Geode coasters and agate bookends are in every gift shop these days, but designer Tish Mills was way ahead of the trend when she made her first quartz lamp for a show house nearly 10 years ago. Mills grew so enamored with natural stones that she started sourcing some of her material at the sprawling Tucson Gem & Mineral Show (think of it as a sort of Bonnaroo for rock hounds), which annually draws more than 50,000 visitors.
“Everybody loves rocks,” says Mills simply, when asked why people are drawn to the lamps, candle holders, and other stone accessories she creates as a sideline to her design business, Harmonious Living. “People either collected them as a kid or have some type of rock story.”
- Mills finds that Arkansas white quartz, which makes a dramatic statement with its clear, white prisms, is the most popular mineral for designers.
- Sometimes minerals grow together; Mills has specimens of amethyst with quartz spreading across the top.
- Mills’s accessories are available through her firm as well as at Steve McKenzie’s.
- Margaret Russell, then editor of Elle Decor, once picked up one of Mills’s candle holders at ADAC. It was blue sodalite and quartz, a combination that represents problem-solving and clarity—good qualities for an editor, notes Mills.
- Known for its metallic flecks, pyrite, or fool’s gold, is popular for both jewelry and home accessories.
- A specimen that has broken open is a druzy. If it’s sliced, it’s a cathedral form.
This article originally appeared in the Summer 2015 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.