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I recently visited my first gem fair and quickly figured out there’s a lot of science and geography behind jewelry making.

I walked out of there with a better appreciation for jewelry makers. It takes smarts, and even sometimes… bravery.

Some of the most beautiful stones come from the most difficult geographic locations in the world with conditions so harsh that humans can’t even go there nine months out of the year.

AUDIO: Click HERE to walk along with me on my gem fair tour. You can also download the DIY Nuru podcast on iTunes.

Camie Hayes started making jewelry when she was 12 years old. She became a rock hound while researching where all the stones came from.

“There’s folklore and all sorts of things that get associated with it,” Hayes said. “And it’s a fascinating little sub-culture.”Gem Faire

Every stone has its own story.

“In some Native American cultures and Eastern cultures they also subscribe power and spiritual meaning to the stones as well. In that if you wanted certain aspects of like calm or happiness or spiritual enlightenment. Even the Greek’s did it.”

The word amethyst in Greek means without drunkenness.

“Amethyst is just a form of crystal, but it’s got purple in it. The best stuff usually comes out of Africa or Brazil.”

Gaspeite is a rare apple-green stone that originated in Canada.

“See diamonds are not the rarest in the world. They’re controlled by cartels and so the prices are high. But there are actually stones that are much more rare than the diamond.”

Camie’s eyes lit up when we arrived at a booth with a glass case with purple stones locked inside.

“Charoite only comes from one area. It comes from Russia. It’s what they call a single source stone. That means there’s only one location where you can find it.”

The stone was discovered in the 1970s near the Chara River in Russia. Charoite is purple with swirls of black, brown, white and lilac and can only be gathered three months out of the year because of the cold.

“The story is, is that the beauty that comes out of the harshness of the situations that people are in.”

She showed me another beautiful stone from Russia called Seraphinite.

“It’s also a single source stone. And the name of it actually means angels wings because of the white that goes in there. It’s a hunter green with white,” said Hayes. “And again these are stones that come out of really harsh regions of the world. But, the color that comes out of that is just amazing.”

There were a few moments when my jaw dropped…. like when the man at the Tulsa Rock and Mineral Society told me the stone he was polishing was actually dinosaur poop.

Another guy, a vendor, showed me Tektite, a black stone that forms when a meteorite hits the earth.

One of my favorites was the Rose Rock. The reddish-brown sandy crystals resemble a rose in full bloom. Most come from Oklahoma, also known as the “Rose Rock Capital of the World.” Small amounts can also be found in Egypt.

VIDEO: Watch the guys at the Tulsa Rock and Mineral Society polish dinosaur poop.

Related DIY Nuru posts:

How to Take Action and Starting Painting

Learning Pottery Isn’t for Sissies

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