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red agateJust perfect for your Halloween creations -- these Red Agate Evil Eye beads are of stone that was formed from layers of silica from volcanic cavities. Agate is named after the Achates River (now known as the Dirillo River) on the island of Sicily, Italy, whose upper waters were an ancient source of this gemstone. Each strand offered here has 16 round faceted beads, with colors ranging from red to amber, as shown. Each bead is approx. 10 mm. with an approx. 2 mm. hole. Each strand is $10, but for a limited time, take 10% off with the code HALLOWEEN at checkout.


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emerald 2In my last post I focused on the 'just plain homely rocks', so today I thought I would amp things up a bit and talk about EMERALDS.  Hardly a homely rock, the emerald is considered one of the four precious stones (diamond, emerald, sapphire & ruby). Emerald was believed by the ancients to empower the owner with foresight into the future.  I don't know about that, but I do know they can be incredibly beautiful and compelling.  I've just spent the last few hours trying to find the words written about emeralds by either (or both) writers – Katharine Anne Porter and/or Diane Wakoski.  I have not been able to find the exact passages I was thinking of, but I can think of no others who have written so eloquently about emeralds than these two.

First let's talk about Katharine Anne Porter (a fascinating woman, by the way – read more via the link below about her incredible life, a woman who published her first novel at age 72*).  Having triumphed over a life of poverty, she had always dreamed of having, sometime in her life, her birthstone, an emerald.  At one point during an
interview, she glanced down at the bright emerald blazing from the ring she bought for herself on the occasion of a payment related to her book—a squarecut 22 carat emerald that overwhelmed her left hand—and said:  "For the first time in my life I had some money, and I bought myself an emerald.  I said to the jeweler you get me the biggest emerald you can find.  And he thought I meant something as big as my fingernail, and he brought a few over but I said no.  I don't mean that at all.  So then he found this."

When I read this, I'm inspired by this woman's striving for art and success, her spunkiness, and her love for beauty and style.  And I'm also inspired by the descriptions of the emeralds she wore – not only of this ring but as Diane Wakoski (an incredible poet and writer as well) later wrote of Katharine's jewelry, "the gigantic emeralds ringed with tiny diamond studs---the smaller one...shaped like a large teardrop...and I think of those Southern catalpa trees...bare with sexual pods hanging from the limbs like walking canes..."  And Diane's vivid simile regarding one of the rings:  'the tiny diamonds surrounding
it, like commoners flocking to see the Queen of England."  Diane said the emeralds fascinated her as a symbol of Katharine Porter's success, and that she could feel their very substance.

The writings I remembered but couldn't find during my research this morning was by one of these writers.  They spoke of the liquid green of the stone, its elegance and profound depth and beauty. I can see such a stone in my mind's eye. The example in the image included here is the famous 'Hooker Emerald', a superb 75 carat Colombian emerald once owned by the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, and worn in his belt buckle.  It was later set into a tiara by Tiffany & Co., and even later mounted in its current brooch setting and surrounded with 109 round brilliant cut diamonds, again by Tiffany.  It is believed to have come to Europe originally via Spanish conquistadores in the 16th or 17th century.  It now 'lives' at the National Museum of Natural History, one of my very favorite places to visit for great stone sightings.

Emeralds are just one of the many reasons for my specific addiction to gems.  And speaking of our common addiction – I have already received a few great submissions for the contest announced last week.  One more week and we'll announce a winner!  If you haven't read about the contest or posted your entry, please go to the post on 'My Addiction to Gems, Crystals, and Just Plain Homely Rocks'.

And if you enjoyed this blog post, you'd likely enjoy another one on 'May's Birthstone: Emerald'.

* (a great little story on Katharine Anne Porter)





0 # Ellen W. Gonchar 2013-03-18 19:01
Awesome read!
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0 # Sheila McLaughlin 2013-03-19 00:23
Thank you, Ellen! Hope all is fine w. you & yours!
p.s. Found a sweet Art Noveau brass locket at an antique store -- thought of you & couldn't resist! Eventually I'll get it photographed & up on the site... It was interesting -- the guy said back at the turn of the century, there were Czech jewelers making high end jewelry, watches, etc., and on the side, they made costume jewelry including lockets like this. You probably know all about it, but it was fun learning this --
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