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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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lab 2 2Susan Thomasser of Centreville, Virginia makes beautiful original and bespoke jewelry. For those of you who may not know what 'bespoke' is, it is something that is custom made -- tailormade to fit the client's requirements and preferences. The word bespoke itself is derived from the term 'bespeak', an English word not very often used in our times. It means 'to speak for' or 'to speak on behalf of'. So a bespoke creation wouldn't be something you would buy off the shelf. It would indicate jewelry that is crafted according to specifications provided by the client.

Bespoke jewelry also often has some special significance or meaning. Someone might order a bespoke gemstone bracelet for their loved one -- and the choice of gems might be the recipient's birthstone. Or it could have an engraving of a line of poetry with sentimental value. The options for a bespoke jewel are endless and exciting!

susanSusan particularly likes to work with rubies, sapphires, flame ball pearls, pink opal, lapis, tourmaline -- some of our favorites too. She says the gems she works with tend to speak to her, telling her what they wish to become. The pieces themselves exhibit the highest level of quality and craftsmanship. There is no doubt this comes from a true passion for her work.

She says she has been in love with gems and jewelry since she was a little girl. One of her fondest memories as a young child was playing with her Mother's cedar jewelry box. It was a beautiful miniature Lane keepsake chest brimming with trinkets. She knelt on the floor inspecting the jewelry piece by piece -- clusters of pale, frosted aqua beads, luminous pearls, clip-on earrings, and more from a time gone by.

Susan now designs pieces across a broad spectrum of styles and periods, favoring Byzantine and Etruscan as well as Modernist and Victorian. She says the most difficult consideration when designing is restraint. There comes a point at which the piece is "finished," and you must know it when you see it.

I'm inpsired by the story behind her Etsy shop name, Josephine's Cotillion!

Susan's beautiful mother Josephine is the inspiration for all her work. Josephine was raised by her hardworking and loving mother in Sarasota, Florida, where she still lives. Old Sarasota is an artistic community, so that infused her upbringing, and that love of beauty has been passed on to Susan.

cross 2It should be noted that Josephine is a friend to everyone -- and as lovely on the inside as she is on the outside. Note -- for those who haven't heard of this, here's a link with more info on the southern tradition of 'Cotillions'.

The works featured here showcase Susan's substantial talent -- see from top to bottom:

A labradorite rondelle statement bracelet, incorporating genuine raspberry red ruby rondelles and gleaming gold spacers;

A Byzantine/Etruscan style necklace, with a golden bronze Coptic Cross, ruby briolettes, an iridescent coin pearl, amethysts, lemon quartz, and a pair of faceted rhodolite garnets.

mardi 3A "Mardi Gras" bracelet with golden bronze Venetian theatre masks amid a profusion of carnelian rondelles and tiger eye charms.

Learn more about these and other creations, and contact Susan -- via her Etsy Shop.

Until Next Time,


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