Natural pearls have been coveted as symbols of wealth and status for thousands of years. The first written mention of pearls was by a Chinese writer in about 2206 BC.
Nature couldn't keep up with the demand for pearls, so man devised a way to culture pearls by placing an irritant, often a piece of rounded shell from a freshwater mussel, into a mollusk. The majority of pearls on the market have been cultured and many of the shells used as an irritant are from freshwater river mussels harvested in the midwestern states. The few natural pearls available command high prices.
Pearls are a natural substance and are porous. They can absorb cologne, hair spray and lotions. So, make your pearls the last thing you put on and the first think you take off. Keep them looking their best by gently wiping them with a damp cloth.
Pearls are always in style; wear yours today.
Metal has been used to make jewelry since ancient times. Gold was first used in 6000 BC! Copper followed in 4200 BC and silver in 4000 BC.
Today, metals used in jewelry are divided into two groups - precious and base. The precious metals are silver, gold and platinum; all other metals are considered base metals.
Metals can be either elements, for example iron, copper or niobium, or alloys which are mixtures of elements. Alloys can be a base metal like brass (copper and zinc) or a precious metal like sterling silver (silver and copper). Generally, alloys are created to improve the color, workability or durability of metal.
The metals I use most are:
I'm passionate about making metal jewelry. I love the feel of metal and the very different looks I can achieve with it. View my collections to see all the ways in which I use metal.
Without treatment, only the best natural gems and gemstones would be mined and sold. These natural stones would not only be rare but also very expensive.
Keep from being fooled. Buy jewelry from sources you trust and don't be afraid to ask if the stones have been enhanced. If the price seems too good to be true; it probably is.
February wasn't always the second month of the year. It started out as the last month in the Roman calendar. January and February were added to the Roman calendar about 713 BC. Prior to that time Romans considered winter to be a monthless period. About 450 BC the Roman calendar was re-arranged, and February became the second month of the year. At certain intervals, February was truncated to 23 or 24 days and a temporary 27-day month was inserted immediately after February to realign the year with the seasons. The reforms that created the Julian calendar in 45 BC did away with the temporary month and created leap years which occurred every four years. During leap years, February gained a 29th day. the Julian calendar was replaced by the Gregorian calendar in 1582 which further refined how leap years and leap centuries are handled. The Gregorian calendar is the most widely used calendar today.
Februarius, the Roman name for February, comes from the festival of ritual purification Februa held on February 15 (full moon) in the old Roman calendar. The festival celebrated Spring washing or cleansing. The festival of Februa was later incorporated in to Lupercalia, a fertility festival dedicated to the Roman god of agriculture. Lupercalia was deemed un-Christian in the fifth century when Pope Gelasius replaced it with St. Valentine's Day. Over the years Valentine's Day became the day to celebrate love and romance
February's birthstone is amethyst which symbolizes piety, humility, spiritual wisdom and sincerity. Amethyst, from the Greek amethystos meaning "not-intoxicated," was believed by ancients to protect against drunkenness. It is also believed if you place an amethyst under your pillow you'll have pleasant dreams - perhaps about the one you love!
Pantone's Color of the Year is Living Coral - a spirited shade of coral with a golden undertone.
Here are a few of the peachy-colored gemstones you'll see featured in jewelry this year.
Coral, particularly antique coral with its soft peachy-pink hue, is the ideal Living Coral gemstone in both color and meaning. Coral symbolizes peace and transformation. It is believed to protect your from negativity and evil influences. Most of the coral used in jewelry, including what I use in my designs, does not come from endangered coral reefs.
Morganite is the peachy-pink member of the Beryl family whose other members are emerald and aquamarine. Morganite is believed to help release unhealthy emotional patterns, aid in developing trust and bring a sense of joy and inner strength.
Peach Moonstone is a member of the Feldspar family. This beautiful peachy stone has a soft almost magical shimmer. It is said to soothe stress and stabilize the emotions.
In addition to gemstones, crystal, glass and cubic zirconia beads will abound in this spirited color. So, regardless of your budget, you'll be able to find just the right piece of jewelry in the 2019 Color of the Year - Living Coral.
The holidays are filled with traditions from special foods to fun activities. As we age old traditions are modified and new traditions are added. But all traditions, old or new, have one thing in common: they connect us to family and friends.
My mom began taking me to see Santa when I was one. She didn't drive. So, we took the bus downtown to Famous-Barr one of the three major department stores in St. Louis at that time. We walked around the building oohing and aahing at the fabulous Christmas windows. One had a huge train set in it. Then we went up to the top floor where Santa sat in all his glory. My last photo with Santa was when I was six. I was three in the photo below.
Another family tradition was making ornaments and other decorations. I was particularly adept at making paper snowflakes. Now, I create jewelry from wire and gemstones and craft wire angel ornaments. I enjoy making things and learning new techniques, so the styles of jewelry and ornaments are continually evolving.
And of course, I adorn myself with holiday jewelry and clothes. Wearing Grinch socks or snowman earrings just makes my day more festive.
Whatever your holiday traditions, have a wonderful joyous holiday season!
Look no further than local arts and crafts shows, galleries and the websites of local artists.
Your community is home to an amazing number of artists and craftspeople. They create an astonishing array of items including jewelry, original paintings, woodwork, ceramics, glass, clothing and home décor. Each lovingly made by hand with many one-of-a-kind. Prices can range from "oh so affordable" to "sky's the limit."
My holiday booth - check Chic Happenings for this year's show schedule.
A benefit of buying from an artist, either in person or from their website, is learning something about them and how they create their items. You can include a note with your gift telling its story - who made it, how it was made, why you chose it, or where you found it. This makes even a small gift important. A handmade gift with a thoughtful note is a wonderful way to create a special memory.
If you buy early, here's a tip so you don't misplace a gift or forget who it's for. Attach a note to each gift listing who it's for and any information you want to share about it. Then, place the gift in a special holiday box - I use a plastic bin. When it's time to start wrapping, you'll know where all the gifts are. Before I started doing this, some gifts were so well hidden I didn't find them till long after the holidays!
As you know, I really love making jewelry. I get even more pleasure helping someone pick just the right piece to give a friend or family member. The icing on the cake for me is hearing from the customer how much their gift was appreciated. If you can, let the artist know how much their piece was enjoyed. You'll make the artist's day!
This year look locally for unique and interesting items for those on your list and yourself. You'll contribute to a happy holiday for the artists and keep the money in your community. Make handcrafted gifts part of your holiday tradition.
Fall is my favorite time of year. I love its rich, warm colors - rust, ocher, orange, red and brown. These colors influence the stones and metals I choose as I create jewelry. Here are just a few of my current favorites.
Chocolate Jasper - deep browns with just a hint of ocher make this a very versatile stone. It's perfect for every chocoholic - no calories!
For sterling silver, copper, brass, bronze or gold, swish your jewelry in Jewelry Cleaner, let it sit a bit, rinse with warm water, and dry with a soft cloth. For really tarnished pieces, wet the toothbrush, pick up a bit of Tarnish Remover, scrub gently, rinse with warm water, dry with a soft cloth, and your metals will gleam. I use Renaissance Wax on my metal jewelry. It provides a barrier between the metal and your skin as well as retarding oxidation (a.k.a. tarnish). Like any coating, it will eventually wear off. You can use paste wax to provide similar results each time you clean and polish your metal jewelry.
Finally, don't use toothpaste to clean your jewelry. It contains abrasives and may leave scratches.
May your jewelry always shine!
Shop my collections of shiny, sparkly jewelry.
Lynn's musings about all facets of jewelry.