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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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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.

mermaid necklaceHave you ever thought about telling people a little something about the gemstones you use to make the jewelry they buy from you? What wonderful stories are behind so many of our natural gemstones, beads and crystals. Here’s a bit about aquamarine, just to give you an idea.

Early sailors carved aquamarine into small amulets of the god Neptune, and believed this would protect them from seasickness, nightmares, and drowning. This beautiful gemstone is also associated to other legends involving water. It’s no wonder, as the word aquamarine literally means “ocean water”.  Ancient sailors believed that the fish-like lower portion of mermaids’ bodies were made of aquamarine. The stone was also submerged in water for medicinal purposes. This water was believed to be endowed with power from the stone, and have the medicinal use of reversing poison, and healing ailments of the heart, liver, stomach, mouth and throat.

When aquamarine is given to someone, it is said to represent safety and security. Included here are a few examples of Etsy artisan favorites who use aquamarine in a most magical way. Check them out for inspiration (or buying, if you happen to fall in love)...

To the right is an Aquamarine Mermaid Beaded Necklace of wire-wrapped jewelry and healing crystals, by Majestic Queen.

I am SO honored by my friend Miriam Sagan’s offer to write a guest post today – here’s a bit about her:

Miriam is a poet, as well as an essayist, memoirist and teacher. She is the author of over a dozen books, and lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is a founding member of the collaborative press Tres Chicas Books.

A graduate of Harvard with an M.A. in creative writing from Boston University, one of my favorite books of hers is Searching for a Mustard Seed: A Young Widow’s Unconventional Story, which won the award for best memoir from Independent Publishers for 2004. I also love her poetry collections Rag Trade, The Widow’s Coat, The Art of Love and Aegean Doorway, and a novel, Coastal Lives.

She and I used to be colleagues at Santa Fe Community College; these days we connect via Facebook and occasionally in person. The following is a wonderful musing written by Miriam about her love for all things bling –

I was once sitting around with a group of friends, feeling alienated as they talked about femininity and beauty. I wasn’t raised with much emphasis on this, and although I’m proud to be from a line of intellectual women, I sometimes feel insecure. I told my friend Ana this, and she sad, “But Mir, you express your beauty in your poetry and in your jewelry.”

tray smallThis meant so much to me. It made me see how all the details that spark through my writing are an extension of that. And I love jewelry—funky costume jewelry, particularly earrings. I love beads and bits from around the world. I buy wherever I go—craft markets, museum shops, pow wows, airports. I’m a magpie, and the desire for glittery objects goes beyond even wearing them. Here are just a few bits from my collection, to the right.

tibetan beads sold

I also find the wearing of jewelry to be protective. Something doesn’t have to look like an amulet to be one. My friend Elizabeth Lamb—the extraordinary haiku poet and one of my favorite people—left her jewelry to her daughter Carolyn, who kindly gave me some. I think those pieces are from Thailand, circa 1960. They aren’t rare or expensive, but they bring Elizabeth’s protective spirit into my sphere.

If you see me wearing these, I’m either very celebratory or in need of an extra level of strength.

(Here to the left is one of my favorites).

 

Lost earrings haunt me. Where do they go? Do their widowed partners miss them? I wish I was the kind of person secure enough to wear mismatched earrings, but I’m not. Here is a little poem about being an independent thinker—and accessorizer:

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