*Leland Antique Slag cut by Gary Wilson
*Sterling setting

Approximate size (adjustable):  8
Centerpiece: 5/8" x 3/4" (1.5 cm x 2 cm)
Weight: .3 oz (9 gm)

Item #688 - $150

Green Leland Slag Ring

Green Antique Leland Slag Ring

Green Leland Slag Ring
Green Leland Slag Ring Detail
Green Leland Slag Ring on model
Green Leland Slag Ring
Hover to zoom, Click to expand

Green Leland Slag? Isn't it called "Leland Blue?" Leave it to Gary Wilson to find unusual material! In Leland, Michigan Leland Blue (and the occasional green) is found on the beaches of Lake Superior. Between 1870 and 1885 the Leland Lake Superior Iron Company smelted iron in the little lake side town of Leland Michigan. Iron is extracted by heating the ore to drive off impurities. Not only did this result in disgusting heavy smog over the town, but it produced large amounts of slag which was simply dumped in the harbor. However, unlike much industrial waste, from what I can gather this beautiful glassy slag is not toxic. I found an article about slag by a Stanford researcher which contrasted the non-toxic slag from steel making with slag from copper and other base metal refining which can contain significant concentrations of toxic elements. His concern was to prevent the latter from being ground up and used in cement where the contaminants easily weather out and pollute water and soil. I can't find any indication that Leland slag is contaminating Lake Superior or that it contains toxic elements. It has been used in jewelry for a long time now, often worn as beads against the skin without problems. So henceforth I will refrain from calling it industrial waste and consider it the valuable by-product of iron extraction!

I've read that the fairies despise iron, I think perhaps one of the traditional Mayan stories Martín Prechtel tells mentions something similar about certain spirit people, though if so I have no idea which one of his magnificent books mentions it. No matter, start with the first (below). If you like my work, but haven't read him, I can almost guarantee you will fall in madly love with Martín's wondrous stories. If the fairies don't like iron, do you suppose that they would be especially fond of iron-free Leland slag?

It is hard to believe how companies treated the environment in the good old days. Things are better now, aren't they? Maybe not. In May, 2015 San Diego sued Monsanto for dumping PCBs in our bay for 50 years until Congress banned the stuff in 1979, all the while pretending PCBs were completely safe. I recall a discussion of PCBs in one of my biology classes in the '60s at San Diego State wherein the professor warned us there were PCBs in the bay and explained how toxic they are. They penetrate the skin easily and of course are carcinogenic. Today we have internal Monsanto documents which show they knew the dangers all along but continued to produce and use PCBs in a wide range of products. Isn't this the same company that is pushing Glyphosate and GMOs today?

Sorry, I digress. We were talking about this strange and often beautiful by-product that washes up on the beaches of Lake Superior where it is avidly collected for use in jewelry. Our little green stone with its brown inclusions is a very unusual example of Leland Slag and has a fascinating history as well. Won't you order it today? The ring is adjustable, please give me your ring size when you order.