Saturday, February 28, 2015

What’s on my Bench

Hello again, and welcome back to Whats on My Bench! Today we are thrilled to give you a peek into the studios of two more of our JET Team members. First we talk to Gaiana of BellaVeaJewelry. One of Gaiana's clients recently asked her to make her some custom earrings:

Supplies are laid out on the bench ready ...
"This lady not only has a great sense of fashion, she is also a great cook with a successful blog called, and a mom as well as a very nice person! We agreed on a budget, and discussed her ideas in more detail."

... and an idea gradually emerges
"My client was looking for some very large statement earrings with a Bollywood feel. I had never made anything quite so dramatic before, so I was very excited to be asked to work on this custom order for her."

Et voila! These really do have a Bollywood feel to them!

Thank you for showing us how your earrings progressed, Gaiana. We're sure your customer was delighted with her purchase! In our second glimpse behind the scenes, we're delighted to be visiting CapitalCityCrafts to watch Barbara working at her bench.

Barbara's cast silver butterflies, acorns and twigs are piled up on her bench waiting to be turned into jewellery
"Each acorn has be carefully cast in two parts. I solder each one and finish it into a one of a kind sculpture. To make the cap, I carefully carve details and a tiny leaf."

Barbara has finished preparing and polishing these butterflies, and is now setting them with gemstones
"I worked with a CAD designer to make the master butterfly piece, which was then printed with a 3D printer. I then had to finish the master by hand before the mold was made for the casting."

And this is where all Barbara's jewelry magic takes place!

Thank you Barbara for sharing this fascinating insight into your work! We love all your silver creations!

I do hope you have all enjoyed our looking at our JET Team benches this week. Until next time!

Friday, February 27, 2015

February Jewelry Challenge - Cabin Fever Part 2

Hello again! In yesterday's post, I shared with you the first four entries in our February JET Team Jewelry Challenge. You might recall that participating members were challenged with creating a new piece of jewellery based on the theme of Cabin Fever - and imagining that they could go anywhere in the world they wanted to, on an all expenses paid vacation!

After creating their entries, team members had to list the item for sale in their Etsy shops, making sure their descriptions included the dream destination that their piece of jewellery represented. Needless to say, going somewhere warm and sunny was a unanimous choice for yesterday's candidates, and going to the beach was a recurring theme! The challenge closes at midnight tonight so entries are still coming in, but here are four more gorgeous creations for you to drool over:

Pink Bridal Earrings by RoughMagicHolidays
Mollie of RoughMagicHolidays is a homebird at heart, but is happy to jet off to the beach with these pink shell earrings (and her husband Joe, of course!)

Blue Shell Pendant by malves1009
And Michele of malves1009 is jetting off to the beach too, with her sea shell necklace.

Turquoise Green Blue Earrings by BellaVeaJewelry
And Gaiana, of BellaVeaJewelry is also yearning for blue sky, warm sun, turquoise waters and lush greenery. Methinks that beach may be starting to get a bit crowded!

Flower Moonstone Earrings by CapitalCityCrafts
Barbara of CapitalCityCrafts is also weary of the cold winter, but rather than heading for the beach, she has been dreaming of the desert and its elusive cactus flowers!

So, yesterday 3 of the 4 entrants longed to be on a beach by the ocean, and it seems 3 of today's 4 entrants would love to do the same! What about you? Where would you go? What jewelry would you make? And what other piece of jewelry would you take with you? Do tell us, we'd love to know!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

February Jewelry Challenge - Cabin Fever Part 1

Our latest JET Team Jewelry Challenge is called Cabin Fever. The idea is that each participating member creates a new piece of jewelry based on this month's chosen theme, so we're now daydreaming about our dream vacation... daydreaming that we can go anywhere we want to, on an all expenses paid vacation. How cool is that?!

Wishful thinking perhaps, but at least we can dream! After creating their piece, participating team members list the item for sale in their Etsy shops, making sure their descriptions explain the dream destination that their piece of jewellery represents. Here are a few of the imaginative entries we've received so far (and yes, they're all for sale!)

Tropical Oasis Necklace by SatinDollCo
This howlite, glass and leather design from Gaetana of SatinDollCo represents a tropical island, with clear blue ocean and white sand beach, and palm trees swaying in the warm tropical air! Ah, yes!

Red Coral Hoop Earrings by BrookeJewelry
These hand hammered sterling silver earrings from Brooke of BrookeJewelry represent a dream jaunt to the beaches of Santorini! Oh, to be on a Greek Island!

Bridesmaid Necklace by UrbanPearlStudio
Lynn of UrbanPearlStudio is tired of the winter, and her Osmena Pearl necklace represents being on the beach at the ocean, feeling the sand between your toes! Sheer bliss!

Spring Green Leaf Earrings by AdroitJewelers
These lampwork glass earrings by Ida of AdroitJewelers represent the fresh green shoots of spring. She doesn't really mind where she goes on vacation, as long as there is no snow! I know just how she feels!

So, if you could go absolutely anywhere on vacation - all expenses paid - where would you choose to go? And what piece of jewelry would you make to represent your dream location? We'd love to hear your ideas - please share them in the comments below!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

JET of the Day - YourDailyJewels

Welcome to the JET Team blog, I’m so glad you stopped by!

The team member we feature today is Norah from YourDailyJewels. I’m so very pleased that I have the opportunity to feature Norah today, because of who she is and what she represents to me and the team. I am pretty sure if we held a vote for 'team sweetheart', Norah would capture that title quite easily!

Without getting too personal, I can tell you that day in and day out Norah deals with a very debilitating disease, and does so with a grace that is astounding to witness. Outside of running a very successful studio (or three!) she also maintained a profession that clearly shows her loving spirit and kind heart - working as an Equine Therapist. She puts so much love into everything she does, and it emanates through her sweet spirit.

With her beautiful offerings, Norah stays true to her love of nature and the need to lead a life that is 'green', by using sustainable and/or ethically sourced materials, and nothing that is extracted or mined in a way that is derogatory to the earth. I know you will love the stunning array of Personalized Initial Jewelry in her shop, as well as her Wax Seal Jewelry and pendants.

I adore her Gemstone Initial Bracelet (1). It is THE perfect gift for anyone, because you can choose the initial, the gemstone, the font and more! If you wanted to be even MORE specific, what guy or girl wouldn’t want their first and last initials? A timeless keepsake, eco-friendly and handmade with love - AND you can have a clear CZ or a birthstone added!!

Some of you may be starting, or be right in the middle of, planning for a wedding and looking for the perfect gift for your bridal party. So I can assure you that a Bridesmaids Gift Set (2) will be so loved by your attendants, they may never want to take them off! One very popular piece of jewelry is the Yoga Silver Initial Silk Wrap Bracelet (3). Indeed the style is very popular but this bracelet wrap is like nothing else you will find out there that is as beautiful and refined, with a classic design that will be stylish forever!

One of the things I like best from Norah’s studio is that her classic designs will suit many tastes and interests - like this Men’s Silver Horse Pendant (4), which is just perfect for a Father’s Day gift or the Equestrian Lover in your life. I am a butterfly lover, so the Silver Butterfly Gemstone Pendant (5) is a piece that I know I’d love to receive. And the Musical Note Pendant Necklace (6) is a perfect gift for a music lover or musician.

Regardless of what you might be looking for, making the choice to support handmade, eco-friendly, ethically sourced jewelry is one that you can not only feel good about, is a decision that will be so much more cherished by the wearer, because of what it supports and represents!

Thanks for stopping by today I hope you have a chance to do a little window shopping in YourDailyJewels and find something you will take home for yourself or give as a gift.

Until next time!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

JET of the Day - WanderingJeweler

Hello and welcome once again to our JET Team Blog. Did you miss me yesterday?!

Today I am delighted to introduce you to Kerry, our WanderingJeweler. Kerry, her husband, and their furry friend, Kodi, a 5 year old Black Lab, hail from the beautiful province of N. Delta in British Columbia, Canada. If you take a look at the lush natural landscape of this area, you’ll probably see why Kerry enjoys the sport of biking so much.

Kerry uses bicycle chain and other bicycle parts in her unique style of industrial jewelry. This style is THE most creative use of bicycle parts I’ve ever witnessed. I’m sure this requires much preparation and planning of the assemblage, as it has such a distinctive look all on its own. One of Kerry's most iconic creations is her Square Bike Chain Pendant (1). But just as brilliant is her Hardware Store Arrow Pendant Necklace (2)

Another wonderful example, the Pink Agate Bike Chain Necklace (3), combines the beauty of nature with a bike chain component that acts as a bail to attach it to the chain. I can promise you, you are NOT going to find such an interesting and unique piece of jewelry anywhere else, no matter where you might journey to!

I was quite thrilled to find a pair of Fuschia Bike Chain Earrings (4) in the same bright color, to either compliment the necklace or stand beautifully on its own.

While learning more about Kerry’s tastes and style I discovered she follows a TV series called “Haven”, and developed a whole line of jewelry inspired by the symbol that is tattooed on all the members of “the guard”. The Dark Haven Guard pendant (5), like the others in this collection, was created from hand drawn images that Kerry then etched into the metal before attaching it to chain. She has a variety of colors and patinas available, so you can get it in your favorite metal!

You might think that Kerry’s style is pretty specific, and if so, you’d be wrong! For example, Kerry describes her Brass Triangle Necklace (6) as "industrial goes tribal". If you were to ask any other jewelry designer to mix those two styles into one piece, I doubt they could EVER come up with anything this clever!

When you happen to come across a designer with this much creative muscle, you should really consider a purchase of their handcrafted genius as it could become "design history". At the very least Kerry's designs are (in MY words, not hers) a "delightful deviation from the dull and dreary"!

I’ve really enjoyed featuring Kerry as our JET Team member of the Day and I hope you’ll stop by and check out her unique offerings at WanderingJeweler, as there is so much more than what we have room for here!

Until next time!

Monday, February 23, 2015

JET of the Day - VenusVelvet

Hello and welcome to our JET Team blog once again!

Donna is taking a well-deserved day off today the team is inviting you to join us in one of my favorite Etsy jewelry shops, venusvelvet. Owner Carolyn handcrafts truly unique and covetable contemporary jewelry in her Toronto studio, making each piece of jewelry individually by hand. She uses only high quality materials including sterling silver, gold and mixed metals, and prefers to use ethically sourced and recycled materials whenever possible.

Carolyn's most popular designs are characterised by a minimalist aesthetic, which reflects her love of nature, sculpture and architecture. Her formal art training is also evident, in the distinctive lines and deceptively simple beauty of much of her jewellery.

One particularly striking collection (and my personal favourite) is Constellation, which features dots carved into the surface of the metal, giving an effect that Carolyn describes as looking like "sparkling stars in the night sky". And they really do! For the romantic at heart, how about a unique set of His and Hers Wedding Bands (1). These matching sterling silver rings have a refreshing contemporary feel, and are specially designed for star struck lovers! Carolyn's rings are available in a widths from 3mm band to 18mm, so she is certain to make a ring to suit you.

The Constellation collection is available in a choice of 14k gold, sterling silver with a brushed matt finish, or sterling silver with a mottled black oxidized finish. The black finish really does make the pieces look like the night sky! This is especially true of the convex Night Sky Pendant Necklace (2), which looks like it is covered in randomly twinkling stars. There are several co-ordinating earring styles to choose from, including the Square Stud Earrings (3), which have an industrial feel to them.

You will also find modern classics in venusvelvet, like Carolyn's effortlessly chic Simple Modern Leaf Earrings (4), made from recycled solid 14k gold. In addition to being kinder to the environment, these minimalist earrings will look fabulous with any outfit, daytime or evening. Another stunning modern piece is the Sterling Silver Wave Bracelet Set (5). This set of three bangles is made from random ripples of sterling silver, designed to be worn stacked together. As Carolyn says, "the more you stack the more dramatic the look!"

This innovative designer's work also reflects her Baltic ancestry. Amongst many pieces in her shop showing Baltic, Nordic and Pagan historical influences is the geometric Brass and Sterling Silver Amulet Necklace (6), which reinterprets ancient Baltic design elements. This mixed metal piece has gold and mustard patinated brass pieces alternating with sterling silver, and triangular shaped charms to catch the light and create fluidity of movement.

Very few minimalist jewellery designers can tempt me away from my preference for Regency to Victorian designs, but Carolyn's work does - in spades! To me, her pieces demonstrate a tangible affinity with nature, and a wonderful timeless quality. I do hope you've enjoyed this quick look at Carolyn's jewellery, and I suggest you drop by venusvelvet soon to see her work for yourself!

Friday, February 20, 2015

JET of the Day - Urban Pearl Studio

Hello everyone! Welcome once again to our JET Team blog, and thanks for stopping by! Today our member of the Day is Lynn of UrbanPearlStudio, whose pearl bridal jewelry studio operates from "the big D", Dallas, Texas.

If you venture to her studio's 'About' section, you will see that Lynn refers to herself as a "Pearlologist", which I’d say is a perfect description of herself because of her vast knowledge and expertise about the both product she works with, and the most common occasion a woman would wear them, her wedding.

UrbanPearlStudio carries a beautiful array of anything you might need for your special day, or for a night on the town. For example from Lynn’s "Studio Line" there is a stunning Baroque Pearl Choker necklace (1) that any woman would be proud to wear for any occasion! The quality and the size of these gems of the sea are magnificent, and any designer will tell you the same.

And since we must accessorise our bridal party in style and class, Lynn has a beautiful Black Pearl Bridesmaid Set (2), clad in Swarovski Crystal spacers. The wonderful thing about this, her most popular set, is that she offers it in 5 assorted colors that are all equally as lovely!

For the youngest little lady in the party I found a pretty Flower Girl Bracelet & Earrings Set (3) in coordinating black pearl, and yes ... once again it's available in a choice of 5 other colors!

I mentioned earlier that pearls are most commonly thought of when accessorizing the Bride and all of her attendants. But throughout history women have adorned themselves with pearls, as they carry such a classic and beautiful presence, and are often considered to be a cornerstone among jewelry styles. Just imagine how often you might wear this White Pearl Triple Strand Necklace (4), for a special occasion, a night on the town, or a formal event. There is something special that happens when you put on a great set of pearls, that nothing else can do for your persona.

As beautiful as pearls are, occasionally you may desire a luxurious gemstone necklace such as the amazing Labradorite Multi Strand Necklace with a detachable Labradorite pendant. (5) And if you think this is as wonderful as I do, then you are sure to take a second (and a third!) look at this Iolite Multi-Strand Necklace (6) in rich dark sapphire blue, with complementary earrings

Did you happen to notice some of the box clasps that finish this wonderful jewelry line? These are the kind of special touches you will find at Urban Pearl Studios that really shows her handmade jewelry to be a cut above others you might find. I’ve enjoyed featuring Lynn and her studio, a favorite team member and friend and I hope you will stop over to see all the other fabulous jewelry she offers and if you or anyone you know are looking for fine handmade jewelry for ANY occasion, just talk to Lynn!

Until next time!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Make a Difference, Pay it Forward!

Today we're talking to JET Team member Lynn, about how she will "make a difference and pay it forward" this year. Lynn owns UrbanPearlStudio, a successful artisan jewelry company specializing in affordable pearl wedding jewelry, and has been telling us about the special charity she has chosen to help this year.

"Every year I choose a charity that might benefit from my particular skills and talents. Last year I saw a touching story on our local news, and I knew immediately that my pay it forward charity of choice for 2015 would be a wonderful program called the Prom Closet".
Lynn's goal in life, apart from growing her jewelry business, is to make a difference every day. She knows that it's impossible to solve all the world's crises and problems. But she also knows that if we each do something, no matter how small, we can truly make a difference. Lynn believes that by reaching out to at least one person every day, we can change lives forever. She calls this pay it forward.

"The Prom Closet helps girls who wouldn't normally be able to afford to attend a prom to do so. The charity provides the girls with free prom dresses and all their associated accessories, including jewelry, handbags, wraps and shoes. Best of all, the service is completely free to all girls, no matter where they live.

The only requirement is that the girls must choose their dress and accessories in person. The dresses and accessories are donated by community members, local groups, corporations, and businesses, and many of the dresses have never been worn. Because of my years of experience in the wedding jewelry business, I decided that making prom jewelry was the best way I could help The Prom Closet. Over the course of 5 years, I have collected bins full of wonderful pearls and beads that are either no longer for sale, or are oddments leftover from previous projects."

So far, Lynn has used her surplus components to make and donate around 200 pieces of jewelry.
"I'm pretty sure that will make a difference", she tells us. We're sure it will too, Lynn!

"One family told the organizers that they had been fretting over how they were going to afford to buy everything for their daughter to attend her prom. They learned about the Prom Closet while watching the news on TV and, as soon as they saw the story, mother and daughter jumped in the car while father called to give them directions ! Fortunately they made it in time, and the daughter was able to choose a dress and accessories. Naturally, the family were very appreciative.

Another young woman the charity helped had been nominated for prom queen, but would have been unable to attend because she could not afford to buy a dress. That girl was lucky enough to find her perfect dress at the Prom Closet, and her wish to enjoy a memorable evening to treasure was granted."

Since it's first year of operation, when the Prom Closet provided 35 dresses to local high school girls, the charity has become so successful that last year 678 girls were able to attend a prom! This year over 800 girls are expected to benefit by receiving dresses and accessories at Prom Closet 2015, its 7th annual shopping spree. The organizers say that enough dresses have now been donated to cope with anticipated demand, but they are still looking for donations of shoes, jewelry, handbags and other accessories. Perhaps you can help?

Prom Closet 2015 is hosted at St Andrew United Methodist Church, 5801 W. Plano Parkway, Plano, TX 75093. The shop will be open from Tuesday March 24 to Thursday March 26, between 4pm and 8pm, and also on Saturday March 28 from 9am until noon. If you'd like more information, please visit, call the church office at 972-380-8001, or email

"I'm so excited that I will also be a volunteer this year, and be able to personally help accessorize the girls with the jewelry that has been handcrafted with love." says Lynn. What a wonderful way Lynn has chosen to pay it forward. We hope you enjoy your time as a volunteer, Lynn, and we're sure all the lucky recipients will simply love your beautiful handmade prom jewelry!

JET of the Day - TraceDesigns

Hello there, and welcome once again to the JET Team Blog where today our designer of the day is Trace of TraceDesigns. As you are reading this our dear Trace, a new mom, has been fighting old man winter, who is seriously pummeling the beautiful town she lives in Boston, MA. Our best wishes are with her and her family to be warm and safe through what I believe has been named a record amount of snowfall, and in caring for her brand new baby boy, affectionately known to the JETs as 'D3'.

Trace has been selling on Etsy for what will be 5 years this June. When you visit TraceDesigns you will find lots of jewelry with a chic minimalist look including simple, clean lines that are tastefully elegant, as you will see in her Minimalist Contemporary Earrings (1). When you have one of those days where you simply can’t find anything in your jewelry box that looks good with a particular outfit, you can put these on and look like a million bucks!

And speaking of that, if her hugely popular Navy Blue Pearl Earrings design (2) continues on its current path, Trace is likely to be worth a million… or two! Trace does the most justice to gems, when she elegantly frames them to make the gemstone the star of the show, as it should be. Her gorgeous Purple Amethyst Necklace (3) is absolutely irresistible and, if you’re like me, you’ll probably want to compliment the necklace with a pair of glamorous Amethyst Earrings (4) - they look like a great match to me!!!

One thing a good artist will try to do is to continually introduce new skill sets and materials, as this gives them the ability to offer a better variety and appeal to more style types. If you’re searching for a warm and earthy style the Hammered Boho Earrings (5) will go with so many looks. Notice the two different texture patterns that are perfectly executed, showing Trace’s mastery of metal working.

Trace has always had a flair for putting class and elegance in her designs which resonates the popular 'less is more' concept. I thought that the unique set of Black Onyx Geometric Earrings (6) would be the perfect addition to any girl’s jewelry wardrobe. To be honest, every woman who has a sexy 'little black dress' would find this to be a perfect accessory! And not only for that dress, but a multitude of styles.

I do hope I have shown you something in TraceDesigns that has captured your eye, and that you go see what almost 350 clients already know. Trace uses lovely high quality materials, has a great eye for design and has mastered her jewelry art perfectly!

Until next time!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

JET of the Day - TheBrassHussy

Hi there and welcome to the JET Team Blog. Today I’m thrilled to introduce you to Deb Brown who is the shop owner of TheBrassHussy. As you might expect from the name of Deb’s shop, she likes to design using Brass, but you will certainly find many types of metal and a lovely variety of gemstones, pearls and crystals just to name a few.

Once you step into her shop and view some designs you will see a warm earthiness through the use of brass as well as a wonderful vintage appeal with the use of patinas. You will also detect she is a nature lover as displayed in her VERY popular Woodland Squirrel & Acorn Necklace (1). If it looks familiar, that may be because it’s been featured through Etsy, and is her runaway best seller.

Another wonderful favorite, for all of you nature lovers, is her Bluebird Necklace (2) which is available in different colors using various gemstones, such as Coral as in the charming Pink Bird Necklace (3).

Deb’s designs have made it all the way to Hollywood, like the Pearl with Leaf Necklace (4), which was selected by the stylist on The Vampire Diaries. Looking at the other side of Deb’s design scope we have this absolutely precious pair of Silver Bird Cage Earrings (5) that would be seriously be difficult for anyone not to adore, making this a fantastic gift idea! And speaking about gift ideas, I know this Poison Apple Locket Ring (6) is going to become “someone’s favorite, never want to take this off” ring!

There are so many wonderful jewelry pieces in this shop, you’d never be at a loss to find “just that perfect piece”, and in fact the problem would be choosing just one or two. The wonderful thing about THAT is the affordability you’ll find here, will make it easy to pick up several great items! I know you’ll want to do that real soon before someone else snatches up your favorite!

Thanks for stopping by today! Until next time,

Wednesday Kitchen - Homemade Apple Sauce

Happy Sunday everyone! My name is Michele, and today I'm going to share with you one of my favourite apple recipes. Now, I don't know about you, but I can buy apples and tell everyone in the family to make sure they eat them, but the apples just lay there uneaten in the fruit bowl. Yet, whenever I make apple sauce, they all ask for more! Go figure! My sauce is so easy to make, and can be enjoyed hot or cold.

Sometimes I sprinkle coconut flakes on to my apple sauce as an extra treat - as shown in image 4 below. You can also add ground flax seeds or even granola for that extra treat, or eat it just as it is. Whichever way you choose to eat it, it sure is yummy - and it also makes the house smell good while you're making it!

3 cups of apples
1/4 cup water
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp lemon
small saucepan

  1. Skin and core the apples, and remove the seeds
  2. Cut up the apples into chunks (not too small) and pop into a small saucepan
  3. Add all the other ingredients, and place the pan on the stove on a low light/heat
  4. Stirring every so often, bring to the boil and let simmer until the apples become soft
  5. Mash gently with a potato masher - but not too much if you like your sauce chunky!

I'm no expert, but I do know that apples are good for you. Whether whole or as sauce, apples contain both fiber and vitamin C. Apple sauce can supply as much as 80 percent of your daily vitamin C needs, and it also contains fiber in the form of pectin - dietary fiber keeps your digestive system functioning regularly.

A cup of unsweetened apple sauce only contains about 100 calories, so it's a much healthier option than eating sugary treats. Not only that, but the other ingredients in my apple sauce are good for you too! Cinnamon has great health benefits - did you know that just one teaspoon of cinnamon packs as much antioxidant potency as a half cup of blueberries?!

Cinnamon has also been shown to slow down stomach emptying, which helps to curb the sharp rise in blood sugar following meals and may be beneficial in helping diabetes. Finally, vanilla acts as a sweetener so is better for you than sugar, and vanilla extract can also be used to help calm the stomach if you are feeling nauseous.

I'm sure there are many studies out there on the benefits of all these ingredients, but for me personally, apple sauce is simply one my favorite snacks to eat. If you have a favorite recipe for apples, please share it with us.

I do hope you will try my recipe, and enjoy it too!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

JET of the Day - SilverSmack

Hello there, and thanks for stopping by today! I am thrilled to tell you about one of our long-time JET members. We call her "Smackie", but her name is Jean, and she is an extremely talented metalsmith, friend and mentor. Jean runs TWO shops on Etsy, SilverSmack and GoldSmack, both of which showcase her masterful skills as a metal smith.

When I first started selling on Etsy, Jean's shop was one of my first favorites, and I’d go and marvel at her craftsmanship - wishing I had even a LITTLE of her skill set!! If you take a moment to read her "About" page, you will see her wonderful philosophy about why she does what she does, and does it so very well at that! Jean has a commitment to excellence, and cherishes her special role in what her wedding rings signify.

I’ve said this before and I’d like to re-emphasize it once again - jewelry (especially wedding rings) is a very personal and very significant thing to purchase and, like marriage, good jewelry should last forever. When you are making your choices on such a special & symbolic offering as a wedding ring, you both deserve nothing less than a piece that is handmade with love, a piece that much time and thought has gone into.

If you make that smart decision, either of Jean's shops is bound to have a style in the material that is perfect for you! You will find the beautiful Waterfall Style Wedding Ring (1) that is both rich and opulent looking. You might find a different look, such as the Rustic Oak Leaf Wedding Band (2), to be more appealing to your style, or your taste may run to a Gold Hammered Engraved Band (3) that will be customized especially for you! There are just so many wonderful choices, the most difficult decision will be which set to purchase!

Although there are so many great choices in the way of rings at Silver Smack, I would be remiss not to mention all the other fantastic artisan designs she carries. Every woman that wears earrings will have a pair of hoop earrings - they are a staple in our jewelry box! But I can bet you that not every woman will have a set of handmade Silver Hammered Hoop Earrings (4) quite as beautiful and masterfully handcrafted as Jean's!!

When you visit Jean’s shop be sure to take a peek at her AWESOME Sterling Silver Stick Earrings (5). I think they will make a great gift for a special birthday girl, or for Mother’s Day! I’d also like to reveal a special surprise I found in Jean’s shop - if you love a little sparkle and shine in your jewelry, it just doesn’t get much better than her Silver Circle Blue Topaz Necklace (6). This beauty is going to make some girl VERY happy indeed when she receives it, you can count on that for sure! Now that I’ve given you a glimpse into SilverSmack I do hope you’ll stop by and pick up something special… you KNOW you want to, right?! How could you pass up this wonderland? I couldn’t!!

Until next time!

Monday, February 16, 2015

JET of the Day - ShazzabethCreations

Hello to everyone, glad you’re here today! I know you will feel the same when you step into Sharon’s shop, ShazzabethCreations. All the way from New Zealand, and the magic of the internet, come the unbelievable designs of this UK transplant and superb jewelry designer, artist and teacher.

Since joining the JET Team, I’ve been in awe of Sharon’s talent. You may have noticed that there are literally dozens of styles and techniques that jewelry-making artists can choose from. For example, one re-born jewelry-making technique is Kumihimo, the ancient Japanese art of braiding. Then of course there is beadwork or bead weaving, or metalsmithing, stamping, leather, wire wrapping ... I could go on and on! Another technique I haven’t yet mentioned is the beautiful, traditional and intricate style of chain maille.

Good chainmaille will make your jaw drop, while you stare in awe, and take a deep sigh! And Sharon’s (or Shazz, as we affectionately call her) skill is masterful! I've selected a few examples of what I’m talking about. Her Swarovski and Sterling Chainmaille Necklace (1) shows a style that might leave you wondering... "How on earth did she get those crystals inside?" That is truly what I want to know! Her Diamond Chainmaille Necklace (2) might leave you saying "Oh my goodness that must have taken ages!!!" Or maybe by just looking at the Trizantine Necklace with Sodalite (3), you KNOW how much time, skill and dedication it must take to complete a piece of jewelry such as this.

As with many talented jewelry artists, Shazz has mastered skills outside the chainmaille technique, making for a unique blend of styles offered in her shop. One very popular style of jewelry-making is wire-wrapping. You’ve probably been enchanted with this style, that allows the artist room for more expression in the design and provides the capacity to incorporate gemstones, crystals, digital art - really, the skies the limit - and I believe that’s why this style has enjoyed a long run and will continue to do so.

Wouldn’t you love to wear something as beautiful as the Eudialyte & Garnet Sterling Silver Bangle (4)? Jewelry pieces of this caliber become heirlooms, that with proper care will be here a hundred years from now. Sharon's earring set of Silver, Gemstone and Lampwork Earrings (5) make a stunning combination that might leave you weak in the knees, they sure do that to me!

As a jewelry maker, I love to admire other artist’s "pretties", and for many of my fellow jewelry artisans, lampwork is right at the top of our most admired list (next to gemstones)! Lampwork is an art all unto itself, so when purchasing a piece of Sharon's jewelry that contains handmade “lampies”(as some of us call them) you are actually helping to support two artists, which is really very neat! Sharon incorporates some beautiful lampwork from other artisans, making her jewelry incredible pieces of art. I love this whimsical Lampwork Owl & Silver Pendant (6) - he seems to have a personality of his own, and Sharon has secured him in woven wire, depicting the healed over wound of a tree branch. This, of course, is just where one might expect to find an owl!

I do hope you get a chance to stop and visit ShazzabethCreations, and pick up a special treasure of your own or a gift for someone special!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentines Day!

The Jewelry on Etsy Team would like to wish everyone a very happy Valentines Day!

St. Valentine's Day was originally a festival celebrating an early saint called Valentinus, and today it is an official feast day in various denominations of the Christian church.

However, there were several early Christian martyrs called Valentinus, and three of them - St Valentine of Rome, St Valentine of Terni, and a third of whom virtually nothing is known apart from his name - share the festival that much of the world now celebrates every year on 14th February.

It was the 14th century English poet Chaucer who first linked St Valentine with stories of romance and courtship, and over the centuries this has gradually evolved into the traditions we follow today - giving gifts, cards, chocolates, jewelry, and flowers to those we love.

The history of St. Valentine is rather vague, and considerably embellished, although there are several recurring themes. Records dating back to the 5th or 6th century indicate that a priest called Valentine was jailed by Emperor Claudius II, after refusing to renounce Christianity.

Known as the "Golden Legend", the story relates that Claudius tried to get Valentine to save his life while in jail, by converting to Roman paganism, but Valentine refused and instead tried to convert Claudius to Christianity!

Valentine was subsequently executed, but not before performing a miracle by restoring sight to his jailer's blind daughter.

JET Valentine's Jewelry (left): 1. Open Heart Pendant, DonnasArtisanDesigns
2. Lock and Key Necklace, DesignsbyCher 3. Silver Key Necklace,EarthEnergyGemstones
4. Angel earrings, AdroitJewelers
5. Silver Heart Earrings, BrookeJewelry
6. Silver Wedding Band, CapitalCityCrafts

An embellishment to the "Golden Legend" story, which was added centuries later, says that Valentine was in love with Julia, his jailer's daughter. According to the story, Valentine wrote a letter to Julia just before his execution, and signed it "Your Valentine".

Although almost certainly apocryphal, this legend was eventually assigned to the same Saint Valentine as that celebrated on February 14, and the greeting eventually evolved into the "From your Valentine" that appears on our greetings cards today.

Another interesting legend is that the Roman Emperor Claudius II began to prohibit young men to marry, in the belief that unmarried men made better soldiers!

Rumors circulated that Valentine wore an amethyst ring engraved with an image of Cupid, a Roman symbol of love, and would perform secret marriage rites for these soldiers on request.

In actual fact no such edict was ever issued, but it is probably because of this legend that amethyst became associated with love, and is also the birthstone for February.

A further embellishment suggests that Valentine would give parchment paper hearts to his married soldiers and converts, to remind them of both their marriage vows and their Christianity. And it is from this legend that Valentine's Day has become associated with hearts.

More JET Valentine's Jewelry (right):
7. Heart Bobby Pins, malves1009
8. Swarovski Crystal Heart Earrings, TheBrassHussy
9. Tiny silver heart ring, ELEVEN13
10. Garnet Heart Earrings, GemstonesOnMyMind
11. Silver Bangle Bracelet, JemsbyJBandCompany
12. Key to my Black Heart Necklace, ArtJewelerNYC

While a French Valentine note survives from 1415, the earliest known English Valentine was written in 1477. But by Shakespeare's day the sending of Valentines greetings had become firmly established.

However, in the Victorian era printed greetings cards began to replace hand-written notes, and after WWII the practice of giving flowers and chocolates was introduced.

Incidentally, the giving of jewelry is even more recent, and can be traced to advertisements appearing for giving diamonds as Valentines gifts in the 1980s. Naturally, the JETs think that giving jewelry is a splendid idea - with or without diamonds! Valentines Day is now a festival full of romance, gifts, cards, chocolate, jewelry, and flowers - if you're lucky!

We've picked a wide selection of romantic and heart themed jewelry from our members for you to choose from, and with something for every taste and budget there's sure to be something just for you!

Have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

And even more JET Valentine's Day Jewelry (left)!
13. Floral Wedding Ring, SilverSmack
14. Copper Heart Pendant, RoughMagicCreations
15. Murano Glass Heart Earrings, cooljewelrydesign
16. Swarovski Heart Earrings, NancysCrystalFantasi
17. Rhinestone Heart and Flowers Brooch, LovesVintageDelights
18. Pendant and Earrings, JewelrybyIshi

A Victorian Valentine Card