Rocks or stones in jewelry designs

Lately I’ve seen rocks or stones used in jewelry designs. Are people
gathering the stones themselves from riverbeds and ocean beaches?
I’ve looked around myself and can’t find the nice flat ones or colors
of dark grey, beige, tan, grey/green/blue. Is there a sorce? I’ve
been sorting through pea gravel from Walmart in the landscaping
around my house. This stuff just doesn’t cut it.


Beaches and riverbeds are great sources of cool stuff to use in
jewelry. You just have to have patience and time. Keep looking and you
will find that special treasure.

Net: I have a friend that creates rock jewelry and one of the sources
of her stones is a beach in Northern California. She uses the colors
that you mentioned in her work. She finishes the stones using a
tumbler and then cuts designs into the stone using diamond burs. If
you are not near a beach maybe a river would do. Good Luck.

Linda Crawford
Linda Crawford Designs
Willits, CA
“Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.”

Personally, I’ve used beachstones in some of my work that I have
gathered myself. It helps that I live on Lake Michigan. I don’t
know of any other sources for them, and I would think that these
types of stones would best be found along the shores of very large
bodies of water, such that waves are produced which will tumble the
stones, or along larger rivers with sufficient flow for tumbling the
stones. Even along the shores of Lake Michigan, there are not very
many good spots that I know of for collecting. In the best places
that I’m aware of, it may take me an hour or so to collect even a few
really good stones which have the appropriate shape, size, texture
and mineral content to be incorporated into a design. Most of the
stones on the beach are not flat enough, many of them are too porous
(which I stay away from because it makes it impossible to polish the
metal - silver or gold - in which they are set without staining the
stone), or just simply not appropriate for one reason or another. I
have to admit, though, that the walks along the beach are never
dissappointing; even if I don’t collect many stones, it’s just great
to be out on the beach. I have been primarily self-taught and only
been doing this for a short time, so others may know of sources for
those who don’t have access to the bodies of water.

Mark L. Milanich

Another lurker peeks out.

I love found objects and rocks can fit this description. Where are
you located? You need to get out and take a walk near some moving
bodies of water; streams or ocean. You can certainly buy
water-polished stones and if you wanted to do that you could try one
of those “nature” shops they have in malls. You might also try a
garden shop.

But I like the excitement of the hunt, and have a couple of favorite
places. Near Newport, Rhode Island, is the Sachuest Point National
Wildlife Refuge. There’s a beach there that my nieces called M & M’s
beach. Not exactly a beach, but a gravelly nook between the boulders
covered with small round smooth stones. It’s a great place to spend a
day. The URL for Sachuest is: There’s even a photo
titled “Interesting Stones On the Sachuest Shore,” so I guess this
isn’t my little secret.

Also, in England, on the North Sea Coast of Suffolk County,
especially around Orford, are many shingle beaches. (Shingle is
basically rounded gravel.) They’ve got lots of interesting flint
stones on the beaches there as well. Pretty weird looking stuff the
first time I saw it, but just run of the mill stones to the natives.


net - look in your in your newspaper’s 'clubs, organizations, etc.'
section for a couple of weeks for a lapidary club or gem & mineral
show notice. or check the closest large museum gift shop - while
everyone buys prints & copies from the smithsonian shops i buy red
mesh bags of smooth little stones - mostly black; while everyone here
collects shells on the beaches i collect - you got it! the rock
jewelry pieces are very popular. ive

I live on the ocean and personally collect ALL of the crockery
shards, glass and pebbles and whatnot that I use in my work. Yup,
toughest part of the job is taking a walk on the beach every few days!

With all the talk going on about misleading names for I
find it equally deceptive to be calling stuff ‘beach glass’ that is
actually mechanically tumbled. It is sand-tumbled broken glass, and I
know that doesn’t have a lot of marketing cache, but it isn’t ‘beach


You can collect your own stones but often have to cut them to be
used in Jewelry. I would recommend looking at a copy of the magazine
Lapidary Journal or go to: I also cut
my own stones and find rough from many places, but mostly from gem
shows and rock shops. Lapidary Journal has a calendar of these shows
as well as resources for equipment for cutting your own. I must warn
you though…stone collecting is terribly addictive! I have also
compiled several links to on-line stone resources through my website: Where are you located? I’ve seen several
books that outline specific regions to do your own collecting in the
USA. Check in the Geology section of bookstores or do a search on under “mineral collecting” or “gemstones”.


Amy O’Connell
Amy O’Connell Jewelry

Beaches and riverbeds are great sources of cool stuff to use in
jewelry. You just have to have patience and time. Keep looking and you
will find that special treasure. 

G’day - 2c worth here; Looking for rocks on the shore should be done
in gentle rain - or perhaps better, immediately after it. Or, if
there’s no rain, take a piece of cloth soaked in oil (any oil,
including cooking oil) but it must be a very light oil - you could
dilute any oil with kerosene if you don’t mind the horrible pong of
that stuff! Also keep another cloth to wipe your hands on after
handling the oil; polythene bags are just the job. The idea is that
the rain or the oil will fill the tiny abraded surface of the stone,
and give you some idea of what it might look like when polished, Many
rock shops keep an oily rag handy for their customers. Trouble is
fossicking among stones and rocks can be hazardous to your health.
You can get so engrossed you don’t see the ones to trip over. But
cheer up; not all the folk you see with black eyes, a limp and
abrasions are rock hunters. –

John Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of Mapua Nelson NZ

....I must warn you though...stone collecting is terribly

I used to work at a University and was talking in the carpark to the
Professor of Geology - who was shortly to retire - about just that
subject. I remember saying, “How long is it, Prof,. before one stops
coming home with a bootful of rocks?” Instead of replying, he
grinned, and opened his car boot. It contained about 25 kilos of
small rocks! So BEWARE! –

John Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of Mapua Nelson NZ

I missed the first message for the type of stones you are looking

I “used” a large volume of tumbled rocks for my kscopes…I found a
place that you could buy tumbled or rough stones by the pound. I
tried buying stones from the nature stores in the mall, and it about
broke the bank. I tried to tumble my own…took a really long time.

Pelham Grayson in North Stonington, CT 1-800-321-8725.

Another company that I have a catalog for, but have never ordered
from is Morton Hahn in NJ, 201-625-1764. It’s an old catalog so the
area code may not be correct.


Right on Lisa, In Kansas, the river sand bars are wonderful sources
for artifacts, fossils, and rounded pebbles. With the marvelous
fossil beds in the limestone formations all around the Flint Hills,
weathering releases the fossils to be washed down stream. Sand plants
are another good source. I’ve been known to “bribe” the operator of a
small sand plant with cookies and other yummies. They find all kinds
of neat stuff on their screens and will usually save them for you if
you reciprocate with an edible reward; we also find Indian artifacts
such as worked flint, pot shards, bison teeth, etc. Be sure to apply
sun screen generously and wear old shoes you can get wet. Happy
hunting. Judy Judy M. Willingham, R.S. Extension Associate 221 Call Hall
Kansas State Univerisity Manhattan KS 66506 (785) 532-1213 FAX
(785) 532-5681

The best source of “Japanese River Stones” I ever found was at Pier 1
Imports. I bought out two of the stores in Baltimore and one in
Virginia. You might try looking at that sort of store - they use the
stones to anchor flowers. I also found that Target is carrying
"beach glass" as well as river stones.


Hi Mark- If you don’t mind…where on Lake Michigan? I’m in a
northwest Chicago suburb, and wouldn’t mind an excuse to walk the
beach with my kids. (They’re on spring break this week, so I won’t
even try to work in my studio. Unless there’s work I can do in
3-minute intervals between breaking up fights.) I’m especially
interested in black rocks-I’ve picked up some I assume are basalt.
(of course, they just look grey on the beach) But I haven’t looked
lately. I have some sculpture ideas for which I could use a good
number of black rocks. Then again, I do like other colors…Thanks in advance…

Christine, Thanks for your reply. Wow, you’re a world traveler, huh?
I live in Iowa and I’ve never been east of Kentucky. Don’t you love
Orchid!! I’m going to visit the Sachuest website now and imagine what
it’s like to live that close to the coast. Thanks again, Net

Hi, I guess I am a world traveler! I don’t do it nearly enough,
though. I live in New England, so I can get to Rhode Island and other
spots along the ocean very easily. You must have a river or a stream
nearby! I do love Orchid, since I’m just a metalsmith wannabe, I have
more questions than answers. As for my knowledge of English
coastline, well, my partner is originally from England and we usually
visit his family once a year; they live on the North Sea coast, it’s
really wild. Good luck!


The best place I’ve found is in Winnetka - Tower Beach. If you are
interested in checking it out, it is at the end (East end, obviously)
of Tower Road in Winnetka, which is halfway between Willow Road and
Dundee Road. If coming northbound on the Edens, I would suggest
exiting on Dundee West, turning left immediately onto Skokie
Boulevard (South) and go straight down to Tower Road, which is a stop
sign. Turn left onto Tower (East) and continue until it ends,
crossing Sheridan and driving right down to the beach. From the
north, on the southbound Edens, you can exit directly to Tower Road -
the exit takes you to a stop sign, at which you would have to take
two right turns to get onto eastabound Tower Road.

If you have any questions, let me know.

Good Luck. I haven’t been there yet this year, so I’m not sure what
the winter has wrought, but it has always been a good beachstone type
rockhounding location for me.