Tag Archives: silversmith

Ahhhh, Ammonite!

Ammonites are an extinct group of marine invertebrate animals in the subclass Ammonoidea of the class Cephalopoda.  That is according to Wikipedia, word for word.  Unlike other gemstones, Ammonites are really fossils.  They have elements of nacre and mother-of-pearl like the oysters and clams they’re related to and in the fossilization process they become something with an otherworldly beauty.

Ammonites vary in size from small ones you can easily hold in your hand to the Granddaddy pictured above:  it’s 2.5 FEET in diameter.

While we tend to get all excited about the colours these beauties exude, the entire creature was a marvel.  Don’t even get me started on Fibonacci Sequences.  Just look at the spiral precision of these marvels.

A great deal of ammonite is found in North America and, of specific importance to me, in Alberta, Canada, right next door.  When ammonite is found that is iridescent, if it is in good condition and graded as gem quality, it is called Ammolite.

I picked up some cabochons this week that these pictures just don’t do justice to.  It’s so tough to properly photograph something that has glowing colours that shift and change.

It’s sort of like trying to capture the northern lights in a brightly-lit room.

Or a firefly at midday.

Seriously, if you love opals or labradorite, Ammonites will make you very happy.

I’m thinking pendants.  Swirly pendants.  I need fire……fire…..heh heh heh…..fire.


Beachy Beads

I’ll get to the beads in a second.  First things first though.  Remember the pastel coneflower picture?  Yeah?  Well….it’s dead.  I killed it.  The plan  I had for it did not work out so it got turfed.  I felt bad about it for all of 15 seconds, until I remember what my friend Michele, another phenomenally talented artist friend of mine said to me once.  She told me that her philosophy was “Quantity over Quality”.  What she meant was that you need to just create lots and lots of pieces…..just don’t stop.  Out of a thousand pieces you might have one great piece…or you might have hundreds.  But you never know.  You just have to make lots…lots of mistakes, lots of baby steps, lots of great strides.  You just can’t beat yourself up over the ones that go south.  So I’m not.  Moving on now.

When setting up my bench again after Christmas, I found a treasure.  I forgot I had them and now I’m all intrigued by what I might do with them.

These are some uber-funky shell beads I found in a bead store.  I immediately fell in love with them and had to have them all.  If they’d had more I would have bought them too.  Between the swirliness and the colours in them, I positively swooned when I saw them.

They’re big too.

That’s a quarter (for my American readers).  They’re smooth and satiny and look almost like gorgeous candy.

So I’m thinking hand-wrought swirly chain….with shell-bead drops….with carnelian and mother of pearl……Oh Momma!  Time to fire up the torch!

Clickity Click

I did it. I splurged.  I BOUGHT A NEW CAMERA!!

I’m beside myself I’m so excited.  Now I cannot promise that I will miraculously be able to take stunning photographs overnight, but I do promise to work on my photography.  I know next to nothing about photography and, to be quite honest, up until now I wasn’t really interested in learning.  I know people who are very talented photographers but when they start talking f-stop and aperture my eyes glaze over and my brain shuts down.

It’s not that I’m not interested but rather that it seems HARD to understand.  I’m not good with things I don’t understand quickly or don’t feel I have an instant aptitude for.  If it feels like work, I’m just not that interested.  It’s a mental laziness I recognize in myself, and I’m not proud of it.

In buying a new camera I’m hoping that it will force me to figure some of this stuff out.  Perhaps it will prod me to figure out the Greek gibberish that is white balance and ISO so that I’ll be able to do better.

This is a photo taken with the new camera.  It’s pretty much auto-everything except for the Macro setting.  It’s much clearer than photos I’ve done in the past.

THIS makes me happy.  This is so clear you can see the glitter encased in the glass.  It’s so clear you want to reach out and touch it….or drool on it.  This is a necklace that I received as a Christmas gift and I’m totally enthralled with it.  I can’t stop touching it.  It’s smooth and silky and has this warm weight to it that makes it a pleasure to wear.  I’m so glad the photo does it justice.

So now I’ve just got to memorize the owner’s manual and take pictures….tons and tons of pictures.  There’s no better way to learn, and learn I must.  I’m no longer able to be a whiner and complain I don’t have the right equipment.   Hmmm…..not sure if I like that.  *grin*


Is it just me that seems to take so much for granted?  I suppose it’s fairly normal but it’s something I really try not to do.  Whether you are Christian, Pagan, Agnostic, or Atheist, I think that most of us do realize that we often rely on holidays like Christmas to remind us to quit it.  Stop taking things for granted.  In particular, it’s a chance for us to show those that we are close to in our lives just how much we appreciate them.  My resolution this year is to strive to show my appreciation for those I love every chance I get.  To let them know just how grateful I am that they have humbled me with their love and friendship.

I spent the last week before Christmas building jewelry.  This time it wasn’t for the store.  The goal was not to make money.  The goal was to do things for those I care for…those I appreciate….those I’m grateful for.

When I bought my house ten years ago, the paint was peeling.  It wasn’t bad, but it had already begun.  I’ve spent the last ten years trying to find someone who would paint it.  It was a no-go.  Everyone said no….every single professional painter and handyman I asked.  When you see my house, you’ll begin to understand why.  It’s high….really high.  And shingle.  And weird angles.  *sigh*

Then our friend Bob came along.  Bob took one look at our house and said “I’ll paint your house”.  He didn’t even hesitate.  It took me 3 days to believe it.

This is my house before.  It’s cedar shake.  Cedar shake that was painstakingly and lovingly sanded by my husband.  It took almost a month but he was determined to do it right.

As you can see, my house is a little high.  It’s not really any wonder that no one wanted to tackle it.  No one but Bob.

So one day Bob shows up with his paint sprayer.  Over the next 2 days my house was transformed.

I still can’t really believe it.  We pull into the back driveway and just sit there.  Looking at our pretty blue house.

The thing about Bob though, is this.  He wouldn’t let me pay him for painting my house.  Flat-out refused.  I tried several ways of getting him to take something for all of his hard work.  No way.  So fine.  I then got sneaky.  I said “How about this….I’ve got you covered at Christmas time”.  He looked confused.  I explained that when Christmas came, he would have a beautiful piece of custom-made jewelry for his beautiful wife Pam.  I had him covered.  As understanding dawned on him he started to smile….then grin….then laugh.  He said OK….that would ROCK!

So Pam got a 3 carat Amethyst and 1 carat Aquamarine pendant for Christmas.  Made just for her….because of Bob.  Some people just get it.  Bob’s one of those people.  And we love him for it.

Loverly Labradorite

If you’re Canadian, you’re already saying “Hmmmm……Labradorite as in Labrador?”  Yup….just so.  While this gorgeous mineral is found elsewhere in the world, it is indeed named for its preeminent source, Labrador, Canada.  It’s ours….ours ours ours.

I could go on about how it’s feldspar and that the glow it radiates is called Labradoressence (how’s that for a mouthful?) but all you really need to know is that it has this mystical glow about it that makes you wonder if there’s a tiny moon, all its own, trapped inside each cabochon.

I purchased this stone a while back and was doing some pricing research today.  I was shocked to find how much the value of this stone has increased in the last 2 years.  Stone prices trend quite dramatically.  Things like fashion colours, jewelry-store ad campaigns, and celebrity exposure can all drive prices up.  Popularity hugely influences stone prices.  Amber is a good example.  I have some gorgeous pieces of Buttercream Amber jewelry I purchased before the Home Shopping Network started flogging it.  I paid approximately a quarter of what the same pieces would go for now.  Same with things like Padparadscha, freshwater pearls, and Tanzanite.

This piece will be in the store next week.  If you like Labradorite, grab it quick.  The next one will be much more spendy.  (I love that word….learned it from my American Cousin.)  After all, who wouldn’t love to have their own personal little moon?