In early July, Deb and I were relaxing on a beach in Elk Rapids, MI, with our friends Tim and Linda. While running my fingers through the sand, I found a blue stone. One side had a glassy blue surface while the other side had bubble craters, as if it was once very hot. I didn’t know what it was, so I took the stone home to research later.
It turns out that the stone is called Leland Blue, and is the by-product of the iron ore smelting process that occurred in northwest Michigan from 1870 to 1885. Leland Blue isn’t a true stone, but is the slag by-product of separating the iron from the iron ore. This slag was discarded in Lake Michigan, and commonly washes ashore . These stones are hunted by collectors today, and some larger pieces fetch nice prices online. For the most part, these are not valuable.
My little Leland Blue stone sits on my desk at work, where it serves as an interesting conversation starter.