Thursday, November 6, 2014
Fordite - The Origins of "Detroit Agate"
Until recently, automotive bodies were painted by hand on long production lines. The vehicles’ paint would drip off and dry on the equipment used to move the automotive bodies. This enamel paint would then get baked onto the rack and solidify. You can imagine that as if this process is repeated hundreds or thousands of times, the deposits will, layer upon layer,grow until they are several inches thick, the layers indicative of the popular paint colors of that time.
Enterprising workers who noted the beauty and perhaps the value of these remnants of paint, chipped off these waste products and saved them, some crafting them, some selling them to those who would craft. When these stones are ground down and polished, they reveal a dazzling array of colors, some vivid, some more muted, but till beautiful.
The colors indeed represent America's automotive history- the older Fordite specimens contain colors that are no longer popular today, like pastel yellow or sea-foam green. Mine has more muted colors to match the color of clothing I usually wear. My fashion sense is sort of Hee Haw meets Swat, but it works for me.
Although modern jewelers are moderately successful at recreating the process and creating their own Fordite, the stones with an actual history to them are the most valuable and I was truly lucky to get this hand crafted one from Partner in Grime for our first Wedding Anniversary (he thought first year was Paint not Paper :-)
Posted by Brigid at 6:07 PM