Monday, July 23, 2012

Dog Lovers, Help!

Okay friends, I need your help, especially if you're a dog lover.

I've noticed that one of my most popular shop items is a pendant made with vintage dictionary illustrations of dogs. Unfortunately most old dictionaries don't have a wide variety of breeds, and none of the vintage books have the newer "designer" breeds, like a Golden Doodle for example.

So I'm trying to come up with ideas for original jewelry using your favorite dog breeds as inspiration. Lots of people love dogs, and the odds are in my favor that you do too! So please, let me know your favorite dog breeds in the comments section below. I'll give you some to choose from, but feel free to leave your own if it's not listed. In no particular order...

  • Poodle
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Great Dane
  • Bull Dog
  • Golden Retriever
  • Beagle
  • Dachshund
  • Greyhound
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Schnauzer
  • Mastiff
  • Rottweiler
  • Chihuahua
  • Maltese
  • Pomeranian
  • Pug
  • Shih tzu
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Boston Terrier
  • Chow Chow
  • Collie
  • Border Collie
  • German Shepherd
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Pit Bull
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Saint Bernard
Thanks everyone! I really look forward to seeing your responses!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Gemology: Amethyst, the Sobriety Stone

Amethyst is actually a form of Quartz. The purple color comes from iron deposits within the crystal. Imagine, a highly valued gemstone that is so beautiful because of impurities. It is usually found in Africa, Australia, Russia, South America, Brazil, and Uruguay.

It is the birthstone for February.

Amethyst and Crystal Earrings
I found it fascinating to learn that the word amethyst comes from the Greek word "amethystos" which translated means "not drunken." In fact, amethyst was considered to prevent drunkenness which is why wine goblets were often adorned with amethyst or even carved out of the stone itself. It is called the stone of sobriety and it is symbolic of sobriety.

Amethyst Rosary Bracelet
There is a Greek myth associated with amethyst. Dionysius was the god of intoxication. Angered one day by an insult from a human, he swore revenge on the next mortal that crossed his path by causing wild tigers to tear apart the victim. Amethyst, a beautiful young maiden on her way to pay tribute to the goddess Diana, was to be that victim. Diana turned Amethyst into a stature of pure crystalline quartz to protect her from the tiger claws. Dionysus wept tears of wine in remorse for his action at the sight of the beautiful statue. The god's tears stained the quartz crystal purple, creating the gem we know today.

Anglican Rosary with Amethyst Beads and Bronze Russian Cross
Amethyst is a popular stone in meditation and crystal healing. Considered to be one of the best stones to use for meditation. it is "a stone of divine love" as I've read several times. It assists the user to turn away from self-centeredness and turn toward deeper understanding. Said to have a calming mental effect, amethyst is used for stressed out and overwhelmed mental states. It is thought to offer protection against negative energy to those who wear it. Amethyst is used in crystal healing for treating headaches, migraines, insomnia and recurrent nightmares, bringing peaceful balance to mental and emotional energies.

Simple Amethyst Bracelet
During the Middle Ages, amethyst was considered to promote piety and celibacy, which is why you find amethyst among religious adornments during that time period.

Scottish Thistle Amethyst Rosary

Purple is associated with the royal bloodline of Jesus from King David to Saint Joseph. The purple thistle, like the Scottish national flower, is associated with the passion of Christ. As you see in my Scottish thistle rosary, amethyst suits this piece perfectly.

I personally love using amethyst in my work. It's a beautiful, rich looking stone that is actually quite affordable. Not everyone loves purple, but it's definitely a statement-maker.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Canyon sneak peek...

Just giving a taste of what to expect from Canyon this fall...


was inspired by this....


was inspired, in part, by this...

and this....

and this...


was inspired by this...

and this...

And there is much, much, MUCH more where that came from. But not tonight. ;)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

"Canyon" and "Forest"

Ever since my family and I started the journey home from the Black Hills of South Dakota and Yellowstone National Park this summer, I've been dreaming and planning a new jewelry collection for the fall. Immediately I knew I wanted to call it "Canyon," inspired by the beautiful colors and textures of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone - my favorite place in the whole of Yellowstone. As it evolved in the creative process, I realized there were two facets of the whole family vacation that I really wanted to capture - Yellowstone AND the Black Hills of South Dakota, specifically the forests. So along with the Canyon Collection I will also be releasing the Forest Collection. Two collections at one time...seriously, I might need to rethink this.

So I wanted to share some of the photos I took while on our trip that inspired my collections. It's difficult for me not to be so literal in my interpretation of the subjects, but I think the pieces are coming along nicely. I can't share pictures of the works in progress yet...just no time to photograph right now. But I hope to release the collections before the end of August.

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
I was completely inspired by the yellows and grays of Yellowstone. Interestingly enough, when perusing my gemstone options, I found Crazy Horse Picture Jasper - a perfect representation of the variety of grays, tans and yellows we discovered around Yellowstone. I can't wait to show the pieces to you!

A pine tree at our campsite in Yellowstone
I can't remember a time I didn't just love to be surrounded by forests of trees. Especially evergreens. Spending more than a week camping among them was somehow like being home (even though I grew up in Missouri around farm land - not a whole lot of trees.) There's something so comforting about all those trees - something strong and lasting. Despite some truly awesome and frightening wildfires in Yellowstone back in the 1980s that wiped out hundreds of acres of trees, the forest is coming back. The pine cones broke open from the heat of the wildfires releasing pine nuts, seeding a new forest. How can you not be inspired by that? Basically, forest = towering strength + resilience.

Forested Area of Custer, South Dakota

I'm still not entirely sure how to create forest-inspired jewelry collection that doesn't involve leaves or green - and maybe that's okay. Sometimes literal interpretation is needed. Otherwise, what's the point of paying homage? If you completely miss the point? 
A View from Beartooth Pass, Montana

On our way home from Yellowstone, we traveled Beartooth highway that winds around the mountain range from Wyoming up into Montana. I witnessed some of the most breathtaking views I've ever seen in those 60 or so miles of road. This photo is my favorite, capturing layers upon layers of sky and terrain, and reflected again in the lake waters. One of my pieces for the Canyon collection will be called Montana Sky, inspired entirely by the views from Beartooth Pass and this photo. I haven't started constructing it yet, but the aqua blue chalcedony beads arrived a couple of days ago. I believe it will be a truly stunning piece.

So that's what I did on my summer vacation.... ;) I plan to photograph some works in progress soon and will share them as I am able. Enjoy your summer - I encourage you to get out and travel. Go camping! And let nature inspire you, too!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Gemology - Learning About Gemstones - Peridot

It's time to learn about another gemstone. I wanted to choose something to which I gravitate and something that can be easily found in my shop as well as my own jewelry box. Peridot, the birthstone of August, is one of the few gemstones that can only be found in one color - green. I love green. It represents new life and growth. It's pleasant and warm and yet has a coolness to it as well.

Tree of Life Pendant
Peridot is iron-magnesium-silicate. The deepness of the green is determined by how much iron is contained. Peridot can be found all over the world, but the best sources of truly beautiful peridot is mined from Pakistan and Afghanistan. Okay, that's boring. It's pretty! Who cares how it gets its color or what its made of!

Peridot gets its name from the Greek word "peridona" which means something like "giving plenty." For this reason, it is sometimes called the "money stone." Carry peridot with you and it will help bring you wealth and opportunity. Carry citrine with the peridot and the citrine will help you keep the wealth. So "they" say... Wish that was always true!

Delicate Peridot and Gold Earrings
Said to help move past old emotional wounds and hurts, peridot is said to foster emotional balance. It helps heal the healer - physician, heal thyself! Peridot can help to bring clarity, understanding of destiny and purpose, and release negativity.

Considered a natural tonic of sorts, peridot has been used to help cleanse and heal the body, stimulating new healthy growth. It was used to treat depression by the Romans in ancient times. And is thought to encourage well-being and stress relief.

An interesting piece I found about peridot involves Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Peridot is recommended as a gift to beginners of AA as a detoxing stone. Peridot helps the body release the toxins on all levels throughout the body, easing the transition to sobriety.
Silver Tree of Life Pendant

Peridot is such a wonderful stone. I absolutely love it. I've always been fond of green stones, probably from being born in May with emerald as my own birthstone. But there is truth to the metaphysical properties of gemstones...I can't explain it, but sometimes when I wear certain gemstones, I feel complete.If you don't buy into the metaphysical properties, that's fine. But choose jewelry with gemstones that you love. If you are drawn to certain stones, listen to that nudge! There might be a reason for it. :)