Monday, February 23, 2009

Cloisonne, Et Al

I've been working with cloisonne a bit; it seems that when I get some cloisonne on the site, it sells (a good thing), but it does make keeping the cloisonne page full difficult. Cloisonne has been around for a long time - supposedly since the Yuan Dynasty in China (approximately 1279 A.D.) although some sources say that it originated in the Middle East and was perfected by the Chinese and the French (in fact, the term cloisonne is French). Little wire filaments (usually gold) are applied to metal then filled in with enamel. The cloisonne can be made with base metal, bronze, copper, brass, gold-plated, goldfilled, or genuine gold, or sterling silver. The cloisons are the spaces or sections within the wire that are filled with enamel, thus making the design. All of the Cluny Grey Cloisonne is on one page: the Cloisonne Jewelry page.For me the challenge is finding cloisonne with sterling silver filigree instead of gold since sterling silver is very popular now. I've been finding also that much of the silver cloisonne that I've come across tends to be very finely made - usually a bit superior to the gold cloisonne (which is usually gold-plated or goldfilled). The three bracelets that you see here are some of my favorite cloisonne colours mixed with, top, Swarovksi crystals in Dark Indigo AB, the red with a long cinnabar bead and tube "bangles" from Thailand in vermeil, and below with cherry quartz. I've used vermeil and goldfilled components with the cloisonne.
Below are a couple of other pieces I will also be posting soon: a Turquoise Bracelet with the addition of pink chalcedony and pretty lampwork beads of pink and turquoise; a double-stranded Garnet Necklace with a pretty cross pendant with garnets and green and black onyx.

Contest News: Leslie Turtle will be choosing the contest winner of the "Name the Necklace" contest. We've had quite a few entries (customers are sending their entries to the clunygre @ address). I will post some of the finalists in the next day or so.

Blogs: Got an honourable mention in Marie Cramp's blog about beginning jewelry-making. She's located in Calgary (why does Canada so appeal to my imagination?) and you'll be hearing more from her, I'm sure. See her blog at: Skye Jewels.

A woman after my own heart: L.L. draws, loves animals (volunteers at her local nature center), has cats, and on top of that, loves Tiffany's and Louis Vuitton! See her blog at Tiaras and Talons.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Colour: Monochromatic or Mixed! CONTEST

I love to read passages that start with "there are two kinds of people in the world..." because of course there never are. But I am still always interested in the way many would divide the world and feel that their choices often reveal a great deal about themselves. So...there are two types of people in the world: those who like great expanses of one colour, with maybe a touch or two of another, the monochromatics, and those who prefer colours many and mixed. Now to show you how ridiculous such a statement is, I will announce that I am both. Of course, to add an element of veracity to the statement, I will say that when I dress, I prefer the monochromatic to the many: no prints, good solid colours that make a statement whether the statement is gentle, muted, loud, or strong. In jewelry, however, I love to mix as you can see from the unusual bracelet below. While I personally prefer to wear the aquamarine bracelet that you see above, I delight in creating and looking at the bracelet below. Circus colours, brightly coloured and patterned lampwork beads, and just a hint of sterling silver - can you hear the colour? It is a cacaphony. The aquamarine bracelet is music, beautiful, but definitely not the 1812 Overture. Debussy?
The last two pictures are of the same ruby necklace. If it were music, what would it be? Send me the name of a piece of music that you think would make a good name for this necklace and win a pair of Swarovski earrings in the colour of your choice!

If you are interested, not just in jewelry but in all types of art, see Best of Artists, a great site that concentrates on art from painting, pottery, and photography to sculpture and jewelry. And yes, yours truly has been listed: see, Best of Artists: Cluny Grey.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Gemstones, Swarovski, and Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is always a whirl of last-minute gifts - people seeking presents for those they care for and want to remember on the holiday. In this business, I've been surprised, pleasantly, I must say, by how many men buy jewelry gifts or make arrangements for them well in advance of holidays whether Valentine's, Christmas, or a birthday. Strangely enough, it is often women who seem to wait until the last minute and decide that they want an extra stocking stuffer or that they want to get their daughters or daughters-in-law something for Valentine's Day. I'm surprised, I suppose, because my husband will wait until Christmas Eve to buy a Christmas present for me (but he always does a great job, so I'm not complaining!).
While we do have a special page with a few suggestions for Valentine's Day jewelry gifts, the best gifts are those that are meaningful to the recipient in some way. For instance, the amethyst bracelet makes an especially good gift if you know that she has a February birthday, since amethysts are the February birthstone. Or maybe you know that she is just crazy about amethysts - or even wears purple often. Some of the bracelets below are great for those women who take their faith seriously and wish to wear it. The gold-filled Salvation bracelet that you see below has a special meaning for Christians. The gemstones, or in some cases Swarovski crystals, each is a symbol of the progression of one's faith. The black bead represents being lost in sin; the red, the blood of Christ; the blue, faith; the clear bead (or in some cases a white bead) represents purity of heart or a clear heart; green, for growing in faith; and finally, the gold bead represent Heaven with streets paved with gold. I always try to add other Christian symbols as well, and most of my Salvation bracelets will have a sterling silver or goldfilled cross charm or a prayer box attached to them. The following 4 bracelets are each an interpretation in gemstones or Swarovskis of the Salvation bracelet:

Two more bracelets - just for fun. The fire agate and chalcedony bracelet, above, is an attempt to recreate a favorite bracelet - often very difficult to do because the special lampwork beads are so hard to come by. And, below, a sweet freshwater pearl bracelet with Swarovski crystal butterflies has a fresh, ingenue appeal.

We're offering FREE Priority shipping now until Valentine's Day!