Thursday, September 25, 2008

Are We There Yet?

Have you ever had the feeling that you will never get "caught up"(whatever that means)? I'm having one of those episodes now, as I go to the office each day and try to finish what I was trying to finish yesterday! I haven't really had time to post a lot of new Fall jewelry since getting "caught up" means getting orders out, doing paperwork, and organizing new gemstones and components as they are coming in. So today, I don't have many pictures to put on the blog. I'll be glad to get some more help for the paperwork and organizing as soon as I can find someone. I love to travel and have a short Hilton Head trip coming up, but lately getting away hasn't meant getting away at all, but rather working furiously before I go, taking work with me, and being met with a deluge of things to do on coming home. Of course, it doesn't help that I have to work hard to mollify kitties Cluny and Cuervo who feel that forgiveness for my travel is a lengthy process that requires a lot of treats and petting and brushing on my part (although I do have two different people come over every day while I am gone to make sure that they are fed, and one who stays to play with them for an hour or more!)
The jewelry today is (above) a
labradorite bracelet featuring sterling silver and pretty borosilicalte lampwork beads, (below) an opal bracelet made with blue Peruvian opals, smoky quartz, and sterling silver. The second strand is a chain of sterling with charms hanging at intervals. The last bracelet today is made with yellow turquoise - a stone I don't use that often. A customer wanted a bracelet and some other pieces made from yellow turquoise and I started getting interested in the patterns and shades of colour in these oval stones especially. With Suzette Celestin's lampwork beads and Karen Hill Tribes chain, this is one of my favorites although I'd never been very keen on yellow turquoise before. It's not on the turquoise page, but on a new page on the website that features gemstone bracelets that contain gemstones that we don't really have a category for otherwise, such as charoite, sodalite, rhodochrosite, unakite, and yes, yellow turquoise!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sapphire: September's Exotic Birthstone

Reminiscent of the notorius "Star of India", admired by kings and queens, given as an engagement ring from Prince Charles to Princess Diana, the sapphire has an imperial and exotic pedigree. Persian rulers believed that the sky was the reflected blue of sapphires, and many believed that the Ten Commandments were originally written on sapphire (although in both cases the word sapphire likely referred to lapis lazuli). In the middle ages, the sapphire was prized by wizards and savants alike for what many believed were its magical powers and efficacy as a lucky charm. At times, because sapphires are known to change from a blue during the daylight to a purplish or violet blue during the evening, sapphires were used to test a woman's chastity. The legend goes that if a sapphire turned blue-violet, then the lady was unfaithful while remaining a steady blue meant that she was true. Poor women who were unlucky enough to be tested under the evening light! Sapphire belongs to the family of minerals known as corundum (just as the ruby does). While the word "sapphire" most likely came from the Greek language, the word "corundum" comes from the Tamil language (spoken mainly in Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu in India). The sapphire gets its blue colour from iron and titanium dioxide. Corundum is the second hardest stone (the diamond is the first) registering an 8-9 on the Moh's Scale of hardness. Most sapphires are heat-treated today to obtain their dark blue colour, a process which really only mimics what Nature would do more slowly.

I love to work with sapphires, especially when the sapphires are of a larger size. I was fortunate enough to find some largish faceted rondelles that you see in some of the jewelry here. All the sapphire braceletshere can be found on the Cluny Grey Jewelry page of Sapphire Bracelets including the bracelets which also feature lampwork beads and mother of pearl. The sapphire earrings can be found on the Sapphire Earrings page.