Hook Magazine Article
Story by Helen Meurer Photography by Janet Wortendyke
The Architectural Minerals & Stone shop in Irvington, New York is nestled in a cobble stone court- yard behind Red Hat on the River, the renowned French-American bistro. The business has been oper- ating for about four years and proprietor Mark Shedrofsky moved into this delightful airy space in July 2013. With windows on three sides, and whitewashed walls, it is a far cry from the caves that most of the minerals were mined from. As soon as you walk in you see a warm glow from the wonderful amber color of honeycomb calcite as the sun highlights the crystal’s meandering white veins. Looking out from the entrance you see an installation by the sculptor Bruce O’Brien of Alcove, NY – three standing gran- ite pillars, framed by the sparkling blue Hudson River.
Mark Shedrofsky has been fascinated by natural materials since he was a child – his 6th grade collections of shells and bugs are still in his parents’ attic. As a teenager he worked summers for a stone mason, gaining an appreciation for the properties and variety of stone materials available. After finishing his undergraduate degree he took a job with Marble Technics, and then in 1987 he co-founded the company Stone Source, researching stone materials from around the world for use in homes and businesses. He travelled to the quarries to help select the raw material, making dozens of memorable trips to the beautiful region of Tuscany where the famous Carrara marble is found. After selling his ownership in Stone Source eight years ago, he expanded his repertoire to include semi-precious stones and crystals. Shedrofsky‘s passion is shared by his family. His son Jared works with him full time, and his younger son Justin and daughter Jamie help in the store during vacations.
On the low shelves that run along the inside perimeter of the store there are large pieces: Selenite Fishtails that resemble angels wings with almost pure white crystals; 16” diameter dark brown pyrite encrusted ammonites, deep purple amethysts, calcites, fluorites, crystals of many colors. Hanging on the walls are stunning limestone marl rocks with black fossilized fish swimming across the light beige stone. The rock and its embedded Knightia fish are from the Green River in Wyoming and date from the Eocene epoch (48-51 million years ago) – Mother Nature’s art.
In the back of the store there are several illuminated display cases housing smaller crystals. There are tiny semi-precious clusters of tourmaline with watermelon colors of pink and pale green, iridescent green and blue Labradorite, snow white quartz with shards of dark green epidote, grey metallic pyrite, contrast- ing quartz and red hematite woven together, epidote with mushroom caps of pale green prehnite, grey- black stibnite crystals like a collection of liquorice swizzle sticks. Shedrofsky loves it all, but has some favorites – like the emerald green fluorite from Riem- vasmaak, South Africa, which is a cool emerald green translucent crystal.
Although the vast majority of crystals are works of nature, some of the pieces Shedrofsky sells had help from humans. The famed hot springs In Carlsbad in the Czech Republic gave rise to many spas which were very popular among Europe’s elite for their sup- posed restorative healing waters. Over time the water flow became slower, and the story goes that an engi- neer was called to one spa to see why the water wasn’t flowing well. He discovered that the pipes were internally encrusted by aragonite – a form of calcium carbonate – which had built up over time in lacey concentric layers. Luckily the aragonite was rec- ognized for its beauty, and instead of cleaning the pipes, they were replaced, and the old pipes were sliced and polished, and mounted as objects of art.
There is also very pretty one-of-a-kind jewelry. Some stones shine alone on a silver chain necklace a glistening blue lapis and sapphire, a polished mixed pink Rhodocrosite stone. Some are strung like beads – tourmaline, or rose quartz, and some are paired as unique earrings, or twined into a bracelet.
The store carries other stones with a human’s touch. Basaltina, (a form of the igneous rock basalt) has been carved and glazed into large ornamental bowls. There are hand-carved onyx bowls with hues varying from creamy white to coffee colored stripes. Coffee ta- bles made from quarried stone make a great display for the bowls, or for the swirly-patterned petrified wood carvings by English sculptor Nicholas Bragg.
Pictured from top: Honeycomb Calcite from Utah; 50 million year old fossil from the Green River in Wyoming; Concentric Aragonite Pipes from the Czech Republic; Quarry rough coffee tables; Necklace made of Prehnite.
Architectural Minerals and Stone is open 11am-6pm weekdays and most weekend evenings and is stocked with an amazing array of unusual and rare stones, creating a mineralogist’s treasure trove. Most of the pieces are uncut leaving nature’s miracles alone to show the remarkable structures of crystals that have taken tens to many millions of years to form. It is a gem of a store and well worth a visit.