Saturday, March 27, 2010

Gemstones and Abalone with a Necklace or Two

March is almost over, and it's cherry blossom time. For me, this means several different things: my darling grand-daughter will be one year old, Washington will be inundated with tourists (and traffic) hoping to find the perfect confluence of blossoms, warm weather and sunlight to view what is truly one of Nature's lovely sights, and I am a month closer to a trip to Africa.
For jewelry, it means that I'll be working on items for Mother's Day, graduation, prom, June weddings, and summer beaches. Meanwhile, I have an odd assortment of jewelry pieces today!
First, above is a chrysoprase bracelet featuring really lovely chunky faceted chrysoprase nuggets that are a bit different from others that I've seen because of the brown that has been deliberately saved and made a part of the green chrysoprase nugget. Dynamite with the right outfit! And the star of the bracelet is a vintage sterling silver clasp with an inset flower cabochon (glass). A pretty lampwork bead with a shot of soft pink and perfect small green nuggets of chrysoprase finish the bracelet.
Below are two abalone bracelets that both get a kick from added gemstones; the first bracelet features faceted turquoise rectangles (some of my best) in a pretty blue; the second bracelet has faceted thick ovals of aqua chalcedony. Both have charms and toggle clasp closures in sterling.
Sometimes I seem to neglect using a certain gemstone and my supply of jewelry pieces gets low; I know it's because I'll often start using a certain gemstone and won't want to put it down, so that I don't rotate my time with different gemstones. I've neglected using jade lately, and will be making up for it, starting with the bracelet that you see above. Jade doesn't just come in green, but in a slew of beautiful colours. Here the bracelet has the traditional jade green along with a pink that picks up the pink in the gorgeous lampwork beads. A carved flower in pink jade repeats the flower theme of one of the lampwork beads. Two strands mean that this bracelet makes a definite statement.
Another two-strand bracelet below features calcite and jasper as well as another of those vintage clasps made of sterling silver. Such a beautiful clasp means that no matter which way the bracelet turns, there is something lovely to see. This bracelet has a generous helping of sterling silver beads from Bali as well.

I am making more necklaces than I did in the past (I am such a bracelet person!). I love the agate necklace above made with white agate, Swaraovski crystals, and a fantastic geode druzy agate pendant (very in style today). A special lily bead with a string of Swarovski bicones adds a touch of the unusual to this necklace.
Prayer box necklaces have been a staple on the Cluny Grey Jewelry site, but the one you see here is different because the prayer box is cylindrical instead of square. Sterling crosses from different regions hang on either side; a crystal clear Swarovski cross represents purity and virtue. Because coral was an ancient Christian symbol for protection, I added a coral charm to one side of the prayer box. The closure is a sterling lobster clasp.
Another staple on the website is Austrian Crystal Earrings, but I'm especially fond of these silver shadow Swarovski earrings made with Graphic beads, pretty Bali flower beads, and some of my favorite sterling earwires that have intricate roses on the front.
The chrysoprase earrings below are a perfect match for the bracelet at the top of this post.For a lot of fun, upload a picture of yourself with your hair pulled back to's makeover ( beauty page and try on different hairstyles and makeup.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Cloisonne Bracelets and Pearl Necklaces

I have a terrible case of Spring Fever, made all the worse by allergies and being too busy to do almost anything other than work (and the allergies seem to make me sleepy - whatever I do I can't seem to get enough sleep lately!). So those are my excuses for not posting for such a long time and for the brief post today.
I've always liked cloisonne; I like to mix it with gemstones and with Swarovski crystals so the cloisonne becomes a focal point instead of the entire piece. The cloisonne bracelet that you see above features sterling silver (there is no gold on the cloisonne although that is usually the metal used) and red magma Swarovski crystals, a favorite new colour of mine. Below, white quartz and onyx complement white closionne beads decorated with pink flowers with darker pink centers. The pretty calla lily bead in white quartz has a string of red magma Swarovski crystals sprouting from its center. The metal is vermeil (sterling silver layered with 22karat gold.

The yellow opals in the cloisonne bracelet above picks up the golden yellow of the pretty cloisonne beads, and a vermeil flower charm from Bali continues the floral theme. I especially like the "dogbone" shaped cloisonne beads. Below, green reigns with cloisonne fans with a green background and a gorgeous lampwork flower bead. The gemstones here are prehnite and tourmalinated quartz (neither of which are showing up as green as they actually are).

Coin pearl necklaces are a favorite of mine and the one that you see above features the prettiest coin pearls accented with goldfilled chain and vermeil. The coin pearls themselves are a strange bronzey colour and quite irregular on the surface which gives them a big gleam factor. It gives the appearance of a lariat necklace although it fastens in back; the chain holding coin pearls and a dragonfly charm work as a pendant.
Running a close second to coin pearl necklaces are these pearls necklaces featuring freshwater Biwa pearls mixed with gemstones and/or Swarovski crystals. For those who like their colours discreet and feminine, the first pearl necklace has mauvey/peach Biwas mixed with pale porcelain jasper; the focal is a gorgeous jasper disk with lovely faint patterns and colorations on both sides. The accents are sterling silver.
The bottom pearl necklace is a luscious colour somewhere between deep pink and burgundy - once again I've used my favorite red magma Swarovski crystals, this time in large sizes, to add interest, texture, and sparkle to the necklace. Beautiful!

Give me time to get these posted on the Cluny Grey Jewelry website. Don't forget that we ship any purchase over $50.00 free!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Swarovski, Swarovski, and Gemstones

Not officially part of the Spring Collection, but still an integral part of the Cluny Grey Jewelry Collection are our Swarovski crystal pieces. Whether the crystals stand alone in a jewelry piece or are mixed with freshwater pearls, as we often do, or with gemstones, Swarovski crystals are classics and the jewelry pieces we make from them are classic also. Above, this Swarovski crystal handmade necklace is very special with its two circles of golden crystals defining the ends of the necklace and the special Swarovski crystal rings hanging from them. This is really a type of short lariat necklace. Below, Swarovski crystals in the silver shadow colour mix very well with silvery freshwater pearls and sterling silver in this freshwater pearl necklace. Large cosmic and graphic Swarovski crystals are at intervals throughout the necklace for discreet sparkle. Because the crystals do not have an AB coating, you could actually wear this to the office with a business suit.

Although not sold as a set, the Swarovski crystal bracelet below looks great with the first necklace, above, while the Swarovski crystal bracelet below it looks great with the silver shadow pearl necklace. The third Swarovski crystal bracelet is made of uncoated Swarovski crystals in large sizes for a sedate sparkle that is still full of WOW!

Of course, we always have gemstone bracelets, and the labradorite bracelets you see below are some of our favorite. The flashing gemstones with its blue, yellow, green and aqua fire is always beautiful!
Below the labradorite is a gemstone bracelet handcrafted of pretty tourmalinated quartz. The paler green is perfect for Spring, and the toggle clasp features a cabochon of green onyx set in it.More favorites: a sapphire bracelet with a borosilicate artist's lampwork focal bead and some of our favorite sterling silver; a spectacular aquamarine bracelet that is surprisingly mixed with rubies and has an outstanding hexagonal thick opaque ruby for a focal. The second strand is a simple chain maille chain with a single charm boasting a cabochon ruby set in its middle. The aquamarine slabs are gorgeous, and the bracelet has a cabochon ruby bezel set into the toggle clasp as well.

The last two bracelets star smoky quartz; one smoky quartz bracelet rocks with pretty faceted and carved beads of rose quartz; the other has lovely lampwork beads and sterling silver spiral charms that add colour and texture to it.
Below are two more views of the necklaces featured today. Please give me some time to get these priced and on the Cluny Grey Jewelry website. I have so much new jewelry that I've made that I am really running behind!