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Bead of the Week

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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Tibetin Turquoise Sterling Silver Wire Wrapped Ann Pendant

 Ann Gray, a 47-year old artisan from Kansas City, MO., is a talented and inspiring jewelry designer. She specializes in silversmithing and wire wrap. Her motto is "Adorn Yourself With Style"; and her particular style trends toward vintage, while still keeping up with the latest fashions. I appreciate her humble approach to art; as she explains it, "In the last ten years, I've found that art emerges from a process of learning from mistakes, as much as from successes." I also really like a quote she uses from Alexander McQueen, a British fashion designer and couturier:

Blue Agate carved Flower Wire Wrapped with Sterling Silver Pendant"Fashion should be a form of escapism, not a form of imprisonment."

Years ago, Ann was a cosmetologist, creating signature hairstyles. (This was before she spent 12 years as a Human Resources representative.) One day she was looking for a particular type of jewelry and couldn’t find what she wanted. Someone said, "Why don’t you make it?" And the rest, as they say, is history. She bought some supplies and books and began to study and practice night and day. Now she says every day is consumed with her creative work and learning how to make new things.

Ann particularly loves fine silver, sterling silver, Argentium silver, and rose and yellow gold. Her favorite stones are Turquoise and Gem Silica Chrysocolla. She works with other stones as well, including agate, jasper and opal (see one of her pendants with blue Agate featured to the left). It's important to her to use natural stones because they are more eco-friendly (for more on this topic, see our previous post Eco-Friendly Jewelry).

ann agate

Ann is also committed to helping other artisans just starting out as jewelry entrepreneurs. She mentors a group about Online Marketing for Jewelry Designers or Small Business owners. Her YouTube Channel is:

Her mentor Group is 

One of the endorsements I ran across while researching Ann and her work really sums up the special appeal of her mentoring:

"Following you was the best thing for me. I'm no longer afraid to do what it takes to close the deal. You empower women who want to have their own business." It's clear she provides not only this kind of support, but mentoring and training in marketing and other practical business skills.

You can also find Ann on LinkedIn:

 I encourage you to connect with her if you want to learn more about the handcrafted jewelry business -- she gives generously of herself, her time, and her expertise!

 If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy Dawn Wink on Turquoise.

Until Next Time,




+3 # Toni Brundage 2016-05-27 07:13
What an awesome blog! I am one of Ann's mentee and I have learned so much from her. She inspires, encourages and motivate. She has made me aware of my potential and encourages me to live up to it. She has been helping me achieve my goals as a jewelry designer. She truly mentors in a way where she wants to see you succeed as a jewelry designer. She is not only a mentor, she is also a great friend.
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+3 # Somclaughlin 2016-05-27 16:34
Thank you so much for commenting!
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+1 # Ellen W Gonchar 2016-05-30 15:34
Great article and her jewelry is beautiful! I truly need to learn how to wrap! Will check her out on the sites you posted........m any thanks Shelia!
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+1 # Somclaughlin 2016-05-30 19:16
Thank you, Ellen!! Hope you are all healed up now!!
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+1 # Lori Anderson 2016-05-31 21:16
The work is so ethereal, taking substantial stone and turning it into fairy gems, for lack of a better word! Astounding!
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+1 # Somclaughlin 2016-05-31 23:22
So sweet, Lori,
Thank you for commenting!

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