Thursday, August 12, 2010


If you love looking at unusal jewelry, you may have found a material called Fordite and wondered what the heck this stuff is. Multcolored in various colors it is strikingly beautiful. Lately I have been both fascinated and been looking for and buying Fordite. Some of this material can be pricey because of its limited availability. Since I grew up in Detroit, memories of the automobile plants will always be a part of my memories. Several relatives spent a large part of their lives working for Ford Motor Company. I still live in a suburb of Detroit and have witnessed first hand the effects of the decline the loss of our auto factories have had on our state.

Fordite, aka Motor Agate, aka Detroit Agate is not a mineral or a stone. It is the material formed by over spray in the paint booths where they used to paint cars. An electrostatic method is now used in painting cars in which the paint is electosatically magnetized to the car body. This over spray accumulated in thin layers of various colors as they changed colors on the assembly line. The enamel was then baked over and over the create a very hard and light material.

Some very clever people discovered that this material called slag could be harvested from the paint booths then cut into smaller pieces and worked on a lapidary like a rock or gem.

The material comes from the British Daggenheim factory, in the Detroit plants, and the Ohio plants . I haven't been lucky enough to grab some from Detroit. All of mine come from England., but I'm still looking.

Light weight, colorful resembling wood grain patterns of multi colors this stuff is truly beautiful!Here are some pics of my personal stash of Fordite which will be jewelry pieces soon.

A fordite necklace I completed for the Ann Arbor Art Fair that will be for sale on my Etsy store this fall.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing! I love to learn about interesting creations, this is truly one for the books. I can't believe that have used this story in a show. This is really a "recycled" product. Making use out of the slug and creating a beautiful work of art. Love the necklace! How much does this type of design cost? Is it easy to work with? Is it rock solid hard?
    I'm intrigued, going to have to search for this...wonder if they can be made into beads?


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