Thursday, January 12, 2012

Lovely Amethyst is February's Birthstone

Amethyst Clip On Earrings by PrettyGonzo
Purple is a favorite color of mine and rather popular color for many people, I suppose. I have always been drawn to amethyst because of it's pretty purple color. Did you know that Amethyst is a type of quartz and that it is ONLY the quartz that is naturally purple? You may run across a green quartz that is called "green amethyst" but this is a misnomer since amethyst is, by definition, purple!

Iron impurities in the quartz lend Amethyst its beautiful color. Medium purple (more like violet) tones are the more valuable shades for the stone. Most amethyst on the market today has been heat treated to increase the depth of color. This treatment is permanent, however, so no worries about it fading over time!

Amethyst Ring by ellenfrederick
Amethyst is the birthstone for February and makes a wonderful, affordable gift - whether for a birthday or a romantic occasion. Here are some more lovely amethyst jewelry selections. Enjoy!
Amethyst Bracelet by Spiral
Amethyst Earrings by Bohowirewrapped
Amethyst and Blackstone Bracelet by PersonalOasis

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Common Chain Styles

Chain is an essential component of lots of jewelry. If you're like me, there are some types of chain that you like better than others - and not just because of the type of metal used. I never really paid attention before I started making jewelry, but there are lots of different cuts or styles of chain that can lend a distinctive look to your piece. Knowing the styles by name can help cut down on search time if you have a specific look in mind for your jewelry.

Curb Chain

This is my favorite to work with in jewelry applications. The curb chain has links that interlock and generally lay flat. Diamond cut curb chain has angled cuts in the links that allows the chain to reflect the light. It just sparkles. Diamond cut curb chain is what I use with most of my sterling silver chains these days.

See the example below. This delicate garnet necklace features diamond cut curb chain in sterling silver. 

Garnet Necklace with Sterling Silver - Pyrope Garnet - Brick Red Color
Cable Chain

Cable chain is similar to curb chain in that the links are interlocked, but the pattern is more intricate and dense and doesn't lay flat like curb chain does.

This teal and silver necklace features cable chain. Notice that there are more links and that they interlink in a different pattern. To me, this pattern is pretty but not as delicate as the chain in the curb chain example.

Teal and Silver Necklace - Millefiori with White Painted Flower
Figaro Chain

Figaro chain often has links of different sizes and shapes (usually 3 smaller links and 1 longer link) that are linked in a repeating pattern. I used to think that all Figaro chain had the same pattern, but I've come to conclude that the pattern itself can vary, but it is the existance of the pattern that makes it Figaro. Figaro chain is distinctive and can overpower a pendant that is too delicate, so make sure to use it when you want the chain to have some pizzaze.

This Heart Necklace uses chain with a Figaro pattern. 

Heart Necklace - Gold Metal, Offwhite Center - Upcycled  

Ball Chain

Ball chain consists of tiny balls that are linked together with a straight cast link between them. These are generally inexpensive chains that are popular for use with scrabble tile pendants (for example). Special connectors and end pieces are used with this type of chain.

This Eiffel Tower Pendant comes with a ball chain and is made byKindredSpiritDesign.

Paris Eiffel Tower 2-sided Soldered Glass Pendant with Ball Chain and Rhinestone Ball

Rope Chain

Rope chain looks like it's a rope. Clever, huh? It actually looks like strands of chain that are twisted together. This is strong chain, but just like Figaro, it stands out on its own and should have a strong pendant paired with it or none at all.

This pearl pendant from VintageJunque does the trick and looks lovely with the rope chain. 

Vintage Faux-Pearl Pendant on 30 inch Rope Chain Pendant Necklace

Snake Chain

And finally, snake chain also looks like a rope, but it is made up of links that give it a bit of a zig zag look - kind of like those wooden snake toys. This chain is less flexible than some other chains because of how tightly the links are intertwined. It is a strong, classy chain.

Norycloset features a cameo pendant with gold snake chain that is a great example of how to use this chain. Notice that the ends for the chain are clamped on rather than a traditional jump ring to connect the clasp.

Lady With Ponytail Cameo Gold Snake Chain Necklace 18 inch

What type of chain do you prefer? Add your thoughts on other types of chains that aren't described in this post too, if you wish.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Top 5 Jewelry Storage Tips

Pearl Earrings
If you are like me, you have accumulated a lot of jewelry over the years and it is hard to find what you need, assuming you even remember that you have it! I've learned a few things along the way. Here are my top 5 tips for storing your jewelry where you can still find it easily during a hectic morning.

5. Use Secret Compartments
Use a drawer in your bedroom furniture to store your jewelry. Line the drawer with felt first (it doesn’t have to be attached) to protect your treasures. Buy or make dividers for the drawer and voila! You can also use baskets or even silverware trays in the drawer depending on its depth. 

4. Ribbons
Use a piece of mesh ribbon attached to the wall or a piece of furniture to store your earrings, brooches or any other jewelry like that. This keeps the earrings together and all your pieces easy to see when getting ready in the morning! 

3. Pretty As A Picture
Mount a piece of cork board (or pegboard if you want a more industrial look) on the wall near where you get ready. You can hang jewelry from the pins. Use your creativity to decorate the corkboard and buy decorative pushpins to help it fit with your d├ęcor.

2. Plastic Saves The Day
To keep your jewelry safe and separate, place individual pieces in sealable plastic bags and store in a box with a lid. I use snack bag size sealable bags and then put all the pieces in a set in the bag together. Store them in photo boxes – economical, sturdy and decorative. Another benefit of this approach is that you can include anti-tarnish strips with your jewelry to help maintain the finish - which is especially important for sterling silver. 

1. Don't Forget The Kiddies
What about storage of your child's jewelry? Usually this is plastic when they are young and there’s lots of it. I got belt hangers for the wall and mounted them at eye level for my kids. They put their necklaces and bracelets in their rooms. It doesn’t get tangled and you can see everything in a glance. You can use this same strategy in your own closet for your collection as well. 

What other great tips do you have for keeping your treasures safe, sound and easily found? 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Featured This Week

Orange has been declared Pantone's color of the year for 2012. This jewelry collection curated by Zoraida features the orange stone, carnelian. My Burnt Orange Bracelet is featured.

Crochetedlittlethings curated a collection of soft pink items. This lovely collection includes my light pink glass pearls

Blueturtlesky curated a beautiful treasury on featuring silver gray. My blue gray freshwater pearl necklace was included. 

Philosophiacreations curated a treasury of her favorite finds this week and also featured my blue gray pearl necklace. 

TwoBlinksStudios had a great name for her treasury - Cool as a Cucumber in a Winter Wonderland that also featured my blue gray pearl necklace. Many choices for silver gray items across these 3 treasuries!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

New Again - Part 1

A local friend and customer recently asked if I could take some existing pearl jewelry she had and make it into something new. It was a pretty strand of freshwater pearls but pretty plain, and she wanted to spice it up.

My friend happens to have a cache of her precious grandmother's costume jewelry. It is lovely stuff from long ago, very sentimental but not very fashionable at the moment. We decided to add one of her grandmother's brooches into the new necklace to add some color and interest and to breath new life into those lovely, sentimental pieces.

This New Again series will share some of our progress as we take on this new custom project together.

The next time that you consider a custom order - take a look at jewelry in your box that needs a new life. You'd be surprised at how much creativity it can inspire, and what a fantastic look you can get from it too!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Festive Fun and More!

Honored to be part of a pretty holiday accessories collection curated by MzTracyr that includes my red and black bracelet.

Luvncrafts took some of her precious time to prepare this lovely collection of black and gray that featured my black and gray necklace

Greenmare4 put together a lovely collection of gray items as well in her treasury titled "When Winter Skies turn Stormy" that features my blue gray freshwater pearl necklace

Finally, I curated a treasury recently myself that doesn't feature anything of mine, but instead many lovely red velvet items. Yum!