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glass redThis is a set of red glass beads and pendant for your matching earring/necklace designs. The earring beads (approx. 1 mm. long) consist of clear red glass set in gold oval frames. My understanding is that these are vintage, from the 1950's. The pendant (approx. 1" long and 1 mm. wide) is of blown glass with gold and other elements, with a generous horizontal hole (through the red section), ready for stringing. This is not vintage, but it is beautifully handcrafted, and it goes so nicely with these beads that we are offering it as a set for your jewelry designs.

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chrysocolla beadsThe first stone ever known for the purpose of communication was Chrysocolla. The very essence of the gemstone is devoted to expression, teaching and self-empowerment. Some say the turquoise blue color in this stone discharges all the negative energies and calms the wearer; creating an environment of truthfulness and allowing wisdom to emerge.

This gemstone ‘called’ to me the first time I laid eyes on it. To me, it felt like gazing into a dark blue and peaceful pool of water – the color is like nothing you will see elsewhere. The stone is sometimes confused with turquoise, as it has some of the same visual qualities – but it is really nothing like turquoise. A 2006 study has produced evidence that chrysocolla may be a microscopic mixture of the copper hydroxide mineral spertiniite, amorphous silica, and water. It is typically found in rounded masses and crusts, or vein fillings.

square chrysocollaThere are also some interesting legends about the stone. For thousands of years, as legend tells it, chrysocolla has been a stone of conciliation and reassurance throughout the world. In ancient Egypt, it was called the ‘wise stone’, as those who wore it generally came up with clever compromises when it seemed there had been a terminal stall in negotiations. It was also thought it would protect the wearer against psychological damage. Lore has it that this stone had the power to make violent people more sensitive and tolerant, which is apparently why Cleopatra carried chrysocolla with her everywhere she went.

chrysocolla and silverIt was also used as a healing stone with native Indian tribes that attributed many powers to it. The name chrysocolla comes from the Greek words ‘chrysos’ which means gold and ‘kola’ meaning glue – because it was used by smiths as a solder when they were crafting gold jewelry. Supposedly chrysocolla was first mined in the legendary mines of King Solomon.

Check out some of the great things our Etsy colleagues have done with the stone – (shown in this post) and be inspired! From top to bottom are:

- A beautiful strand of Chrysocolla rondelle gemstones with sterling silver, by WearJWDesigns;

Square Chrysocolla and Silver Necklace by Willowwindstudio; and

- A stunning Chrysocolla and Spinel pendant necklace in sterling silver, with handmade chain - by BebesBaublesJewelry

Shannon Sheila BestOnce again this year we worked at the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show. Shannon was there with the awesome shop Natural Stones, while I cruised around in search of new treasures for our Etsy shop BeadyEyedBird.

We picked up some more vintage trade and Czech glass beads and a beautiful Tibetan brass singing bowl for when we need to de-stress, and even found a small sink carved of honey onyx for a powder room we're refurbishing back home.

There were the usual non-jewelry/gemstone delights -- international food vendors, hand-woven baskets, loomed shawls, Mexican pottery and exotic home decor. And of course the usual football field sized tables piled with pearls, armed guards watching over gold and diamond sales, bloody awful traffic and parking, and the camaraderie of folks who are weary from packing and unpacking and selling on their feet all day.

Not surprisingly (if you know us) some of our favorite times were had while out to dinner in Tucson, where we tried some new venues like The Screamery (ice cream), The Hub (hip, with New American fare, like gourmet sandwiches, craft beer and designer sorbet), and the Senae Thai Bistro where we enjoyed spicy Tom Yum soup, fish roasted in banana leaves, and fresh mango with coconut cream sticky rice.

my girl Janet PlanetJanet Morrison Minto, also known as Janet Planet, started her beading business in Los Angeles, CA in 2003 after a successful 20-year career in songwriting. Her unique style is full of exuberant energy, densely placed flowers and leaves, and weaving vines, studded with gems that many have said evoke a somehow more innocent time when everything seemed possible. Each semiprecious gemstone and specialty Czech bead necklace she designs is one-of-a-kind work of art, made with love. Always at heart a writer, her descriptive musings on each necklace, detailing her inspiration for each one and a detailed list of the various elements used have become almost as popular among devotees of her work as the necklaces themselves.

Her inspirations are as wide-ranging as the necklaces, including nature, both wild and in the garden, flowers always, art and paintings, her children’s early years and of course the lore and legend of various healing semiprecious stones. Sometimes a fanciful story or scene will present itself to her and she will attempt to capture it in jewels. She has created pieces after waking from dreams, from cherished memories, reminiscences and moments of destiny.

The question folks often ask Janet is why she turned to beading as her primary occupation. Her answer is a fascinating story in itself and goes like this --

sandcastleIt was in the early '90s that the music business in L.A. really took a sharp left turn in terms of following prevailing trends. More and more, the business became centered around Rap and Grunge Rock. Janet had been successfully writing melodic Rock for many years, but she was seeing any number of L.A. bands and bands nationally lose their record deals as the Garage band, Pacific Northwest Rock style became more and more popular. The bottom line was, what was then termed "Hair band" AOR Rock was OUT, and no one was looking for outside songs anymore - Rap and Grunge music didn't need well-crafted pop songs with great melodic hooks and good lyrics.

Needless to say, these realizations were NOT fun for Janet to have at the time. She had a last series of meetings to keep her music career on track, and it was so shockingly painful to be told rudely, "Sorry, your songs no longer interest us. The business has changed. We don't need songs like yours any more."

She then proceeded to hole herself up in her studio for two more years, writing what she had always wanted to write with her last great songwriting partner before he got an offer to play for a big name group and he grabbed the opportunity. Then she sat and stared for a good long while and finally had to admit she couldn't find a single reason to write one more song.

As Janet explains, this was not a great state to be in. She has a very active and creative mind, and is (self-proclaimed) a bit obsessive and hyper-focused. focused. She knew she had to find something else to do fairly quickly, or she would go crazy and start peeling the wallpaper off the walls and duct taping the doors and windows air-tight. So she thought about it. She thought maybe she would write a novel. She did begin and

jet pendantIf you've ever seen some big, beautiful Jet beads, you are likely as fascinated by this gemstone as I am. It is not considered a true mineral, but a 'mineraloid' since it has an organic origin.

jet silverJet is an ancient substance that began forming and fossilizing during the Jurassic period over 144 million years ago. Jet was formed from ancient trees that died and fell. Jet is fossilized wood, like coal, only much harder. 

The stone was formed of decaying wood from millions of years ago, at extreme pressures. The English noun "jet" comes from the French word for the same material, 'jaiet'. Jet is either black or dark brown, but may contain brassy or metallic pyrite. The stone has been used in Britain since the Neolithic period; the earliest known object is a 10,000 BC model of a botfly larva, from Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany. Use of Jet continued in Britain through the Bronze Age, where it was used for necklace beads. During the Iron Age of this region, Jet went out of fashion; it only reemerged as a very popular item in the Victorian era.

Jet was used as a material for jewelry in Roman Britain from the third century onward. It was used in rings, hair pins, beads, bracelets, bangles, necklaces and pendants, many of which are now shown in the Yorkshire Museum. It was also used as a magical material -- often incorporated into amulets and pendants because of the belief that it had the ability to deflect the gaze of the evil eye. Pliny the Elder suggested that "the kindling of jet drives off snakes and relieves suffocation of the uterus. Its fumes detect attempts to simluate a disabling illness or a state of virginity." (hmmm! That last one must have been of great value!)

During the reign of Queen Victoria, the Queen wore jet as part of her mourning dress (mourning the death of Prince Albert). Jet was associated with mourning jewelry because of its 'somber' color and modest appearance; it was also fashioned into rosaries for monks. During the Roaring Twenties in the U.S., long necklaces of jet beads were often seen on the young flappers, stretching from the neckline to the waistline. It was strung using heavy cotton thread; small knots were made on either side of each bead to keep them spaced evenly, as with fine pearl necklaces.

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