Tuesday, September 25, 2007


The office/studio, always a refuge of sorts where I can engross myself in the mystery and beauty of gemstones and beads, has become even more of a refuge the last 2 weeks. We are remodeling two bathrooms and putting down wood floors in our master bedroom, the study, and the den. We are also putting tile/granite down on the master bathroom floor and replacing the tub with a shower with seating. Upstairs we put in a Jacuzzi bathtub and had the wallpaper taken off and the walls and ceiling painted. The house is a mess; a layer of dust at least a 1/4" thick covers most surfaces (did I mention that I was allergic to dust mites?).
My own jewelry lies scattered about the house in various plastic bins at the moment. We are sleeping upstairs in my son's old room (it does have a queen bed and a tv) while our bedroom is downstairs. I don't know where half my clothes are; getting dressed in the morning is an adventure as I go up and down the rather steep stairs looking for a top, then a bottom, trying to stay out of sight of the workmen when I haven't found one or the other (what happened to my robe!?), and telling myself that no one will notice that I am not wearing makeup.

Meanwhile, kitty Cluny, my little dear who is terrified of everyone but my husband and me, basically hates the workmen, their sounds, their voices, their movements. He is always hiding, but when he hadn't shown up after the workmen left last week, I feared the worst: that he had fled outside and was lost and terrified, shivering with fear somewhere on the golf course, not knowing how to get home. I slept little that night - on the couch in the den with the garage door up and only the glass door locked so I could see if he came back home. He didn't.
At 6 o'clock the next morning, I'm still looking when my other cat, Cuervo, starts acting strangely. I hear faint meowing and Cuervo goes crazy scratching at the walls. I follow the meows and find that Cluny has hidden himself underneath the new Jacuzzi bathtub (before they put the panels on the outside) and now he can't get out. The man has to come and take the heater off, but since he is present, Cluny still won't come out, even though now he is physically able. I send the workmen downstairs, but Cluny can still hear them. I lure him with albacore tuna (the stuff we eat), he turns up his nose and takes a nap now that he knows he can get out.
No, he's not still in there; when the workmen left at 6:40 that evening, he came out.
It took me two days to catch up on the sleep and recover from the emotional trauma!
What does this have to do with jewelry? Nothing, and in the last two weeks, about the only thing I've done is work on custom orders since my all creativity seems to have left me in the series of sneezes I've been prone to.
So only 2 pieces that aren't on the site: the top bracelet made with peach aventurine, borosilicate lampwork beads, and aquamarines and the necklace created from lampwork beads by James Derrick Reeves, rose quartz and emeralds (yes, emeralds). Of course, Reeves' beads were the catalyst for the necklace. It's a strange mixture, but I like it.
Here's hoping the remodeling is soon finished. Believe me, I'll be thinking twice before we attempt any changes involving the creation of heavy dust in the house!

Monday, September 17, 2007


Because I have been busy doing custom work the last month, when I make something, it's because I caught an odd moment between e-mails or I'm waiting on a call. Still, I like being busy; I go home late evening and for once have no trouble sleeping (once I catch up on the e-mails).
The mornings have begun to be chilly; I can sense Fall in the air, and the water in the pool is frigid even on the sunniest days. How could it be so sweltering a few short weeks ago and then change so suddenly?
The bangle bracelet above is evidence of my growing Fall mood; the warmth of the carnelian always reminds me of Fall and Winter. I do not often think of it as a summer stone (unless perhaps the carnelian is orange or white).
The bracelet below, too, is indicative of the turning leaves and my changing mood. Crystal moonlight Swarovski - very large Swarovski, I might add - and gorgeous silver-flaked beads that really shine - great lampwork beads by one of my favorite lampworkers, Robin Weber. This bracelet may be cool whereas the carnelian bangle was warm, but it's really not so much coolness as it is frostiness, the frostiness of late Fall, early Winter. This is a Winter bracelet!

My last two bracelets are equally at home, I think, Fall, Winter, Summer, Spring. Classic amethyst with more of Robin's wonderful beads: this time they are purple laced with silver, and their shine is lovely. In fact, I haven't seen that many beads that can compare to these in the shine and sparkle department.
And finally, the last bracelet, aptly entitled Miscellany, is a mix of gemstones, precious and semi-precious. Kyanite in a lovely teal colour, aquamarine that is mostly blue in colour, emeralds, rubies and pink chalcedony, all are accented with sterling silver to show off the gemstones. It's a small bracelet with a lot of presence.
The carnelian bangle bracelet, amethyst bracelet, Swarovksi and lampwork bracelet can be found on the Cluny Grey Jewelry website, and Miscellany should be listed there soon.
Welcome Fall!

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Season of Sapphires

The sapphire is the September birthstone (although many sources will list lapis as an alternate). It is a very popular precious gemstone probably since a large percentage of people say that their favourite colour is blue. However, the sapphire, although know for its beautiful blue, comes in many, many other colours.
The sapphire is a corundum (like the ruby!), made of aluminum oxide, and created by heat and pressure deep within the earth. Other elements are responsible for the colours of sapphires such as iron and chrome. There are pink sapphires, green siapphires, and I have quite a few yellow sapphires in my own stock as well as some white sapphires. When corumdum is red, it is called a ruby. So is a ruby a sapphire? Well, yes, in a manner of speaking. It is the red colour caused by an element in the sapphire that makes a ruby, a ruby!

Sri Lanka, once known as Ceylon, was one of the earliest places to mine sapphires successfully. Sapphires are also found in Burma, Thailand, Cambodia and Brazil. Today the largest suppliers of sapphires are Australia and Africa.
Many legends have grown up around the mysterious blue of the sapphire. The sapphire gemstone has been believed to represent wisdom - and even to endow one with wisdom if worn constantly. Thought of as a "mind-opening" gemstone, it is thought to prevent jealousy and bring truth and health to the wearer. Perhaps this is why in ancient times it was believed to be an antidote to poison.
The first two pictures represent jewelry on the Cluny Grey Jewelry website. The bracelet is made of rather large (9mm-10mm) faceted sapphire rondelles and - yes! I added lampwork beads to a sapphire bracelet! These are good borosilicate lampwork beads that have beautiful shades of sapphire in them, and then a faint glimmer of green and a hint of a dark red. They are perfect for sapphires. See the bracelet on the Sapphire Bracelets page of our website.
The earrings are made of faceted sapphire rondelles and sterling added to give them a slightly "Moroccan" look. They are on the Sapphire Earrings page.
The last bracelet is a combination of two favourite gemstones I recently got in. The pink Peruvian opals are some of the most glowing and beautiful I've ever had although they are not very large. The pink colour is wonderful. And the aquamarine gemstones I just got in from Thailand are beautiful. I decided to combine the two beauties just for fun!
Otherwise, custom orders are keeping me busy. I try to make one or two new jewelry pieces a week to put on the website to keep it fresh. So keep looking, you may find your heart's desire (and a great piece of jewelry to wear when you're with him!)