Sharing the passion for Jewellery and Jewellery making

As a teenager one of the coolest parents around was Mary, the mother of my dear friend Karen.  She always treated us as people, rather than some alien species, and probably most important of all, she was not afraid of teenage house parties.  As I grew up I saw her rarely, but when I did meet up with her again it just confirmed Mary as one of my favourite people.  Mary moved to Spain in later life and enjoyed a few years of sun and Sangria before cancer tragically took her from us.

Recently my friend Karen read my Blog about Recycling and offered me some of Mary’s costume jewellery, so that I can reuse the beads and breath new life into the jewellery.  I feel honoured, and give thanks to Karen for sending me Mary’s Treasure, and I will now set about the challenge of making beautiful and vibrant jewellery that will reflect the wonderful memories I have of Mary.

I will post any jewellery I make from this stash so that you can see the transformation, and obviously any pieces Karen likes will be her’s. 

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I was thrilled when a colleague asked me to make two necklaces, one each for her and her daughter-in-law; then when I sat down to start my first commission the reality and enormity of the responsibility came flooding at me.

I had made a multi-strand chain/charm necklace for myself (see below) and my colleague asked for one in gold-plated chain, and as her daughter-in-law’s birthday is looming she wanted me to make a necklace that was “chunky and sophisticated”.  It’s funny how all inspiration falls away from you when face with the momentous first commission, I couldn’t even think where I would get the chain from (even though there is a very good Bead Shop in the town I live in).  So days passed with my head feeling like candy floss, until I forgot about my new challenge during a particularly busy day.  Later that evening the creative juices flowed and although the results are quite conservative in design I am very pleased with them.

Today I present the two necklaces to my colleague and hope that she likes them too. I will obviously keep you posted.

Gold plated three chain necklace with faux pearl and Swarovski crystal My multi strand chain necklace

Sardonyx Hearts, Moonstone, Onyx and White Quartz

 

 

Unakite

Green Aventurine and UnakiteThis is one of my favourite gemstones of the moment, the natural combination of greens and pinks in this stone  just lifts my heart.  Because of this I wanted to share this little known gemstone with you.  Some information about the gem can be found below, and although I do not profess to know anything about the mystical and healing properties of crystals and gems I find it fascinating and know that many people are firm believers.  I hope you enjoy finding out about this beautiful gemstone.

The picture on the right is one of my necklaces made from Green Aventurine and Unakite – I love to wear it.

What is UnaKite and Where is it found?

First discovered in the United States in the Unakas mountains of North Carolina, unakite is an altered granite composed of pink orthoclase feldspar, green epidote, and generally colorless quartz. It exists in various shades of green and pink and is usually mottled in appearance. In good quality unakite is considered a semiprecious stone, will take a good polish and is often used in jewelry and other lapidary work such as eggs, spheres and other carvings like animals. It is also referred to as epidotized granite. In some of the Blue Ridge occurrences an epidotized augen gneiss is present exhibiting foliation structures.

Unakite can be found as pebbles and cobbles from glacial drift in the beach rock on the shores of Lake Superior. It occurs in Virginia where it is found in the river valleys after having been washed down from the Blue Ridge Mountains. Unakite is not limited to the United States, and is reported from South Africa, Sierra Leone, Brazil, and China as well as the United States. Some material labeled unakite lacks the quartz and is more properly epidosite. (from Wikipedia)

Mystical properties of UnaKite

We often think of the emotions as originating and residing in the heart, but another place where they live, often imprisoned, is in the solar plexus. As young children, discouraged away from the full expression of our emotions, we learn that shallow breathing helps us not to feel as much. Thus, the repression of feeling can become automatic, and life, while perhaps less painful, also has less joy.

While rhodochrosite is the primary stone for assisting one in consciously learning to breathe deeply again, unakite can be very helpful in the steady release of feelings long held in. An opaque coral and olive-green stone (two colors associated with the solar plexus), it consists of three minerals: feldspar, epidote, and quartz.

Feldspar takes a number of forms (moonstone is one) In general, it helps one to detach from old ways of doing things, thus permitting creativity to flower. It also assists in self-awareness and self-love.

Epidote enhances one’s perceptions, encourages participation with others, and is also an aid to self-esteem.

Quartz, among its many attributes, is the primary stone used for dissolving energy blockages.

When one is supported by deepened self-esteem, self-awareness, and self-awareness, it is easier to allow old feelings to arise so that they may be released.

Unakite lends another element to self-awareness. In working with this stone people have noticed that they were able to go deeper than the physical symptoms of an illness and understanding the mental and emotional sources for it. It is also believed to help release conditions that have been inhibiting personal growth. (from Rainbow Crystal.com)

Unakite is said to be of benefit to the female reproductive system and during pregnancy. It is also said to provide support to those recovering from a major illness or convalescing . Placing Unakite in a room, either as a large piece or as several small tumble stones in a bowl, is said to bring in a gentle calming energy. Unakite is believed to be helpful in reducing the effects of electromagnetic smog. For this reason it can be beneficial to place a piece on top of, or near, the television set.  (from Crystal Well Being .co.uk)

I recently visited a Car Boot Sale and came away with a bag full of jewellery that the owners no longer wanted.  My haul was fabulous and included Rose Quartz, Amber, Lapis Lazuli and Antique Crystal.   In amongst the gemstones were the usual tired plastic beads on fussy necklaces. 

I sad down to take the pieces apart and found more and more useful beads, spacers and bead caps than I first realised.  So a very good haul indeed.  Then came the task of sorting and dreaming of breathing new life into these pre-loved gems and beads.

The photograph shows just one of the results.  A bracelet and pendant following the classic Chanel look.  A few silver bead caps made a handful of tired beads into a very chic set.

I like to be Green when I can, and do so hate waste, so recycling pre-loved jewellery into something more en vogue gives me real delight.  However, this is not something I have discovered, search the internet and you will find Jewellery made out out almost anything and everything.  One of my favourite finds were handbags made entirely out of drinks can ring pulls – I think they are stunning and are often made to aid third world countries (see www.da-lata.com).

  My skills at photographing Jewellery  leave something to be desired, but I have caught to essense of this Necklace and Earring set.   The movement and sparkle of this Haematite & Crystal set is wonderful, and makes it a joy to wear.

Like many people I am passionate about jewellery and always have been – at School even my music teacher asked if I like Jewellery because of the elaborate way that I embellished my work in his class.

Jewellery making has given me an outlet for my creative instincts – away from the day-to-day drudgery of the 9-5 – and I love the way that the gemstones ‘speak to me’ during the design process

Last night I was playing with Red Jasper, mixing it with Onyx and fancy Jasper and although the basic pattern came easily I just could not get the design to ‘sing’ to me.  Then came that fabulous Eureka moment when I imagined the sparkle of tiny golden seed beads interspersed amongst the Red Jasper, and there was the finished design.

I adore the whole process of making jewellery; it does not matter if it’s stringing, wirework, weaving or anything else, the bottom line is creating something beautiful.

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