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.