Who Says Garnets have to be Red – January Birthstone

When you think of Garnet if you are like me you will always think red! But Garnet comes in some many different colours which include shades of purple, red, reddish-brown, green, yellow-orange, pink, orange and even black!

Let’s take Pyrope Garnet which I have to say I use a lot, but then I am a lover of red Garnets!  Pyrope Garnets are noted for their transparency and also their lack of flaws and inclusions.

I recently created a beautiful bracelet using Artisan Lampwork glass beads in a creamy gold with lots of pixie dust for added sparkle!  In between the creamy gold beads are clusters of AAA Pyrope Garnets rondelles all hand wire wrapped onto 24k Gold Vermeil ball headpins with a beautiful large golden yellow AAA Citrine rondelle at each end of the beads.pyrope garnet and gold lampwork glass bracelet1a All of these gemstones have crisp faceting!  To finish this bracelet off I have wire wrapped two gorgeous rich red Pyrope briolettes as charms to the Gold Vermeil “C” shaped toggle clasp…the whole effect is stunning even if I say so myself!

The same can be said for these earrings which were created using Pyrope Garnets wire wrapped with Gold Vermeil wire.

pyrope garnet coiled earrings4aI loved the shape of these briolettes, they have long facets somewhat like trillions only longer. I wish I had purchased more but I can’t seem to find them again which is a pity because my customers loved these earrings.  I hand coiled a bail and suspended them from simple Gold vermeil shepherds hook earring wires..but you can see the full colour is like a bottle of good Portuguese Douro red wine!

So then I thought about Rhodolite which means “rose-like” in Greek.  This is a pink-purple to violet form of Garnet variety from the Pyrope family. This gemstone also has great translucency and generally has little in the way of flaws, but of course it depends on how much you are willing to pay as to the quality of the gemstones! I personally prefer AAA stones if I can find them.PINK GARNET PINK AMETHYST HOOP EARRINGS3A  As you can see these Garnets blend really well with any stones of the pink variety ie Pink Amethyst or Rose da France as they are sometimes referred to.  These hoop style earrings have tiny pink Amethysts wire wrapped and weaved with 24k Gold Vermeil wire on either side of the larger Rhodolite Garnet.  The hoops are suspended from Contemporary round 24k Gold Vermeil earring wires!  But as you can see the colour is definitely leaning towards a more pink colour way!

So then we move onto Hessonite Garnet which comes in cinnamon brown, orange-red, golden amber colours..quite hard to describe really, but no less beautiful. hessonite garnet cluster earrings2aThe name comes from the Greek  “hesson”, meaning inferior but that is an allusion to its lower hardness and lower density than most other garnet varieties not to its beauty or appeal as a gemstone. These earrings feature clusters of AAA Hessonite Garnet rondelles all hand wire wrapped onto 24k Gold Vermeil ball headpins and suspended from long Marquis shaped 24k Gold Vermeil earring wires.  You can see the full array of colours in this photograph!

Then of course there is Spassartite Garnets, here is a photograph of these garnets, which are also known as Mandarin Garnets.  This variety of Garnet comes in a bright orange colour when pure, but with increased iron within the stone, they turn a darker orange to red colour and often referred to as “Root Beer” Garnets. spessartite garnet11aThese are going to be used in one my next projects.  Maybe a simple pendant and matching earrings…I love the conch style design.  The name comes from the Spessart, Germany where the stone was first discovered!  I think they would look beautiful wire wrapped in gold wire as opposed to silver.  I always think that rich colours need Gold wire whereas bright colour’s can take Silver wire.

I was recently asked to make a pendant using Garnets and the person didn’t like Gold preferring instead Silver.  Of course if that is the customers preference then I will make it for them!  However, when it was finished I didn’t think it had..what shall I call it Zing.  garnet rutilated quartz silver pendant necklace5aHere is a photograph of that pendant. I had created another similar in gold and the difference between the two pendants is significant, this one strikes me as being cold looking especially as the other stone featured is a black Tourmalinated Quartz stone, which I have again used many times in lots of different styles and shapes. (love all those black Tourmaline rutiles!

So take a look at the other style of pendant using the same Tourmalinated Quartz stone but in a different shape and the same red Pyrope Garnets rondelles.  TOURMALATED QUARTZ GARNET PENDANT2ASame stones but different style of pendant but you get the picture!  This one is warmer, much more appealing!

As I said its just my opinion but I do think that the Gold definitely brings out the colour from the two stones and adds that extra sparkle to the pendant!

I wished I could show you some of the Green colour Garnets – Dermantoid, Grossular and of course Tsavorite but as yet I haven’t used them but maybe I will add something about them in another post.

Thank you for reading, Di xx

 

 

 

 

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New Life and the UK

Well this weekend I am off to the UK for probably 2-3 weeks, its really hard to tell exactly how long but I am thinking probably 3 weeks.  Its the longest time I have been away from my husband in all the years we have been together.  However, the newest edition to my family is due sometime in those 2-3 weeks a little boy who’s  name they tell me is Ronnie and I can’t wait to meet him!

I shall be at the birth because my daughter in laws mother died some time ago and I am taking her place.  If I said I was excited that would be an understatement!  I was of course there when my son was born however, it was not the best experience I have ever had in my life…pain like you would not believe, the only two good things to come out of that experience were entonox (gas and air to you and I) and of course my son!  There is nothing like a tank of gas and air!

I recently had to have a tank of gas and air when I pulled my arm out of its socket and boy is that good shit!  I was kind enough to offer my husband some at the hospital but he wasn’t interested, he on the other hand was kind enough to say “No you have it”, how considerate is he!

So next Sunday I fly off to the UK where I believe it is much colder than here in Portugal where we are still wearing Tee-shirts and shorts (well I’m not wearing shorts because I never would expose my legs to the world, that would be cruel and unusual torture).  So its jumpers, cardigans, socks and proper shoes…no open toes for me!

So you probably wont be hearing from me for a couple of weeks but when I get back I am sure I will have photographs to share of the new little person my son and his partner have created!

Speak to you all soon! xxx

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Small Businesses and SEO Companies

I am writing this blog because I am confused!  Nearly every day I get emails from companies telling me and I quote “That would I like to know that I am number 90000000000000000 in the Google rankings, that my company is not doing well in most social media websites, that my website is not user friendly on mobile devices and so on and so on”!

The only problem I have with these big SEO companies is this, if my site isn’t high enough in the google rankings then how the hell did they find me?  Now I don’t mind the idea of someone else doing all the hard work for me, that would be just fine by me….the big question is this…how much is it going to cost me and that my friends is the bone of contention.  If my company isn’t doing well in the google rankings and if my company is what my company is, a small one person handcrafted jewellery business..then how exactly am I going to afford to pay them the vast amounts of money that they appear to want to do all the hard work for me!  If I am not making any money as they infer then how am I going to pay them?

The problem I find is that google keep changing the goal posts on SEO…2 years ago my website was being found on a regular basis by my customers…now because of google’s PANDA search algorithm which is forever changing with new updates it would be impossible to spend the amount of money I would need to keep up with these changes which makes me think that Google aren’t interested in small businesses because they don’t make them any money, in fact I think that Google are actually making it even harder for small businessES to succeed because of PANDA.  Its not just the idea of PANDA its all the other crap that you have to do to keep up in the rankings….have you been on facebook and updated your page today, have you been twittering (which sounds very much like wittering definition –  to chatter or babble pointlessly or pointless chat), have you pinterested today, have you relisted on etsy, have you instagramed, tumblr, linkedin and have you been on your darn ipad, iphone and all the other crap that everyone thinks you need these days!

I can barely send a text message these days, the phone numbers are so small I need a telescope just to find them on the keyboard let alone do all the other things that I need to keep my website in the top google rankings and while you are doing all of this, plus cleaning the floor with a broom up your bum, when exactly do you get the time to create anything?

Now I admit I am a disorganized person in my mind that is, not in other areas of my life and I do tend to get easily distracted but seriously who has the time to do all of these things and if you don’t have the money to pay these big SEO companies to do this work for you then you are completely up a creek with out a paddle!

I have to say this though my partner has a large foreign exchange business in London and his company has spent a lot of money using several different SEO companies to do their SEO of them over the last few years.  The last company that they had doing their SEO they spent £7,000 per month and did that company bring in any extra business….the answer is a big fat NO!!!!

So then I asked myself what is the point of these SEO companies if after spending a whooping £7,000 a month they hadn’t made 1 iota of different to my husbands business, then how the hell was I going to make out without an SEO company helping me with the rankings and the answer is I’m not.

I don’t own an iphone mainly because I don’t like mobile phones never have, it takes me so long to send a text message that in the end I phone the person because its quicker.  I find them terribly intrusive and I definitely don’t carry mine around with me in my hand like its a piece of jewellery, people trip over, bump into other people because they have their eyes down checking their phones like their life would depend on it!  Now maybe that makes me sound old and decrepid, but I like my life without that added noise, I like looking at people when I’m in conversation with them!

Iphones and mobile phones I have noticed make people even less communicative not more!  I find it really distasteful when someone is sitting talking to you and texting at the same time, because either they aren’t listening to you or they are bored with your conversation and would prefer to carry on a conversation with someone via a text message!  Yes you may be able to get onto your facebook page via you mobile phone but seriously is there something so important on facebook that you need to keep checking it every 5 minutes!!!

Something else I have noticed about mobile phone users which is most of planet these days…do you think that people voices are getting louder or is just me…everyone seems to speaking louder and louder these days…so much so that when you go into a mall or even a restaurant,  it sounds like a herd of animals going down to a watering hole!

Anyway back to the subject of SEO, I am never going to get to grips with SEO, my husband who I might add has this rather large foreign exchange company is also the guy who built their computer system which is massive,  now if he cant get his head around SEO, I have got absolutely no chance and to be honest with you if I read all the information on SEO I think I would lose the will to live!

So there you have it…I am never going to be in the top rankings of google, I dont know if I can ever have a mobile device thingy on my website and I haven’t got time to go onto social media websites because I now spend all my time reading the SEO information on google…oh and keeping up with the upgrades!!!!!

 

 

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Natural Stones make Beautiful and Unique Jewellery

I have in the past not used what I would call “Natural Stones” or what I would think were called “Semi Precious Stones” mainly because I was only interested in gemstones that glisten and sparkle!  However, of late I have been very attracted to Natural semi precious stones, because having taken another look at these stones I find them beautiful and unique in their own right and so I decided to embark on a journey with these stones albeit a little late in the day.

So I purchased some matched pairs and the first pair of earrings I created using Red River Jasperred river jasper smoky quartz earrings3a.  Jasper being a member of the Chalcedony family.  Now I know there are so many different Jasper’s but these I picked these because of deep rust colour but also because of the creamy beige inclusions and dark brown edges.  I added in AAA Smoky Quartz rondelles to the middle of each earring to accent the brown edges around the beige inclusions, wire wrapped and coiled up each side of the briolettes using 24k Gold Vermeil wire and formed a bail at the top.  To finish I added 24k Gold Vermeil simple shepherds hook earring wires.  These earrings sold almost immediately on listing them in my shop.

This next pair of earrings I created using Ocean Jasper.ocean jasper earrings55a  I loved the dark green dots and pale creamy background.  I added dark green Tourmaline faceted rondelles to accent with the dark green dots and Sterling Silver domed bead caps that I flattened.  I then hand coiled a bail that they hang from.  To finish Sterling Silver handcrafted earring wires.

Such a beautiful pair of earrings and again sold very quickly, so it would seem that other people understand the beauty and uniqueness of natural semi precious stones too!

So I continued to buy these natural gemstones and I found these matched pair of Picasso Jasper which reminded me of a Chinese water colour painting!  picasso jasper carnelian earrings5a Soft blurred colours and lines in dark greens, dark rusts and beige!  So I oxidized some Sterling Silver and Fine Silver wire, polished off the oxidization to give just a hint of the Silver colour underneath and added a beautiful dark rust AAA carnelian rondelle to each of the earrings and to finish oxidized the handcrafted Sterling Silver simple shepherds hook earring wires.

Again these earrings flew out of my store within a couple of days of me listing them!  Was I on the right track should I move into Natural stones or was it just a fluke?

By this time I had purchased quite a few natural stones not only for earrings but also for Pendant Necklaces, I have to say I haven’t got around to making a pendant yetblue tigers eye pendant but here are a couple of the stones I have purchased just to give you an idea of what is out there.

This is a Natural blue Tiger’s Eye, I was drawn to this because it doesn’t look like your average yellow goldy brown Tiger’s Eye, definitely blue with swirls of yellow and black lines, or perhaps its not Blue Tiger’s Eye at all but some other stone entirely but that is what it said on the label.

It’s a lovely stone and well worth a punt!

The second stone I am going to show you is a Moss Agate now this stone I really like and I have been after one with lots of inclusions inside of the stone.  moss agate pendantI wanted a clear Agate background, which in fact is not Agate at all but a milky clear Quartz from the Chalcedony family. The inclusions are actually minerals which have the suggestion of Moss but isn’t a plant at all.  This particular stone has the usual dark green Mossy filaments but also some paler green and brown filaments and even some pale orange.  It is totally fascinating to me that over 1000’s of years, all of these minerals have come together to form such a beautiful stone!  You can’t beat Nature for being such a wonderful creator!

So from small beginnings I have gone on to create these last 2 pairs of earrings, which I love because they are totally different, not in style but because of the stones themselves.  picasso jasper earrings3aThe next pair of earrings are another matched pair of Picasso Jasper, but the stones are completely different in colour to the last pair and this is what I mean about Jasper!  You can buy two pairs of Picasso Jasper and they look completely different.  This pair have more distinct colours of rusty red, dark green and beige with hints of brown but the inclusions run across the stones rather than down the stones.  I have wire wrapped and hand coiled these using Sterling and Fine Silver wire.  Kept the design simple to show of the amazing colours within the stones.

Last but by no means least are my most favourite pair of earrings to date of these natural stones, which I am afraid sold to a customer to wear on her wedding day. ochoco agate and beer quartz earrings1a These earrings were created from a matched pair of Ochoco Agate.  I know very little about Ochoco Agate other than it comes from the Ochoco Mountains in the USA and that good quality Ochoco Agate it will have a clear background with tube like inclusions in cream, beige and pale brown and these stones have it all.  Although the very best Ochoco Agate have just creamy white tubes.  I have been unable to find another pair of Ochoco Agate as good as these which is a real shame because I absolutely adore this stone.  I wire wrapped and hand coiled 24k Gold Vermeil wire, added tiny 24k Gold Vermeil granulated daisy spacers on each side of the Agate and finished the earrings off with a beautiful pale AAA Smoky Quartz rondelle with very crisp faceting.  I was sad to see these earrings go because, had I been able to wear earrings which I can’t I would have kept them for sure.  I never keep any of the jewellery I design and create but the decision to sell these earrings was a difficult one.

Anyway enough of this rattling on about Natural stones and their beauty, I think you get the idea now that its not always about the sparkle of a stone that gives it’s beauty, it is about its uniqueness and that you really are wearing a one off piece of jewellery that nobody else in the world is going to be wearing!  Nature is a genuis in that department!

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Doublets, Doublets and More Doublets

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I have recently gone a little crazy over this new trend on doublet gemstones! The most usual stones to be used as doublets are Opals! Ok I hear you say what is a doublet?  Usually a layer of Opal on … Continue reading

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Its been so long since my last post

It has been so long since my last post and such a lot has happened since then. We finally finished the house in the UK and that was back in August of 2012! As you know we had decided to move down to Portugal..a bit of a rash decision made 4 years ago when we went down to the Algarve for a holiday! We went back a couple of months later, purchased a 2 bedroom apartment and decided that once the house in the UK was finished we would move down permanently!

The problem was we were always going down to the apartment, then spending two weeks getting over the trip down to Portimao and then trying to get up the motivation to work on the UK house. We would spend a month doing things to the house in the UK and then off back down to the apartment, it was like our little haven..every time we walked into the apartment we would breathe a sigh of relief!

So in August 2010 we decided after getting back from yet another trip down to the Algarve, that we couldn’t go back down until the house was finished! All hell broke loose we just worked our butts off…I repainted and wallpapered every single room in the house, we refinished the oak floor in the living, my partner finished the walls in the guest room and en suite bathroom. We installed the new en suite bathroom, finished the floor in the upstairs bedroom which wasn’t level, putting in a new level floor, installing a new bathroom upstairs. We put in a new oak garage and carport at the back of the garden, added a new front porch to the other side of the house and when all that was finished…I left the house and flew down to Portimao, two days later the cat and dog flew down and my partner flew down 2 days after that. I was completely paranoid about damaging the house and thought the best thing was to get the hell out of there!

I have to tell you that this was drafted in July this year but I just never got around to posting it.  So here we are down in Portimao, Portugal starting another episode of our lives! Was it the right decision who know’s?  Will we ever live in the UK again, again who knows, but I doubt very much not after the whole different story of selling a house in the UK, but until that is finished and to date, 4 months into the process of selling the house the buyers are now living in a caravan and we are no closer to signing contracts than we were when we agreed a price back in early June!

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RIP My Beautiful Rolo

Hello, I know its been a very long time since I last blogged but I have been really busy with the house restoration and then we went down to Portugal for 3 weeks.

Once we got back my beloved dog Rolo a little neurotic but very old Yorkshire Terrier had to be put to sleep 3 days after we got back from Portimao.  We knew that he was acting a little crazy, staring off into space, licking the floor boards when there was nothing there (the licking thing was the same obsessive behaviour every night in exactly the same spot).  Well anyway he had a couple of seizures over 16 hours and was in such a terrible state, peeing on the floor and then rushing to the door, not knowing his own name, looking at me but not knowing who I was and the seizures were so frightening not only for us but for him too. So when we had ruled out with the vet that it wasn’t epilepsy or an infection she thought that it must be a brain tumour and so we took the decision to put him to sleep.  I cant tell you how I felt because even today it makes me cry just typing about him.  I adored that little dog because of his little idiosycrasies. He was very focal not like Sarah our Westie, she doesnt talk at all or bark much. He would start his yakking and wouldn’t stop and if you joined in he would go on for ages.  He loved a good walk but didn’t like wet grass and would walk on wet grass like he was stepping in dog poo!

So it was with a very sad heart that we took him to the vets and she recommended we put him to sleep, we didn’t want to leave it like we had with one of our other dogs…Winnie our Jack Russell!  We should have her put to sleep a long time before we did make the decision, it was the worst decision I have ever had to make and so when I had to make the same decision for Rolo it just about broke my heart…I adored that little man dog….he was the funniest sweetest little man dog you could ever wish to come across! I know it sounds weird but we had him cremated and we brought him down to Portugal with us because I couldn’t bear to leave him in the garden in the UK in case someone unintentionally dug him up!  So Rolo finally made it to Portugal!  RIP Rolo my sweet dog friend 1997 -2011 xx

 

 

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Who Knew Formula 1 H20 Portugal 2011 Was 300ft From Our Apartment

Who knew that they hold Formula 1 H20 Powerboat racing on the Arade River in Portimao Portugal…we didn’t! This event is about 300 feet from our apartment, so off we trotted down to the river to the Rivoli ship restaurant where we sometimes go for a beer to watch the boats coming up the river in the evenings and watch the sun go down.  The guy who owns this ship (I say ship because its bigger than a boat if you get my meaning) didn’t have a cover charge to come aboard to watch the race, so we had the best seats along the river with the power boats speeding past about 50 feet from the ship.

To say it was exciting was an understatement and this year even more exciting because for the first time in Power-boating history a woman had pole position!!!  Marit Stomoy from Oslo in Norway and had beaten 16 male contenders from 12 different countries …Big shout out for Marit….this is a fantastic achievement as the women from Scandinavia have never qualified more than 6th place in the last 32 attempts… so we waited with anticipation for the race to start..lots of noise and lots of power and being a lover of speed myself I really loved it!

Here she is in her red and white power boat starting to go around the course just before the start of the race. We all waved from the boat, clapped and shouted encouragement.  The next in line to her was Jay Price of the Qatar team who had two boats in the race, then came Abu Dhabi who also had two boats in the race.  Its full on power when the race starts and it was amazing to see them all really going for it!

The first boat to go out of the race was one of the Abu Dhabi drivers, touching Marit’s boat and receiving a red card.  They restarted the race after his boat was pulled in, with Marit still in first place and then catastrophe in spectacular style…Shaun Torrente a rookie drive for  Team Sweden tried to overtake Marit and crashed into her…both boats went up into the air, flipped over and ended upside down in the water…everyone held their breath waiting to see if Marit and Torrente were OK!

Poor Marit…her hopes of winning the race blown out by a newbie!!!!…I am pretty sure the air was blue because we could see lots of arm waving, I know if it were me I would be really unhappy! Team Qatar went on to win the race….but really this was Marit’s race!! The next race will be held in Kazan, Tatarstan so if you get the chance to watch the racing go for it, its really exciting!

I shot a lot of photographs mainly of spray and water…I am totally useless with a camera so you will have to forgive. Here is the crash culprit Shaun Torrente, he received 2 yellow cards for that tactic. Lets hope he learns his lesson in the next race because otherwise this could get very expensive.  All looks pretty good in this photograph but wait till you see the next…his boat is sunk, his helmet is being lazily dragged along beside it for all to see..everyone on the ship had a good laugh about that.

The last photo (not counting the spray) is of Team Qatar who were the winners of the race I believe both of their power boat racers came in first and second place.  I actually missed the end of the race…sitting in the sun, drinking beer one tends to need to use the loo at the most inopportune moments and this was one of them, so off I trot down the stairs, past the kitchen and the restaurant, when I came back up it was all over.

Isn’t it funny that Portimao, Portugal can hold such big events and yet London, UK couldn’t manage to do the same thing, its pretty sad really when you think about it. Portugal definitely wants to market this event more because it really is a great day out especially if you are holidaying in Praia De Rocha and Portimao at this time of year!

PS I have about 50 of these kinds of photos spray, spray and more spray…xx

 

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Long Time No Speak

Its been so long since my last blog I bet all my readers think I died and gone to heaven.  We have been busy with the house, the kitchen is now finished, although I am still waiting to get my curtains up that I have had for 7 years now.

I have also been busy on the jewellery front too.  I visit www.jewelrylessons.com quite a lot because of the great tutorials they showcase on their website and I have gone a bit  mad and purchased quite a few to try. Love that site they are always so helpful!

I have also been incorporating polymer clay flowers into my jewellery, which if you don’t know by now anything floral catches my eye and I have to have it. I love Elise Canning’s  flowers, they are created one at a time and they are so tender and life like. Sterling Silver, Amethyst and Plum Blossom Earrings

These sweet flowers are plum blossoms made from pale translucent purple and pink clay. Hand painted  petals and centre. I have complimented them with Fine Silver wire wrapped Amethyst briolettes and suspended them from circular contemporary ear wires. I love their soft pastel colour.

The next pair of earrings were created using the soft pastel green apple blossoms she Prasiolite, Sterling Silver and Sakura Earringscreated using translucent pastel green and pale pink clay and again she has hand painted the petals and centre.  I have complimented these little beauties with green Amethyst  (Prasiolite) elongated triangles (I love that shape) with beautiful faceting and mystic Pink Mystic Topaz micro faceted rondelles. All wire wrapped with Fine Silver wire (99% pure Silver). The earring wires are also hand made.

The next pair of earrings I created from a pair of her daffodils these are I really love because they are so cute and fun. They were created using lemon translucent clay, each petal made one at a time, the raised centers have been hand painted with gold to add just a little sparkle.  All of her beads are varnished to add more definition and shine. With this pair I have wire wrapped a pair of beautiful lemon Topaz briolettes, this pair of Topaz are eye clean AAA quality with gorgeous faceting and they are quite large too at 11-12mm.  The polymer clay beads look quite chunky and heavy but let me tell you they are light weight so no tugging on your ear lobes.Lemon Topaz, Sterling Silver and Spring Daffodil Earrings

Last but by no means least the Orchid pendant. I just wish my photographs were better to show off this beautiful bead but I’m afraid my photography skills leave a lot to be desired (biting the bullet  at the end of a the summer…going to college to learn photography).  The orchid has been created using translucent white and pale orange clay. The tips of the petals are pink ( I dont know how she did that but its a marvel thats for sure).  Added to this various micas to give a gold effect on the petals and of course varnished for extra shine and sparkle.

I complimented this pendant necklace with pale pink Topaz briolettes, Mystic Pink Topaz briolettes, Mystic Pink rondelles and Rose Quartz rondelles all hand wire wrapped onto Fine Silver wire (99% pure Silver).  Then wired them to a Sterling Silver chain.  The fine Silver ball headpins I hand torched myself and they are all suspended from a Sterling Silver bail.

To finish them off I have threaded a hand painted silk ribbon from Kas of Kasbeads, she creates the most wonderful silk ribbons in either block colours or hand painted with either contrasting colours or in this instance light pink going to dark pink.Mystic Pink topaz, Rose Quartz, Pink Orchid and Sterling Silver Pendant The ribbon at the point of the Orchid is probably at its darkest so you cant see the contrasting pinks behind..I think I am going to have to do another photograph to give you a better idea of the colours, but you get the picture.

Oh and before I go I must tell you about when we were last in Portugal, we tend to go out for dinner quite a lot because for one thing we love our food, for another we like to eat only Portuguese food and so tend to go to restaurants that the Portuguese frequent, so the menu is always written in Portuguese, it makes life more fun if you don’t have a clue what will be on your plate.  Well anyway whilst we were there last time we went to a restaurant that we have been to before and we tried a chicken dish with rice.

I have to explain this dish because not being a big lover of chicken it was probably the best chicken I have ever tasted.  The chicken was a large breast, stuffed with a mix of Tahini, Portuguese sausage (this can be quite porky and spicy) and honey.  Then very thin slices on ham cover the chicken in a parcel and then baked in the oven for 16 minutes. It is then brought out of the oven, honey drizzled over it and over this sliced almonds, then put back into the oven for a couple more minutes.  The rice I have no idea how they cooked it but it was light with a slight oily taste and came with walnuts and sultanas.  When we got home from Portugal we tried to make the chicken dish and it was so simple, you just put the sausage, tahini and honey into a food blender to blend it all up, make sure you taste it so you know if its to your taste, I think the tahini tasted like peanut butter but with the sausage and the honey it was a taste delight!

Anyway I think I have written enough for today don’t want to over do it and bore you to tears.  Speak Soon, Di xx

 

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A New Range – Sweet Petite’s and Other things

Well firstly I should say Happy New Year to everyone, I have been sick since the New Year with a really bad case of flu! I haven’t had flu for 20 years and so it hit me really hard. I didn’t get out of bed for 6 days which is unheard of. Anyway I’m feeling a lot better now and so I thought I had better get on and create something because I have itchy fingers..some of the gemstones I had ordered had arrived and I couldnt wait to make something with them.

The first thing that arrived were some Chrysoprase long trillion stones, so I sat down today and make a pair of earrings using 14kt gold filled wire and 5 of the Chrysoprase trillions to make a flower shape. I wire wrapped them using a weave technique and added tiny 2mm spacers and 5mm saucer beads in Vermeil.

I love this stone, I love the different colour greens from the soft opaque minty green to the apple green. These have beautiful sandy inclusions which to me adds authenticity to the stones.

I also wire wrapped in Sterling Silver some Rutilated Quartz that I purchased a while back. I still has some briolettes left over so I thought they would be perfect just simply wire wrapped for my new Range of “Sweet Petite’s. I love Rutilated Quartz and these stones are really clean with none of that yellow inclusion you sometimes get with Rutilated Quartz and the black Rutiles look like something drawn in the stone with a black pencil.

I have suddenly got into hand coiling fine Silver wire to form a bail for my earrings. I know anybody can do this but I couldnt until recently when I purchased a tutorial from a great designer called Fee from www.jewelrylessons.com. The tutorial was actually for a wire wrapped butterfly but she had used a hand coiled bail on one of the dangling stones. So I thought what the heck if I buy the whole tutorial and dont use the other parts to make up the butterfly it makes no difference because I will have still learnt how to wire wrap a coiled bail. So at the moment that is what I am doing coiling away to my hearts delight.

I have also used two different wires, gold filled with fine silver coiled over the top and these can be seen in this pair of blue Topaz earrings. The Topaz are sky blue which I love but the stones have been cut in the rare German style and rondelles, these are wide and thin in shape but they are gem quality and I love them. I purchased them from a seller on Etsy and they came with some Rose Quartz, Citrine, Green Amethyst (Prasiolite) and Pink Amethyst all cut in the German Style and they are stunning even if I say so myself. I think the Gold and Silver really do suit these gemstones but maybe I’m biased.

Anyway I can’t show you more because I havent taken any photographs for days because the light has been so bad here. I cant wait to move to Portugal where they don’t suffer from poor light and the sky even when its raining doesn’t stay dark all day.

Tomorrow I shall try to get some photographs of a necklace I created using tiny Lemon Topaz briolettes that I purchased from another seller on Etsy..Her name is Melanie and her Shop is BitsofBrilliance. She has to be the most honest of sellers, you never get any nasty surprises when you buy gemstones from her. She tells it like it is and I have never been disappointed with any of the gemstones that I have purchased from her. Unlike a lot of sellers who say their gemstones are AAAA quality and when they arrive they are awful. I much prefer to know in advance the quality of the stones I am buying rather than them turn up and I am disappointed because there is a fault.

Another seller that I really love is Hilary from www.beadsite.co.uk. Hilary has to be one of the nicest sellers I have come across and she has the widest range of Mikonos Greek beads I have come across. She is so helpful and will always if you have a special set of beads you want order them for you. She is lovely and I love her beads.

Anyway its late here and I need a coffee so I’m off to make one, have a great week and again Happy New Year lets hope its as prosperous as the last one…haha, xxx

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