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.
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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!
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