Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A New Year !!!!!

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"Thank you"...to all of you who take the time from your busy day to visit and comment...it is always very much appreciated!!
When I began blogging I didn't realize the wonderful friends I would find along the way...

Best wishes to everyone for a safe, happy, healthy, and prosperous "New Year"!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Love that Argentium Silver!

Here are three more pair of earrings all made with Argentium sheet silver and wire...I'm a huge fan of this silver as it is shinier and more resistant to tarnishing than Sterling Silver!

Each pair of earrings has been hand cut, sanded, polished, detailed, and tumbled, by me of course!!
I've recently purchased some Fine Silver, which is 99.9% pure silver, I've read this is the silver used to make bullion bars for international trading...interesting! I'm not sure if I will enjoy working with this silver as it is very soft ...but I wanted to try fusing which is similiar to soldering without the necessity of solder and chemicals... I'll let you know once I begin working with it. Probably won't be until after the new year now!
I'm looking forward to a productive winter...taking courses in metalsmith and improving my photography skills...both will keep me very busy until the market/show season begins in March!
Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Opal...October Birthstone!!

The Opal has always been somewhat mysterious to me...the way the stone changes color when you look at if from different angles, with flashes of blue, green and red! I found out these are called precious Opals and not all Opals have this wonderful appearance, but more of that later.

Above are two Opal rings of mine, as you can see, the ring on the right has a great deal of flash the one on the left not so much!

I've read two opinions as to the source of the name, one is the Opal takes it's name from a Sanskrit word for "stone", the other is the name is derived from a Latin word "opalus and a Sanskrit word upala which combined means "precious stone"...the opinion makes sense to me!

Up until the end of the 19th century Slovakia supplied Opals of the highest standards, now the primary location is Australia, found around New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland. Other deposits have been found in Brazil, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russian Nevada and Idaho.

In 2000, the Australian Gemstone Industry Council developed an system of names and classifications for opals which has been accepted worldwide.

The two basic categories are:
Precious Opal: this is any Opal showing a play-of-color. My two rings above are Precious Opals. With in this category are types of precious Opals,Type 1, Type 2, Type 3, Doublets and Triplets. The difference between Types 1, 2 and 3 is how the Opal has formed in the stone and how and in what stone it is found. The Doublet and Triplets are assembled stones, while they do contain a layer of natural Opal they are not considered natural Opals.
Somewhat confusing... I know!

Common Opal or Potch Opal: while these particular Opals share the same composition of Precious Opals they lack the play-of-color present in the Precious Opals...they are rarely transparent and often opaque.
Below are six large white common opal stones from my stock.

Here is an interesting quote from Galleries.com which explains much better than I could how the flashes are formed...
"Opal has been a popular gem for many centuries. It has the same chemical formula as quartz with the addition of 5 to 10% water. Structurally it consist of
tiny spheres with water filling the gaps. These spheres in most Opals are irregular in size and inconsistent in concentration. Yet in Precious Opal, the variety used most often in jewelry, there are many organized pockets of the spheres. These pockets contain spheres of approximately equal sizes and have a regular concentration, or structure, of the spheres. This has the effect of diffracting light at various wavelengths, creating colors. Each pocket produces a different color, with the different intensity depending on the angle from which a viewer sees it. The multicolored flashes of light that the Opal emits give it a truly beautiful and valuable look."

95% of Opals minded from the Opal fields are classified as common opals, which means they have one color, such as white, grey and black. Of the 5% with color most of those are low grade so only 0.25% of Opals mined have any real value. Seems such a small amount for such hard work!

The yellow common Opals on the right are also from my stock.

Here is a simple explanation of how Opals are formed from Opals Down Under!"Opal is formed from a solution of silicon dioxide and water. As water runs down through the earth, it picks up silica from sandstone, and carries this silica-rich solution into cracks and voids , caused by natural faults or decomposing fossils. As the water evaporates, it leaves behind a silica deposit. This cycle repeats over very long periods of time, and eventually opal is formed."

For those of you who aren't familiar silicon dioxide is commonly known as quartz or sand...

Again...the common Pink Opals on the right are from my stock...

As always... I've enjoyed delving into the world of stones...finding fascinating information and passing it along to everyone...

Information References:
Gemstones of the World, Walter Schumann, Third Edition, Sterling Publishing Co. Inc.,
The Jeweler's Directory of Gemstones, Judith Crowe, Firefly Books, 2006

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A few more photos!!!

First we have a stunning necklace made with top quality Sleeping Beauty Turquoise, featuring a a Hill Tribe silver flower...finished with a delicate sterling silver toggle.

Next is an everyday bracelet, something you can wear with just about anything and everything.
I've used black onyx, agate, a large jasper nugget and sterling silver lobster claw...

Another every day bracelet...this is a little more color specific but then you would be surprised what you can wear this with...included is carnelian, red aventurine, orange agate, and a couple pieces of round coral...a mixture !! Finished with a sterling silver lobster claw.

The last is a great necklace and earring set...the lovely lampwork beads are made by a fellow Etsyian...the lovely pendant is wire wrapped and hanging from a delicate sterling silver chain...the earrings are hanging from sterling silver lever back wires...


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Earring Day!!

The first three pairs of earrings are hand crafted, cut, detailed, sanded and tumbled, hanging from handmade ear wires. Each pair is made from Argentium silver, which is silver that has some of the copper replaced with a metalloid Germanium. This silver is highly tarnish resistant, purer, brighter, and eliminates fire scale when using a torch.

The above earrings are handmade from metal, leaf design dangles, on top of which are wire wrapped reconstituted turquoise round beads,hanging from stainless steel
ear wires. Reconstituted turquoise is tiny pieces of turquoise ground with resin added to bind the mixture, dyed and shaped into beads...


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bloggers Unite...World Aids Day, 2008!!!

The majority of Canadian citizens feel far removed from Aids, it isn't something people think of a great deal, unless it directly affects their lives. There are articles in the newspaper or a short clip on the evening news, but for the most part it is in the back of peoples minds. Sadly, for many people the word Aids has a tremendous stigma attached even after all this time!

Bloggers Unite

Well, I have news for Canadians, there were 58 thousand people living with Aids in 2005, and approximately 21 thousand people in total who died with an HIV/AIDS infection... the next report, with up to date figures is expected in 2009. I realize these number must seem small in comparison to world figures...35 million people worldwide living with Aids, an estimated 25 million have already died since 1981 ..but...every number is or was a person, each and everyone is important.

Today is the 20th anniversary of World Aids Day...the theme is Leadership, with emphasis on perseverance and commitment in fighting Aids... the campaign slogan is "Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise."

Here is something interesting...

The Canadian government is committed to fighting Aids... in February of 2007 there was a five year collaborative effort agreed upon with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (up to $28 million contribution) in which the Canadian government is contributing up to $111 million, for the construction of a facility in Canada to manufacture HIV vaccines to be used for clinical trials. This collaborative effort ends in 2012...after which time an evaluation will take place...who knows what will happen then??

A vaccine would be wonderful...but these things take time, and money...this is one area which I am happy to see my tax dollars go towards! Researchers have come a long way in giving those living with HIV/AIDs a longer more comfortable life...but there is no cure!!!

A vaccine, produced at Western University in London, Ontario, has reached the stage where it will be tested on animals to see if it is safe to be used on humans, results should be available in 3 months. Watch for the results of this testing in the early part of 2009.

"Where are trials happening around the world?

According to the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition, more than 30 clinical trials of experimental HIV vaccines were underway in 2007. The trials are taking place in over 20 countries around the world, including Canada.

  • The vast majority of trials are in Phase I. These trials typically involve fewer than 100 volunteers and are used to determine the safety of the candidate vaccine.
  • Two test-of-concept trials (Phase IIb trials) have been halted because the vaccine did not indicate that it could prevent HIV infection or that it could affect the course of the disease in those who became infected.
  • Only one of these trials, involving 16,000 people in Thailand, had advanced to Phase III, the final stage before obtaining regulatory approval for an experimental product. Phase III trials can take several years and involve thousands of volunteers from high-risk populations.

For an up-to-date listing of trials around the world, visit the AIDS Vaccine Clearinghouse website at http://www.aidsvaccineclearinghouse.org"

Quote courtesy of Canadian HIV/AIDS Vaccine Initiative, http://www.chvi-icvv.gc.ca/faq-eng.html#Q1

The Canadian government is contributing towards the fight against Aids, as are other countries. For those directly affected I'm sure it doesn't seem like results are happening fast enough, I'm know I would feel the same way...life is precious but so very short...there just isn't enough time!!

This is a virus that effects each and everyone of us whether we want to admit it or not...think about it... there are people alive who don't know a time when Aids wasn't prevalent...I remember and I know our world was changed forever!!!

Lets "Keep the Promise, Stop Aids..."

Information courtesy of:
Canadian HIV Vaccine Initiative, http://www.chvi-icvv.gc.ca/index-eng.html
CATIE, Canadian Aids Treatment Information Exchange, http://www.catie.ca/eng/LivingWithHIV/worldaidsday2008.shtml
Canada.com, http://www.canada.com/topics/news/story.html?id=6e12d210-2cdf-4a2f-99d0-c66a11abd4cf

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The finished necklace!

Here you have it .......

This what Peggy Hodge, who won the give away wanted on her pendant...Faith, Hope and Love...I've added two black glass roundels and two round sterling silver beads to space the the discs so they sit without covering each other...

Please excuse what is some part of me in the bottom of the discs they are very shiny!!! This was the best I could do...other photos had much more of me in them... :0)

Again...I would like to thank all those who took the time to enter the "give away"...watch for one closer to Christmas!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

We have a winner!!!

Congratulations to Peggy Hodge.. my 1st Anniversary give away winner, she has chosen to have "faith, hope and love" stamped on the pendant, which will hang from a leather cord. I will post a picture of the pendant once it is finished...

Do check out Peggy's Etsy store...she is an amazing photographer, her prints are interesting and unique, with great angles. Check this one out "To Bee Or Not A Bee"... I love it!!!!

Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter my 1st Anniversary give away contest...


Monday, November 17, 2008

Don't forget to enter the draw!!!

Here is another look at stamped pendants...this time there are three small pendants stamped with ...Yes, No, Maybe...a woman can change her mind can't she!!!

I'm trying very hard to get past my need to be symmetrical, which is difficult for me. Below is one of a few necklaces I've made recently...it took awhile but now I actually enjoy doing something different from what I'm accustomed to...the turquoise chunks look very nice off center with the onyx chunks and the Bali silver beads, when wearing!! What do you think??? I would love to know...

Here is one of my small cuffs, hammered, sanded, polished and tumbled to a shiny finish...these seem to be rather popular, and I do enjoy making them. I also make them much wider than this but the narrow ones are good for wearing say three at at time!!

Don't forget to leave a comment regarding my "Give Away", either here or at my Etsy shop...you have until November 22nd to enter...no purchase necessary! PS..."Free Shipping" until November 30th.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

A give away!

I've gotten behind in my posting but the good news is my last big show for the season is over so I will have time to work on updating my blog, Etsy store and my web site. I know, I know, you've heard it all before!!!!!

I have the best intentions...but...I seem to get side tracked along the way as there is so much to learn and do.

My 1st Anniversary for my Etsy store is November 19th and I'm having a give away, no purchase necessary, for a sterling silver stamped pendant, stamped with names, initials, a short saying, or hammered ... the winners preference. To enter leave a comment after this post or convo me at my Etsy store from November 16th to November 23 telling me what you would like stamped if you win the prize. Something similiar to the pendant below either on a black leather cord or a sterling silver chain again your choice ...the draw will take place on Monday, November 24th. (I managed to get my dates mixed up...it should be November 24th not the 23rd)

I'm also offering "free" shipping in my Etsy store from November 15th to November 30th for the Christmas rush...remember if you don't see what you are looking for convo me...I love custom orders!!!

I will finish the "Birthstone of the Month" series, October and November to be up soon... I've become interested in another aspect of stones... their healing properties, which I find absolutely fascinating. I will be incorporating this information into my blog soon!

I'll be posting again shortly... :0)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

September Birthstone, Sapphire!!!

At one time the name sapphire (Greek - blue) was used for various stones, in the Middle Ages it was used for what is now know to be lapis lazuli.

Above is a 22 karat gold butterfly, with inlaid stunning sapphire stones!

As I mentioned last week, I made the above earrings for a special lady who had both the rubies and the sapphire gems brought directly from Burma...the sparkle in these tiny gems is amazing...

In the 1800's it was recognized the ruby and sapphire, which are chemically and structurally the same, are both members of the corundum family. In this day and age any corundum of gem quality, with the exclusion of the red are called sapphires...which come in orange-pink, golden, white, black, yellow and green...the red stones are called rubies!
Above is a stunning sapphire and diamond bracelet, which would cost in the neighborhood of an entry level luxury car!!!

The above custom designed necklace is made with just under 17 carats of colored sapphires and 4 carats of clear white diamonds, and was found in one of the largest jewelry stores in Bangkok Thailand, with a price tag of a mere $15,000.00...

There are fewer rubies than sapphires due to the fact the sapphire coloring impurities are more common than the ruby. The Burmese and Kashmir blue sapphires are the most desirable sapphires, with the Kashmir sapphires a deep blue, while the Burmese sapphires a royal blue, with a hint of purple. Sapphires are also found in African, Russia, North Carolina, Brazil and China, with important deposits found in Australia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.

...the most sought after color for a sapphire is the "cornflower blue sapphire".

The stunning choker above is adorned with blue sapphire baguettes and pave diamonds, set in 18k white and yellow gold, yours for $50,000.00...pave is stones set so close together that the metal used isn't visible.

Surprisingly, in this day and age the mining methods are still very simple, hand dug holes and trenches are used to locate the gem stones underground, the stones are then hand picked by washing the sand, clay and gravel away, revealing the sapphires...the washing away of debris is much the same way gold was mined years ago!

Corundum, which is not gemstone quality is used as cutting and polishing material..."The well know polishing material, emery is mainly fine-grained corundum, to which magnetite, hematite, and quartz are added"(Gemstones of the World)

Sapphires are hard, a 9 on the Mohs' Scale of Hardness...with only the Diamond and Moisannite harder.

There is a unique sapphire called "star" sapphire, which has a 6 pointed rutile crystal inclusion, giving the effect of a star in the deep blue sapphire...

"rutile": a lusterous red, reddish brown or black tetregonal mineral that is an ore titanium. Rutile ususally occurs as prismatic crystals in othere minerals especially as dark needle like crystals in quartz. chemical form TiO2.
rutile. (n.d.). The American Heritage® Science Dictionary. Retrieved October 01, 2008, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/rutile

Famous Sapphires:

The American Museum of Natural History (New York) owns the
  • Star of India, 536ct
  • Midnight Star, a black sapphire, 116ct
Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. owns the
  • Star of Asia, a star sapphire, 330ct
St. Edward's and the Stuart sapphire are part of the English Crown Jewels.

The United States has three large sapphires each weighing roughly 2000ct, which have been carved with the heads of presidents Washington, Lincoln and Eisenhower...

There you have it...the beautiful sapphire, one of my favorite gems, but then I do like them all, just some more than others!

All photos, with the exceptions of the sapphires earrings are courtesy of Swamibu, Flickr.com A heartfelt "thank you" Bu for allowing me to use your stunning photos in my features!!!

Information References:
Gemstones of the World, Walter Schumann, Third Edition, Sterling Publishing Co. Inc.,

The Jeweler's Directory of Gemstones, Judith Crowe, Firefly Books, 2006

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sapphire Earrings!!!

Here are the sapphire earrings I mentioned a couple of weeks ago...I made these for the same lady I made the ruby earrings for...she wanted both pair identical but the chain I used for these earrings is smaller therefore I had to make a few slight changes...I have to say I actually prefer these over the ruby earrings but then I'm a huge fan of blue/purple!

I'm very disappointed my photos do not do the earrings justice, the sapphires are simply beautiful, with lots of sparkle. I took approximately 4o pictures and I'm still not happy with the photos.

More pictures to come soon...

Friday, September 19, 2008


It's been awhile...so... I thought I would post a few photos of new pieces for your enjoyment. I've just received the components to make the sapphire earrings I mentioned in the last post, once they are done I will post the photo...it will be at the end of next week...but for now...

A stunning coral necklace and matching earrings...both finished with sterling silver components.

Delicate Kyanite rondelles spaced with sterling silver curved tubes and finished with a sterling silver lobster claw...this bracelet easily goes from day to evening. Don't forget the Kyanite dangle!

Lava rock, obsidian, and interesting black and white resin beads combined make for a bracelet that can be worn with just about anything!

Check back soon for the sapphire earrings as well as the September Birthstone of the Month...


Monday, August 25, 2008

More Photos!!

The first two pictures are of an absolutely stunning pair of ruby earrings...
These earrings were a custom order from a friend who supplied the rubies which came directly from Burma, everything else is gold filled while the ball wires are gold...simply wonderful!!!
I will be making a similiar pair of sapphire earrings, in sterling silver, for this same person in the next couple of days and will post a picture when finished!

This piece is part of the Heart & Stroke Foundation collection I do...a hand cut, hammered, and sanded/finished sterling silver heart attached to which is a tiny Swarovski clear crystal heart, hanging from a large sterling silver oval link chain...

Aventurine nuggets and pendant, wrapped with silver plated wire

Hand cut, hammered, sanded/finished sterling silver dangles hanging from hand shaped sterling silver ear wires...

I love the color of these Swarovski crystals...Bali beads, sterling silver tubes and a sterling silver toggle finish this bracelet...

This is a great set...hand cut, stamped and sanded/finished sterling silver circles, the pendant is hanging from a sterling silver chain...the smaller circles are hanging from sterling silver hand formed ear wires...

Red and silver...a striking combination...coral, resin and glass beads are all wrapped with Argentium silver...from which hangs a sterling silver heart...again part of the Heart & Stroke Foundation series...

I've had people say these look like silver fish...simple but they do make a statement...all sterling silver, hand shaped...

A versatile two strand necklace and earrings...front and center is a great lampwork bead, with soladite nuggets, resin and glass beads, on silver coated wire, finished with sterling silver cones... matching earrings are included...

Cobalt blue lampwork beads and white glass dangles...wire wrapped and hanging from sterling silver ear wires...
Hope you've enjoyed the latest photos...
PS...Watch for the post I will be doing in the near future regarding the Heart & Stroke Foundation Series...