Monday, October 19, 2015

10.19.15 Motor City

1968 Ford Galaxie 500 Sedan
Photo credit:
Growing up - we were a Ford family.  The first family car I really remember was a big, blue Galaxie 500 sedan.  My brother and I used to fight in the back seat, so my mother took a roll of mastic tape and put a strip down the middle - giving each of us "our side".  Looking back, it seems pretty amazing, because that car was - as my husband calls it, a "land yacht" - and we both had way more room than any two kids today.

1970 Ford Torino Wagon
Photo credit: Jeff Cooper
The Galaxie turned out to be a lemon and spent way too much time in the shop, so in 1970 my parents replaced it with another Ford - this one a white Gran Torino station wagon.  My mother always referred to it "Moby Dick" because it was indeed, white and huge.  The wagon fared much better - it was the car I drove in high school - until 1979 when it was rear ended and the country had gas rationing.  Then we became (and remain) a Honda family.

1967 Camaro
Photo credit: Barrett-Jackson cars
My husband comes from a Chevy family.  He grew up driving his dad's 1967 Camaro.  He loved that car - and to this day he mourns its untimely demise. When we were first dating he was appalled to learn that I couldn't tell the difference between a Camaro (a working man's sports car) and Chevy's high end model, the Corvette.  Whenever we were out and about and he saw either car, he would ask "Camaro or Corvette?"  It wasn't a deal breaker for our relationship, like the Baltimore Colts quiz in the movie Diner, but it was clearly important that I be able to tell one model from another.  Eventually, I figured it out.
1968 Corvette
Photo credit: Barrett-Jackson cars

Fast forward to jewelry making...I recently wrote about my new interest in cabochons because I'll be using them when I take my four week fabrication class.  As I was reading and learning about them, I came across references to a stone called "Fordite", which is not really a stone at all, but does make spectacular jewelry.

Uncut Fordite from
ScaleSolutions on etsy
"Fordite", also called "Motor Agate" or "Detroit Agate" is old automobile paint which has been baked and hardened over time.   It was formed from the built up of layers of enamel paint slag on tracks and skids on which cars were once hand spray-painted.

Fordite Heart from

While it is called "Ford"-ite, it comes from all kinds of automobile plants, including the Corvette lines, which produce some amazing stones with red layers. Inventive collectors began taking the "raw" material and cutting and polishing it into "stones" for jewelry.  With new painting processes in place, there is no new "Fordite" being created, but it is still available for purchase.

Fordite ring
Photo credit: Beth Wilson
Raw Fordite looks a lot like a block of uncut stone, and finished cabochons bring to mind agate, or millefiore glass - with vibrant colors and intricate patterns. In addition to looking at loose cabs, I've pinned pictures of a lot of finished pieces to my inspiration board.  I love this piece, made by my friend and jeweler, Beth Wilson - and it appears she does too, because the photo caption says "Fordite ring...this one won't make it to the shop".

After looking at lots of options, I chose this piece, from Magic Stones on etsy, because it has so many different colors. I'm thinking it will make a lovely bezel set pendant.

I'll be posting updates from the course on Instagram, and by late November I hope to have a finished piece to share (well, in pictures anyway - like Beth, I plan on keeping this one).

Until next time.

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