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!