It’s not the most well-known gemstone, but Chrysocolla is endlessly fascinating, with its patterning and array of different colours. It’s the copper in it that is responsible for the vivid blue-green colours and it often combines with other copper-bearing minerals which give it its unique mix of colours and characteristic mottled patterns, such as turquoise, blue azurite and malachite. Just listed I have these gloss finish 7-8mm rondelle beads, at $20 per strand. These are B grade, and I think that the range of colours, textures and patterns on these stones are just amazing. I also have these in a matte finish, same size, which are equally multi-coloured, but with an amazing soft and silky finish (see left). These are also $20 per strand. And finally, some AB grade beads, which are much more uniform in terms of colour leaning firmly towards the blue-green end of the spectrum, again same size. These are also matte finish, and these are $37 per strand. I can see these looking great with some chunky silver accents – let your creativity go wild! Beads are a relatively new venture for me, and all of the ones I have are funky and wonderful – to check out the full range, click here. To shop check out Chrysocolla beads click here.
I saw these and I had to buy them! So beautiful and unusual; carved flower beads in rock crystal and rose quartz. To me they are reminiscent of Art Nouveau with their curving, undulating shapes and elongated lines. I see them as earrings, with maybe silver beads at the centre of the flowers, but you will be far more creative than me in your ideas! For the time being I am selling them as singles, with the option to have them in sorta-kinda matched pairs (that is, they are all unique, but I can vaguely match in terms of size and visual similarity). However, if I get the demand, I can sell them in full strings. The rock crystal flowers are matte finish, which gives them a gorgeous, soft, frosted appearance and are $1.75 per flower. The rose quartz flowers are gloss, with a lovely petal-pink colour and are $1.40 per flower. Just the thing for the coming Spring months! Click here for rock crystal; click here for rose quartz and to browse all of my beads, click here.
Last week’s post focused on rose quartz; this week I am looking at the second of Pantone’s colours of the year: Serenity. Pantone see these two colours in balance; the warmth of the rose quartz contrasting with the cool beauty of pale icy blue, perfectly realised by blue chalcedony. With its billowing translucency, this stone often glows as if lit from within. There are lots of examples on my Pinterest board; below are just a few that have caught my eye.
Pictured left is a pale blue chalcedony ring, set in solid sterling silver and oxidised to a dark, blackened finish. This is by Raphaela and Jenna of Fifth Heaven Designs, a team based in Brisbane, Australia, who love making interesting and quirky designs, and who specialise in one-off custom designs, hand-forged from silver and gold-fill. I love the edgy, industrial feel this ring has, the stark metal a perfect contrast with the soft blue of the stone.
Dana Evans of Dana Evans Studio is an architect-turned jeweller, who remains inspired by architectural forms and details; incorporating a love of shape and pattern into her work. Her silver and blue chalcedony Ravena earrings are part of her Etruria collection, part homage to the ancient Etruscans, who were masters of the art of granulation. You can see this technique in these earrings, which blend an ancient and modern aesthetic into a perfect harmony. I love the bold shapes and the contrast between bright silver highlights and oxidised background. Dana incorporates cast and hard-forged pieces into her hand-made work.
Bridget Clark takes her inspiration from primitive, industrial and organic forms which she simplifies into bold and striking pieces of wearable art. Pictured left are her sterling silver and Peruvian chalcedony long fob earrings; I love the matt silver finish and subtle elegance of these. Bridget states that she aims for a subtle asymmetry in her work, for interest and movement and I think this works perfectly, challenging the eye and the brain. Bridget makes all of her pieces herself and is constantly experimenting with shape and form.
I absolutely love mokume gane, and you don’t see alot of it about. That is most likely because it is a challenging, technical and precise technique, but Chris Ploof Designs specialises in it. It involves the bonding of many metals which can then be bent, twisted, cut, rolled, ground down or shaped with punches and chisels. These are then rolled out, to reveal the intricate, curving patterns. This hollow construction silver, 14 carat gold and white gold ring with blue chalcedony takes my breath away, the white metal acting as a perfect complement to the cool, blue stone.
For more examples of amazing and inspiring blue chalcedony pieces, check out my Pinterest board, including, below from left to right, J Chapa Hernandez Ellensburg blue chalcedony ring set in 18 carat gold, Dior Gourmande Libellule ring in white gold and blue chalcedony, Bartosz Ciba’s ‘Wennonah’; sterling silver upcycled wire wrapped earrings with blue chalcedony and Leslie Zemeneck Jewelry’s ‘In a Blue Mood’ sterling silver and blue chalcedony pendant.
It’s gem ID day today, and that means polariscopes and microscopes; dicroscopes and spectroscopes; loupes and colour filters and not forgetting my personal favourite – and arguably the most important piece of kit; the refractometer. Why all this? Well, as some of you may know, I have been working towards Graduate Gemologist status with the GIA, and I am currently on the Gem Identification element of the course. This is entirely practical and involves the correct identification of 500 stones. Yes, 500! Fortunately they come to me in neat little boxes of 20 and I am currently 400 stones through the course! Then at the end of it I sit a 20 stone exam which requires 100% pass. Definitely not for the faint-hearted, and it’s been a struggle finding the time to do it on top of running the business. But it’s been amazing so far and I’ve learned so much; it’s great to be able to not only separate one stone from another, but to be able to separate natural from synthetic and identify even what kind of synthetic, as well as treatments such as heat and glass-filling. I feel really confident now, and the main barrier to me stocking more precious has been removed. After this I justt have to do a couple of diamond modules and I should be a fully paid up GG with the GIA! The end is in sight!
Pantone has for the first time this year chosen two shades to be their colours of the year; Rose quartz and Serenity. With this they are striving to demonstrate a balance between the warmth of pink and the cool celestial quality of pale blue reflecting the current preoccupation with mindfulness and well-being. These colours are perfectly represented by the gemstones rose quartz and blue chalcedony. This post is dedicated to the pale beauty of rose quartz; look out next week for blue chalcedony. I’ve been putting together a Pinterest board on this theme with a selection of jewellery that has caught my eye; the bold, the beautiful and the truly unique!
Nicole Scheetz is the inspiration behind Luxuring, based in Alberta, Canada. Specialising in rings, her pieces speak to a feminine, minimalist aesthetic. I love this delicate ring of 14 carat gold set with a rose cut rose quartz cabochon. Nicole uses recycled metals; solid silver and 14k gold in her work and hand-forges all of her pieces. Nicole is a customer of mine and it’s wonderful to see the many amazing ways in which all you talented designers incorporate my stones into your art.
Chris Engelken is a US designer based in Wisconsin who has been designing and making jewellery for over 20 years. Right is his amazing Rose Quartz White Gold ring. This setting really showcases the beauty of this unique sculpted piece of rose quartz. Rose quartz can be quite pale but this 30 carat chunk really demonstrates a superb density of colour, which with the cool, white gold setting is a match made in heaven!
Ben Proctor of Benati jewellery is based in Israel. Inspired by nature and architectural forms, he blends old gold-smithing techniques and modern technology to create fine, individual pieces with an emphasis on quality and perfection. This approach is encapsulated in the rose quartz pendant pictured left; a combination of fine, delicate gold mesh-work and a classic bezel set rose quartz.
For more examples of exciting and inspiring rose quartz pieces, check out my Pinterest board, including, below from left to right, ‘French Kiss’ Lip necklace by cliffandb, Madagascar Rose Quartz and 14k gold earrings by Marie Wu Designs, Winged Rose Quartz ring by Agrigento Designs and Rose Gold and Rose Quartz Sun Necklace by Snowflake Designs
Not the rather unforgiving Dulux paint colour, but that crowd-pleasing favourite White Topaz. Just listed I have rose cut pears and ovals, with – due to popular request – flat backs. White topaz is such an excellent choice for a white stone – easy to obtain in clean quality with really excellent brilliance. It’s great value for money, so you can go really large with your stones, and who can resist a big chunk of glittering clear rock? It’s also just a little bit more gemmy than, say, rock crystal, helping to maintain the value of your catalogue. Here I have 8x10mm and 10x12mm pears, and an 8x10mm oval, all good, large sizes to make show-stopping pieces, all of fantastic, eye-clean clarity. As stated, these are all cut with flat backs, so will set neatly in a bezel setting. Prices start from $11 for the 8x10mm faceted pear; click here to shop all white topaz.
…..AAAAnnnd finally the last of the tourmaline! 5mm round cabochons now up for sale, and I’m very excited to announce a price drop from $12.50 USD per cabochon to $10! As I’ve said before, the price of tourmaline finally seems to be stabilising and this is the same or even slightly nicer quality tourmaline as I’ve had before. All colours are back in stock, with as always, more of the pinks and fewer of the greeny-blues. Also, I’ve reduced further the price of less popular colours across all sizes – which are the yellowy-greens and browns. For 5mm, that means that these colours are $8.50 per stone, and you can’t say fairer than that! To browse 5mm tourmaline cabochons, click here
Just listed are a selection of beautiful sapphire oval cabochons. These are all a good size, and some of them are really large, offering the potential to create a really fantastic and show-stopping piece of jewellery. The stones are semi-transparent to translucent and have fantastic depth of colour and saturation, as well as a very attractive chatoyancy created by silk in the stones. I have singles, a pair and a quad, so why not pop have a browse and pick up something really special for the new year. Click here to have a look.
Finally back in stock, I have 4mm tourmaline cabochons – as I’ve mentioned, the price of tourmaline seems to be finally stabilising and so I can with great excitement announce a price-drop on these! Now only $4.75 USD per cabochon. As usual I have plenty in pink and fewer in the blue-green shades. This is nice quality material, with just a few inclusions here and there, and great saturation and lustre. To shop all 4mm tourmaline, click here.