All pieces start in the same place = the Quartz mines in the Ouachita mountains of Arkansas.
Each stone I use in my work is just as I pulled it from the ground, only cleaner! Although some people do get out into the mines with larger equipment, I just use my hands and trowels to dig across the surface. You can know that your piece wasn't chunked out of a larger stone or cut, tumbled, or shaped to look like something other than how it was naturally found.
The stones form in a clay that has a higher iron content - leading to that orangish-reddish discoloration. All of that iron essentially leaves rust stains on the surface of the stones so they get put through several washes & hand scrubbings to bring out their beautiful white and clear coloring!
The standard cleaning agent for quartz & crystal is Oxylic Acid. However I did not want to use such a volatile solution because, well... acid! Yikes! It's not good for people or our environment. Instead, the stones get washed & scrubbed by hand, then they soak in a household cleaner formulated specifically for rust stains for several days. Lastly, they are scrubbed again by hand in a baking soda wash. With these being worn directly against skin we want to be sure there is nothing potentially irritating remaining on the surface.
Now it's time to make! The stones get sorted out by size, paired into earring sets & finally wrapped & assembled by hand in my home studio in Little Rock, AR.