Saturday, March 1, 2008

Close View - Cloisonne Bead

Close View - Cloisonne Bead
Originally uploaded by hiljohnqu
Cloisonne is one of my favorite type of bead. Finding nice quality cloisonne isn't hard, but there's a LOT of junk out there. This is one of those things one gets what one pays for. You will not find quality cloisonne beads at $3.00 a strand.

But there are reasonable sources out there. One of my favorite sources is Bally Beads in Rockwall, Texas. If you're in the area, check them out. They used to be wholesale only, but they have now opened a portion of their shop to the public for both beads and finished jewelry. They are not the easiest to find, even with address in hand. They are located in a house near the shore of Lake Ray Hubbard, set back in the property from Ridge Road. It's easy to miss their driveway. But they are worth seeking out!

I like the vintage look of this bead. At the moment, this is in both a bracelet and a pair of earrings paired with the mobius chainmail florette.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Coming soon ...

Amazonite and Coral chain
Originally uploaded by hiljohnqu
... to an Etsy store near you. Ha. Sorry for the droll humor. It's still early, around 4:30 am. I have a show today at an office building so I'm up early to tend to my on-line business duties.

Don't you think this combo is pretty? I saw the InStyle spread a couple months ago with turquoise and red featured together. We'll probably see it in our stores in a month or two. But I lean towards the softer side of life, so this is my version. Salmon-colored coral and pale aqua amazonite.

Amazonite ... another feldspar. Named for the Amazon River even though no deposits are found there. How did that happen? Maybe a speciman reminded the name-giver of the river. Who knows. It's pretty, though.

Well, hope today's show goes well. I've been in this building before. Last time, my handsome young son came to help out. I figured he'd charm the ladies. But 4 out of 5 people who walked by were men. He didn't charm the men, although he politely greeted everyone he saw. A few ladies stopped, some purchased, but one lady warned me that particular building is a dud for jewelry sales. She was right!

Oh well, I'm committed, therefore I go. Call me crazy, I need to be committed.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Labradorite Barrel Earrings

Calcium sodium aluminum silicate.

Such a pretty mineral. It positively glows because of an effect known as "shiller." Also known as "labradorescence" the shiller needs to be seen in person to appreciate its beauty.

I usually pair labradorite with gold tones, because of the warmth the mineral expresses. For these earrings I have complemented the barrel beads of labradorite with champagne-colored freshwater pearls, Swarovski black diamond crystals and brass-plated pewter roundels. The French ear wires are 14k gold fill. The daisies under the barrell bead are gold vermeil.

These are available in my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mobius MOP of Beautiful Pastels

Mobius MOP Bracelet
Originally uploaded by hiljohnqu
I loved working these bracelets up! The colors of these mother of pearl coin beads are so soft and pretty. For the Etsy listing, I used the pale mauve bracelet and earrings, but I like this photo the best from that shoot. I'm using this photo in both the bracelet and earring listing to show the color choices available.

The soft colors play against the hardness of the chainmaille florettes. I'm having fun with this mobius weave.

Bracelets and earrings available at my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I'm looking forward to Plano's Blackland Prairie Festival coming up this May. Because of the specific period featured in this festival ... 1880 through the 1920's ... I've been looking around at jewelry designs from that era. It's a broad span of time for fashion. Bustles were still being worn in the 1880's, but no longer in vogue in the 1890's. Of course, we all know of the "flapper" era of the boisterous 1920's. Jewelry had a range of styles too.

I'm showing images of the work-in-process of a vintage-inspired necklace I am making as part of a "heritage" line I'm developing to coincide with the festival. This particular piece is a festoon of white freshwater pearls wire-wrapped together for security. The pretty filigree clasp is meant to be worn in front. Click on the photos to see the full-sized, high definition versions.

I still need to get myself to our local library to study photos of the residents of our community during that time period. I doubt the average woman frosted herself with jewelry on a daily basis. Life on the prairie was not a life of luxury. The post-industrial revolution era meant work was becoming easier for the average housewife, but not a life of luxury. Still, they had their moments. They loved gathering together dressed in their finest for Sunday meetings, teas and gatherings organized to promote charitable endeavors.

There was a real sense of community back in that time. I often wish I was born back then. While I enjoy my shower and flushing toilet, I believe all our industrialization took a lot away from us, individually and as communities. Of course, my bi-racial marriage would be extraordinary back in that time, even despised and we wouldn't be welcomed everywhere ... hardly anywhere for that matter. So it's a good thing to be alive now!

If only we could take the manners and graciousness of a time-gone era and marry it to the acceptance we have today. Bring back the covered porches, encourage the bicycle as the primary source of transportation for daily life. Make and take every opportunity to know our neighbor.

A gal can dream! If you find yourself around these parts in the middle of May, please stop by to visit the Festival! If you're an artisan in the area, by all means contact the organization! Sharon Lloyd is the president and a very lovely, gracious lady.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Flickr Test

3-Stranded Pearl
Originally uploaded by hiljohnqu
This is only a test ....

Well, actually, if it looks good, I'll keep is as my blog post for the day! I'm trying out the Flickr function of blogging directly from the Flickr site.

I picked this necklace because is really pretty and it needs a new home. It's perfect for spring. It would make a great gift for any of the women in your life! After all, how can you go wrong with a gift of a lovely pearl necklace.

I love the color of this freshwater pearl, but it's hard to describe. It's in the blue family, but there's a golden, bronzy, coppery cast to it, depending on what it's laying against. I accented here with copper and rose-colored quartz glass (man-made ... just fancy jewelry term for clear, tough glass beads). The clasp is a copper-plated toggle. It's available here in my Etsy shop.