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Hoof clippings transformed into "gemstones"

BRANDON - Jeweler Robert Merkert's Farrier had just finished and the hoof trimmings were on the floor of the stall in Brandon, Vermont. A beam of sunlight illuminated a wet hoof trimming and a hint of the inner beauty was revealed! After months of research, the equinite "gem" was born.

The gem colors range from a cream white to a charcoal blackish brown and some are actually reddish. Each one has its own unique character. Some equinite "gems" appear to have the same features that are seen in diamonds. Inclusions and feathers (he calls them horse feathers) are apparent in many of the "gems".

Merkert has created beautiful rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings in 14k gold and sterling silver with equinite as the focal point.

Equinite also makes a keepsake made from your own horses hoof. Merkert will create custom "gems" in a setting of your choice when you send in your own clippings. Keep a part of your special equine companion close-forever.

Equinite is sold at Dockside Jewelers, 126 Main St., Whitehall, N.Y., and at Double-M-Western, 678 State Route 67, Ballston Spa, N.Y. For details, see www.equinitegems.com.

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