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jade hookSAVE 20% WITH SAVE20 COUPON for this and anything else in the shop. This is a lovely hand-carved pendant of natural Nephrite Jade from New Zealand. The hei matu, or fish hook, has endured since pre-colonial times (prior to the 18th century) and symbolizes abundance, and a respect for sea. The design represents the special relationship Maori people have with fishing (historically they lived from fisheries and depended on the sea for food gathering) and Tangaroa, god of the sea. Designs range from the ultra-realistic through to more conceptual styles, and wearing one is said to bring good fortune when traveling across oceans.

This beautiful piece measures approx. 45 mm long (approx.. 1 3/4") x approx. 23 mm. (just shy of 1") at its widest point. Thickness is approx. 3 mm. Hole at top for hanging is approx. 3 mm. wide.

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gypsy earringsDo you prefer the non-traditional, non-conformist approach to life, style, fashion, and handmade jewelry? If so and if you aren't already a boho-jewelry artisan, you might want to consider it.

The words "boho" or "bohemian" are most often used when describing someone who does not conform to tradition. This is the case in the way one might act as well as dress, and that is when jewelry and fashion come into play. When we're talking about fashion, the word Bohemian is used to convey an attitude and style that says free-spirited.

Called Boho for short, the Bohemian look is earthy and natural, and sometimes ethnic or tribal. Designs may incorporate leather, stones, ceramic/pottery, wood, natural fabrics, and materials from the earth. Vintage jewelry components may also be included.

You can get a feeling for today's Boho chic look by looking back to the late 1960's to early 1970's "hippie" fashions -- not Mod, you want more of a "flower child" look.

The best thing about the Bohemian look is that nothing has to "match." The pieces should layer well and work together to create classy, Boho chic appearance.

christmas tree 2016 2In honor of Christmas Day, I wanted to post something special about beads related to the holiday. I went on a rambling internet quest and found this lovely story. A little schmaltzy, yes, but the message is eternally true. It's about unselfish love, softening, and healing. Here's the link: A String of Blue Beads.

The story isn't entirely unlike a great movie we just saw with our friends -- Collatoral Beauty. I was weeping through most of it, as it made me think of my husband's illness and also the recent loss of my beloved 12-year old lab, Mishka. But that's ok, as they say weeping can help to heal. I hadn't really cried much since Mishka died, even though I have been in a lot of emotional pain. I think it's because I'm like the character in the movie; I just get on my (metaphorical) bike and ride hard, against the traffic, keeping myself busy, focusing on not breaking down.

mishka blue blanket 2But as it says in Ecclesiastes, there's a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance. For us, it seems like the whole year has been a time to mourn. Here's hoping that next year -- for us and for you -- is a time to laugh and to dance. It will take some work, I'm sure -- remembering to count our incredible blessings, to have gratitude, to help all those who need it -- to the best of our ability, and most of all, to love.

May you and yours -- and the world -- have a peaceful holiday season and new year, and may all your days be merry and bright.

Until Next Year,

Sheila

kunzite tourmalineIn 1903, kunzite was discovered in the Pala District of San Diego County, California. See this link for a fascinating history of the gem’s discovery and naming, as well as some great photographs of the original finds. Read a synopsis below and check out the images shown here from inspiring jewelry artisans on Etsy who use Kunzite in their work. [To the right is karensugarmandesigns' gorgeous kunzite and tourmaline necklace; just below to the left are some sweet little kunzite pendants from Hulamoonjewelry]

kunzite wire wrap 2The mysterious gem was described at the time as an unidentified pink crystal, and sent to George Frederick Kunz, Tiffany & Company’s mineralogist. Kunz was a legendary jeweler, having also served as a vice president and buyer for Tiffany and Co., and had particular expertise in colored stones. He confirmed that in fact, the crystals were “Spodumene”, a lithium aluminum inosilicate. But it had never been found in this color, and thus it was proclaimed a new variety of the mineral.

This beautiful gem has come to be quite popular and desirable. Ranging in beautiful shades of pink and violet, it is difficult to cut because it has two cleavage directions. But once finished, it has a magnificent showing.

In the years since, kunzite has proven to be a highly desirable gem. Occurring in attractive shades of pink to violet, kunzite crystals are also often large, with relatively few inclusions. Though difficult to cut due to its two cleavage directions, it lends itself to lovely finished gems that show magnificently in fine jewelry.

In 1996, a 47-carat kunzite ring sold for over $410,000 at a Sotheby’s auction of the Estate of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Sadly, President Kennedy had purchased it as a gift for her, but never had the chance to give it to her.

dalmation jasperHave you used jasper in any of your beading projects? There are so many types of Jasper – displaying an astounding array of patterns and colors, enough to inspire any artisan. Jasper is a type of chalcedony, a microcrystalline variety of quartz. It is one of the most common gemstones in earth, and is generally found in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil and Uruguay, Madagascar, Indonesia, Egypt, India, Australia, Kazakhstan and Russia.

<To the right, see Traewyn Jewelry’s Goddess Necklace with Dalmation Jasper>

References to jasper can be found in ancient Assyrian, Persian, Hebrew, Greek and Latin texts. The word "jasper" is derived from the Greek word meaning, "spotted stone." Humankind has used jasper for millions of years. Prehistoric artifacts made of jasper, possibly weapons or tools or both, have been uncovered in Ethiopia. The Vikings used red jasper, rich in iron content, to start fires by striking it with steel.

green jasperThere have been recent 21st century excavations at the site of a 12th century church in Iceland. Along with red jasper with the expected striking marks, archeologists have also uncovered abundant pieces of green jasper there. The specific use of the green jasper pieces at this site is still a mystery. But for thousands of years, humans have revered green jasper as a symbol of faith. It would come as no surprise if these green jasper pieces, found among the ruins of this ancient church, were symbols of personal faith and devotion.

Jasper is an important stone of Judeo-Christian faith because of its place in the Bible. Jasper is listed in the Old Testament as the 12th gem in High Priest Aaron's jeweled breast plate. There is also a reference in the Book of Revelations to jasper being the first of twelve foundation stones of the New Jerusalem. Curiously, the jasper referred to in the Bible is described to be a transparent crystal. Was the stone that these ancient believers referred to as jasper actually diamond? The answer is probably lost in antiquity. 

<At the left is a necklace from Jaspers Jewels, featuring carved Green Jasper, mixed natural gemstones and sterling silver>

Besides a being used as a symbol of faith, human beings have also assigned jasper healing and supernatural attributes. The Egyptians buried their dead with jasper amulets carved with passages from the Book of the Dead. They believed jasper had the ability to safely transport the dead to the afterlife. The Egyptians also believed jasper had the power to improve digestion and other bodily functions. In Roman times, green jasper was believed to have the ability to summon rain. In medieval times, people believed jasper cured ailments of the heart and liver and improved sexual prowess. It was also worn to protect children and expel evil spirits. Modern day alternative healers believe jasper is a stone of positive energy and protection. Different varieties of jasper also have been assigned different metaphysical attributes. For example, green jasper is thought to help those with mental disorders overcome their obsessions.

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