Showing posts with label garnet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label garnet. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Garnet: The January Birthstone

Did you know that the garnet was named after a fruit? The ancient Greeks thought that garnets looked like the seeds of the pomegranate - thus, garnet! In the Bible, garnet is mentioned fairly often, usually called carbuncle.
The Victorians were especially fond of garnets and mixed them often with pearls, opals, coral, cameos, and one of my favorite combinations, turquoise. But they were passionate about Bohemian garnets (from Czechoslovakia)set in gold with an entire piece encrusted with small and medium garnets glittering around a larger focal.
I love garnets because I consider them a neutral when they are a deep, dark red. They look great with black - and really blend with almost any other colour you can wear. I mention that I like the deep, dark red because garnets come in almost every colour except blue! They are also fun to create with because they mix so interestingly with other gemstones and other jewelry materials.
Above, for a more modern, artisan look, I've mixed garnets with artist's lampwork beads that have a touch of light blue in them; I love those flat, faceted garnet nuggets and recently was fortunate enough to find some (pretty large garnets can be difficult to find in bead form). I've used the same faceted garnet nuggets in the next garnet bracelet with flat, faceted citrine nuggets, charms, and some repousse sterling silver.

Above, a garnet bracelet where the garnets serve as a foil for the sterling silver, especially the sterling silver chains of different sizes. An interesting toggle clasp, a special oval ring in silver, and a hanging circle of garnets make this bracelet special.
Below, garnets playing well with others: the first bracelet features rose quartz and a special toggle clasp with garnet cabochons embedded in the ends of the toggle bar; the next garnet bracelet mixes with creamy coloured mother of pearl, dangling charms around the bracelet and a pretty butterfly toggle clasp. All garnet bracelets here are mixed with sterling silver.
Below are two more bracelets new to the Cluny Grey Jewelry site. The first, a freshwater pearl bracelet, the second is an aquamarine bracelet mixed with freshwater Biwa pearls.Don't forget to make your New Year's Resolutions!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cloisonne, Et Al

I've been working with cloisonne a bit; it seems that when I get some cloisonne on the site, it sells (a good thing), but it does make keeping the cloisonne page full difficult. Cloisonne has been around for a long time - supposedly since the Yuan Dynasty in China (approximately 1279 A.D.) although some sources say that it originated in the Middle East and was perfected by the Chinese and the French (in fact, the term cloisonne is French). Little wire filaments (usually gold) are applied to metal then filled in with enamel. The cloisonne can be made with base metal, bronze, copper, brass, gold-plated, goldfilled, or genuine gold, or sterling silver. The cloisons are the spaces or sections within the wire that are filled with enamel, thus making the design. All of the Cluny Grey Cloisonne is on one page: the Cloisonne Jewelry page.For me the challenge is finding cloisonne with sterling silver filigree instead of gold since sterling silver is very popular now. I've been finding also that much of the silver cloisonne that I've come across tends to be very finely made - usually a bit superior to the gold cloisonne (which is usually gold-plated or goldfilled). The three bracelets that you see here are some of my favorite cloisonne colours mixed with, top, Swarovksi crystals in Dark Indigo AB, the red with a long cinnabar bead and tube "bangles" from Thailand in vermeil, and below with cherry quartz. I've used vermeil and goldfilled components with the cloisonne.
Below are a couple of other pieces I will also be posting soon: a Turquoise Bracelet with the addition of pink chalcedony and pretty lampwork beads of pink and turquoise; a double-stranded Garnet Necklace with a pretty cross pendant with garnets and green and black onyx.

Contest News: Leslie Turtle will be choosing the contest winner of the "Name the Necklace" contest. We've had quite a few entries (customers are sending their entries to the clunygre @ address). I will post some of the finalists in the next day or so.

Blogs: Got an honourable mention in Marie Cramp's blog about beginning jewelry-making. She's located in Calgary (why does Canada so appeal to my imagination?) and you'll be hearing more from her, I'm sure. See her blog at: Skye Jewels.

A woman after my own heart: L.L. draws, loves animals (volunteers at her local nature center), has cats, and on top of that, loves Tiffany's and Louis Vuitton! See her blog at Tiaras and Talons.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Jewelry and Computer Cats

I've still been working with garnets to some extent since it is the birthstone for this month. I've been exploring garnet mixtures and came up with a couple that I'm satisfied with. The first is the bracelet above, made possible by the large, square, beautiful lampwork bead with a sprinkling of sterling silver across the middle and two different shades of pink: on the left is pink opal, to the right is a graduated pink. Two roughly faceted garnet nuggets are offset by two gorgeous Peruvian pink opals - best quality, with a strong deep pink and some translucence. I love these glorious opals! The bracelet below is another mixture that I accidentally discovered when my bench was covered with all kinds of gemstones. These beautiful rounded rectangles of pietersite happened to be lying next to the lampwork beads that you see in the bracelet. I tried amethyst, but it clashed, the way that some gemstones do unexpectedly sometimes, when you'd swear that they would be perfect together. However, the dark garnet was perfect. Garnet, pietersite and very pretty lampwork beads - not a combination I see everyday, but one that I do like. Both bracelets are on the Garnet Bracelets page of the site.
I've been lucky lately with getting some beautiful borosilicate lampwork beads with unusual colours and great blends of colours. The peach - pink - orangey ones in the rhodochrosite bracelet below are an example. They are so lovely, in fact, that I don't put them in the little drawers that I have for different colours; I leave them out on my desk so that I can look at them. The gemstone bracelet below has the addition of two pinkish genuine rubies on its second strand, and a generous helping of some of my most intricate sterling silver.
Finally, I would like to introduce you to two of the greatest joys in my life - and my helpers whenever I do work on the computer. In front is Cuervo Sebastian, winking at the camera. Behind in his usual place snuggled up next to the computer (it's very warm there) is Cluny Camillo. Cluny and Cuervo are kind enough to let me live here with them, and they even let me sit here on the bed while I work on the computer and watch tv. By the way, they don't wear jewelry!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Garnets for January

Above, a Swarovski bracelet made with clear AB crystals
The birthstone for January is the garnet - probably named after the pomegranate whose seeds it resembles. If the garnet is your birthstone, you're lucky since the very dark red garnet goes with almost every colour in the wardrobe. But if you really don't care for the dark red, grossular (green) garnet is equally beautiful as is the yellow-gold of Hessonite garnets. In fact, garnets come in almost every colour except blue.
According to folklore, garnets have wonderful and magical qualities that are supposed to help one with everything from attracting love and success to curing depression and skin disease. It also inspires self-confidence and courage and bestows the wearer with energy.
Garnets look especially good with lampwork; they also play well with other gemstones as you can see in the picture below of the garnet and citrine bracelet. Garnets look equally good with gold or with silver so they never really go in and out of style the way many gemstones do. Of course, the Victorians were great aficionados of the garnet and mixed it with pearls and even with turquoise.

All of the garnet bracelets here can be found on the Cluny Grey Jewelry website on our Garnet Bracelets page.