Friday, September 30, 2011

Jet of the Day - Crystal Impressions

June Birthstones

I have been researching my birthstone since I was a little girl. It is beautiful, rare, and VERY EXPENSIVE. I have always wanted a natural Alexandrite. As a matter of fact, I didn't want the modern Diamond as an engagement ring even though I love diamonds (next to Alexandrite) more then anything. I wanted an Alexandrite. When I found out that a 2- carat ring would cost over $25,000.00, I  guess that changed my mind just a tad bit. I do have an Alexandrite ring, although its a tiny 1/4 carat. It is also lab created (for now). One day I would like to own a natural Natural Alexandrite ring. I guess I wont be as greedy and will settle for a smaller size stone. Until then, I just keep searching and searching until the day I find that perfect one.

Alexandrite: Traditional June Birthstone
Pearl: Modern June Birthstone
Moonstone: Secondary Modern June Birthstone

There is not 100% agreement regarding the exact date that this phenomenal stone was discovered, but it was reportedly discovered in 1830 in the Emerald mines near the Tokovaya River in the Ural Mountains of Russia. It is said that it was discovered
on the day the Czar Alexander II came of age and for this reason the stone was named Alexandrite. Alexandrite soon became the national stone of Czarist Russia because of its colors red and green, the principal colors of the old Imperial Russia.

The most sensational feature about this stone, however, is its surprising ability to change its color. Green or bluish-green in daylight, Alexandrite turns a soft shade of red, purplish-red or raspberry red in incandescent light. This unique optical characteristic makes it one of the most valuable gemstones of all, especially in fine qualities.

Alexandrite has been known to boost confidence and self-esteem, to balance one's emotional state, and to help bring about positive change. It has been said to intensify the feelings of compassion, love, and sensuality; and is also known to induce happiness and success. Physically, Alexandrite is said to help treat pancreatic disorders, ailments of the spleen, and swollen lymph nodes. It has also been said to be helpful in the treatment of leukemia.


Alexandrite is extremely rare and very expensive. Top-quality stones can fetch prices over $10,000 per carat. Finding stones that are over five carats is incredibly rare. Because of this, Alexandrite is hardly ever used in modern jewelery, although there has of late been a large upsurge in demand, particularly within the Far Eastern marketplaces.

Here is an example of a genuine Alexandrite, and ummm, Look at the price tag...

Although Alexandrite will always be considered my birthstone, there is also the beautiful pearl, which I was told, was chosen as a substitute for June because of the Alexandrite being so rare and expensive.

White Freshwater Pearl Necklace, Matinee Length by Beadz n Bling

"Blooming Pearls" Necklace by Your Daily Jewels
And last but not least, Moonstone is also considered an alternative June Birthstone

Moonstone Earrings by Aubepine
Rainbow Moonstone Wire Wrapped Necklace by Silver Smack
Thank you for reading,

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Jet of the Day - Capital City Crafts

The Acorn Story

My acorns have taken a long road to realization.  Many years ago, I was inspired by my good friend Jeff Glockson and his acorn bird houses

JB Designs Gallery
I said to him, do you think I should make an acorn pendant? Jeff was very supportive of my task.  He even helped me by casting real acorn waxes for me to use in my models.  Of course they needed work.  I decided to hand carve the tops and use natural bottoms.  Being a working person, I found time when I could, to work on this project. 

Finally I landed in a spot where I had more time for making jewelry, and the acorn collection moved ahead.  They are very time consuming to make, and each one is a labor of love.  Each casting has to be finished and the tops fit to bottoms.  Then comes soldering, which is tricky and not always successful the first time.  Then the assembled acorn has to be finished a second time and oxidized.

People love them, I have shipped them all over the world.  A few of my customers are happy to share their acorn stories with you:

From Sally:
"In January, along with my daughter, I will be running in the Disney Marathon relay in Disney World. She will run the first 13.1 miles, I will do the 2nd. The medal for the event shows Chip passing an acorn to Dale. I had the idea that we should do the same. I will be presenting your acorn to my daughter at the start so she can pass it to me at the exchange point of the race and I will carry it to the finish.
I was so happy to find your shop on Etsy with an acorn that I'm sure will be treasured. I hope to repeat this race with her each year for as long as I can still walk passing the acorn every year!"

and from Tom:
"I got my acorn today. Thank so much! It looks great. Just wanted to let you know that the acorn is a gift for my nine year-old daughter who confessed to me recently that she feels that she will never be able to grow up and amount to anything, let alone take care of herself. I told her (on the spot, and desperate to reassure her) that she was like a little acorn, and that although it doesn't seem possible, every 100 foot oak tree started as a little acorn. I thought that your acorn would remind her of her own potential and make her less anxious about the future. So, thanks".

 I'm really thrilled when I can create something that some one else will cherish, It's the best reward of all!

 Thank you for reading!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Jet of the Day - Brooke Jewelry

I spend a lot of time making jewelry and my husband Rob is always interested in the new techniques I am learning  and finding out what all of my jewelry tools are for.  He is also interested in the metals and the stones I use and as he was paging through a metalsmithing book he came across a chainmaille pattern and expressed interest in making some chainmaille, so we took a class together. Since then we have taken some metalsmith classes together and this past summer we even started some lapidary classes. We are just a few classes in but we are already making cabochons and learning about different stones. 
Rob is all suited up for class, eye protection is a must and hearing protection is a good idea too, it gets loud with all the machinery going at once.
He has already moved on from the traditional cabochon shape and is making cross shaped beads.

I'm working on the last step for my lace agate cabochon, putting on a nice polish.

A close up of my finished cabochon.
Here you can see the "dop stick" and wax used to hold the stones while they are being worked on.
My current project is a free form banded agate that I think will look great as a pendant.
We joined the San Diego Mineral and Gem Society and that is where we are taking our cabochon classes. They have a nice facility and lots of different classes available. I even found out that they offer classes in silver fabrication and casting. Someday I'd like to get to the level where I can take a faceting class, but right now I'm going to focus on perfecting my cabs and getting through our box of stones that we inherited through a friend. 

The teachers and fellow students at the SDMG have been very helpful and we have added even more stones to our collection through their generosity.

We were given a wonderful collection of stones by a friend so we have lots of future projects awaiting us.
A dinosaur bone we are looking forward to working on, when we get better at this cabbing thing.

A Dendritic Jasper that will look nice in some jewelry.
Rob found a great book about stones: Collecting Rocks, Gems, and Minerals by Patti Polk that is helping us to identify the stones that we have. Rob also found a book called Rockhounding California by Gail A. Butler so we can try to find our own rocks and gems.

Here are a couple of links to some very informative posts with step by step information on making cabochons for you to take a look at 
Both very interesting in their own ways and the one from the lapidary club in Tucson sounds like it could be coming directly from the one here in San Diego:)

These are some examples of what I have done in the past with cabochons that I have purchased. I will have to show you what I make with the ones I've shared above when I get them set.

Horse Canyon Agate and sterling silver pendant necklace,

Lace Agate Sterling Silver and Pearl Necklace

Brown and Aqua Turquoise Cabochon Ring in  Sterling Silver (sold)

Thanks for reading! I'm always happy to answer questions.
xox, Brooke

Friday, September 23, 2011

Jet of the Day - BlancheB

Are You Trade Friendly?
Wikipedia defines trading /barter as a method of exchange by which goods or services are directly exchanged for other goods or services without using a medium of exchange, such as money.  I call it an awesome way to shop for soaps, candles, and other hand crafted goodies I cannot make myself without dipping into my Pay Pal account.  

I have had many successful trades and several times I have introduced the concept to a fellow Etsian, so I thought I would share with JET too.

 If you are interesting in trading, all you have to do is convo that shop and ask if they would be interested in trading with you.  Some shops will decline the offer, some won’t respond and some will gladly accept and complete the transaction.  
You agree on the terms, cart and check out by marking ‘Other’ to avoid being directed to Pay Pal (make sure you have that set up in your shipping profile too).  You will still need to mutually pay the Etsy fees.  Do not change the listing price to avoid the fee as that is a violation of Etsy’s Fee Avoidance policy.  Ship and leave feedback as you would do with any other sales transaction.  It is a great way to build up your sales, feedback and get products you want while helping to support those in the community too without spending more cash.

If a buyer convos you regarding a trade, always respond as you just never know if that might turn into a sale even if you decline and it is the polite thing to do.
If you are too shy to just convo someone, you can also join one of the many a trading teams such as Trade-A-Holics which has thousands of trade-friendly shops and has a Trade Frenzy usually the end of each month that  lasts the whole weekend.  Also, many team such as We Love Vintage team, keep a thread going of its trade friendly team members.  Many shops will mention they are trade friendly in their announcement or profile too.

So go ahead, try this ancient way of conducting business as you just never know what a few beads will get you.

Here is the list of some of the JET Trade Friendly shops:
 Have fun!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Jet of the Day 9/20/11: Art Made by Tammy

Art Made by Tammy -Quotable Quotes

"Art is not what you see, but what you make others see."
-Edgar Degas

Edgar Degas (1834-1917) was a French artist typically considered to be an Impressionist, but was a self-proclaimed realist. Over half of his works include dancers, which display his mastery of depicting movement.

Now I'm no Degas, but I like to think that this hand painted wearable art pendant does a good job of depicting a freely flowing stream, with aromatic flowers waving gently in the breeze.

"Great art picks up where nature ends."
-Marc Chagall

Marc Chagall (1887-1985) was a Belorussian-French artist who many consider to be one of the most successful artists of the 20th century. He created works using a wide variety of medium, including painting, stained glass, ceramic and tapestries.

These three pieces show the diversity that I bring to my creations, a painted wood pendant, a hand-engraved locket, and a hand-painted, crystal-adorned antique brass pendant.

"One must from time to time attempt things that are beyond one's capacity."
-Auguste Renoir

Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) was a French artist who was a leading painter in the development of the Impressionist style. His early works show the influence of colorism, luminosity and realism. In his later works he attempted to return to classicism.

When I saw how small these little bottles were, I didn't think I could possibly fill them with anything, but with inspiration comes innovation, and I love the way the tree branches turned out on this piece.

"Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life."
-Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) was a Spanish artist who spent most of his life in France. Picasso's early works are generally categorized into two different "color" periods - the Blue Period in which he painted using mostly blue and blue-green colors, and the Rose Period in which he painted using mostly orange and pink colors.

I'm no Picasso either, but I do like blues, greens and pinks as demonstrated in these Blue Flower Earrings and Pink Flower Locket.

"If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint."
-Edward Hopper

Edward Hopper (1882-1967) was an American Realist artist. While most frequently associated with oil paintings, Edward Hopper was equally well versed in printmaking and etching. In his early struggling years while stuck in a dry spell, he produced a multitude of etchings including scenes of both New York and Paris.

My rendition below of the Eiffel Tower was inspired by a trip I took to Paris with my
husband a few years ago. An incredibly beautiful, welcoming place to visit.

"Have a Happy and Creative Day!"