Friday, December 29, 2006

Mother of Pearl, Mystic Topaz, and Fluorite

I was shocked to look at The Jewelry Blog and see how long it's been since I've posted anything. Christmas, all those packages, jewelry, jewelry, jewelry, a trip to Seattle, and my two new kitties have kept me very, very busy over the holidays so far.
So some things I've been working on: first, I added a couple of new pages to the Cluny Grey Jewelry website, including Mother of Pearl and Mystic Topaz (just click on the names to go there). I so often start working with one material and have to force myself to stop; I've been doing that with mother of pearl as you can see with the first and third bracelets here. I'm in love with the gold mother of pearl and vermeil bracelet, and I'm rather fond of the blue one also. In between the two is the mystic topaz; it's very expensive mystic topaz (and quite perfect) that I've mixed with Robin Weber's fantastic silver-laced beads and some of my favorite Karen Hill Tribes sterling silver decorated chain. Yum.
Of course, my tastes are quite eclectic, so when some great fluorite gemstone beads arrived one day, their wonderful colour made me stop everything else and sit down to make a bracelet (and earrings, too). The fluorite bracelet once again is just made by Robin's wonderful beads, quite different ones this time, with the greens and purples one finds in fluorite and little "bumps".

The fluorite bracelet is on the website's Fluorite Jewelry page along with earrings and necklaces.

A New Year's Resolution: (just one among many) Write in the blog more often!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The December Birthstone? Turquoise (Among Others)

The December birthstone is difficult to decide upon. It seems there is no hard and fast birthstone for December the way there is for, say, May - the emerald, or January's garnet. Some sources will tell you that the birthstone for December is the Zircon, which is not the same as a cubic zirconia, but a real stone that is usually colourless and heat treated to turn it a beautiful blue colour. Some say the December birthstone is the Blue Topaz, probably because it became quite popular as a jewelry stone, and many people started viewing the Zircon as a synthetic, confusing it with the cubic zirconia. Other sources say turquoise which is what I am going with. So with turquoise in mind, I did the above bracelet with a mix of blues - blue turquoise and blue lapis - inspired once again by the great lampwork beads of James Derrick Reeves. Also, not only do I like lapis mixed with turquoise personally, but it has been mentioned as a traditional alternative to turquoise and blue topaz as the December birthstone. The smaller lapis pieces are good lapis from Afghanistan in a lovely dark royal blue. I have listed this bracelet on the Lapis Jewelry page on the Cluny Grey website, simply because there was more room on that page.
The turquoise bracelet above features borosilicate (boro) lampwork beads and blue ovals and rounds in turquoise. I think of this more as a birthstone bracelet than the others.
Turquoise gets its name from Turkey, and it has long been used in jewelry. A gift of turquoise is supposed to represent friendship and fidelity. In the ancient world, turquoise was considered to be a sacred stone.
The bottom turquoise bracelet is called "In the Time of Flowers" and has great turquoise nuggets with the wonderful spidering veins that makes it so pretty when it is this colour blue, and little charms at intervals throughout the whole bracelet. Everything is sterling silver, and the lampwork beads were chosen to complement the spidering as well as the turquoise. To see more turquoise bracelets, click here.
If you don't know what your birthstone is, or want to know your Hindu birthstone, see our Birthstone Chart.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Swarovski Rocks!

I really stayed away from Swarovski crystals when I first began making jewelry, and what a mistake that was! I am trying now to make up for lost time. Working with the crystals is such a delight visually since the flawless crystals sparkle and flash so much that I find myself pushing them around on my workspace the way my cats push their toys around the floor, toying with them, holding them for a moment, then walking away from one only to pounce on it later as though I'd never seen it before.

The top bracelet is made with aquamarine crystals - huge ones, the new Swawrovski Cosmic crystals - and sterling silver Karen Hill Tribes dragonfly beads.
I love bangle bracelets, and I really, really like this one. The Hill Tribes silver of course, then some Bali silver and then the huge Cosmic crystals in the 12mm and 16mm sizes. I am thinking of keeping this one if I don't sell it this week.
Copper Cosmic crystals and copper coins pearls suit my monochromatic tendencies and although I made this bracelet with sterling silver, the next one in these colours will be with gold. See Swarovski and Pearl Bracelet.
Large round Swarovski crystals in a green colour go perfectly with this natural abalone that I just got in. This bracelet really should be seen live to get its full effect.
I'll be posting a few pieces of jewelry on Ebay this weekend if I have time (see user id: chloemarie99 or do a search for Cluny Grey); otherwise, I'm getting them on the Cluny Grey website as quickly as I can.