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ornate heartsTwo ornate 'puffy' silver heart beads, hollow in the center with holes at top and bottom for stringing. Each is about 1" wide and lightweight. Sold as a set of two. I will consider selling them separately -- so let me know if you'd like to buy only one for $19.00.

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heart braceletI have always been drawn to charm bracelets, even before I knew their history.  The wearing of charms was likely begun as a form of amulet or talisman to ward off evil spirits or bad luck.

During the pre-historic period, jewelry charms would be made from shells, animal-bones and clay. Later charms were made out of gems, rocks, and wood. In Germany, intricately carved mammoth tusk charms have been found from around 30,000 years ago. In ancient Egypt, charms were used for identification and as symbols of faith and luck. Charms also served to identify an individual to the gods in the afterlife.

During the Roman Empire, Christians would use tiny fish charms hidden in their clothing to identify themselves to other Christians. Jewish scholars of the same period would write tiny passages of Jewish law and put them in amulets round their necks to keep the law close to their heart at all times. Medieval knights wore charms for protection in battle. Charms also were worn in the Dark Ages to denote family origin and religious and political convictions.

Queen Victoria wore charm bracelets that started a fashion among the European noble classes. She was instrumental to the popularity of charm bracelets, as she “loved to wear and give charm bracelets. When her beloved Prince Albert died, she even made “mourning” charms popular; lockets of hair from the deceased, miniature portraits of the deceased, charm bracelets carved in jet.”

In modern times, we've seen charm bracelets from Tiffany and Co., the teenager charm bracelet craze of the 50's and 60's, and even pirate-themed bracelets that were all the rage in 2006 after the movie Pirates of the Caribbean came out.

Whatever your favorite theme for a charm bracelet is, there is no doubt they are a delight to make and wear. Today we share the inspired bracelets of three individual Etsy artisans and a group of artisans who collaborate on Etsy.

First, meet SantaFeSilverworks' Gregory P. Segura; one of his masterpieces, 'Elvira's Love and Faith Charm Bracelet' is featured above. Gregory started perfecting his silversmithing skills in the 1990's. He had served in the U.S. Air Force and worked as a hotel manager, financial planner, and sales manager, but his heart was looking for a new, more creative career path. In 2008, Gregory picked up his hammer and lit his torch and never looked back.

charm bracelet 1Although he had taken a metalworking class in the 1980s, Gregory’s expertise with silver is largely self-taught. “Working with silver just comes naturally to me,” he admits. “Sculpting, painting, and carving do not come to me with the ease and understanding I feel in working with silver and stones. I guess you could say I was born with a silver spoon (I made) in my mouth.”

Gregory’s work reflects his Spanish and Native American heritage. For each of his original designs, he draws on the legacy of New Mexico’s master silversmiths as well as rich culture and natural beauty of the region.

Gregory’s ancestors first arrived in Santa Fe around 1624, and he still calls it home with the love of his life and inspiration Debra and their four cats, Sugar, Benicio del Gato (Lil Buddy), Wally, Penelope and Murphy the dog. You can find more information at his website www.santafesilverworks.com and on Facebook - Santa Fe Silverworks.

Next up are husband and wife team Richard and Janette of RuthLindquistDesigns (see their stunning hand-woven Läckölink Bracelet to the left).

These two have lived in Sweden for many years, where they are inspired to create a lot of jewelry. They used to live on an island near an old castle, and the land all around them was a treasure trove for artifacts dating all the way back to Viking times. They have also spent many years in the US, where they live at the moment.

Finally, we feature the EtsyMetal Charm Swap 13 Bracelet (below on the right) from the creative collaborative EtsyMetal. This bracelet is an impressive collection of charms from 18 Etsy artisans (listed below). The story of EtsyMetal is especially interesting, as its members are accomplished metal artists who network to support one another and to market their respective works. Their talents include fabrication, forging, soldering, piercing, etching, engraving, stone setting, enameling, blacksmithing, casting, and more. Much of the proceeds of their sales benefit Cheekwood Art and Gardens in Nashville, TN, as well as children's art programs.

stormHi Everyone! Just a note to apologize for being missing in action the last couple of weeks. In addition to a health crisis in the family, and travel, and moving, apparently my e-mail newsletter service company, MailChimp, has its headquarters in hurricane country!

I'm hoping to work out any lingering glitches and get my regular weekly e-mails back on track by next week. So please bear with me, and thank you for your patience in the meantime!

All the Best & I hope you have a safe and happy Fall Season!

Sheila

 

fabiana new 1I discovered Fabiana (or she discovered me!) on LinkedIn, and it was a pleasure to get to know her. Today's post is on her unique history and approach to jewelry-making. Fabiana lives in a small village south of Italy, near the beautiful coast of the Gargano.  She describes herself as 'very busy' (we can relate!), but she loves her life -- connecting with nature, animals, and especially the sea. Her goal is to share her vision of the world through her art and life inspirations. I hope you enjoy her story as much as I did!

Sheila:  What got you started in jewelry making?

Fabiana:  My passion for art has led me to the realization of jewelry in a very casual and unexpected way. Ever since I was little I learned to draw, a passion I never wanted to abandon even when, growing up, my studies went in a different direction. I have always drawn female subjects, at some point I began to dress them up with jewels of various shapes. From there I arrived to the craftsmanship.

Sheila:  How did you hone your skills? 

Fabiana: Although I had never done it before, I immediately became acquainted with the tools of the craft, as a lover of art, I like to experiment, so I try to create something.  Sometimes I do not know what I will create, some others I have a clear idea in my mind.

Sheila:  What do you call your style and why?

ear cuff 3I heard this story from my good friend Jonathan and thought it was so spot on about how inspiration can happen during the creative process. The Earcuff became wildly popular after this invention – in the 70’s, I think; I’ve featured my fav (Pegasus Cuff) from the LewAllen Studio (the one just below and to the left), and a couple from contemporary Etsy artisans (here at the right and below, right side are:  martymagic's Dragon Earcuff/Earwrap and PuranaJewellery's Dandelion Earcuff. ). Earcuffs are a great alternative for people who don’t want to pierce, or who just want a really unique and striking look. Here’s Jonathan’s story:

We heard from a friend that there was a space in Bob Spitz’s building near the Santa Fe plaza that we could rent and we went to see it. It was a single room on the second floor of a building next to a gas station that was on the northeast corner of the plaza, right across the street from the library. The rent was reasonable, so we took it and moved our stained glass studio into town. There were other rooms upstairs. On one side was a bead store and on the other was our old friend from Highlands--Ross LewAllen and his jewelry studio.

Ross made earrings, bracelets, necklaces and other jewelry items in his studio. He was set up for casting silver and gold, but usually he constructed pieces, sawing them out of sheet silver and soldering, and then using different surface treatments. His prices were very reasonable. I think you could get a pair of silver earrings for $15 or so in the early seventies. One summer he went on vacation and left his studio in the hands of Dell Fox, another Santa Fe jeweler. As soon as he was out of town, Dell doubled his prices. When Ross came back he was totally taken aback and asked Dell how she could do such a thing. Dell told him that they sold just as much jewelry as the summer before but now he was making twice as much money. Ross couldn’t argue with that, and it’s probably a good lesson for all of us!

pegasus 2Some mornings we would go in early and drive up Canyon Road to the Three Cities of Spain restaurant and have breakfast. We would talk to the tourists on the front porch and they would tell us they would stop by our studio. It was a very nice start on the day. Living the life of an artist in Santa Fe , a city known for its art, was a real rush. Artists are celebrated for creating, and that is a high honor. Everyone wants to create. Everyone does create, but sometimes it takes a long time for the work to evolve and even longer to recognize your true creations. It has been so in my life.

One morning I opened up the glass studio and went to the bathroom to get some water for the coffee maker. I noticed Ross sitting in his chair with his first cup of coffee. It looked like he was trying to think of what he should do next. As I came back I stopped at his door and said loudly, “There sits the artist! Thinking of ever new parts of the human body to poke holes in!” (This was in the early seventies- long before tattooing and piercing began to be popular again.) Ross laughed and I laughed and I went to my studio to make my coffee and plan out the day.

I was doing some work at my main table about 20 minutes later when Ross ran in. “Look!” he said. “Your joke make me think!” and he put something in the middle of my table. I picked it up and looked. It was a small silver tube a little more than half an inch long with an open slot on the side. The edges were rounded and the diameter of the tube was about a quarter of an inch. It had been polished and it shone in the light. “What is it?” I asked. “It’s the Earcuff!” Ross answered. And he took it from me and slid it onto the upper part of my ear. I looked at myself in the mirror and it looked good! “This is really nice, Ross!” I said, and he went back to his studio. Other than the artist, I was probably the first person in the world to wear an Earcuff.

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