Wear a piece of Nevada with jewelry crafted from local gems.
By Annie Flanzraich
Nevada may be known as the Silver State. Still, along with all those precious minerals, there are also precious stones hiding in its austere earth.
“Most of the gemstones are agates and jaspers and turquoise,” says Webb Varnum of The Reno Gem and Mineral Society. “All of them can be found in Northern Nevada.” renorockhounds.com
Varnum, a geologist and a graduate of the University of Nevada Reno’s Mackay School of Mining, has spent his life rockhounding through the west coast, including California, Utah, Arizona, Nevada and Mexico. In addition to agates, jasper and turquoise, he also highlighted some less common stones, including dark red garnets from Ely, crystal beryl from Pershing County, and smooth dumortierite. Nevada’s state precious gemstone, the Black Fire Opal, comes from the Virgin Valley in Northern Nevada. It’s the only place in North America where the stone can be found in any significant quantity.
While all that glitters may not be gold there’s plenty of sparkle to be found.
Baubles & Bling
Of course, the best way to show some local pride is by wearing some of these gems. Luckily, many shops and boutiques in the Reno/Tahoe area offer jewelry featuring the state’s stones. Asteria Jewelry Boutique, which recently opened in South Reno, sells jewelry created by local artists with stones such as turquoise. asteriajewelryboutiquereno.com
“I’d love for people to come out, and check out the store, and see what we have,” says owner Joanna Stacher.
In Carson City, artisan Denise Jenkins makes pieces with Nevada turquoise and black pebbles tumbled by Lake Tahoe’s gentle currents. See her work at etsy.com/people/metaldreamer.
At Trunk Show in Tahoe City, owner and jewelry designer Jaclyn Woznicki makes pieces featuring pyrite, a stone local to the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. She also upcycles many materials to make Lake Tahoe-shaped pendants, including blue acrylic salvaged from the side panels of slot machines. Another Lake Tahoe necklace is made of resin with hand-ground semiprecious stones, mother of pearl, and microplastics that Woznicki collects along the shorelines of Lake Tahoe. tahoetrunkshow.com
“I do this in partnership with The League to Save Lake Tahoe as I sponsor the July 5th Tahoe City Beach Clean Up,” Woznicki says.
Honey and Goldies owner Lindsay Knowlton got her start making Nevada-shaped jewelry from only Nevada stones. Now, her store in Midtown sources its turquoise, white buffalo, and many other stones from Nevada. honeyandgoldies.com
“We buy a lot of our rough turquoise and white buffalo from a family in Tonopah that owns these mines,” Knowlton says. “From there, we cut it ourselves into the turquoise pieces you see on our website and Instagram.”
Knowlton also features many pieces of jewelry in the shape of Nevada, including engagement rings and more. “We sure do love our state and take great pride in it!” Knowlton says.
While all that glitters may not be gold, there’s plenty of sparkle to be found local to this place. Check out the hills or stores to get a piece that’s your own.