Thursday, March 20, 2014

Just a Quick Question....

Want to stay in touch with what I'm doing? Like to see the process? Well, I post a lot of quick info to my Facebook page... not full posts like you see here, but little snippets of things I'm doing. It's new, so go to my page and 'like' it in order to find out some things you won't see in this space:

In addition, you can get weekly newsletters which are a bit more personal in nature, all about the life and times of a jewelry and stone addict, by going to my webpage and filling out the opt-in section beneath the header:

It's a great glimpse into my little world! 

:) Dana

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Influences and Artwork... Obsessed with Jill Ricci

I wanted to share some artwork with you by Jill Ricci, who I'm totally obsessed with. Here is her website:

I don't know her, but have seen her work around the internet and on Pinterest and really connected to her work.

Just without reading her bio, you can see she uses collage- found objects/papers, layers, form and graffiti-esque application of information. Order within chaos, ancient form, modern application, color, texture, pattern, decor and embellishment. 

Her work really appeals to me on so many levels and I wished I owned one....! One day!

There is something very tactile about her work too- you want to touch it, maybe peel back some of the layers to see what's underneath.

There also seems to be a 'snapshot' quality to her work- like you're only seeing a snippet of a whole.

And yet they are composed, balanced, and symmetrical in their own way. 

I also like to use some of the exotic shapes she encorporates. I feel a kinship in her use of the old and the modern. 

Here's some pieces from my current inventory that have some of a similar feel:

You can check out my shop for more pieces:

Friday, March 14, 2014

New Stones- Yum!! Opals and Rubies and Jade... Oh My!

Today, when he returned home from work, my husband asked me how my day was. "I went to the gem show today...." I said, "... so it was a great day!"

I got these juicy jade cabochons, and Madagascar rubies to go with them. Don't they look great together? I have been wanting some pink stones, and these satisfied my craving. There's something about jade- the fact that it's translucent makes it rather mysterious. And the color is so subtle- it's not screaming for attention like an emerald or peridot. It's calm, serene, and just.... there. You gotta love jade. So rich and yet accessible. Like the leaves of a pretty flower... jade is happy to support the brighter color of the ruby, or any other color for that matter. A very generous stone indeed!

But truly what I get excited about are opals. This is a group of faceted Ethiopian opals from my favorite dealer.  Last time the show came around, the dealer was OUT of these. Not happy. He apparently sold his entire stash of these (1500 carats) to a 'guy who makes jewelry and sells it on T.V.' I have no idea who that could be... since I don't watch much t.v., but am happy his new supply is just as nice as his last bunch.

This is the kind of ring I was making with those stones from my prior purchase from the dealer. They sell quite well, as they are GORGEOUS, and surrounded by a luxurious 22k gold bezel. 

They will be back in my shop soon, so if you're interested in purchasing one of these, check my shop in the next week or two, or send me an email and let me know what size I can make for you:

This is a parcel of similar stones- Ethiopian opal. They have a broader area of flash than Australian opal and are a bit different in behavior... this opal likes to stay dry, and if wet, it can temporarily turn clear or turn white. Australian opal doesn't change at all in water. I actually cut these stones myself from a parcel of rough stones. It's cheaper to buy stones in rough form, but time-consuming because I have to cut them! 

However, I like the idea of using stones I've cut myself. I feel more ownership towards the finished piece and feel it's more authentically hand-made, too. Since the process of faceting a stone requires completely different equipment than producing a rounded cabochon (and I don't have that type of equipment!) I tend to buy the faceted-types of stones, and cut the rounded cabochons myself. I actually have a store where you can check out some of the stones I have cut myself:

I sell these to other jewelry-makers because I also love to cut stones.

Here's a ring I made with the stone in the above picture, upper right. It's more than 10 carats, the largest of the above parcel. I feel good about setting stones I've cut myself. I know the stone better, too, and can cut it exactly to my specifications.  Here's a link to it in my shop:

This is a piece I made as part of a collaborative project- creating a 'link' in a huge chain for charity. The center stone is one from the above pic of stones I cut- the center right stone. I feel like a lot of myself is in this piece, and I'm proud of that. Here's a link to more information about this project:

Friday, March 7, 2014

New Large Opal Ring in my Shop... & some old Favorites....

Today I finished a new ring that features an Ethiopian opal that I handcut, resulting in a gorgeous stone more than 10 carats. It's so hard not to keep some of these pieces for myself!!

Here's a link to it in my shop if you want to check out more pics:

It occured to me that I've made a lot of showstopper opal rings. I thought I'd do a show n' tell of some of my past pieces; here's a glimpse:

Some of these were made recently; some years ago. It sure is fun to see how my skills have come along. Check out my current inventory of rings:

What my Grandfather Taught me about Jewelry

My grandfather was the type of person, having grown up during the Great Depression, that enjoyed life to it's fullest. Every morsel of food he put in his mouth was the best he'd ever had. Every baby he passed was appreciated for it's cuteness. He savored his family and enjoyed our company as much as possible. You can see him in the below picture on the right. My dad is to the left, and my aunt and uncle are in the center. Doesn't he look like someone you'd want to hang with? He was well-known for his love of corned beef sandwiches and would travel a great distance to obtain a quality sandwich.

What does this have to do with jewelry? Well, it's his passion and enthusiasm that was contagious. Sometimes, this passion was a bit misplaced. You see, his birthstone was the ruby, and so, he loved rubies. But at some point, he discovered that garnets were very similar in look to rubies, but A LOT CHEAPER. So, my poor grandmother endured gift after gift of garnet cluster jewelry. And she did not really care for garnets. But she smiled and thanked him sweetly for every piece she received, and he was a happy husband feeling satisfied for his good taste and frugality.

When I create jewelry, I only make pieces I love. I only wear pieces I love; I only buy pieces I love. And when I wear them, it brings me such joy that I remember the spirit of my grandfather, and he smiles down on me.