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Gitche Gumee Handcrafted Jewelry
Lake Superior Agate Pendants & UP Jewelry

Upper Peninsula Jewelry & The Process
Welcome to Gitche Gumee Handcrafted Jewelry and my information on our process and steps that we take to make our Lake Superior Agate Pendants.  When I wake up early I the morning, knowing that I am going Upper Peninsula Agate Hunting, I know its going to be a fun day.  As you can see in the photo above, you are looking for the red iron oxide rich banding - that is very often associated with white and quartz.  There are other color as well, but if you could train your eye to look for red, you are on a good path.  This is the first step I take in the process of making UP Jewelry!

Lake Superior Agates are semi-precious stones.  Fine sharp banding of an agate increases the worth of the agate.   When cut, ground, and polished, the banding and colors are breathtaking!  

Lake Superior Jewelry | Lake Superior Agates Pendants | Lake Superior Agates

Cutting, Grinding & Polishing
Lake Superior Agates are hard rocks, we cut each one on a lapidary machine.  After which, we grind each edge smooth.  Each and every slice is meticulously polished in our vibrating tumbler for 10-15 days (and usually it is 14).  We then inspect each one to make sure to find any that may have fractured or chipped during the process.  Some pendants will have small fractures, there is no way to avoid them - they have been tumbling around Lake Superior for thousands of years.

When we open the polisher to clean it out each day, it is exciting to see the colors come to life.  The polish let's us see the bold red banding easily!!

Lake Superior Jewelry | Lake Superior Agates Pendants | Lake Superior Agates

Copper Wire Wrapping My Agates
All of my Lake Superior Agates then wrapped with copper wire.  I work with 16 & 18 gage wire, depending on the rock.  The next step is patinaeing the pendants.  I use different processes for this, again depending on the stone and the wire wrap.  I buy bulk copper chain and make all the 18" - 21" necklaces here in my studio.  Afterwards I take a dremel tool and polish the parts of the copper that I wish to highlight - leaving some darker tones to give the pendant wrapping depth.

Lake Superior Jewelry | Lake Superior Agates Pendants | Lake Superior Agates

Pendant Backing
Each of my pendants then gets placed on its chain and backed with my Gitche Gumee cards.  Each pendant is secured with cloth wire onto the backing and the necklace is secure in a small zip lock back adhered to the back of card.

Lake Superior Jewelry | Lake Superior Agates Pendants | Lake Superior Agates

When you receive your pendant, it will be shipped USPS Priority in a secure box.  All of my pendants come with an 18" - 21" copper necklace and packaged in a custom GG gift box (padded inside bottom), along with 2 business cards to share with friends.  I include lots of bubble wrap for a safe shipment!

"Making jewelry is one of my passions, it is fun and exciting.  I look forward to shipping you one of my creations!  Thank you for browsing!" - Gina Harman