Detroit Agate. More commonly known as Fordite. No, these incredibly colorful chunks are not from outer space or deep within the caves of a once lost civilization. They aren't found in any natural seams or mined from secret places within Michigan. Nor can you spot them in shallow waters like Petoskey stones. They are the result of the car industry (get it? Ford-ite), specifically a plant's paint department.

Imagine over years and years, car after car makes its way through the various stages of the assembly process, its dull exterior bits making a stop in a paint bay. As it's sprayed, all the paint runoff collects on the tracks and skids and then that layer is baked.

Spray. Bake. Repeat.

After a time you have an incredibly durable material that can be cut, sanded, and polished to make unique pieces of jewelry. There are nearly 4,000 pieces of Fordite jewelry being sold on Etsy as I type this. You can purchase Fordite beads, pendants, rings, earrings, or even unfinished pieces so you can make custom designs of your own. But remember, due to the way these hunks of color were formed, you won't be able to get perfectly matching pieces, or control the colors that will begin to surface during the sanding/polishing process.

Personally, I love that people are taking something that would otherwise be considered trash and turning it in to treasure. What a cool and unique way to display Michigan pride.

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