Sunday, December 04, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

I only have 3 bracelets to show today; I am busy trying to get all my special orders done. But a shipment with these rubies, above, made me decide that I needed a break from the things I was working on. I put together this ruby bracelet with these gorgeous faceted ruby oval nuggets. They are a lovely dark red color - no brown. The artist's lampwork beads are the same colour, but with lashings of real sterling silver winding around each one.
I always like aquamarine.  It's a favorite because it looks good on everybody.  I haven't yet met a person who cannot wear aquamarine. This aquamarine bracelet features three of my best large faceted nuggets in a lovely blue colour complemented by artist's lampwork beads and Karen Hill Tribes sterling silver.   It is a substantial bracelet, but one that is easy to wear since it is only one strand and has just the one charm. The colours here are gorgeous!
Finally, a labradorite bracelet with Swarovski crystals in tanzanite.  Don't know what it is, but tanzanite looks wonderful with labradorite, a seemingly unlikely pairing. 
  You have a bit less than two weeks to order before I take off for Africa - Mozambique and Swaziland!  I can't wait to see the jewelry and what gemstones and beads I can find there.  Meanwhile, don't forget that shipping is FREE when you purchase anything over 50 and only 1.95 when the purchase is under 50.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

It is my favorite time of the year! I love the Thanksgiving holiday. Good food, good wine, and conversation with people we love. What could be better? I have much to be thankful for this year (as I have other years as well). We are all well, happy, I have a wonderful trip to Africa planned; I will see my son, daughter-in-law and grand-daughter and get to spend time with my husband. Work is good, family is good, and life is good. Thanksgiving is a time to remember that daily annoyances mean little; that people mean everything. That the worth of our lives cannot be counted like money. It is in the way we face each day and the people we meet.
   We always dress for Thanksgiving whether it is at my house or we are going out. Tomorrow we will be having Thanksgiving out, and that means a dress for me and wonderful jewelry!
     Today I am showing a citrine necklace with a pretty carved carnelian flower at its center. I love this necklace because of its simplicity and because of the large flat faceted nuggets. I have a similar necklace I will probably wear for Thanksgiving dinner (only in gold, of course!).
Below are three chunky bracelets that would make great Christmas presents or stocking stuffers. The first chunky bracelet is made of a pretty agate and has a carved elephant as its centerpiece. But each of the other beads is special, too, carved ovals with an Asian flair.

Above is a sunstone chunky bracelet. Huge sunstones have a faint glitter in them and are accented only by the smallest sterling silver spacers. A pretty filigree scalloped toggle is the closure.
Below is an aventurine bracelet in a golden yellow. The olive shaped beads are especially appealing with little translucent spots in them.  The colour is marvelous.  Once again, the sterling silver is minimal so that the gemstones steal the show.

Above and below are some of the pieces I showed on my blog a few months back.  These Victorian style jewelry and antique style jewelry pieces are made of plated materials and in some cases feature rhinestones and other glass stones as well as freshwater pearls and natural gemstones. Most of the rhinestones and colored glass stones are vintage stones from the '30s and '40s. The filigrees are usually silver plated or gold plated. The pendant necklace above, for example, features a gold-plated filigree with a rhinestone center and genuine freshwater pearl drops. The chain is also gold-plated.  I am now listing these pieces on two different pages on the Cluny Grey Jewelry website on the Victorian Style Jewelry page and the Antique Style Jewelry pages.

Above, the necklace features vintage rhinestones, gold-plated metal, vintage givre marquise glass stones.



Tuesday, November 08, 2011

A Few Citrine Pieces for November

The word "busy" does not begin to describe the last few weeks! Here are some of the citrine jewelry pieces I managed to make along the way when I could find quiet stretches of time to work. I am one of those people who has to have hours ahead of me to create - knowing I have a spare hour or two just doesn't work for me. I've been mixing citrine with some of my favorite gemstones (citrine is a personal favorite that I wear often in the form of 2 rings, earrings, and bracelets). Above is a citrine and ruby bracelet with sterling silver. Below is a citrine bracelet with a mixture of artist's lampwork beads, crazy lace agate, yellow calcite.

Below are two views of a bracelet with aquamarines and citrines mixed with sterling silver.  The two colours are a wonderful combination, and the pretty box clasp with a bezel-set citrine really makes it special.

The bracelets below are first, a citrine and silver one-strand bracelet with a carved amethyst flower atop the focal citrine.  The center of the amethyst flower is a deep yellow sapphire.
    Next is a first for me: a bracelet with a magnetic clasp.  I've stayed away from magnetic clasps thinking that they were probably ineffective and because not many look very good.  This one however is really pretty with a carved lion on both sides; it is sterling silver, and the magnet is very, very strong!

The earrings above are made of fantastic faceted rectangles of citrine.  They have a very elegant look.
    Below, the earrings feature carved citrines and faceted citrines in one set of earrings.

Above,gorgeous carved gemstone leaves have dark yellow faceted nuggets hanging in front of them.
Below, more of the pretty dark citrine earrings with a flower them - all sterling silver, of course!
Citrine jewelry can be found on our Cluny Grey Jewelry website under Citrine Bracelets and Citrine Earrings.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

October Opals

October actually has 2 birthstones: opal and tourmaline. Lucky Octobers get to choose from quite a few different colours since opals commonly come in blue, yellow, pink, white, and of course, the fiery opals of Australian origin. If October prefers tourmalines, they too come in many colours, the most common being pink, green, and black.
Above is an opal bracelet made with some of the loveliest blue Peruvian opals I've ever had. They are quite translucent and boast a lovely turquoise colour.  For fun, I decided to use some artist's lampwork beads with them; the touch of orange in the lampwork sent me looking for some of my best carnelian. These orange faceted diamonds are gorgeous and really add a Fall vibe to the bracelet.  The dragonfly toggle clasp is very special.  All sterling silver.
Below, the same blue Peruvian opals star in this bracelet which has only one artist's lampwork bead for a focal so that the opals can shine! Two little Thai Karen Hill Tribes flower charms hang from one side of the bracelet.
Below is a tourmaline bracelet with three strands of multi-coloured tourmalines of different shapes and sizes. (There are two views of the same bracelet). Pinks and greens predominate, but there are even some yellows and pale aqua stones as well. The sterling double flower toggle is a favorite.

I always work with sunstone in the fall although I wear it all year round.  Sunstone just seems like a Fall stone with it's golden orange colours and the sparkles that are in so many of the stones.  Good sunstone also seems to glow - and that glow seems right for fall, too. Both sunstone bracelets here have two strands and beautiful sterling silver toggle clasps. I especially like the lizard one shown in the bottom 2 pictures above although the first sunstone bracelet has an especially feminine feel with its swirling toggle clasp.

Enjoy the crisp Fall weather!


  • Cluny Grey Jewelry
  • Saturday, September 17, 2011

    It's Already September!

    It's already September - and that means sapphires. Actually, it's the middle of September and I am behind in everything. The cool air yesterday and today is wonderful though, and I enjoyed getting out my long sleeves and my fall and winter jewelry. Yes, I do have certain pieces that I wear more in the fall and winter, and it has much to do with the style of the jewelry more than the components or colours or gemstones. I find that in the fall and winter, the pieces I want to wear tend to be more elaborate; I'm more likely to layer necklaces and pile on bracelets than I am in these hot summers we have here. While I wear coral all year long, I tend actually to wear more of it in the fall simply because I like coral in elaborate designs. And coral colours are a staple in my wardrobe as is turquoise.
    Today, we start with three sapphire bracelets.  The first, above, features opaque sapphires, 14 karat goldfilled accents (very large gold fluted beads), and Lightening Ridge opals from Australia. It's a true luxury piece with a second strand featuring a 14 karat goldfilled chain with gold charms.
      Below, I mixed sapphires in dark blue with small gem-quality London Blue topazes.  I love this mixture; it's the first time I've tried it and I will be repeating it.  The accents are all sterling silver, mostly from the Thai Karen Hill Tribes, and the bracelet has a second strand made of tiny Thai sterling beads. Finally, the bottom sapphire bracelet is simply with a heavy dose of sterling silver and larger faceted sapphires. A single sterling silver charm hangs from one side of the bracelet.
    Next are bracelets made of varied gemstones and materials. First is a kyanite bracelet with lovely blue kyanite and two artist's lampwork beads for added interest. A decorated sterling chain winds around one side of the bracelet.  The sterling heart-shaped toggle is a stand-out with a beaded design, and the three kyanite teardrops look wonderful on the wrist.
    Above and below are pictures of the same bracelet: an abalone and emerald bracelet with vermeil (22 karat gold layered over sterling silver). These rough, opaque emeralds look wonderful with the iridescent abalone.  The two strands are both chock-full of emeralds, abalone and gold.
    The bracelet above is a favorite; I love green and purple together.  This two-strand fluorite bracelet is special for the beauty of the gemstones, the artist's lampwork beads, and that beautiful floral clasp in sterling silver.
    Below, a simpler fluorite bracelet still has the green and purple mixture, and one of our best artist's lampwork beads as a focal. Charms and a pretty gemstone clasp complete the piece.
    One of my favorite Swarovski colours, and I hope that they never discontinue it, is Pacific opal. The Swarovski bracelet above illustrates the intensity and beauty of the colour which is accented by a single floral artist's lampwork bead, and intricate sterling silver. 
       Below are two peridot bracelets. The first mixes peridot with pretty intense pink rose quartz, artist's lampwork beads (especially pretty ones), and sterling silver.  The second strand is a Thai Karen Hill Tribes chain with charms.
       The second peridot bracelet is also double-stranded with a generous helping of peridot of different shapes, artist's lampwork and sterling silver.

    Here's to trying to keep up! Enjoy the beginning of Fall!


    Sunday, July 17, 2011

    Summer Bracelets for All Year Long

    Sometimes people think my colour sense is a bit crazy, but look at the bracelet(above and below) and tell me that it isn't beautiful! Dark faceted citrine nuggets, faceted peridot rondelles, faceted amethyst nuggets,and faceted ruby rondelles make this bracelet a colourful knockout!  It has one of my favorite second strands also: a simple strand of sterling silver tiny cube beads from the Thai Karen Hill Tribes; two little bezel-set amethyst charms dangle from it.  This bracelet epitomizes what I love about handmade bracelets.  It is a combination that you would likely never find in any commercial jewelry store. I probably like these colourful bracelets a lot because of my personal wardrobe; I wear a lot of black and white, usually with all white or all black with a touch of one other colour.  The mixed gemstone bracelets add a bit of dash to my outfits which, although I like to think of them as sophisticated,could also be thought boring otherwise.
    I really like chrysoprase, the gemstone that I believe is most often mentioned in the Bible. It was often used in ancient times, both in jewelry and art, and still has an undeniable beauty. This chrysoprase bracelet features artist's lampwork beads, a second strand sterling silver chain, and one of our prettier toggle clasps in sterling.
    The peridot bracelet (pictured above and below) illustrates my penchant for mixing different gemstone cuts of the same stone.  The artist's lampwork beads have a flash of metallic colour that adds sparkle as well. (Peridot is the August birthstone, so watch for more peridot jewelry).
    Sparkle works great in the summer! Imagine this Swarovski bracelet with an all-white outfit. The Pacific opal Swarovski crystals are a favorite with me. I adore their glow, and they remind me of the water in the Bahamas.  The sterling silver chain adds that "something extra" and dangles three Swarovski charms.
    Turquoise is also great for summer. Below,the  lampwork beads in this turquoise necklace determined the colour scheme. The beads are turquoise,clear, and dark amber. Sleeping Beauty turquoise and other genuine turquoise stones are complemented by brown chalcedony that picks up the dark amber colour in the lampwork beads.  The carved gemstone flower is actually carnelian.
       Below the necklace is a hunky, chunky turquoise bracelet with wonderful large turquoise nuggets mixed with golden vermeil from Bali.  A single golden key charm hangs from one side of the bracelet.
    A favorite combination of mine is emeralds and abalone, and in this last bracelet, you can see why I love it so much. The rough emeralds look great with abalone; the vermeil accents really adds to the glow of this bracelet.


    Thursday, July 07, 2011

    Rubies are Red Hot!

    I love working with rubies! In the last post, I said that rubies will work with any other gemstone, but they work just as well on their own. Rubies are perhaps one of the most romantic gemstones because of the lore surrounding them and because of their vibrant colour representing love and passion. The ruby was also believed to prevent separation of lovers. The ruby was also believed to protect warriors, give courage and endurance, relieve blood diseases, protect one's home and possessions, bring wealth and good luck, and enhance love and passion. Plus, it's just downright pretty!
    The bracelet above is from a new group of chain bracelets that I am making; this chain bracelet of sterling silver dangles four little faceted rondelle rubies. The chain I made myself; the toggle is sterling silver.
      Below, a pair of ruby earrings made with smooth ruby "pebbles" of bright red.  They feature sterling silver accents and are topped with a faceted cone of clear quartz crystal.  The ruby earrings hang from sterling silver earwires with an intricately made flower decoration.
    Below are three more ruby bracelets (and you will find more on the Cluny Grey site). The first ruby bracelet mixes bright and dark red rubies with sterling silver and two artist's borosilicate lampwork beads. The lampwork beads pick up the colours of the rubies and add a flashes of blue and teal to the mix.  Little sterling charms from the Thai Karen Hill Tribes hang from the bracelet.  The toggle boasts an oval cabochon ruby set in it.
    The next ruby bracelet is all about flowers and butterflies. Intricate sterling silver comes from both Bali and Thailand as well as Turkey.  A cluster of Thai Karen Hill Tribes charms, miniature flowers, is on one side of the bracelet.  A sterling leaf toggle is full of swirls.  The last ruby bracelet is a simple, slim bangle bracelet with small bright ruby pebbles and a beautiful sterling silver toggle clasp.  This is the perfect ruby bracelet to wear everyday. It won't get in the way, but those bright rubies make quite a statement!

    Here are a couple of other pieces I've been working on. Above is an iolite bracelet that I am really pleased with.  That large faceted stone in the middle with the jolt of colour is a carnelian.  I just love how it pops out against the blue, but at the same time looks as though it is right at home.  The iolite here is pretty and there are a few larger pieces.  Plus, those Karen Hill Tribes sterling charms add a bit of zest, too. The second smaller strand is almost all faceted iolite rondelles that have a nice sparkle.
        Below, WoW!  I had to put two pictures of this quartz necklace to show how it looks against black and white.  Photographing quartz, especially very clear quartz has always been difficult for me.  I want to get that sense of depth and shine at the same time which can mean (for me) snapping picture after picture and discarding picture after picture!   These are quite large clear quartz faceted nuggets enhanced only by the smallest sterling silver accents and very special artist's lampwork beads. I need another picture just to do the lampwork beads justice.  They are red encased in clear with sterling silver on them and a sort of metallic glow when you turn them. Wonderful!  This could be very, very dressy, or it could be for everyday.  It is one of those necklaces that I thought, "Do I want to keep this for myself?"  But, no, I can't start doing that or it would never end!  So into its special container it went to await a new home.
    Meanwhile, I love living here! I still say it's a bit cooler than Arkansas. And where else can you sit on the front steps of your townhouse, view the Washington Monument and watch the 4th of July fireworks!
    Enjoy your summer everyone!