. In the past Beth has played with various locket designs such as a lid or sliding front (See below). Other than mild nuances in interlocking mechanisms though, the purpose of a locket has always been to hold something very small close to it’s wearer.

Locket Beth Millner Jewelry Silver

The original lockets were known as amulets. These pendants were thought to act as sources of protection magic which would channel a the powers into the wearer. While it is usually just blessed or infused with the magic in some way, some amulets were created to actually contain potions, powders, or a small script. Usually leather or occasionally brass these early lockets were nothing like the delicate metal pendants we’re used to today.

In the 16th century Lockets became very popular during the Victorian Era. “Prince Albert gifted his beloved Victoria with a bracelet that had eight lockets, filled with a lock of hair from each of their eight children.” During this time, lockets were used mainly as memorials of loved ones containing bits of hair, tiny paintings, or even ashes. These lockets embodied the filigree ornate style which we generally think of today.

So come in and pick out your favorite design today! Order online or let us know in the store and we can even upgrade you to have your chosen picture printed and prepped before hand!

 Two Hearted River      Sunset on the Chocolay          AuTrain River                Eben Ice Caves

Locket Mixed metal nature Beth Millner Jewelry

Source: http://www.theribboninmyjournal.com/the-secret-life-of-antiques-lockets/

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Copper Banded Agates and Custom Rings

Only formed in the land locked copper veins which run throughout the Keweenaw Peninsula, copper banded agates are a very rare variety of Lake Superior agate. In the “All About Agates!” blogpost, we learned how agates form and varieties of inclusions (additional minerals trapped in the gemstone).

copper agate ring pendant Lake Superior Beth Millner Jewelry

The copper bands seen in these agates are considered inclusions within the agate. Often known as “copper replacement agates” the copper replaces the bands of other oxides within the gemstone.

Here in the shop we love to include these rare gemstones in our pendants and rings.

copper agate ring pendant Lake Superior Beth Millner Jewelry

Generally copper banded agates are light pink or greenish and are quite small. Often, they look like any other agate until they are cut in half to reveal the copper bands within. They are quite rare and little is known about the formation process of these unique little gemstones. While the research is being conducted however, we’ll continue to appreciate them for their beauty and 2 in 1 pieces of our local region (native U.P. copper and a bit of Superior).

copper agate keweenaw UP Jewelry Beth Millner

Love the look of the copper banded agates? Browse through our stock of them to pick your favorite and create your very own, unique, double banded ring! Want even more options than those listed in our choose your own ring page? Swing by the store and chat with us about a custom design featuring one of our other gemstones!

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U.P. Thomsonite Demystified

Demystifying U.P. Thomsonite: what is it? where is it found? how does it differ from “true thomsonite”?
Used in Beth’s new dreamscape series as well as gemstone rings, U.P. Thomsonite has brought some unique color into our store!
thomsonite lake stone Beth Millner Jewelry
“U.P. Thomsonite” is the close cousin of true thomsonite which is only found along the north shore of Lake Superior. U.P. thomsonite features very similar eye patterns and color bands to it’s cousin from the north. Dark eyelets with feathery inclusions create unique patterns commonly sought out for use in jewelry.
thomsonite Lake Superior Jewelry earrings ring Beth Millner Jewelry
U.P. Thomsonite features dark green eyes and variations of pink that are often pastel colors; rarely found in true thomsonite. The pink and green colors in U.P. Thomsonite is actually internal reflections from copper inclusions (additional minerals trapped within the gemstone).
U.P. Thomsonite is formed in a similar process as agates, trapped air pockets within volcanic basalt fill with prehnite (mineral base of U.P. Thomsonite) and microscopic bits of copper. Prehnite is usually pale green in color (Left picture below), but the copper rich area of Lake Superior has created Pink Prehnite (right picture below). The color intensity in the U.P. Thomsonite is due to the grain size of the copper inclusions within the gemstone.
thomsonite prehnite beth millner jewelry
U.P. Thomsonite is difficult to remove from the Balsalt matrix without breaking the gemstone, so most of the stones are from pebbles collected along the beaches. These stones were naturally removed from the basalt by being tumbled in Lake Superior.
thomsonite lake stones Beth Millner Jewelry

Information sourced from:

Agate Lady Blog

Snob Appeal Jewelry Blog Thomsonite and Prehnite

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Valentine’s Day Promotion!

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching. Here’s all you need to know to ensure your sweetheart gets the gift she deserves (or to ensure your significant other knows what you really deserve).

The first step is to sign up for our Valentine’s Day promotion! Check out the prompt on our website homepage to receive a special bonus with a Valentine’s Day purchase.

Valentines day Beth Millner Jewelry

Second, be sure that your gift arrives in time! Order by February 10th to be sure that your hand-packaged gift arrives by the 14th.

Beth Milner Jewelry Valentines day

Lastly…

Ladies, be sure to stop in the store and update your wishlist!

Lovers, when visiting the store ask for her wishlist to have a quick guide to the pieces you know she’ll adore!

Personalize any of our pieces with a custom engraving! Anything from a simple “xoxo” to “You are my sunshine”. Kids names, a date, a location… The possibilities are endless!

engraving silver Beth Millner Jewelry custom

Choose “Be Mine”or “Forever Yours” for the classic approach. If you’re a bit more unconventional, go international with Spanish “Te Amo” or French “Je T’aime”. Regardless of the words you choose to express your love, your lady will feel lucky to have such a thoughtful addition.

Be sure to check out our highlighted pieces in the Valentine’s Day section of the website. These epitomize the ideal gift for a nature loving couple.

Fly away together with the Sandhill Cranes pendant.
sandhill crane bird necklace nature Beth Millner Jewelry

These strong and beautiful birds mate for life and make long journeys together as they migrate each year. This piece is perfect for a couple who enjoys traveling, the occasional dance session, and dropping everything for a quick afternoon adventure. Check out the accompanying “Elegant Crane” earrings and small pendant as well.

Be in synchronistic balance with our Knotty Pines pendant.

pine tree valentines day nature Beth Millner Jewelry silver

These cast, recycled sterling silver pine trees feature a symmetrical design with natural flow. Optimal for couples who’s love is strong and steadfast, a bright horizon radiates behind the trees. Deep roots of pines anchor them, much like the couple with strongly entwined core values. A heart is featured on the back with a smooth surface. Perfect for engraving a personalized message to make it even more special.

Spice things up with a Silver Heart Charm!

Heart silver Beth Millner Jewelry Valentines

Already found the perfect pendant, but want to show your love a little more literally? Add on a heart charm! Looking for something small to add to that necklace she always wears? These little guys are a perfect addition to anyone’s pendants. The stacked look is in right now don’t-cha-know?

Heart charm silver Beth Millner Jewelry

Pair it with your initial charms: great alternative to defacing trees! Check out all our other charms for even more ideas!

Charm silver initial Beth Millner Jewelry

Also adorable all on its own, these little hearts just can’t go wrong.

Treasure your love with the NEW Two-Hearted River Locket

river photo locket silver copper trees nature Beth Millner Jewelry

Every lady would love to have a picture of you both always near her heart. Beth has been working hard to create gorgeous yet functional new lockets. Secure and easy to replace the photo, you can’t go wrong with this brand new design. You can even contact us for an upgrade and we’ll take care of the photo printing and placement for you! Be on the look out for even more locally inspired designs such as the Eben Ice Cave Locket. photo locket silver copper Beth Millner Jewelry

Spoil your sweetie with a one-of-a-kind pair of Dreamland Earrings!

gold rose diamonds greenstone silver earrings Beth Millner Jewelry

Part of the new dreamscape series, these naturally luxurious beauties are finished with recycled 14k rose gold, ethically sourced diamonds, and polished Michigan Greenstones. These stunning earrings are perfect for the lady who loves to indulge in art jewelry and have a little sparkle with her natural look. The unique greenstones ensure that these are a one-of-a-kind item, so your lady will never run into someone wearing the same pair. Make this Valentine’s day a special one and treat your flawless lady to a pair of functional yet fashionable earrings. Entitled “Dream Together”, these are sure to be added to the favorites section of her jewelry stand.

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5 Greatest facts about Greenstones!

The Isle Royal Greenstone is featured in many of Beth’s new Dreamscape series.

1) The greenstone is Michigan’s state gemstone. Most people recognize the Petoskey Stone as Michigan’s mineral representative, as it is Michigan’s official state stone. The greenstone got to share the glory in 1972 when it was officially declared the state GEM.

 

2) The Michigan Greenstone is also known as the “Isle Royal Greenstone”. They are most commonly found on as small rounded pebbles along the shores of Lake Superior, though collection of these little gems on Isle Royal is now illegal. The mineral name of the greenstone is Chlorastrolite.
3) Even though greenstone collection is prohibited on Isle Royal, the gems can still be found in the copper waste rock piles of the Keweenaw Peninsula of the UP. These mainland stones are found embedded in Basalt and are often larger and darker than the Island stones. Often possessing large chatoyant cell structures, the patterns are bolder as well. The identification and extraction of these mainland stones are much more difficult, though it is what rock collectors must go through now that the Isle Royal stones are protected.

4) Isle Royal greenstones aren’t necessarily better than mainland stones, they simply are naturally tumbled by Lake Superior thus are much easier to find as they are already somewhat polished. The inferior stones have already been eroded away, leaving the best selection of gems to choose from. Mainland stones however can offer much larger pieces, as well as more complex patterns.

 

5) Often the “island stones” feature pink prehnite reminiscent of the color of Lake Superior Agates. Some stones have some stones have quartz or calcite centers. Others are hollow and the color and pattern tends to change throughout the depth of the stone. All of these factors should be considered when cutting and sanding the gems.

 

The greenstone is an intricate stone certain to catch the eye of any passerby. Set in pendants and rings, there are many greenstones in our shop to choose from!

Greenstone Beth Millner Jewelry
Information sourced from Keweenaw Gem & Gift

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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.

Information sourced from:

Superiortrails.com

agateswithinclusions.com

dnr.state.mn.us

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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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