It's the latest on my work bench. Honey-colored calcite with the crystals in tubular cells outlined by predominately white membranes gives this stone a definite look of honeycomb. It is exclusively mined in Utah. It's luster is vitreous, but it does accept a gleaming high polish. Unlike other forms of calcite, its color doesn't readily fade in sunlight. Because of its structure, it's solid and sturdy and is used in both architectural and artistic applications. I've seen pictures of its use in bathrooms, entryways, bars and wine cellars ... absolutely spectacular! I discovered this pleasing rock in a local store in the historic area of downtown Plano called Tuscan Lights. Scott doesn't have his website live as of yet, otherwise I would gladly provide the link! But if you're in my area, do yourself a favor and visit his shop at 1018 E. 15th Street.
Scott's store features this stone used for lighting, especially cylinders of various heights placed on stone slabs with a tealight candle or wired with a mini-bulb in the center. The light glows from within the honeycomb translucence to provide a warm, beautiful and inviting affect. Scott also builds wine cellars, and he has used honeycomb calcite slabs for tiling and other purposes. I've seen his portfolio and it's amazing!
When I first encountered his store and this pretty rock, I inquired about jewelry applications. He wasn't familiar with this stone being used in jewelry making, but with just a bit of research, he found that there are some uses, especially with the stone being cut and polished for cabochons. I don't use a lot of cabochons, so I asked about beads and other shapes with holes drilled for wire and jump ring insertions. He found that beads are possible, but I'd have to order a quantity that only a bead shop would use! Since I can't possibly use 10,000 beads of any given size, I've had to satisfy myself with what little already being offered. At least we have these pretty carved and highly polished hearts! I already have one necklace completed and it's in Scott's store on consignment.
This half barrel pendent has slanted grooves carved into the face for wire-wrapping. I'm looking forward to experimenting with brass or copper wire and various beads. Some of the stone comes with the reddish streak you see here which I suppose is caused by the presence of iron. There are various shapes and sizes available. I'm hoping we can get the smaller discs cut thin enough to be used for earrings. If this stone is slice too thin, however, the color will looked "washed out."
I also hope that some bead supplier will discover this stone and start making honeycomb beads available to the jewelry artist industry at large. I would love to see lots of different sizes, both smooth and faceted, along with puffed coin, square and rectangular shapes.
Here is a close up of the carved heart. If you click on the photos, you can see larger versions. You should be able to see the difference in the luster between this heart which is highly polished, and the "happy coin" disc in the first photo. The firm that distributes this stone for the mine has been experimenting with acid etching and I've seen some awesome results. For additional information, check out the main US distributor here. If you're in the Dallas area, be sure to stop by Scott's shop at the address noted above. Tell him Hilary sent you!