If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, following me on Facebook, or just know me as a person, you know I'm a fan of Jasper...BIG fan of Jasper, and pretty much any Jasper will get my heart going pitter-pat. Butterflies and everything.
I think the main reason I am so enamored with Jasper is because each individual stone is so different. Much like us humans, even stones within a particular variety of Jasper are so different. And each individual stone wants to be treated differently, wrapped differently, viewed differently, which stretches me as an artist.
This month I wanted to talk about Imperial and Royal Imperial Jasper, which I don't think I've talked about before with you. What's the difference, you ask? Well, let me just tell you...
Remember these? Last month I vowed/committed to you that I would stop my gem-shopping habit and work with some of the stones that I had.
As I write this, we’ve been experiencing some milder temperatures, but I know that’s not the case everywhere. So I got to thinking that in March, while we’re waiting for Lady Spring to start awakening from her slumber, we really do need some strength and courage just to stay sane. I don’t know about you, but right around our frigid mid-January was when I was ready for Spring to arrive.
Let’s explores some of the gemstones that help with the qualities of courage and strength. As I was doing some research for this post, I found it interesting that the first couple of stones I came across happened to be the birthstone for March. I guess I wasn’t the first person to think these qualities were necessary around this time of year. I also came across Carnelian, Howlite, and Onyx.
I know it’s only March, but wedding season is upon us (heck, wedding season is year-round if truth be told). Accessorizing for the bridal party can often be a source of stress for the brides, but for me, it can be the source of my inspiration. Most brides are looking for one-of-a-kind pieces that speak to their individual style and I know I can create that unique piece that can not only be worn on the special day, but also for years afterwards.
Whether it’s jewelry for the bride, bridesmaid, or mother of the bride to wear during the wedding, or even just gifts for the bridal party, the creation process starts the same. Some brides bring their inspiration with them, a dress, a piece of lace, a beaded bodice, or even a particular color scheme. Others have an idea. Any which way, we will meet and pick out individual pearls so the color, size and shape is just perfect and fits the bride’s idea.
This bride brought me her dress, which was a lovely champagne color with tiny seed pearls sewn into the bodice. I created this set to complement her dress.
This bride gave me the size and shape of her earrings on her wish list, we picked out the pearls and crystals together and she got the dangly sparkle that she was looking for.
The mother-of-the-bride hand-beaded these seed beads on her dress and asked me to make some earrings using the same seed beads to complete the look.
This bride asked me to make earrings for all her bridesmaids. Her inspiration was some earrings that I had already made that she had seen online. She came and picked out the pearls and we were off and running. (photo credit: Mozingo Photography)
It’s also fun to just create with no particular bride in mind and just let my creative juices flow. Here are a couple of my latest pieces that I can picture on a bride in the near future…is it you or someone you know?
Until next time,
The process between vision and actual execution can be challenging.
Some details that make their way into all my pieces: close attention to the right wrap for each piece.
To the 2.5″ to 3″ extension chain with a matching bead on each necklace.
My only challenge is that I haven’t come up with a name for this new style of jewelry. I’m taking suggestions. The winning suggestion will win a $20 gift card towards any purchase.
These necklaces can be found at Jeweler’s Workbench in Waynesville, at Kress Emporium in Asheville, and at my home work studio. Contact me if you’d like to have your own custom necklace.
Now that Summer is gone, gone, gone, and the oranges and reds of October have peaked and we will soon be left with browns and golds to remind us that Autumn is really here. I thought I’d visit with the browns and golds in gemstones and metals. I think it’s fun to find out the backstory for some of my favorite materials…come join me.
Peanut Wood is, in fact, a “Petrified Wood”, a tree that has over a period of time turned into stone; The original living matter is normally replaced with a silicate such as Quartz. Peanut Wood however, is not your normal Petrified Wood. Before it became petrified, it was swept into the ocean. The ocean washed and cleaned the wood and turned it into something that would resemble driftwood that you might see on a beach today. In the ocean this driftwood came under attack from shell fish known as Shipworm. Just like wood worms, they created little bore holes and tunnels into the wood. As the wood got heavier and heavier as the attacks increased, it was no longer able to float and sank to the sea bed. Here the bore holes became filled with a lightly-coloured sediment. Over a period of time, the wood became covered with more and more layers of mud and sediment and eventually the petrification process began. Its name Peanut Wood was given to the gemstone as the lightly colored boreholes resemble peanuts trapped in a delicious toffee.
Bronze was significant to any culture that encountered it. It was one of the most innovative alloys of mankind. Tools, weapons, armor, and various building materials like decorative tiles made of bronze were harder and more durable than their stone and copper (“Chalcolithic”) predecessors. Nowadays, you will see the oil-rubbed bronze in many household fixtures, but also in jewelry.
Copper was, according to archeological finds, the first metal to be used by Neolithic mankind to supplement his stone tools over 10,000 years ago. Antique Copper is copper that has a dark patina.
Gold has been known since prehistoric times and was also one of the first metals to be worked, mainly because it was to be found as nuggets or as particles in the beds of streams. Such was the demand that by 2000 BC the Egyptians began mining gold. The death mask of Tutankhamen, who died in 1323 BC, contained 100 kg of the metal. The minting of gold coins began around 640 BC in the Kingdom of Lydia (situated in what is now modern Turkey). The first pure gold coins were minted in the reign of King Croesus, who ruled from 561–547 BC.
So there you have it, a brief history and education on the browns & golds of November. If you see any of the gemstones that you love, please remember that I love doing custom work, so contact me and let’s design your pieces together.
I don’t think it’s possible to think of October and not immediately think of Halloween and it’s accompanying traditional black and orange colors. So I’ll just go with the flow and explore some black and orange with you this month.
Lest you think black gemstones to be boring, rest assured I find them classic, timeless, and always in style. Some of my favorite black stones to work with are the obsidian and onyx.
The orange stones are fun to work with not only because of their bright color, but because it is easy to wear year-round and goes with every season. You might be familiar with amber, but how about sunstone and spiny oyster?
The red oak leaves are starting to land on my porch, which reminds me that autumn is on its way and leaves will soon be turning colors. Before we know it, we’ll be surrounded by hues of greens, golds, oranges, and reds. Jasper, the stone I’m featuring this month, comes in the colors of autumn and then some.
Jasper is the zodiacal stone for Leo, Virgo (the September sign) and Scorpio. It is said to have properties that can be both invigorating and stabilizing. It generates an even rhythmic pulse and has been known to improve the sense of smell and overcome depression. Other conditions it is known to aid range from digestion and stomach problems to blood disorders.
One of the most beautiful and interesting items to wrap are cameos. They come in a variety of different materials from agate to resin, from shell to bone. Each depicts a scene or person in a three dimensional carving that creates an elegant statement.
The original cameo carvings were made out of gemstones, usually onyx, sardonyx and agate. These were made less for decoration and more for protection. “Cameo” is derived from the kabbalistic word “Kame’o” meaning “talisman.” Furthermore, instead of pendants and brooches, they were found more often in signet rings and earrings. However, vases, bowls and other large pieces were not unusual when the Greeks invented glass cameos. These gained tremendous popularity during the Italian renaissance.
Cameos have always been expensive due to their hand carved features, so throughout history, only the wealthy could afford such luxuries. Nonetheless, because the cameo became such of a trend during the time of Queen Victoria, they were mass produced by the end of the 19th century in the classic agate and glass with other materials such as bronze, shell and bone introduced.
White sales, silver icicles, white snow and a clean, sparkly new start to the year makes white the color of January! There are multitudes of beautiful white gemstones from the translucent rainbow moonstone to the glittering druzy quartz. They make for a perfect complement to any outfit, mood or occasion!
As I have previously mentioned, I am a rock-hound at heart and my collections of beautiful stones from all over the world reflect my passion. I carry items every color of the spectrum, but the pure beauty of colorless or white stones are my focus for January. Their elegance reflects the untainted snow and the metaphorical clean start to a brand new year. I cannot possibly hope to include every white or clear stone I have, but I will show some of my favorites!
The next quartz stone is almost entirely clear with a few cloudy stripes deep within the stone. This one is especially unique because on a white or light background, it is clear with its milky details, yet on a dark background there are blue details among the white. It makes for a beautiful stone and I expect that it will look lovely, wrapped in sterling silver or gold-filled wire on a slender chain like a clear icicle.
My last quartz stone in this set is my favorite. The druzy quartz (get the full scoop here!) will always have my heart. It is white and silver with speckles of darkness on the bottom half. This is a more festive stone with its sparkling shine! This stone belongs with a radiant personality that reflects the brilliance of the druzy quartz!
May your New Year be filled with love, luck, prosperity and beauty!