Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Look Who's Coming to Dinner...'s Leland!

I know I've posted about this crazy cool material before, but I just finished up a series of silversmithed pieces that all feature it, so I figured it would be worth revisiting.

Leland Blue slag glass is nearly 150 years old. It was a byproduct of the iron smelting industry that took place in the mid-late 1800s in the town of Leland on Lake Michigan. Iron ore was heated to extremely hot temperatures in order to separate the metal from the non-usable impurities. Those impurities, when cooled, formed a blue-tinted slag glass---waste, trash, junk. 
Or so they thought at the time. 

In an effort to be rid of the useless material, it was dumped into the waters of Lake Michigan. Over the past century, the waves and sand have tumbled these chunks of slag, breaking them down into smaller nuggets and gently polishing them to varying degrees. To this day, if one goes for a leisurely stroll along the beaches in Leland, you may get lucky enough to find a piece of the beloved local treasure. 


This past summer while I was visiting fellow EE blogger and good friend Kimberly Rogers in Michigan, we made a special trip to the beaches of Leland to try and find some of this cool material. We had a blast, got wave-kissed and sunburned, and came away with small bags full of blue-tinted treasures.

For the time being, I'm a little too attached to my self-collected nuggets to let them go in pieces of jewelry. But flash forward to this year's Tucson gem and mineral shows, and I scored a nice little clutch of Leland blue cabs. So allow me to show off these new little post earrings featuring bullet-shaped pieces. 

Squeal with me over how wee they are!
Lookit the bubbly air pockets!
Doesn't that gemmy teal blue make you wanna go barefoot on the beach?

I know, I know, you're rolling your eyes at my enthusiasm. It's ok, I'm used to it. But seriously, even though Leland Blue isn't a naturally occurring material, it's still pretty damn cool :) 

Happy Wednesday!
LoveRoot on Etsy


  1. Absolutely wonderful. Yes I agree that it's too hard to give up our own beach-combed treasures and somehow easier to let go of "supplies" from the gem show. I'm so impressed with this series you have created.

  2. I adore the color on those Leland cabs! The texture is awesome and the shape is so very different. Your work is so wonderful and precise! Enjoy the day. Erin

  3. Oh my, the handful you collected is droolworthy for sure! I'm happy you found some in Tuscon because those earrings are just as droolworthy!!!

  4. The story itself is quite fascinating! Loved reading it!! :)

  5. Love this post, love these earrings, love your work and love that material. What is not to love :) Never heard of Leland Blue before, but I agree is is beautiful.

  6. You won my heart at Leland Blue! And you have made the most incredible earrings with those bullets! Every piece in this series is, as always, LoveRoot awesome. And done so well. You simply Rock, Nikki! <3