Monday, March 31, 2008

Emeralds, Rubies, and Sapphires

Part of the new Spring Collection from Cluny Grey features precious emeralds, rubies, and sapphires in bracelets and necklaces in which they are mixed with goldfill, sterling silver, and sometimes lampwork beads. Not long ago I received a shipment from Hong Kong with ruby and emerald slab beads that are about an inch long - they're marvelous! It's great to work with precious gemstones that are not miniscule, and because of their size, these precious stones are perfect with the lampwork beads that otherwise dwarf the little gemstones. The emerald bracelet above features the borosilicate and ruffled lampwork beads of Lynn Nurge; they blend beautifully while adding a little extra to the emerald bracelet above. I love this bracelet because it is such an eclectic mix of emeralds: some are smooth pebbles, some faceted and clear, a large slab is the focal of the main strand of the bracelet, and tiny little faceted rondelles (of good quality) shine in the second, smaller strand. I am fond of mixing qualities of gemstones also as you can see since the emeralds range from clear to opaque. I do the same thing in the emerald necklace that you see below; the lampwork beads are also from Lynn Nurge (a favorite lampworker).The unique bracelet that you see below, "The Veiled Dancer", is a mix of precious gemstones: emeralds, rubies, and sapphires. This is one of the Raj Collection bracelets, influenced by the time that I spend in India, and features goldfilled beads, toggle and charms and just one focal lampwork bead that mixes the colours of green, red, and blue - the perfect match!

The last bracelet here is a departure from my usual bracelets since it is a beaded bangle sapphire bracelet created from sterling silver wire, opaque sapphires in a rice shape and a rather large mother of pearl flower with a beautiful nacre. The flower's center is a faceted rondelle (about 4+ carats) sapphire (also opaque). It is officially Spring! Watch the Cluny Grey Jewelry website as we add more of the Spring Collection almost daily.
To my readers in Estonia, Finland, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden - I hope that wildflowers will be blooming soon!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tourmaline: The Stone with Mixed Colours

If I get any busier I'm going to have to clone myself! Nevertheless, I decided it was time to update the blog and try to get a few things on the website. Some time ago I bought quite a few tourmaline strands; some of them turned out to be very pretty. Pretty tourmaline can be difficult to find in bead form. How I wish I'd bought strands and strands of it when I was in India! But now I have to try to search and search like everyone else. I saw great tourmaline when I was in India; appropriate, since Sri Lanki gave tourmaline its name and (tur mali in Sinhalese) the Dutch East India Company (headquartered in Madras where I spent most of my time; Sri Lanka is right off the coast) brought tourmalines back to Europe. Nowadays, tourmaline comes from Brazil (deep blue-green paraiba tourmaline is prized), Namibia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Tourmaline is even found in the USA.

What I love about tourmalines is what they are known for - their many colours, even within a single crystal. One old legend has it that in coming up from the earth, the tourmaline somehow passed over an underground rainbow and absorbed its varied colours.
Many people are fond of pink tourmaline, and it has been accepted as an alternate birthstone for the month of October (usual birthstone is the opal). I like to use all the colours of tourmaline together in one piece of jewelry. This works for me because, first, it is rare to get enough perfect tourmaline in one colour for a piece of jewelry, and second, because I like the way the colours blend together. I particularly like clear olive, pink, and yellow tourmaline. And these three shades are wonderful together.The jewelry on this page is representative of the tourmalines I get: the top pair of tourmaline earrings illustrate the different colours of green and pink; the second pair, here in the last picture, show blends of pink although without the green that makes "watermelon" tourmaline - very popular recently. The tourmaline necklace above has colours of tourmalines ranging from black to watermelon to green to pink and all shades in between. Tourmaline jewelry is also very useful in the jewelry wardrobe since it can go with so many different clothes.