Showing posts with label sterling silver. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sterling silver. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Jewelry and the Economy

I do not want to make light of our troubled economy, but I had to shake my head when I read in my WWD (Women's Wear Daily, the insider rag for fashion retail) about a scenario reported on by one of the editors of the paper. Apparently, a woman was looking at two sweaters, one very trendy and wildly patterned and one plainer in a neutral colour. According to the editor, because of the economy, the woman chose the plainer, neutral sweater - and this was a bad thing. Now, I fail to see this as a sympton of our problem economy at the moment, and more as evidence of the woman's savvy as a good shopper and possibly a true fashion lover; I would have done this in the money-flowing '80s (and did) , the '90s, and I still do.

What does this have to do with jewelry? Well, first of all, although many people believe that jewelry is generally an impulse buy, I don't think that is often as true with the people who buy handcrafted jewelry, especially those who buy on a regular basis. First, they know the worth of what they are buying, jewelry that is made with sterling silver that will last with real gemstones, not costume jewelry that often sells for the same price but is made with base metals that "turn" making the piece unwearable, made with glass or plastic stones that are glued in, with no intrinsic value to the piece past the season when it is bought. Handcrafted jewelry made with genuine gemstones, artists' lampwork beads, and sometimes goldfill and vermeil (both of which will last a lifetime if cared for properly) is the equivalent of the neutral sweater - only better because it lasts much longer. An added benefit is that you can "go wild" with handcrafted jewelry since unusual colour combinations and designs will change the look of all those neutral outfits that make so much sense to buy. And even if you wear a piece for a few years, then put it away for a while, ten years later, you will pull it out again and it will give a whole new look to whatever clothes are current at the time!

What usually happens during times when the economy is slow is that people don't really stop buying - they stop buying poor quality, they consider purchases more carefully if they are smart, and they will spend more money buying one good thing instead of the same amount (or larger) buying many cheap ones.
Above, the first bracelet made of fluorite is an example of a bracelet that will dress up the neutral outfit - and a piece of jewelry that will last, even though fluorite is a softer gemstone. Below are fluorite earrings with a classic look.
The look of jade never goes out of style, and the jade bracelet has the added appeal of lampwork beads (by Lynn Nurge) as well as some candy jade beads.
Finally, below are chalcedony earrings and a chalcedony bracelet made with my favorite chalcedony smooth nuggets in aqua (called Peruvian chalcedony from the dealer I bought them from). The bracelet has the most marvelous taupe and aqua lampwork beads by Suzette Celestin of Gaslite Lampwork.

Although all the jewelry I've shown today is made with sterling silver (which does occasionally need polishing a bit), the goldfilled and vermeil jewelry on the Cluny Grey Jewelry site will also last. The secrets: keep the jewelry in a plastic baggy when you're not wearing it or inside the pouch that comes with it; do not swim or bathe while wearing it, especially in a chlorinated pool, and you'll find that the gold jewelry stays bright and shiny as well.

P.S. I'm trying the look of white background with black print for those of you who find the black background with light print hard to read. Let me know which you prefer!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

In the Pink...Drusies, Too!

I"ve still been busy, but have stayed at the studio late to make a few things so that the website doesn't start to look bare! I forced myself to use the marvelous lampwork beads above, created by Lynn Nurge, although I was enjoying having them where I could look at them everyday. They are one of my favorite glass colours, a pink opal. The almost teal green center of the flower and swirl on the swirl beads is lovely, too. I mixed the lampwork with green apatite beads that have a touch of teal in them and with rose quartz. The bracelet is made so that the flower should be on top of the wrist, almost like a wrist corsage and can be seen on our lampwork bracelets page as can another new lampwork bracelet with soft shell-like opal lampwork, too. I've also been fortunate enough to find some good drusy beads, so I have been trying to use some of them, also. I love to mix them with dendrite opal as you can see here above and below in the earrings and bracelet. The translucent greyish-looking rondelles in the bracelet are actually ocean jasper. The huge focal is a drusy, of course, and so are the biggest beads near the toggle clasp. These can be seen on our Drusy Jewelry page.
The bracelet below is made of dark pink opals and lampwork beads mixed with sterling silver. The pink opals are really a bit darker in real life than the picture actually indicates, and the lampwork beads are luscious. I chose opals with dark inclusions because they were also those that were the darkest pink, and I wanted them to match the wonderful lampwork beads.
Finally, the bottom earrings are made with the "bumpy" lampwork beads that went with the set of lampwork from the first flower bracelet above. They are on our Lampwork Earrings page.

Meanwhile, the pool looks very inviting and I need to work on my tan (yes, I tan, but I don't burn), but it seems that there is always something else to do. In about 2 weeks, we are having a large part of our downstairs carpeting ripped up and wood floors put down; we're putting tile and a new shower in our bathroom and a Jacuzzi tub upstairs.
What a mess it will be! But at least it will give me an excuse to go early to the office/studio and come home late.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Coral, Coral, and a New Computer!

Ahhh....I have a new computer! Hooray for me! The last computer basically melted down; we even had to reinstall Windows XP on it to get it to work! But a new computer also means more work because there are many bits of data that I want to organize differently and more efficiently on my new computer. So I've been busy, but I have had a bit of time to list some jewelry.

I love coral for summer! From the top bracelet, the simple pearl and peachy coral, to the bottom red coral necklace, I love almost every piece of coral jewelry that I make - and want to wear it
Coral is also a great mixer - another reason that I love it. It mixes well with all kinds and colours of gemstone beads as well as lampwork glass. It looks great with gold and with silver.
My favorite bracelet has to be the blue coral bracelet (the second bracelet from the top) that is mixed with sterling silver dendrite opal and a sparkling drusy! Little charms (sea themed, naturally) dangle from various places on the bracelet. I've also added some ocean jasper that is almost translucent and little keishe pearls in a dark silver.

I finally used some of the most gorgeous, big, etched lampwork beads in coral and a frost that I've ever had. I've been waiting for the right colour of coral and finally got it. Again, the sea themed sterling charms just for fun!

This bracelet is all 14 karat gold fill mixed with lampwork boro beads, ocean jasper, lapis, coral, turquoise, and smokey quartz. I would never have mixed those particular gemstone beads, but I was playing with designs for a commision and the customer requested these gemstones. She decided to go with the sterling, but by then, I decided to go ahead and make the bracelet since I liked it a lot.

Finally, lapis and lampwork once again with long branches of twiggy red coral in this coral necklace. The lampwork beads are from James Derrick Reeves (and you know how much I love his truly excellent beads).
Did I mention that one of the reasons I like coral is because it looks wonderful against summer skin - that is, bare skin, lightly tanned to dark. So very, very sexy with something strapless!

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