Thursday, November 20, 2008

Crocus blossom

In another attempt to design a piece of jewelry with intention I have made a Crocus Blossom ring.

The purple and soft warm golden yellow stones in this ring remind me of the early crocus blossoms of Spring. The shank of this ring is woven sterling silver wire to represent the cold ice and snow that these little jewels bloom through.

This is fun. I enjoy sitting down with the beads and wire and letting my imagination soar with the combinations but this seems a more deliberate approach and one that I am trying to train my brain to use. Inspiration, drawing the design, working out the details, and then the production of the piece.

I am off to look at landscape photos for more inspiration. Those coffee table books will come in handy after all.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Freshwater Pearls

Freshwater pearls are considered to be the worlds oldest gem. Their translucent luster is created by multiple layers of nacre formed inside a living organismThroughout history pearls have been treasured and highly valued. In China, Egypt, India and Persia ancient texts refer to pearls as prized possessions.

In ancient Rome they were worn as a symbol of wealth and prestige.

In ancient Greece pearls were worn at weddings as symbols of purity and love.

Native Americans also used pearls for trade and ornamentation. Legends tell of a Native American princess who gifted Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto with furs, copper and fresh water pearls.

By the end of the 19Th century North American and Caribbean pearl supplies were greatly diminished due to over fishing and the uncontrolled pollution associated with industrialization.
Traditionally salt water pearls are grown in oysters and fresh water pearls in mussels.
In modern times pearls are grafted in triangle shell mussels by pearl farmers.
Ironically these mass produced pearl products rival the quality of the most expensive natural pearls ever found.
No longer reserved for royal families and wealthy consumers freshwater pearls are an affordable fashion accessory for everyone.

Pearl is the birthstone for June.

Pearls are said to be calming and centering. They represent purity and promote faith, charity, integrity, truth and loyalty. They help one to connect with the Goddess-the ultimate feminine energy.

Pearls need to be treated with care. They will stay cleaner if you put them on after you have applied your makeup and perfume. Wipe them with a soft cloth when you take them off. If they become soiled you may clean them with mild soap and water. Air dry before putting them away. Never clean pearls in ammonia based cleansers or put them in an ultrasonic cleaner. Store pearls carefully so that they are not scratched by other metal or gemstone jewelry.

The FamiLee Jewels love using pearls in our jewelry designs. Their classic look is a complimentary to gemstones and the sparkle of crystals.

Pearls are the perfect adornment.

Brookside Museum Holiday Shop

The Holiday Shop at The Brookside Museum is open now through December 22ND.

Each year Brookside expands its museum gift shop to include the work of local artists and crafts people.

Shop for unique locally handcrafted gifts including knit wear, candles, cards, jewelry, pottery, kitchen linens, original art work and books of local historical interest.

The FamiLee Jewels are proud to exhibit and sell our wire sculptured jewelry and wood turned items in the company of such talented local artists.
You may meet the artists at the museums annual open house on Friday December 5TH from 6-9pm.

The Brookside Museum was built in 1792 as a resort hotel. On the National Register of Historic Places Brookside is said to be the oldest historical hotel building in the United States still standing. Through the years the building has been used as a boys school, a private residence, a boarding house, a Sanitarium and apartments. In 1970 the Saratoga County Historical Society purchased the building and opened it as the museum. Brookside contains five galleries as well as a hands on history room, research library and the gift shop. Its mission to inspire community memory is carried out through interactive exhibits and programs such as the Victorian Tea Party for kids, A Brookside Harvest, Native New York and Sheep to Shawl. Purchases made at the Holiday Gift Shop support the museums educational mission.
Brookside museum
6 Charlton Street
Ballston Spa, NY
open Monday -Wednesday 10-4
Thursday-Friday 10-6
Saturday 10-4

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Rings and Things

Over the course of the last year I have received several inquiries about making rings.

The process seemed daunting to me as I want to keep all of my jewelry pieces wire wrapped and sculpted using only cold joins. This means no soldering or other heat sourced methods are used in the design or production of the ring.

Simple bead rings were the first trial. The first few were "wonky" and it was difficult to make them the intended size. 20 rings later and more confident in the process I moved on to a more intricate design with ornate wire and bead wrapping to capture a larger stone.

My imagination has taken off!
Multi wire shanks, open wire shanks, woven wire shanks, gemstone beads, fossils, dichroic glass, and sharks teeth have been combined to make rings.

The latest and possibly my favorite rings are part of our Salvaged Style Collection. Some are made of rhinestone brooches and some are made out of sterling silver baby spoon and demitasse spoons that have been hammered into a new shape and embellished with encouraging words..

You can see the in our ETSY store and at our weekend kiosk The FamiLee Jewels At The Warehouse, 20 Learned Street , Albany, NY.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Golden Harvest Contest

This month I have entered one of my Vintaj pieces in a contest. I wasn't going to, but Mom really encouraged me to do so. I am very excited to see what people think of my pieces!

If you would like to see my piece and all the others that have been entered, please visit this website: I would LOVE to have your vote!! Voting ends November 14th.

I first started to work with the Vintaj pieces a little over a year ago. I saw one of the sellers at a bead expo who had them and immediately fell in love! I have not come across any brass that has this coloring. I also love the variety and endless possibilities with the filigree and charms!

I hope that you check out the contest!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Lapis Lazuli

Lapis Lazuli is a semiprecious gemstone prized since antiquity for it's intense blue color.

It gets its brilliant blue color from its sulfur content.

Lapis is a rock, not a mineral, mined in northern Afghanistan where deposits have been worked for more than 6000 years. These mines were the source of Lapis for the Egyptians and Mesopotamians and later for the Greek and Roman civilizations.

Secondary deposits in Siberia, Canada, and Chile supplement that supply.

Lapis was among the first gemstones to be worn as jewelry. In ancient Egypt lapis lazuli was a favorite stone for amulets, scarabs and other ornaments. Lapis jewelry has been found in Egyptian excavations and historical legend says that powdered lapis was used as eyeshadow by Cleopatra. It's opaque deep blue color is highly prized-even more so when it has inclusions of golden pyrites that shimmer like tiny stars.

Lapis with a higher quantity of calcite has a lighter blue color and is marketed as denim lapis.

Lapis is said to harmonize your heart and mind as it forges stronger bonds between them. It is regarded by many people around the world as the stone of friendship and truth. The blue stone encourages harmony in relationships and helps it's wearer to be authentic and to give his or her opinion openly.

Lapis takes an excellent polish and can be made into jewelry, carvings, boxes, mosaics, ornaments and vases. It was also ground and processed to make the pigment ultramarine for tempera paint .

Lapis is an alternate birthstone for September.

Because lapis lazuli is rather porous, it should never come in contact with chemicals and solvents. The best way to clean the stone is with mild, warm, soapy water.

The stone is either cut as beads for necklaces or as cabochons for exclusive jewelry. It is especially attractive when set with diamonds or pearls and makes a nice complement to the dark reds of coral. It is equally attractive when set in gold or sterling silver.

Lapis, having only the hardness of 5 to 5.5 should be protected from rubbing and scratching against harder stones and surfaces, such as other jewelry within a jewelry box.

Lapis lazuli is a versatile and popular gemstone which has shown extraordinary stability in the tides of fashion. No wonder, since it has fascinated both men and women for thousands of years with its fabulous colour and those golden points of light formed by pyrites.

The FamiLee Jewels love to use lapis in our designs.

Twins Rock Baby Shower

FamiLee Update:

Yesterday Freddy hosted the baby shower for his twin brothers Liam and Rory scheduled to be delivered on December 8Th, unless Becky's body gets tired from carrying them before that.

At 33 weeks they are 5 pounds and 5 pounds 1 ounce and perfectly healthy according to Dr. Ted.

Freddy was a fine host and made everyone feel right at home. Mom and Dad were very proud of him.

The twins and Freddy were gifted with many necessities from our loving family and friends.
We had wonderful snacks, played jacks, bubbles and sit and spin. Freddy had a chance to play with Cassie, Shayden, and Ethan, some of his favorite friends.

A wonderful time and chocolate frosting were had by all.

Friday, November 7, 2008

More Chandeliers!

As mom stated in an earlier post, I was also working on a chandelier piece. Well, it is finally completed and photographed!

For the pendant I used a Vintaj brass dragonfly and wrapped it around a crystal. I then wire-wrapped four other crystals with Vintaj brass wire. The remaining bead links are made up of rutiliated quartz and Vintaj brass beads. All of the wrapping and bead links were hand-crafted, as were the pendant drop and the hook and loop clasp.

I am really happy with the way that this piece came out, and as with a lot of my jewelry, Mom had to rip it from my hands to put it in the store!! But that is where it will be this weekend, as well as listed on our Etsy store.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Gift from The Garden

I have been trying to put more thought into the composition of jewelry designs and the things that inspire a particular piece.

I am particularly proud of the latest wire wrapped pendant. It is inspired by our backyard gardens and in particular by the flower covered surface of the Koi pond.

The base of the wire sculpture is an agate slice that is deep purple in color with concentric bands that represent the ripples that occur when you drop a pebble into the water. The agate has been wrapped in Sterling silver wire and embellished with beads of deep red, green, yellow and white to represent the flowers that surround the water garden.
A dragonfly floats gently at the top of the agate slice.

The pendant hangs on a handcrafted chain maille necklace in a linked floret pattern. It has 3 flower links worked into the chain. A butterfly of sterling silver dangles from the back of the neck chain.

The garden is cold and the flowers have been cut back for winter but A Gift From The Garden reminds me of the warm and sunny days to come.