Well, believe it or not, this is real. It’s called Fordite, or Detroit agate. The beautiful “rocks” are actually chunks of old, over sprayed automobile paint that were hardened over time by the large ovens formerly used to cure freshly painted cars.
Although Fordite been referred to anthropogenic mineral because it is originated by human activity, minerals by definition are naturally occurring. Whatever your scientific definition, these are still really cool.
We’re going to call it a gem, as that’s “a precious or semiprecious stone, especially when cut and polished or engraved.” And boy, does Fordite look great as jewelry.
Employees at the plants noticed the strange beauty of the paint and took to cutting and polishing it until it reached the magnificent sheen as pictured.
Today it’s still used for jewelry, but it is becoming increasingly rare as auto painting practices have changed, and the material is no longer produced in the original way.
Some of these rare items can represent America’s automotive history. The older Fordite examples have colors like pastel yellow or sea-foam green that are no longer popular today.
Although some modern jewelers are working on the process and creating some of their own Fordite, the stones with an actual history to them are the most valuable.
The layers and colors are amazing. Even if you have heard of Fordite before, they’re worth a look. If you’re a Michigan-based jeweler or artist who works with Fordite, we’d love to hear from you – put your name and a link in the comments!