Saturday, April 19, 2008

Summer Stones, Winter Jewels

When I mix gemstones for bracelets, I mix because of a paradigm that I've adhered to for quite a while. I see many gemstones in terms of season. That may sound stupid, but I simply can't help it, and if you look at many of the jewelry pieces that I design, you can see this particular mind-set of mine at work. First, let me say that I wear all gemstones at almost any time of the year - this is something that happens when I'm creating. And, let me add that the precious gemstones that I use: ruby, sapphire, and emerald seem to me to be seasonless - that is, they can be for the hottest day of summer or the coldest of winter, but with certain other coloured stones, I have a definite prejudice!
Above you see one example: a citrine bracelet with two strands of citrine and silver; now, that is definitely a summer bracelet as is the aquamarine bracelet that you see below:Of course, the link is easy, you think: sea and sun! But if you look at the rainbow moonstone bracelet below because of the white (beneath the blue flash) most people would think of summer. Not I! Rainbow moonstone is a winter stone; I have the same idea about labradorite jewelry. I attribute it to the blue flashes that they have that always remind me of the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights and conjure up visions of snow, reindeer in Lapland, the icy lands of Norway and Finland.
Sunstone is one of those stones that reminds me of hot summers - and also, hot days of Autumn, before that first chill sets in. It truly is a warm stone. And as one might think, when I mix pastel colours largely for one of my unique bracelets, it usually turns out to be a summer bracelet.
So what season is the peacock blue apatite and sunstone bracelet? The addition of the dark peacock blue makes it seasonless, adding the cool tones of winter to that hot summer sun. I've also de-seasoned a bracelet with labradorite as well - adding some aquamarine for summer and balancing the two stones with amethyst (which I think of as Fall and Spring)and a couple of dichroic beads for extra sparkle. To make the top citrine bracelet Fall-worthy, I would probably add some ocean jasper to it.
I know that some designers prefer to consult a colour wheel, but we all design in our own way - and sometimes in a way that perhaps makes sense only to one person.

Above is a "seasonless" emerald bracelet.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Quartz: Frozen Ice

Pliny the Elder, Roman naturalist, contended that quartz crystal (or rock crystal as the colourless variety is sometimes known)is actually ice that has become permanently frozen over a long period of time. When I see some of the quartz stones I have with beautifully faceting that are flawless to the eye, it's easy to see why he believed this! Quartz is created in hydrothermal areas, so it's no wonder that where I grew up in Hot Springs, Arkansas, we found quartz in our backyard, sparkling in rock formations that formed small bluffs and hills. Although there are real diamonds that are found in Arkansas - indeed anyone can go to Murfreesboro and go diamond-mining for a small fee - I still think of quartz crystals as Arkansas diamonds.Because of this, and because genuine diamonds are so expensive, I offer quartz crystals as alternates to the April birthstone which is the diamond. For women who don't care for small, delicate jewelry, quartz crystal is the perfect alternative since very beautiful pieces of eye flawless rock crystal are easily obtainable and affordable for most people. Another plus is that quartz looks equally good with gold or silver accents. The Quartz Jewelry that you see here is just a small sample of the quartz jewelry pieces that we have on the Cluny Grey Jewelry website. On the Quartz Jewelry page you will see quartz bracelets, earrings, and necklaces. The earrings that you see below are some of my favorites for two reasons: I adore the great pearl cabochon earwires and the sterling swirls of wire that wrap around these pretty rock crystal nuggets. Another great plus with quartz crystal is that it is dressy enough to go to a cocktail party with that little black chiffon number, but casual enough to wear everyday without looking too glitzy!

Finally just to add some colour to this post: on our Unusual Jewelry page you will find the colourful bracelet below handcrafted of lampwork beads by Suzanne Celestine, some very pretty almost translucent rhodochrosite and chrysoprase -not a usual combination, we think. Rain Song has two strands of gemstones and sterling silver from the Thai Karen Hill Tribes, including a very pretty toggle clasp with a silver flower set on the toggle ring.
Now, if we survive the rainy season here (I'm about ready to call it monsoon season since the last two weeks or so has rivaled monsoon season in southern India), it will be Summer!