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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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alene photo 1Our colleague Alene Geed recently published a book called 'Inside the Mind of a Jewelry Designer' which serendipitously answers many of the questions posed in last week's feature, 'The Inspired Jewelry Designer'. I was wondering out loud what inspires jewelry artisans, and was delighted to see that that Alene had set out to explore this very topic! But there's more – the book takes a very user-friendly A – Z approach, outlining the influences of biology, psychology, and even sociology on the mind and practice of an artist. She generously shares her personal story of her own evolution as a designer – from her very first inspirations, to disciplined study and training – culminating in a very successful career that any of us would be proud to have.

I've attached a sample of one of her beautiful designs. Here's what Alene says about how the idea for it came for this 'Red Creek Jasper Pendant'. "I discovered Red Creek Jasper a year ago while attending the Tucson Gem show and immediately fell in love with the hues and vibrant colors. I originally created the bottom portion of the pendant and knew something was missing. After trying several options, I decided to use the sunstone to complement the jasper. The gorgeous reddish tones and 'bit of sparkle' turned this into my favorite pendant so far. In fact, I almost kept it for my private collection!"

Like so many artists I talk to, Alene is especially inspired by nature and beautiful gemstones. I can certainly relate, since this is what inspires and excites me as well. Another thing that is very special about Alene and her book is that she takes her readers step by step through the creative process – from inspiration and concept to specific production details. Anyone who is in the beginning stages of learning and honing their skills in this arena would benefit from reading this book. It's easily found in both hard copy and Kindle editions at

And here's a link for more information on Alene or to purchase a signed copy:

Or -- read more about gemstones and processes via her blog :

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy previous features on our jewelry artisan/designer colleagues, like the one on Cate Yoder.

P.S.! By popular demand, next week's blog post will focus on 'How We Got Started in the Jewelry Supply Business' -- stay tuned!

alene photo 2



0 # Janis Evans 2013-07-07 13:47
Alene's work is certainly lovely and I am interested in reading her book. It is sometimes hard to know how we get inspired. I often think that it just happens but I suspect that there is a lot more to it.
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0 # Sheila McLaughlin 2013-07-07 15:41
Hi Janis,
Thank you so much for your comment! Alene, are you out there? What do you think? What I thought of as I read this comment is that people who encouraged my creativity when I was very young deserve some credit for my own creative drive and skills -- that and the fact that no-one ever tried to suppress my creativity, which sometimes happens in schools and at home, unfortunately. Thanks again -- I agree it is truly a complex topic!
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0 # Alene Geed 2013-07-07 21:43
Hi Janis and Sheila I agree that others deserve credit for my late-in-life career path. Several are mentioned in the book. Two that stand out are my mother and more recently my husband... who supports and encourages me every day!
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