Saturday, December 17, 2005

The "Canyon Aesthetic" in Jewelry

Combining with rust, orange and red and especially sterling silver or giving a rough edge to a gemstone otherwise associated with a more refined or sophisticated milieu (such as or cut into rough nuggets) I've come to call the "Canyone Aesthetic." The first illustrates the "Canyon Aesthetic" with turquoise and silver paired with lampwork beads in the canyon colours then mixed with very eenly faceted red aventurine barrels and the more sophisticated matching with an ornate sterling silver chandelier base and the same regularly faceted stones. As sterling silver has supplanted gold according to the preferences of a younger generation in the last few years, we see more and more of the Canyon Aesthetic. It is a style of that is replacing the idea of Southwestern as turquoise and silver, the elaborate "Squash Blossom", and the tackier geegaws created for the tourist trade.
Still in the realm of the Canyon Aesthetic is the next bracelet featuring lampwork beads, breciated carved ovals and vase beads and deep burgundy freshwater pearls.
Cluny Grey Jewelry

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Weight of Rubies

Rubies are one of my favorite stones; these are a dark opaque burgundy and look wonderful with the beautiful floral from Littlecrow (whose beads are just fantastic!). The lovely swirled bead is by Alyson Straley. Turkish silver is also one of my favorites. Turkish is a high quality silver with marvelously intricate patterns and beading and granulation. The cones here and the bead to the left of the floral focal is Turkish as are the flower studded earwires that close in the back. Bali is great, too, but is another favorite of mine. The super high silver content combined with great workmanship and unique designs make it very desirable for jewelry designers. The ruffled hand-decorated caps on the around the large ruby make almost any piece special! This was an entry in the Internation Jewelry Designers' Guild Virtual Trunk Show.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The International Jewelry Designers' Guild Virtual Trunk Show

You can't miss this Virtual Trunk Show brought to you by the members of the International Jewelry Designers' Guild. Yes, I am a member, but so are many others, and the work is fabulous! If you are a jewelry fan, you have got to look, even if you can't buy right now! Only on Sunday starting at noon Eastern Standard Time - December 4, 2005.

Cluny Grey Jewelry

Thursday, November 24, 2005

A Definite Charm

I have been so busy selling that I haven't had much time for actually creating it, but I did put this together out of lucite gilia flower beads, some Preciosa crystal, for the flower centers, and some other and glass . There is nothing quite so soothing to me as putting together a charm . I go into one of those "flow" states that is better than meditation where I feel myself centered in one place while doing one thing and thinking of nothing else.

Another charm bracelet features the borosilicate beads of James Derrick Reeves and genuine natural . These have beautiful depth and are perfect with the aquamarine since they have mysterious swirls of blue and green. Currently the top charm bracelet is up for auction on Ebay; the aquamarine can be found on our webiste.
Cluny Grey Jewelry Studio G Jewelry

Friday, November 18, 2005

Time for Sparkle!

As it (finally) starts getting colder here, my thoughts turn to that sparkles. The November-December-January holiday period is that time of the year when many of us go to more gatherings than we may in all the other months of the year put together! When I think of parties, I think of attention-getting jewelry; when I was in grad school, jewelry was always important since I didn't have the money to spend on party clothes, so the jewelry I wore "dressed" up the outfit (quite often a dressy white silk shirt and a long black skirt) and made it seem more festive even though it may have been something I'd worn many times. One type of jewelry that I never wore during the day was so it was great for going out in. Earrings were especially important since they drew attention to the face and hair; a filled in the neckline and announced that I was going to a party.

The necklace set made with Preciosa crystals hanging down is typical of something I might have worn: it's fairly simple, classic, and it would draw attention to v of the silk blouse which would probably be unbuttoned one button lower than it usually was. The , at over 2 inches long add a nice glow and sparkle, and are certainly not gaudy so that they could go comfortably many different places. The set in the first picture is great, too, since it has attention-getting earrings and the crystal of the bracelet with its little butterfly makes it special also.
Cluny Grey Jewelry Studio G Jewelry

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Kyanite: Nature's Beautiful Blue

Kyanite is one of Nature's most beautiful ; the name comes from the Greek word for blue - another name is Disthene. Often a lovely cerulean blue with striations inside that look like long, fine brushstrokes, the kyanite that we see in the business is usually translucent although it can be transparent. The striations give kyanite a lovely texure even when it's smoothly polished so that it sparkles and has a lovely sheen to it.
For those who are interested, kyanite is associated with the astrological signs
, , and . It is supposed to balance the yin and yang, enhance tranquility and psychic awareness, and dispel anger and frustration. Perhaps more of us should wear it since it is also said to increase mental awareness and lessen confusion!
and earring set shown here is extremely feminine largely because of the great Thai Karen Hill Tribe sterling silver lily beads that hold small kyanite gemstone drums. The bright silver complements the kyanite in a way that couldn't be matched by gold or antiqued silver. The other elements of the bracelet are Turkish beads and cones of filigree, Bali sterling silver accents, and Karen Hill Tribe little flower .
This bracelet set is currently up for auction on Ebay; check user id: chloemarie99 or do a search for
For those of you who are interested in jewelry, making jewelry, or the jewelry business, check out The Beadboard. K. keeps up with the jewelry business so well that he even found my blog! The Beadboard covers everything from general information about jewelry to buying to setting up displays at shows. It's for professionals, hobbyists, and those who just like to keep up with what's going on in the jewelry world.

Cluny Grey Jewelry Studio G Jewelry

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Allure of Charm Bracelets

is the first that is very Fall - Winter in spirit because of the wonderful dark colours and the by James Derrick Reeves of Gonzie and V3 Glassworks. The swirls in beads remind me of the rusts, tans, yellows, brown, and soft greens of leaves swirling outside in the Autumn wind. Bronze freshwater and smoky add to that Fall feeling and the heavily ornamented Bali silver adds to the richness of the . This is currently up for auction on Ebay under the user id: chloemarie99 or you can do a search for .
The matching
I am especially fond of because of the wonderful gem quality topaz squares that are faceted. I added a bronze freshwater pearl to each one then hung them from sterling silver Bali earwires.

They work wonderfully well with the bracelet.
The next charm bracelet, also at auction on Ebay this week is called Grapevine and features lampwork beads by Texas bead artist Lisa Sharik. Lots of in different forms give interest to this bracelet. There are carved amethyst ovals, carved lotus flower rounds, faceted ovals, smooth rounds as well as smooth rounds of and interesting faceted rondelles of violet crazy lace that has patterns that echo the swirls of the lampwork beads. The matching earrings are in the middle of the bracelet in the picture.

Sometimes when I work with
purple, especially amethyst or lepidolite, I just want to continue to work with it even though my current project may be finished. That's how my next project came into being. A large clear amethyst nugget got me started, then I found a lampwork bead I liked, and I had to go ahead with this bracelet! It makes use of most of the elements in the charm bracelet, the amethysts, the violet crazy lace, but I also add some sage violet or sage violet amethyst as I've seen it called also. Those are the little faceted briolettes that make one part of the bracelet looked scalloped. Even on this bracelet there are charms. The second strand is a chain with amethyst charms hanging from it at intervals. I haven't named this bracelet yet, so if you have any good ideas for a name leave me a comment!

You can find these and similar at Cluny Grey Jewelry and at Studio G Jewelry

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Mixtures: The Spice of Life

I've grown to love mixtures of gemstones and lampwork in a way that I never thought that I would. I mean, I'm a person who likes to wear one colour at a time where clothes are concerned: all black, all blue, all turquoise: I like the head-to-toe look of one colour. I vary that with my and with an scarf now and then, sometimes a pashmina (and yes, I still wear them; I probably always will now; they are one of the most versatile articles of clothing: they can be mufflers, shawls, a hood to keep my hair dry, and they help preserve a sense of modesty in Muslim countries). Anyway, even if my clothes are monotone, my jewelry isn't. The first example is the bracelet I call Indian Summer; it features , , artist's by Alyson Straley, and . The textures are interesting also, from the filigreed and beaded sterling silver to the "bumpy" lampwork beads to the floral lampwork beads, faceted stones, and carved agate. The next bracelet has a mixture of gemstones and silver, made at a time when I thought that I would never, ever, mix with lampwork or crystal or any non-natural material. I still love this.

It features tourmalinated quartz, (a mottled peach and green stone that takes some getting used to), and , a stone with wonderful Schiller effect (flash).Since the stones are all smooth with the exception of a small carved labradorite flower bead, the texture comes from the wonderful , the accents, beads, and the clasp, which is really beautiful.
Lately, it's hard to think of doing one colour, one stone!
The first bracelet is on auction at Ebay, ending tomorrow night; search for Cluny Grey or user id: chloemarie99. The second bracelet can be found on the Cluny Grey Jewelry website or in our Ebay store. Free shipping in the USA on our website! Also check out the Studio G Jewelry website with designs by as well as by

Friday, October 28, 2005

Kyanite and Lampwork

I do love ; first, it is a lovely shade of blue, and then, it has these wonderful hair-like striations when you look inside that give it a wonderful visual texture. For this , I've paired this kyanite with Gumeson Design floral and jewel also in the same blue (although the blues photograph slightly differently). The translucent kyanite looks wonderful with bright white sterling silver. The little charms are also kyanite. I've got more kyanite, but it's one of those stones that is expensive enough that I always hesitate to use it until I think I have some kind of utterly fantastic idea. I should just leap; I can always tear apart! Cluny

Currently this bracelet can be bought on the Cluny Grey Jewelry website. You can also see jewelry by Cluny Grey and Leslie Turtle at Studio G Jewelry.

Mother of Pearl and Kyanite Bangle, currently up for auction on Ebay: look for user id: chloemarie99 or do a search for Cluny Grey.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Citrine: The November Birthstone

Citrine is the birthstone for November, and a stone I really love since I love to wear yellow. I'm also fond of translucent stones and I don't really find

citrines that are opaque. Beautiful citrines range from the palest yellow to a dark orange colour. It is a member of the quartz family, like amethyst, because most citrines started life as amethysts that were exposed to extreme heat. I suppose this explains the existence of the gemstone ametrine, which is half purple, half yellow or half citrine, half amethyst: parts of the stone were exposed to temperatures that other parts were not. So it is a good idea to keep your citrine jewelry away from heat and strong light.
For those of you who are interested, citrine represents the astrological signs Gemini, Aries, Libra, and Leo. It has long been thought to be an antidote for snake venom, and it is considered to be a healing and protective stone. It also helps with intellectual powers, mental focus, positive outlook, creativity, will power, courage, dieting and self-confidence.
The bracelet above was created with citrine nuggets with a good strong yellow colour, tiny citrine rondelles, and citrine chips. Lampwork beads by Burt Gumeson and Alyson Straley add interest as does the Bali sterling silver. A sterling silver prayer box hangs beside the toggle clasp.

The second citrine bracelet features nuggets, large and small, citrine rondelles and tiny rounds, Bali sterling silver, lampwork beads by Burt Gumeson, a star shaped toggle clasp, and Karen Hill Tribe flower and leaf charms from Thailand.
Cluny Grey Jewelry

Studio G Jewelry

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Pearls in Technicolor: Cluny Grey

I've been playing about with freshwater pearls quite a bit lately. I'm intrigued by those in unusual colours (dyed). Some colours are a bit startling sometimes, but others, like these magenta pearls to the left have a beautiful nacre and though the colour is not really one you'll find in nature (well, where pearls are concerned anyway) they are lovely. I've put 2 different shapes together with some of my vintage lucite flower beads and Swarovski crystals, and made one strand one half a pearl strand and one-half a chain strand with the flowers and some pearl dangles hanging down. I like this particular sterling silver chain very much; it has large oval links alternated with long thin rectangular ones - very interesting. The all pearl strand is made up of little teardrop style pearls that are drilled across the top so that they tend to fall into a little scalloped pattern. This is currently up for auction on ebay: user id is chloemarie99 or do a search for cluny grey. Don't forget to click on the picture for a large screen view.

Cluny Grey Jewelry Studio G Jewelry

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Art from the Leftside! Jennifer Eustis

I often look wistfully at the work of my colleagues from the Internation Jewelry Designers' Guild and wonder how they came up with their ideas for such beautiful jewelry. But time and time again, I find myself drawn to the work of Jennifer Eustis of Leftside Art whose work ranges from the whimsical to the profound. Jennifer's use of diverse materials in her creations causes me to marvel at her skill with working with metals, and to be amazed by her imagination. The necklace above, "Monkeyshines," is a perfect example. It was made from sterling silver, brass, and "a colorful tin salsa can." Would I want to wear a necklace that has pieces from a tin salsa can? YES! Of course, I love the way that it looks, but I am also intrigued by the materials Jennifer used and how she has managed to meld them into a perfect whole. By the way, the yellow beads are also made from the tin salsa can! How did she do this!? To see this on her website, click here.
The necklace above, "Love Note," is beautiful and once again demonstrates the ability to make various materials work together. Sterling silver, brass, and tin from a candy container lose all vestiges of their origins when she combines them into a pendant and strings it on faceted dark salmon pearls that are hand-knotted. This necklace is contemporary, yet is reminiscent of some of my favourite Victorian jewelry.
My favourite of the 3 necklaces here is the sophisticated "Midnight Deco." This piece is made from sterling silver, 14 karat gold and a faceted smokey topaz. Its sculptural quality is proof that Jennifer Eustis is a jewelry designer that really deserves to be called an artist. One has the feeling that she could have been successful working with any medium, any form. Oh, she also made the sterling silver chain that this pendant hangs from. I told you she was versatile! "Love Note" and "Midnight Deco" will be offered for sale in the IJDG trunk show in November.
To see more of Jennifer's jewelry, and to read her weblog discussing her current pieces, her shows, etc., click here
Leftside Art.

Cluny Grey Jewelry Studio G Jewelry

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

A Celebration of Lampwork

More and more I appreciate lampwork beads and the artists who create these beautiful wonders. Yes, it is pink and blue (no surprises there) but the first necklace celebrates lampwork beads and how lovely they look when combined with other elements, in this case, crystal, silver and moonstones. The lampwork beads in this necklace come from some of my favorite lampworkers: Burt and Scott Gumeson of Gumeson Designs, Jim Reeves of Gonzie and V3 Lampworks, and Lynn of Laffingull. Even the small nearly perfect blue spacers that you see here are lampwork beads from Laffingull as are the exquisite flower beads on either side of the focal bead in the lower strand of the necklace. The "bumpy" beads are from Gonzie and the ;ink beads with zigzags and blue "bumps" are from Gumeson Designs "jewel " collection. This necklace will be first put up for auction on our eBay site under the username chloemarie99.
My next bracelet is a favorite of mine since it features green garnet (also known as grossular garnets). I especially love the large flat faceted green garnet nugget that is the focal gemstone. The rough stone and the smaller lighter green stone are both green garnets in just 2 examples of their endless variation. Oddly enough, with green garnets, it is their inclusions that make them really complex and beautiful. The second silver strand features sterling silver Karen Hill Tribe flower charms and Vesuvianite rectangles (akin to green garnets). The silver-laced lampwork beads are by Lisa Sharik, a glass artist from Texas.
The last 2-strand bracelet here that combines lampwork and gemstones has more beads by Lisa Sharik, showing a more delicate side of her work. The gemstone featured here is chrysoprase, and only chrysoprase, a gemstone that has been considered of great value since ancient times. It is mentioned many times in the Bible when describing the wealth and beautiful possessions of some individual. Here most of the sterling silver accents are from the Karen Hill Tribes of Thailand including the delicate bright silver green leaves that dangle from the chain strand of the bracelet.
All of these pieces may appear first for auction on eBay at a far lower bidding price than they will be on our websites. Check them out by searching for Cluny Grey or by username chloemarie99.

Cluny Grey Jewelry

Studio G Jewelry

Monday, September 26, 2005

Blue Moon

A charm bracelet I made over the weekend while watching movies. I am in love with flashing rainbow moonstone; here I paired it with blue lace agate and a sterling silver textured link chain.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Lampwork and Gemstones

I have been finding a lot of beautiful lampwork beads lately, and it's very hard to resist buying them. The charm bracelet to the left is an example; these wonderful lampwork beads by Flameworks are deep transparent blue and have deep pink roses on them. For someone who is going through a pink and blue phase, I couldn't pass them up. The rhodonite you see here, especially the ovals, rondelles, and long tubes are a beautiful pink - not the mauve you so often see in rhodonite. They were made for these beads - and how better to show them off than in a charm bracelet with a lot of bright sterling silver, both Turkish and Karen Hill Tribe, and vintage lucite flowers in the same deep transparent blue. I doubled the sterling silver chain because this bracelet is heavy!
I kept with the pink and blue theme, only this time I used the more delicate end of the colour spectrum inspirted by the "Jewels" lampwork beads of Burt and Scott Gumeson of Gumeson Designs. Mixed with blue lace agate nugget and rounds, rainbow moonstone that flashes blue, and a blue chalcedony nugget and a sterling silver bead embedded with 2 blue chalcedony cabochons, this is a very feminine bracelet. The second strand has more wire-wrapped rainbow moonstone faceted rondelles, some dangling, and a link chain that has an engraved pattern on it. The little "S" clasp is sterling silver with a rainbow moonstone cabochon bezel set in its middle.
The necklace to the left features Peruvian pink opals, pale pink Biwa stick pearls and more lampwork beads ("Jewels") by the Gumesons and floral beads by Laffingull beads. All the metal components are sterling silver.
Finally, just to prove that I am not totally fixated on pink and blue, my 2 strand fluorite bracelet also makes use of an artist's lampwork beads. These are by Alyson Straley and are the perfect colours to mix with fluorite.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Silver Parrot Speaks: Peyote!

I've found a new jewelry designer to admire: KJ of Silver Parrot Designs! I checked her website out and fell in love with her tubular peyote earrings and bracelets. KJ is a natural jewelry artist; she started out as self-taught, then took classes to refine her skills and techniques. What is amazing to me is the perfection of the peyote tubes she does - all handcrafted - but, oh so perfect! Their subtlety, the colours she employs make these pieces classics to wear a lifetime, and then pass down to those in the family who treasure one of a kind artisan work.

Her whole Silver Parrot site is not just peyote however; check out the David Christensen furnace glass bracelets that she does - and then everything else (very nice drippy chandelier earrings). Don't you just love beautiful jewelry?
**The elegance of the "Grey Flannel" tubular peyote earrings were the first thing that caught my eye (1st picture above). I love gold and the colours of this peyote bracelet really appealed to me. The peyote earrings and bracelet below illustrate one of KJ's sets done in this painstaking timeless artform.
While you're on the site, check out her Silver Parrot Designs Jewelry Blog also where she posts her newest work!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

A Little About Lapis

Lapis Lazuli is an alternate September birthstone to sapphire.
I have loved lapis lazuli since 1977 when I received a ring with a lapis inlay set in sterling silver from a boyfriend whose sister had crafted it herself. A lovely deep rich blue stone with flashes of pyrite (also known as "fool's gold), it appealed to me instantly.
Lapis also has a rich history. It was used lavishly in ancient Mesopotamia and in Persia, and was favored by the Greeks and Romans as well. The Mesopotamian city of Ur traded in lapis as early as 4,000 B.C. The name comes from the Latin for stone, lapis, and from the Arabic for blue, azul.
The Romans believed that lapis was an aphrodisiac (didn't the Romans think everything was an aphrodisiac?)
In the Early Renaissance, ground lapis was used to colour ultramarine, the paint used by artists to portray seas and skies in paintings (and very often the robes of the Virgin Mary). It is still mined in Afghanistan at ancient sites as well as Chile; there are also a few deposits in Colorado.
The lapis bracelet above contains a large nugget of lapis lazuli, longish pillow beads of fine lapis lazuli with nice flecks of gold pyrite, long rice beads of fine lapis, very blue small lapis coins, lapis cubes, iolite rondelles, and a very liberal use of vermeil - beads, chain, toggle, accents. The wonderful lampwork beads are borosilicate by the talented James Reeves of Gonzie and V 3 Glassworks. This bracelet will be listed for sale on our website Cluny Grey Jewelry.

For those of you interested, here are some of the supposed benefits of lapis lazuli:

  • Protects from physical danger and psychic attacks
  • eliminates of stress
  • helps overcome depression
  • helps symptoms of vertigo and insomnia
  • brings good luck
  • increases love, wisdom, compassion, friendship, prosperity, fertility, spirtuality, mysticism, healing, creativity

Thursday, September 08, 2005

In Praise of Purple

I am not the only person currently in love with purple, a colour I normally stay away from. But purple stones are very much in fashion, not just the amethyst, the purple classic, but lesser known stones such as lepidolite, sugilite, and charoite to name the top 3 that are currently in vogue. I shouldn't forget about purple turquoise, however, although it is actually, according to Dakota Stones, Sleeping Beauty turquoise that has been colour enhanced to look purple. I've been "drunk" (despite amethyst's meaning "not drunk" in Greek) on purple lately.
In the bracelet above and to the left, I've used a luscious faceted amethyst nugget, carved oval and faceted oval amethysts, little amethyst rondelles, and a Cape Amethyst (very light coloured) flat rectangle. To add to the mix, I put in 3 large faceted purple crazy lace agate rondelles separated by Bali-style vermeil and a largish carved flower of mingled purple and light green fluorite. I love the 14 karat gold and vermeil with this. It just wouldn't be as rich in silver!
The large teardrop earrings are lepidolite, a stone that is known for its flakes of mica that cause it to sparkle (and I love anything that sparkles) in the light. The opaque lepidolite does look good with the bright sterling silver. The large slab of lepidoloite in the bangle bracelet shows the sparkle of lepidolite to better advantage. The small lepidolite rounds seem tame by comparison. Once again I've use the very bright, or as some call it "white" sterling silver because it picks up the sparkle of the lepidolite so well.

The bangle bracelet below features 2 large sugilite barrels on either side of a lampwork bead made by Gumeson Designs (I highly recommend the work of Burt and Scott Gumeson). The sugilite, too, is usually opaque and is usually described as "violet" although I have seen creamy swirls in both sugilite and lepidolite.
By the way, all the jewelry here will be posted on theCluny Grey Jewelry website within the next week.

The rarest of the purple stones is probably charoite, found only in Russia. I'll save my example of charoite jewelry for the next blog since at present the stones are sitting by my workbench!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Jewelry: Meat & Potatoes or French Cuisine?

Maybe my analogy isn't very apt, but the basic nugget bracelet is what I sell the most of; I think of the nugget bracelet as the "meat and potatoes" jewelry although if you look at the pink rhodonite bracelet to the left with the smooth oval nuggets and Bali white sterling silver, meat and potatoes may not be what comes to mind. But it is a favorite - and even when it is plainer - no sterling silver other than a clasp perhaps. But most designers savour what I am calling the "French cuisine" of the bead jewelry world: the assymetrical piece that may mix colours, textures, types of stones, cuts of stones, and even stones of different quality so that the end result is a bracelet that really is "one of a kind."
First, the ruby and lampwork bead bracelet here mixes genuine natural ruby rounds in a loosely braided strand that curves around forming about 65 % of the bracelet; the artists' lampwork beads are by Burt and Scott Gumeson of Gumeson Designs.

The rubies are a darker purplish colour, so the lampwork with its glowing white bumps on an amethyst colour is perfect. Three Swarovski crystal rondelles in amethyst provide interest on one side of the lampwork (the 3 large lampwork beads are sandwiched between Turkish sterling silver filigree) and a smaller plain dark purple lampwork bead is on the other side. Bali beaded accents join with Turkish silver and Karen Hill Tribe (from Thailand) charms and beads and ruby dangles so that opposite the clasp there is a charm bracelet effect. The clasp, a round lobster clasp latches onto one of a number of links in a large link sterling silver chain, so that the bracelet is adjustable.

Finally, in answer to an "Orange Challenge" the International Jewelry Guild was holding (which I didn't get to enter because of family circumstances), I bought the small lampwork beads in cobalt and orange from Laffingull beads. I still made my bracelet though after the challenge ended. One strand of this bracelet features wirework and sterling silver chain. A couple of Laguna Botswana agates are thrown into the mix of carnelian heishi, rondelles, and little charms - all accented by sterling silver. The larger strand has the lampwork beads grouped together (the cobalt blue really pops!), more heishi, rondelles, a carved rectangular bead, a large unformed nugget, a translucent faceted rondelle, and a great carved round bead - all looking great with groups of sterling silver beads and rondelles around them.
I've been told that you wouldn't want to eat French cuisine everyday (I don't believe it though) and that people would yearn for meat and potatoes after such fine fare (maybe not us vegetarians), so while I love to experiment and mix, I still have a large inventory of nugget bracelets.

Special Note to Jewelry Designers: The Jewelweaver, an online site selling jewelry supplies from precious and semi-precious stones and beads to all kinds of findings from sterling silver to vermeil, tools, wires, etc. is donating 5% of every order they receive to help the victims of Katrina, including our animal friends who are often left behind to fend for themselves as their families barely escape with their lives. You have to do nothing - only order - the donation is automatic and spread amongst the charities. Their quality is superb and I recommend their products anytime, but if you've never been to their site, please check them out. The Jewelweaver

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Charm Bracelets: A Thousand Points of Light

I was explaining my method of making a "full" charm bracelet to someone on's jewelry-making forum and didn't post a picture (I couldn't figure out how), so I'm posting my latest charm bracelet here.
I call this one "A Thousand Points of Light" and it has just about everything around here that is shiny except the kitchen sink! (Which by the way is not exactly shiny right now, but has last night's pasta pan still sitting in it---I've been making jewelry all day). This bracelet is sterling silver and contains Swarovski crystals, Preciosa crystals, some Czech fire-polished beads, vintage lucite flower beads in frosted white and crystal clear, rock crystal gemstone points, Bali sterling silver beads, rock crystal nuggets, and lots of rainbow moonstone with its flashing blue fire. In fact, maybe I should have called this bracelet "Flash"; in the sunshine it does look as though someone had plugged it in! Click on the picture since you have to see the large version to appreciate this. I lost count of the number of charms. .

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Jewels of Autumn

Perfect for this Fall, back-to-school season: a briolette necklace in a wonderful Fall orange-red tone that enhances everything you wear it with. Great for basic black, looks fantastic with bright pink, camel and turquoise especially. Only the little rondelles are carnelian; all the other stones, including the glowing teardrop briolettes, are Laguna Botswana agate! These are a wonderful translucent stone so clearly beautiful that the whole necklace reminds me of hard candy!

Here is a small bracelet that can match the necklace. Once again, only the little rondelles are carnelian; all of the nuggets are Laguna Botswana agate. The stones in this bracelet show the wonderful translucence (what I call the "hard candy" effect) and the range of hot colours in this gorgeous stone. The stones are so beautiful that the only embellishment for the bracelet is its sterling silver toggle clasp.

Below is a bracelet with a pale carnelian oval as its centerpiece. Red carnelian rondelles and nuggets in deep orange join with different coloured carnelian heishi beads and a few sterling silver accents. While the carnelian is beautiful, look at the difference between it and the Laguna Botswana agates.

Finally, an example of breaking my own rule. I usually always put something, a tiny stone or even a tiny freshwater pearl if I want a nugget necklace with nothing detracting from the nuggets. I don't like even a hint of the wire underneath to show. However, here I wanted the effect of these Indian agate nuggets with their characteristic banding and beautiful tones and shadings of colour without the detraction of any other element, even silver, so I have broken my rule. Luckily, the nuggets have smooth ends and even drill holes so that when worn, the wire does not show at all. The "matching" bracelet however, has carnelian heishi beads between the same Indian agate nuggets. They work to make the bracelet more physically flexible which is important since we're dealing with a smaller circle of stones here. I finished this bracelet with a star-shaped toggle clasp that I love for its different look: feminine yet sturdy. I have also made nugget earrings to match this set which I will post later. The Indian agate is perfect to wear to work or school; its many colours mean that it looks great with khaki, camel, almost all the neutrals--even taupe--yet it uses the colours that we have come to associate with autumn. If you make a nugget necklace and do not want to add any other elements, you must be sure that the ends of those nuggets have consistent even drill holes and that the ends will fit together smoothly.
NOTE: Most of my pictures are extremely large if you click on them so that you can see details up close. In most cases, they will fill your entire screen.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Charmed, I'm Sure

This is a charm bracelet made from exquisite floral beads from Jon at Bubblebeader. I don't know how he does it! The floral beads have white petals, green centers, and are a marvelous shade of yellow that has a blush of apricot in some places. They have a matte finish and are just beautiful. The cream beads with buttercream swirls are by Lisa Sharik. I added handmade charms of sterling silver Bali beads and genuine citrine nuggets, Turkish sterling silver, and little gemstone citrine rondelles. The earrings are really special and show off the floral beads. Thanks, Jon! This is on auction at Ebay this week, sold as a set. .

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Fall Fashion Forecast: Jewelry to Match

According to many Fall fashion forecasts, plum, ginger, spice, burnt orange, dark wine, moss green and dark olive are going to be the colors for clothing as we leave Summer behind and start briskly stepping toward Winter. Of course, if you want to be really chic (and I do mean that in the French sense) your jewelry will complement these colours. I am happy since some of the jewelry I've finished will look great with them whether you're wearing an entire ensemble or just a touch of the "new" colour.
I love leopardskin jasper, and it's a perfect stone for this Fall. Its many patterns, the main one gives it its name, add variety and interest to a monochromatic outfit--my favorite! (I really do believe that dressing in one colour from head to toe makes you look slimmer). And leopardskin jasper is exceptionally versatile because of the interplay of colours in its striped, spotted, streaky and mottled patterns. This bracelet and earring set uses what some people refer to as red leopardskin jasper to distinguish it from its counterpart with a more brown or golden tone. The peach and pink are beautiful with brown, grey, charcoal, black and even what appears to be some dark olive green running through it. There is really no way to list the colours in leopardskin since just when you think you've finished, you realize you could identify another shade of peach or pink or red or grey. Of course, this set would jazz up basic black, but would look smashing with wine, and with olive green, and moss green, and ginger and spice....and well, you get the idea. The earrings are large enough to show up even on those with long hair.

This bracelet features roughly cut but highly polished tourmalines in varying shades, from the bright dark pink to a dark green. We don't need to go over those Fall colours again for you to realize how well this bracelet and earrings would match. What really makes this set special is that the little round beads between each of the tourmalines are genuine natural rubies. They are opaque and a rich, dark red. This is a weighty bracelet that will be able to carry those heavier Fall clothes.
All of the metal on the jewelry photographed here is sterling silver.