Apr 30, 2014

A to Z of Gemstones - M is for Moonstone

The moonstone is characterised by an enchanting play of light. Indeed it owes its name to that mysterious shimmer which always looks different when the stone is moved. In earlier times, people believed they could recognise in it the crescent and waning phases of the moon. The moonstone is a feldspar variety known as 'adularia', a potassium aluminosilicate of gemstone quality.

In their uncut state moonstones are rather unprepossessing and afford little idea of what it is that actually constitutes their charm, that mysterious shimmer of light. The shimmer is not really shown to advantage until the art of the cutter has been brought to bear. Classical moonstones are always cut as cabochons.

Traditionally, the classical moonstones, almost transparent and with their bluish shimmer, come from Sri Lanka. However, they are also found in the USA, Brazil, Australia, Myanmar and Madagascar. As well as the classical moonstone mentioned Moonstone also occurs in delicate shades of peach, blue, gray, white and a prismatic variety known as Rainbow Moonstone.  

Moonstone is surrounded by a good deal of mystique and magic. In many cultures, for example in India, it is regarded as a holy, magical gemstone. In India, moonstones are also regarded as 'dream stones' which bring the wearer beautiful visions at night. In Arabic countries, women often wear moonstones sewn out of sight into their garments, for in their cultures the moonstone is a symbol of fertility.


Pictured above is my Byz Cross Chainmaille Bracelet with Moonstone featuring a moonstone clasp. Below are some more examples of moonstone jewellery from members of the Jewelry on Etsy team.





Stock Take

My good intentions to keep back up with doing regular blog posts fell apart in the last week as I spent all my spare time doing a stocktake of all my materials for year end accounting purposes. I must confess I have let doing a proper inventory slide for the last few years so thought I had better do one this year. This is undoubtedly the only time of the year when I wish that I had less beads!

At least its over now and I can get back to the regular posts.

Apr 20, 2014

Shades of Gray

Walking my dogs on the beach late this afternoon, the sun had gone and it was overcast and windy. I couldn't help noticing, looking out toward Kapiti Island, that the sea, island, sky and clouds were almost merging into each other. Rather than the normal colours you would see on a bright clear day instead all were in different shades of gray. I just had therefore, to capture the moment.

Apr 18, 2014

Friday Favourites


Lemon Chrysoprase Earrings


When it comes to wire wrapping cabochons I much prefer using them to make pendants rather than earrings - and there is a very good reason. Trying to wrap two cabochons identically so that the wirework matches exactly for each stone is practically impossible. It doesn't seem to matter how well you measure, mark and plan the wire, there will just about always be minor differences.

My latest earrings pictured above, my Lemon Chrysoprase and Sterling Silver Earrings, are no exception. Even looking at the picture above I am wondering how I missed the slight kink of the wires on one earring that is not on the other. Slight tweaks with the pliers needed tonight I think.Of course, at the end of the day that is the beauty of handmade items as opposed to machine made items.

Anyway, the stones used in these earrings are just beautiful and these aren't the first pair of earrings I have made using these stones. I believe the last pair were snapped up pretty quickly. The chrysoprase is a lovely pale lemon colour and is so smooth to the touch. The sterling silver wire used to wrap the stones has then been twisted to form the sweeps across the top of the stone.

So there you have it, my slightly imperfect pair of Lemon Chrysoprase Earrings.


Apr 16, 2014

A to Z of Gemstones - L is for Labradorite

Labradorite is a gemstone that was named after Labrador in Canada, where it was found on the Isle of Paul, near Nain in 1770. Labradorite is a feldspar mineral of the plagioclase series which shows adularescence (a white or bluish light seen when turned). This optical effect is so unique to labradorite that it has been termed "labradorescence". It is the result of diffraction of light in the layers of rock. Labradorite has become a popular gemstone because of this unique iridescent play of color that many specimens exhibit.

Labradorite is found in Canada (Labrador, Newfoundland), Australia, Madagascar, Mexico, Norway, Russia and the USA.

According to an Eskimo legend, the Northern Lights are captured in the minerals on the coast of Labrador. This is not surprising considering the magical, iridescent colour of labradorite. Labradorite is thought to be a magical stone that possesses powerful protective properties and helps its wearer to find their true path in life.


Above is a picture of a necklace that  I currently have available made using Labradorite beads. Below are some more example of Labradorite jewellery from members of the Jewelry on Etsy team.




Apr 14, 2014

Mixed Metals


One traditional that has been well and truly broken in recent years is the mixing of metals. I can remember being told that you wear either your gold jewellery or your silver jewellery but you don't wear both together.


This seemed to be especially true with rings, gold or silver but not both. In fact it was almost seen as a bit declasse to wear two different metals at the same time.

Gold and Silver Striped Viking Weave Bangle (currently in an Art Gallery)

Well, as I said at the beginning, that "tradition" is now well and truly broken. Mixing metals has now become popular, and as you can see from my pieces listed here, metals can now be found mixed together in the same piece of jewellery.


So what metals do you like mixing together?

Apr 10, 2014

A to Z of Gemstones - K is for Kyanite

Kyanite is a gemstone quality aluminum silicate. The name Kyanite is derived from the Greek word 'kuanos' or 'kyanos', which means 'deep blue', alluding to its typical blue color occurrence.

Kyanite most often occurs in various shades of blue. It is less commonly colorless, white, gray, green, yellow or orange. The colorless form is the rarest, though not the most valuable form of kyanite. The most desirable color is sapphire-like blue.

Kyanite deposits can be found in many locations around the world. Some of the most important sources include Austria, Burma, Brazil, Cambodia, India, Kenya, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, Tanzania, the United States and Zimbabwe. Nepal is now widely regarded as one of the finest kyanite sources. Nepalese kyanite is said to rival the blue color of fine Ceylon and Madagascar sapphire.

Kyanite is believed to aid with self-expression and communication. It is also thought to strengthen supernatural abilities. In ancient times, it was believed that when kyanite was suspended from a human hair, it could follow the Earth's magnetic force in the same manner as a compass needle. For this reason, many travelers took kyanite along with them when they went on long journeys and entered unknown territories.


Pictured above is my Blue Kyanite and Gold Flower Necklace. Below are some more examples of Kyanite jewellery from members of the JET team.





Apr 9, 2014

Ear Wires

I have been making my own ear wires for some time now, so since I will soon be selling tools etc. it made sense to start offering my hand made ear wires for sale. I will be starting off with two designs, the more traditional ear wire as pictured above, and the slightly more fancy ear wire pictured below. However, over time I will also be looking into producing other styles of ear wires too.

Both the styles of ear wires pictured will soon be available for purchase on both my Etsy and Felt stores as well as on Trade Me.

Apr 7, 2014



Welcome to April the fourth month of the year!

The Romans gave this month the Latin name Aprilis but the derivation of this name is uncertain. Since some of the Roman months were named in honor of divinities, and as April was sacred to the goddess Venus, her Veneralia being held on the first day, it has been suggested that Aprilis was originally her month Aphrilis, from her equivalent Greek goddess name Aphrodite.

April is the beginning of Spring in the northern Hemisphere, and the beginning of Autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.

The birthstone of April is the Diamond and it's birth flower is the Daisy or the Sweet Pea.

Since I don't work with actual diamonds my necklace above is one that uses the diamond shape. Below please find some more pieces of jewellery, all from members of the Jewelry on Etsy Team,  that represent the diamond. Also below are some pieces from gifted crafters in New Zealand representing the birth flowers of April.


Apr 5, 2014

Chainmaille and Wire Supplies

A new venture that I am currently working on, and will be over the next few months, is to supply chainmaille and wire working supplies, kits and tools in New Zealand.
Initially I will be listing tools on Trade Me, the NZ equivalent of EBay (and much more used in New Zealand than EBay). I have already set up an arrangement to stock Beadsmith supplies and already have my first supply of tools to sell.
Then in time I will be setting up a website, as a compliment to my jewellery website (which will also be updated to a commercial site), on which I will sell the tools and supplies.
In terms of supplies I initially plan to sell sterling silver wire, jump rings for chainmaille, handmade ear wires and balled head pins, and a small range of complimentary accessories such as clasps.
I also plan to make up and sell chainmaille kits, with instructions, as well as a few other jewellery making kits, primarily concentrating on wire work.
The other area I hope to expand in is teaching jewellery making. I will be looking at doing this locally, and potentially as a party plan. Various tools, supplies etc. will also be made available for purchase at these classes.
Although there are already a few online stores in NZ selling beading supplies none of them focus on wire or chainmaille, and I've yet to find a domestic source for sterling silver wire, so hopefully this is a niche that I can fill.
I will update as things happen but in the meantime I now have all the tools pictured above for sale.

Apr 3, 2014

Handmade NZ 2014 Program Now Live

I announced a few weeks ago that I was going to be teaching a chainmaille class at Handmade NZ this year and I am now thrilled to have this teacher button to add to my blog.

The program for Handmade NZ 2014 went live on their website this afternoon. My class is listed under the "World" category.

Handmade NZ is held over the Queen's Birthday weekend on Saturday 31st May and Sunday 1st June. The classes run through both days and there is also a Maker's Party on the Saturday evening.

VIP bookings or any of the classes listed start from next Wednesday 9th April at 12 noon, and ticket sales to the general public will be open on Friday 11th April from 12 noon.

So if you live in the Greater Wellington region, or even if you live further away in NZ, and fancy a weekend of handmade classes (and there are a lot to choose from) then check out the website and the program.

Apr 2, 2014

A to Z of Gemstones - J is for Jasper

Jasper is one of the many gemstone varieties of quartz available today. The name 'jasper' is derived from the Greek word for 'spotted stone', referring to its typical multicolored, striped, spotted or flamed appearance. Jasper can form in virtually any color. Jasper is usually considered a chalcedony, but some scientists classify jasper as a separate type because of its distinctive grainy structure.

The most common jasper patterns include interesting marbling and veining, orbital rings, streaks, spots, flaming and banding. Jasper comes in all colors, mostly striped, spotted or flamed. There is no recommendation for color, although red, caused by traces of iron oxide, is one of the most common colors. Brown and yellow are also commonly occurring colors for jasper.

Jasper gemstones can be found in many locations around the world. Some of the most notable deposits are sourced from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Mexico, Russia, Uruguay, Venezuela and the United States of America.

Jasper was a favourite in the ancient world, and it can be traced back in Hebrew, Assyrian, Persian, Greek and Latin.

Jasper is the zodiacal stone for Leo, Virgo and Scorpio. It is a planetary stone for Mars and is associated with the element of fire. For Native American Indians it is a sacred stone that is used for performances of and adherence to the "old ways" rituals.


Pictured above are my Peridot Jasper and Gold Pod Earrings made with 14k gold fill wire. Please find below some more examples of Jasper Jewellery from members of the 'Jewelry on Etsy' team.





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