Scarce lapidary material

Identifying and documenting scarce lapidary material

Much of my rough material I buy is used to create designer cabochons and wire wrapped jewelry for sale, as seen on our website, Designs by Shirl. Most of the scarce lapidary material has become so scarce I have a hard time replacing what I use. Most times it’s just luck when I do find it at estate sales and Gem and Mineral shows. My best chance of finding more of this material today is mainly through private sales.

If I just bought something new, or it just recently surfaced, most likely the dealer only knows the name and location it was found in. If they are the actual miners who found the material I shouldn’t have to do any research. Most times if I have to research new material over the Internet my chances of finding any information is remote, so I generally come up empty handed. An example of what happens, recently a new material was found near the K2 mountain on the India and Pakistan border. They called it K2 Jasper, which was entirely wrong. After months of being available someone finally had it tested and found out what the contents were. It’s now being called K2 Azurite, the stone is Albite (feldspar mineral) Quartz/Microcline with Azurite (the blue dots), Manganese, Titanium, Strontium and Chromium as secondary minerals of concentration. Here’s a picture of a designer cabochon to show you what it looks like.

K2 Azurite designer cabochon

When a material is becoming so scarce or rare, and I’m having a lot of trouble locating more, I will add the material to this blog with as much information as I can gather. At least I will know it got documented somewhere. If you heard about new material that has surfaced please drop me a line and I will keep track of it if I can and someday you might see it on my website. For this first article, I will tell you what I know about the Amazonite with Diopside which I was fortunate to buy at an estate sale, until then I never knew it existed. I’m now producing designer cabochons and wire wrapped pendants for sale.

Amazonite with Diopside Crystals

    Origin: Morocco
    Colors: Blue, green and gray (quartz or Diopside)
    Material: Natural Amazonite and Diopsite with quartz, translucent
    Hardness: 6.5-8 (my scratch test)
    Location: USA, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Russia, Australia, Namibia and Morocco

Amazonite with Diopside crystalsAmazonite with Diopside crystalsAmazonite with Diopside crystals


This rough material, originally from Morocco, is now only being sold as specimens. My Amazonite with Diopside crystals rough was purchased from an estate sale. The person selling it said his father had sold it in the 1960’s or 70’s, he didn’t know more about it other than the name on the box.

Most of the material is translucent, it’s a beautiful blue Amazonite with green and gray diopside crystals. I am able to produce a mirror finish with this material, probably because of its hardness. I may be partial to blue but I love the looks of my Designer Cabochons after they are polished, and Shirl’s adds a lot of beauty to the cab with her wire wrapped jewelry.

After extensively researching the Internet I’m unable to find any information dating back to when it was discovered, so the exact location and time it was found is not available. I have not tested the material so the actual makeup to me is not known. I’m sure someone has this information and maybe this article will help find it.

I’m suspecting that most or all of the material was purchased for bead making in the Orient. I have seen bead strings that have looked like this material. I didn’t buy them and when I tried to find them again I wasn’t successful.

On our website,, we have an extensive list of scarce material we have finished into designer cabochons and wire wrapped jewelry.

Designer Cabochons by Designs by ShirlDesigner Cabochons by Designs by Shirl

If it’s a wire jewelry gift you need, check out Shirl’s wire wrapped pendants and handmade necklaces using my designer cabochons at and my ancient coin jewelry that uses Greek and Roman coins to create pendants for both men and woman.