Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I can remember a time when I was quite small when the month of December was one of the longest in the calendar.  Those days are long gone!  Time is flying quickly toward Christmas Day and even faster to the day I leave for Africa.  I have been busy with custom orders and all sorts of preparations, so I have only three bracelets today.  The first is a Swarovski bracelet with five strands of Swarovski bicone crystals in Pacific opal, white opal, white opal starshine, white opal sky blue, violet opal, peach, tanzanite, and Montana blue. It features a sterling silver toggle clasp.
   The next jewelry piece is a garnet bracelet with a very special large clasp with seven cabochon garnets bezel-set into the top.  A few rose quartz gemstones are scattered throughout the five strands for a difference in colour and texture.
The last piece is a blue topaz bracelet that is made as a bangle with sterling silver hand-decorated tubes from the Thai Karen Hill Tribes.  I usually make blue topaz pieces using London blue topaz, a darker blue, but I fell in love with these Swiss blue topazes because of their intense blue colour .  They are faceted rounds set off by all Hill Tribes elements reminiscent of flowers and vines with a toggle that is made of leaves. All sterling silver.
Shipping is free with any purchase over 50.00; a low 1.95 with any purchase under 50.00

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Eve

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday although this year our gathering will be a small one. Still, it is the one holiday where one eats, drinks, visits, and generally feels absolutely justified in doing nothing except feeling thankful that one can eat, drink and visit.
I am not one of those who will show up at 3:00 a.m. Friday morning to get all the "good" sales. Ugh! The very thought of it strikes terror in my heart. I have become increasingly an online shopper since it is so simple and I can shop when I'm in the mood, not when the store happens to be open. With so many stores having liberal return policies and free shipping, some of the last barriers to easy online shopping are disappearing.
For those of you who follow this blog and are thinking of Christmas jewelry, be warned that I am leaving Dec. 17th to go to Africa for Christmas, so get in the jewelry order early! I'm still doing custom orders, too, but do arrange with me soon to have your piece made.
Today, some of the latest pieces: above, a chrysoprase bracelet with artist's lampwork and two strands of sterling silver and chrysoprase. Below, an agate bracelet with pretty speckled agate. The next gemstone bracelet is made with some of my favorite prehnite; it's chunky and sharply faceted.  The artist's lampwork with the prehnite is some of our prettiest from Enchanted Dreams.
I am very fond of bracelets with more than one strand; that is only one reason I like the blue lace agate bracelet below. The flower theme is present in the prettiest artist's lampwork bead of dark blue with light blue flowers, stamped flower charms and a pretty sterling silver flower-themed clasp. The bracelet is all blue lace agate with the exception of the focal gemstone which is made of darker blue chalcedony.
Above is the first prayer box necklace I've made in gold.  The prayer box itself is a bit different than one usually expects.  It is a filigree style round shape (and it does open) topped with a pretty cabochon garnet. The prayer box itself is made of vermeil (gold over sterling silver) and the very long chain is 14 karat goldfill.
The earrings below are, in order: briolette earringsaquamarine earrings created from lovely faceted aquamarine briolettes of an intense blue;  ruby earrings handcrafted of ruby briolettes, vermeil, and goldfill.
   The last piece is unusual for me; it is a watch and not just an ordinary watch.  The face of the watch is encrusted with Swarovski crystals; the band is made of Swarovski crystals and faceted black onyx and, of course, sterling silver.  It would be great to wear to a Christmas or New Year's party.
   I wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving and hope that you get to spend it with people you love!


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Stocking Stuffers Ideas

Oh, yes, Christmas is no longer creeping closer and closer; it is galloping with the resounding sound of hoofbeats and will be upon us before we know it! I did my first Christmas shopping yesterday and although that is good for me (I almost always wait until after the first week of December to begin), I know many of you are aghast that I've waited so late. I would use the excuse that, being in the jewelry business, Christmas is my busiest time, but I must confess that when I taught, I did the same thing.  I usually waited until the last final was over, the last theme graded and my grades turned in before heading out to begin shopping in earnest.
One thing that I often found first, oddly enough, were little gifts that we call "stocking stuffers" , great small gifts that go into those Christmas stockings hanging from the mantel (and my daughter-in-law in a stocking stuffer believer, too, I'm happy to say).  For those of you who have trouble finding those gifts that will fit into stockings, here are a few at different price points that will make the stocking stuffer dilemma easy (not to mention romantic if you are a male looking for something to stuff into your wife's or girlfriend's Christmas stocking).
   I have a special page devoted to stocking stuffers at the Cluny Grey Jewelry site: Stocking Stuffer Ideas, and I will be adding more and more for the next 2 weeks. I am attempting to feature jewelry pieces from around $20.00 to ? as long as they will fit in a stocking.
  Above is an apatite necklace that is very simple: tiny coins of apatite make up the necklace and a piece of sterling silver filigree dangles three apatite "rice" beads; it is very elegant and feminine, perfect for the girl/woman who doesn't wear big jewelry.
   Below, another "minimal" necklace that is a lariat featuring three very nice faceted rectangles of chrysoprase that drop through a ring and end with a cute cherub.  Very romantic! All sterling silver, of course.
Above and below two bracelets that are both statement makers. The top bracelet is handmade of cultured freshwater keishe pearls in a beautiful coppery gold colour with a gorgeous focal of aventurine in a faceted olive bead. Below, the pearls are a light yellow colour and accented with Swarovski crystals in jonquil. (I have two pictures of this bracelet; one is on a dark and one is on a light background.  All sterling silver.
I have a lot of favorite combinations. When I work with Swarovski crystals, I love the combination of the strange "morion" colour with "silk" crystals.  The two colours play off one another beautifully and are amazing versatile.  Here the morion and silk are in cubes and helixes and mixed with dragonfly bangles from the Thai Karen Hill Tribes (I adore their exquisite sterling silver). Below the Swarovski bangle bracelet is another bracelet with different colours of Swarovski crystals; it is rather bold and colorful since it has two amazing dichroic beads that boast a rainbow of iridicent colours which the Swarovski crystals pick up. Wear this "stocking stuffer" when you want to sparkle because you surely will! It is the perfect party bracelet!
Another lariat is a simple sterling chain with only three beads: they are all Swarovski crystals, two stars and a crescent moon in clear crystal. Again, it is more minimal despite the Swarovski crystals and can actually be worn to work as well as out to dinner. It's beautiful against bare skin and almost any colour!
   The necklace below the crescent moon is super simple; it consists of a sterling chain with a single smooth sterling bead as a focal.  The abstract look of the bead makes this necklace very modern..
Earrings are perfect for stocking stuffers since they are small, but pack a lot of punch in a tiny package. These Swarovski butterfly earrings are favorites with their sterling silver earwires that feature forward-facing flowers and Karen Hill Tribes sterling silver lotus beads.

Christmas Note: If you are thinking of a custom order this year, please put your order in now. On December 17th, I will be winging my way to Africa to spend Christmas with my son, daughter-in-law, and grand-daughter who have recently moved to Mozambique. Everything has to go out before that time!
Don't forget FREE SHIPPING for all purchases over 50.00 and a low 1.95 for all purchases under 50.00.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Five Easy Pieces

These are easy pieces to wear, especially the bangle bracelets!  They are classic pieces with classic gemstones: above, gorgeous faceted rock crystal oval nuggets have a dash of colour added by the genuine ruby rondelles places between them and then again at the very ends of the bracelet's sterling silver sides (from the Thai Karen Hill Tribes). Below is a sterling silver bangle that is made with one of the favorite gemstones of customers, London Blue topazes.  These are gem-quality blue topazes that are finely faceted and complemented by Thai Karen Hill Tribes sterling silver.
Below are bracelets for fire-lovers!The first is a fire agate bracelet and has a gorgeous focal stone with a beautiful pattern and faceting juxtaposed against exquisite lampwork beads in tan colours with turquoise flowers (2) and swirls of darker brown (1). The sterling includes a beaded toggle clasp, a swirled round, a reticulated round, a folded bead and sterling silver flower charm.  The bracelet below is a classic combination of sunstone, lapis and golden vermeil that gives a nod to the ancient while appearing very contemporary. Bali vermeil has the strength to stand with these two dominant gemstones.
Last, a purple and silver lampwork bracelet made with lampwork beads from a favorite lampwork bead artist.  Silver gleams in the lampwork and is picked up by two sizes of little flower charms that hang around the bracelet. It's a fun bracelet that can go casual or extremely dressy!
Contest:  Dragonfly Beads is having a contest/drawing for some of her lovely lampwork beads.  Go to her blog at Dragonfly Lampworks to enter.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

More Fall Bracelets and Earrings

It's the busy season; fall is here, winter is on its way, and that means that Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner.  Sometimes it's hard to get a moment to take a breath much less write a blog post, but I am quite overdue and here are a few new pieces I've got to get on the site.
The aquamarine bracelet, above, gets a kick from saucy lampwork beads that echo the colours of the aquamarines and black chalcedony and add a soupcon of hot pink for fun.  Of course, three colours means that the bracelet can also be worn with more outfits. The bracelet that you see below is what I call a "one-note" bracelet: it has three rows of pretty faceted prehnite rondelles that comprise most of the bracelet, but a large lampwork glass bead adds special interest.  This exquisite lampwork bead is one of our best made by a master lampworker; it introduces the only other colour (besides the sterling silver) in the bracelet.  A special Israeli clasp features a tulip on the ring part of the toggle; a largish sterling flower charm hangs between the prehnite and the lampwork.  This bracelet looks prettier in person since for some reason the prehnite is really hard to photograph so that I get its real colour; it seems to wash out in the photos, but this one is finally close to the original.
The Salvation Bracelet below is one that I've made a series of; it's called Magdalene, and it's made with precious as well as semi-precious gemstones.  This bracelet has black chalcedony, a large faceted ruby nugget, a smooth sapphire nugget, gorgeous rock crystal, a large faceted emerald nugget, and a large faceted citrine nugget.  Two beads on either side  have a relief cross on both sides.  A scalloped toggle clasp is the closure; a small prayer box hangs beside it.  Although the prayer box is small, it still opens and allows you to put a prayer on a small piece of paper into it.
The bracelet above is made with yellow opal (opal is the October birthstone) rondelles and for a dash of colour has a large slab-like aquamarine nugget.  The turquoise bracelet below mixes pretty blue turquoise with sterling silver and clear Swarovski crystals for a dressier look than you might expect from turquoise.
Finally, two pairs of earrings both feature aquamarine: the first earringscombine the aquamarine with yellow opal (a perfect match for the bracelet above) and the second pair are aquamarine with sterling silver. These aquamarine earrings are made with some of the prettiest aquamarine faceted briolettes I've ever had; they are an intense blue colour. For a special touch, they hang from sterling posts that have a freshwater pearl cabochon in the middle.
Enjoy the crisp fall weather and I'll try to be back with more soon!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Opal: One of the October Birthstones

October is one of those months that has two modern birthstones: the opal and the pink tourmaline. Opal jewelry seems to be more popular today, perhaps because jewelry made with pink tourmalines is harder to find. (We do have jewelry on the Cluny Grey site with pink tourmalines on our Tourmaline Bracelets page.) Today I have a few of the new opal bracelets and opal earrings I'm about to put on the site. I will also have a couple of pieces made with Australian opals, the opals that many people first think of when they think of opals. Australian opals with their pink or bluish fire are very difficult to get in bead form, probably because of the difficulty of drilling them. Most of our opals are pink Peruvian opals, blue Peruvian opals, and yellow opals.
Peruvian opals are quite versatile. The opal bracelet above has pink opals mingling with beautiful lampwork beads (some of our favorites) and green chalcedony. The opals here are highly polished, light pink nuggets. Below, the pink Peruvian opals are faceted ovals that are very pink with very few inclusions. These pink opals give a dressier look to the bracelet as does the tiny beaded second chain with three floating heart charms.The faceted nuggets in the opal bracelet (shown in pictures above and below) have many inclusions in both black and brown; the black inclusions in particular give them a distinctive look making them perfect for pairing with faceted black chalcedony nuggets. The inclusions also give the bracelet a more casual look that would be great with jeans as well as office attire.
I am an ardent admirer of gold which I paired with the very nice faceted ovals below for a classic, dressy looking bracelet. All the metal is 14k gf; two charms give it a fun touch. And below this bracelet is an opal bracelet made with Peruvian blue opals. Here are blue opals with inclusions that look great with black chalcedony. I do have some very blue, almost inclusion-free blue Peruvian opals, but I often like to use these that have a translucent look with black inclusions. Although many gemstones are truly flawed by inclusions, opals are often enhanced and more interesting with them.

The opal earrings above would look great with our opal bracelets.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fall Collection 2010: Turquoise and Chalcedony

The title of this post is somewhat misleading since I have pieces made from Swarovski, amethysts, aquamarine and lampwork along with the turquoise and chalcedony. I simply decided to have a post full of pictures, and to put some pieces here that haven't made it into some of my other posts.
Above is my favorite piece this week: a handmade necklace with two strands of richly coloured gemstones including aquamarines, peridots, citrines, and rose quartz with a "watchchain" third strand with long charms featuring aquamarines, jade, peridot, rose quartz, and citrine. The aquamarine, citrine, peridot, and jade are colours that are "in" this Fall. Below, an amethyst necklace is made from rough, chunky amethyst points, refined sterling silver from the Thai Karen Hill Tribes, and artist's lampwork. I love the special Hill Tribe leaf beads which are a very shiny sterling silver with an interesting twist to them.
The last necklace, a lariat, below, is made from Swarovski crystals, sterling silver, and artist's lampwork. The necklaces have been running a bit longer to look great with the new Fall fashions.
An aquamarine bracelet reflects a growing interest I've had lately in making my own chain and sterling silver elements, as does the lampwork bracelet with the twisted coil immediately below the aquamarine. The lampwork bracelet features a single disk of porcelain jasper with an intriguing swirling pattern.

The next three bracelets, above and below, feature turquoise. Above, a pretty large nugget of turquoise is complemented by orange carnelian and two special lampwork beads that pull the colours of the bracelet together. One of my favorite types of second strands is made of tiny beads from the Karen Hill Tribes and has charms hanging from it. The turquoise bracelet below is simpler, but full of sterling silver and amazing blue lampwork beads. The last turquoise bracelet has one of our favorite clasps, a sterling silver bird with an oval, one of our favorite chains, deep blue faceted turquoise rectangles, and an artist's lampwork bead with a desert scene (not painted on).

The last group of jewelry is all chalcedony in its many different colours. The gold colour in the earrings above is especially striking, while the earrings below, topped with sterling butterflies have faceted chalcedony rectangles in a delicate green (referred to as "endive" in the fashion mags). The two chalcedony bracelets following are perfect matches for the earrings. (All chalcedony jewelry can be found on our Chalcedony Jewelry page on the Cluny Grey Jewelry website.

The next two bracelets are in one of my favorite chalcedony colours, a pretty turquoise; the first features sterling silver accents, the second 14k goldfilled metal. Finally, a three strand charm bracelet showcases the many pretty colours of chalcedony in different shapes and sizes.

The high today was a wonderful 67 degrees! Lovely! I hope it's nice where you are, too!