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Learn about Gemstones with the Community Helper for J

Learn about Gemstones with the Community Helper for J
Our second Community Helper for J is Jeweler! I knew this would be a big hit with the girls too; they looovvvveeee jewelry! To start with I let them make some jewelry with sparkly pipe cleaners and beads (way easier then string since you don't have to knot the pipe cleaners).

Then we took our sparkly pipe cleaners and fashioned them into rings.  We were going to try to make some colorful crystals for our rings. We got to talk about how gemstones are actually rocks and have to be cut and polished to look as beautiful as they do in jewelry stores. We also talked about how they come in lots of colors and how each month has a birthstone. The girls were very interested in looking at jewelry with their own birthstone in it.

So my hopes for this experiment were to use the sparkly pipe cleaners and get colorful borax crystals on them to represent some of the well known stones (ruby, topaz, emerald, sapphire, amethyst, and diamond). You will see it didn't work out quite like I had planned.

We started six pint size Mason jars and added some food coloring to five of them.

Then I filled them with hot water and the girls added 1/3 C borax to each jar.

They stirred and stirred, but we never got it all dissolved.

I suspended the rings from a dowel rod into the matching solution.

Now, if you saw the borax snowflakes we made last year you know that crystals are now supposed to form on the pipe cleaner. 6 hours later. there were no crystals. Then while I was fixing supper, an mystery child ran into the table, knocking down three of the jars and breaking one of them. HUGE MESS! 

There were still no crystals though, so we started over with normal pipe cleaners (lightly colored ones), and the 5 colored solutions.

The next morning the girls were so excited to find beautiful crystal rings! (Notice they have already put their jewelry back on even though it is like 7 am).

The colors weren't as vibrant as I hoped (and they actually faded even more as they dried), but the girls didn't care! They were actually thrilled with their beautiful rings.

Please note that Borax is toxic if ingested and an eye irritant. Keep these away from eyes and mouths! My girls only played with them a short time with constant supervision before going and thoroughly washing their hands!

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