Monday, January 17, 2011

january birthstone: garnet

garnet, New York state's gemstone, is said to have powers of healing, strength, and protection. during the middle ages, crusaders put garnets in their armor because of their protective powers. garnets come in all colors, except blue and the garnet family is the second most diverse mineral family (quartz is the most diverse).


there has been a lot of attention to zodiac signs recently and although my sign did change, I was very pleased that no changes were made to birthstone assignments! every month in 2011 (except april because I do not work with diamonds), I plan to focus on the birthstone of that month. I will create new pieces incorporating the gemstone or focusing solely on that stone. birthstone jewelry makes a perfect birthday gift for the woman who has everything!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

color inspiration: charley harper

I have infused my passion for art into my designs. prints of the colorful and whimsical art of Charley Harper, known for his vibrant colors and minimal realism style, hand in my jewelry studio and I often look at his work for inspiration when I am creating my multi-color jade necklaces.

charley harper, tree of life

beijing dirt market

my 2007 visit to the Beijing Dirt Market provided me with much excitement and inspiration. there were endless rows of coral, jadeite, and other colorful gemstones. I purchased several strands of coral and used the negotiating skills I had acquired in Thailand to get a "bargain" price. I incorporated this coral into my summer 2008 collection and continue to use coral in my designs.

gemstone buying in barcelona

my 2005 trip to Barcelona had a great impact on my use of color. when I visited the Picasso Museum, I was particularly struck by the bold colors used by Picasso during his cubism period. while I explored El Barri Gotic, the center of Barcelona, I stumbled upon a gemstone store. I was overwhelmed by the gemstone-covered walls that sparkled with majestic blues, deep reds and varying hues of yellows, oranges and purples. I purchased two strands of amethyst, which I used in the first necklace I designed.

adventures in Indonesia

my travels have been a major source of inspiration and have provided me with a wonderful opportunity to purchase materials for my designs. in 2001, I traveled to Indonesia and visited the Spice Island of Banda Nara. meeting the king of the island and purchasing freshwater pearls for the first time were both unforgettable experiences. I learned that one must rub the pearls against one's teeth and if the pearls are gritty, they are natural. it was a thrill to purchase freshwater pearls against the tropical backdrop of the island, and this image inspires my whenever I create necklaces with freshwater pearls. on the same trip, we went Australia and had the opportunity to snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef. during our snorkeling adventures, we constantly saw bright blue starfish and stars soon became my favorite shape. I often use starfish-shaped gemstones in my designs.