If you have gone gemstone mining or maybe picked up some decorative stones at your local craft center, but you have no clue as to how to show them off, here are some ideas for you.
Artwork & Frames
Have a piece of plywood cut to your desired size. Come up with a basic design (ex: repeating square borders, polka dots, checker patterns, etc). Make sure to leave room to apply a frame to the outside if you want to add one. Sketch a rough outline onto the plywood with a pencil. Lay out your stones on the pattern, then use construction adhesive to apply each stone one by one until complete. Apply grout if desired and be sure to seal the grout once everything is set.
You can also use the same technique for applying the stones to photo frames, frames of existing artwork, mirrors, and table tops.
Mood & Center Piece Lighting
Find stones that allow light to pass through them. The amount of light that passes through changes the result. Results can vary from a frosted glow appearance to a crystal-like appearance. You can also mix and match for a truly unique look. Select a clear glass or acrylic vase, bowl, or even a mason jar as your container. Turn on a LED tea light and place it in the bottom of your container. Add the stones to the container covering the tea light and place in the center of your table. If you are using a wide container, place several lights across the bottom for even lighting. If you are using a tall container, place a light at the bottom, add some stones, and then layer additional lights and stones until you reach the top or desired height.
You can also use them without the lights for regular decorative center pieces instead of mood lighting.
If you have an existing lamp where the base is clear glass or acrylic, you can take apart the lamp and fill the base with stones. If you are feeling extra crafty you can buy a lamp kit and pair it with a vase or other container and make your own lamp.
Lamp Shades, Overhead Lighting Shades and Chandeliers
Grab some craft wire (or jewelry wrapping wire), some glue and go to town. You can attach your stones to lamp shades and overhead lighting shades as a decorative trim. For those applications, my preference is towards stones that allow light to pass through them so you are not losing too much from your light source.
For chandeliers, you can use any stone. I particularly like the look of clear stones such as topaz, amethyst, and rutilated quartz. Wire wrap each stone and use additional wire or craft chain to allow them to dangle from your chandelier.
Select stones that allow light to pass through and use a little craft wire or fishing line to string some up in a sunny window.
Wire wrapped stones can also be used as ceiling fan pulls.
Tips & Other Info
Make sure that the stones and surface areas are clean before beginning your project.
Don't have a color that you need? Use an inexpensive stone purchased from a craft store and paint it.
You can also try any of these ideas using pieces of broken dishes, bottles, tiles, sea shells, or anything else you can dream up. (Just be careful of sharp edges). I've even seen a child's room mirror frame covered in plastic toy cars, dinosaurs, and army men that had all been spray painted the same color.
One of my favorite places to go gemstone mining is at Emerald Hollow Mine in Hiddenite, North Carolina. For more information, please read: Off the Beaten Path: Hiddenite, North Carolina.