Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Dog's $4.5 Million Tiara

By on Thursday, April 30, 2009 2 Comments

There is luxury jewelry and then there is insane luxury jewelry. This $4.5 million diamond and emerald studded titanium tiara was actually created for a dog.

Thai jewelry designer, Riwin Jirapolsek was not content to shower his much loved 15 year old Maltese pooch with all sorts of cute pet accessories. He actually used the 250 carats of gems he inherited from his mother! Needless to say, the tiara is not for sale but it recently got an airing down the runway of a Bangkok dog show. The designer plans to make a bejeweled hair clip next because the dog's fur blocks its view.

If only dogs could talk, especially this male dog. The indignity of it all!

Via


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Millefiore and Gypsy Beads Go Boldly Together

By on Thursday, April 30, 2009 2 Comments

We are frequently bowled over with the color confidence displayed by beginner beaders at our workshops. Marg is a prime example. She used some really pretty beads from Debbie's (Widget's Beads) collection - the blue and green millefiore was lovely on its own as was the handpainted gypsy beads.

Putting both together with goldtone beads and clasp was a bold and striking move. Not many people would have done this. Now Marg is the only one in the whole world with this unique bracelet. I'll bet she'll receive lots of compliments.

Beader Design #: 504

Related Post : Millefiore or Millefiori : Glass Beads That Rock!
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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Do Face Masks Help Prevent Swine Flu?

By on Wednesday, April 29, 2009 2 Comments

Swine Flu Fears Spread Throughout Mexico

Today, the World Health Organisation raised the threat level to Phase 5 as the number of countries with confirmed cases reaches 10. The alert means a pandemic is highly certain or imminent.

Face masks are not jewelry but they are fast becoming adornments of a different kind. First in Mexico, the epicenter of the outbreak - the picture shows people waiting at a Mexican hospital to be checked for flu-like symptoms - very likely in other parts of the world soon. But do they work?

Both the US CDC (Center for Disease Control) and Health Canada do not recommend face masks for the general public as they have not being shown to do anything to prevent the spread of the disease. These are not the kind of high filtration masks used by health care professionals which are more expensive and have to be used properly.

Far better is the tried and true flu preventative measures :-
  • use disposable tissues when covering your mouth during sneezes and coughs
  • washing your hands
  • don't touch your eyes, mouth or nose
However, giving out the masks does have psychological benefits as it calms anxious populations.

Swine Flu Primer
Birds, pigs and humans catch flu. Usually, the flu viruses stay with the host they infect. The viruses also constantly evolve which is why the seasonal flu vaccines have to be developed every year. Pig flu is a concern because if pigs catch two types of viruses at the same time, the mixing can result in a new hybrid flu virus.

The virus strain that usually affects pigs each year is in the viral family called H1N1. The H and N stand for the virus' surface proteins haemagglutinin and neuraminidase. Then, in 1998 the swine H1N1 changed. It mixed with both bird and human flu strains and surfaced in some US states. Since then the virus has continued to evolve rapidly.

New Scientist explains why some strains have pandemic potential. It depends on the H surface protein:

"The Mexican virus carries the swine version, so the antibodies we carry to human H1N1 viruses will not recognise it.That's why the CDC warned last year that swine H1N1 would "represent a pandemic threat" if it started circulating in humans."
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Re:Collect Gadget Bracelet helps you find lost items

By on Wednesday, April 29, 2009 3 Comments


I can't tell you how many times I have misplaced my glasses. One time, I couldn't find them anywhere and sent the whole family looking for them. They were eventually found in a waste paper basket! One of our cats must have accidentally swiped them off the table. Perhaps you can relate with other lost items? Your cell phone, keys perhaps? Then you and I will appreciate the Re:Collect high tech bracelet.

This awesome gadget bracelet is the brainchild of a group of MA (Master of Arts) Design Studies students from London's Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design. It uses the latest product tagging RFID (radio frequency ID) technology - the successor to bar codes - so you don't lose your valuable items. Basically what you do is attach the RFID tag on, say your cell phone. If you forget your cell phone at your favorite watering hole, the bracelet lights glow when you are about 3 feet away. At 5 feet, it also beeps. And just in case you are so tipsy you don't notice the glowing and the beeping, it starts to vibrate as well at 10 feet away. (If you don't register even that, one assumes you're being carried out!). But seriously, it is very easy to forgot where we put down keys, cell phones and so on as we are so often in a rush these days.

The young inventors made a video to show how it works. Pity the camera doesn't follow the girl and show the bracelet changes. But still the concept is cool. If they can make the tag a lot smaller to attach to the side arms of my glasses without dangling, I'm buying!

The team is working hard canvassing support to take this idea to market. I think they have a winner!



Related Post : High Tech Crystal Jewelry

Via and Via
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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Learn New Stitches With Beaded Earrings

By on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 4 Comments

When I first started beading, I learnt through making earrings. These are fast projects and will not discourage the beginner. I typically use a beading needle and Fireline which I get from the fishing department in Walmart -it comes in grey or "crystal" which is whitish.

Image by Summer Alyssa
So if you haven't yet tried beading with needle and thread before, then here are some free tutorials and inspiration to get you started!

1. Classic Beaded Earrings
This is the popular Native American style earrings which uses ladder and brick stitches. It is a very versatile design with oodles of variations as you can see from the above inspirational photo by Summer Alyssa. After you finish oogling, you can refer to the full tutorial by Shira.

2. Bicone Earrings
Pilar Burg's Crystal Corona earrings shown below left in bright orange is a free tutorial from Beading Daily. 4mm bicones and seedbeads are used to learn triangular stitch and netting.

3. Coral Earrings
Anne Helmestine who also goes by the name Azareal has a coral stitch tutorial to produce these beauties. The branching effect reminiscent of some types of coral naturally gives this stitch its common name.



4. Peyote Cats
Here's a how-to that's sure to please cat lovers and teach them peyote stitch at the same time. The Peyote Cat Earring tutorial was written by Tammy Powley.

5. Starflower Earrings
Carol Holmes of Ambrosian Beads prepared both a video tutorial as well as a pdf download of the text instructions on her purple and blue earring design which uses herringbone stitch.





6. Right Angle Weave Earrings
Karla from Auntie's Beads made these beautiful bicones with this technique as illustrated by the video tutorial.

7. Free Bead Patterns for Beaded Earrings from About.com's Beadwork.



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Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 

Monday, April 27, 2009

Design Tips for Antiqued Copper Jewelry

By on Monday, April 27, 2009 7 Comments

Antiqued copper is a lovely metal to work with. The subdued color is an attractive alternative to bright copper. Here are two beader designs which offer some tips when designing with antique copper components.

1. Mix bright copper with antiqued copper
Jillian's lovely copper earrings with the royal blue beads is mostly made of antiqued copper - all from Debbie's (Widget's Beads) collection. She went ahead and added hexagonal bright copper frames which made this part of the earrings a focal area.

2. Match antiqued copper with gold
Lynda's creation shows several innovative ideas. First she matched antiqued copper with the gold findings and golden hued beads including luscious looking silver foiled ones. Her white quartz gemstone focal bead is such a pretty contrast to the warm tones of the copper and gold.

3. Bunch together a whole lot of copper rondelles or daisy spacers
The other thing Lynda did came about by accident. She was rather taken by my copper rondelles which were strung together. Lynda had not realized they were all separate pieces. But then we thought why only use them individually? They looked so attractive altogether they soon became part of the necklace. We also placed two twist clasps in the front which could be considered a design feature but they also made it easier for Lynda to put on and take off her necklace.



"To teach is to learn twice" - Joseph Joubert, French author (1755-1824)
Beader Designs # : 502-503
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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Oversized Tribal Inspired Jewelry

By on Sunday, April 26, 2009 3 Comments

Ethnic Inspirations
Part 2 of 2
Have you noticed the fashion for big handbags lately? There is a lot to be said for roomy handbags - more space to put all our knick knacks! Many people also favor large eye-catching jewelry and fortunately for them, big bling is in this spring. You can't get much larger than the accessories by Athenian designer, Maria Mastori’s over-sized jewelry. She was recently featured in the Greek edition of Elle magazine.

She has been producing her unique, bold tribal inspired jewelry for the last four years and has developed quite a fan base in her native country.

Pictured above is her wooden collar necklace from her 2007 collection. Below left are her huge cuff bracelets made from wood, silk threads, silver and agate. Her rings from black marble, silver and gold are hardly timid either.



She also has necklaces consisting of silk threads, silver and rock crystal which remind me of plaits or giant tassels. I actually rather like her tassel designs but I prefer them to be miniature and sized for earrings.


Via
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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Tibetan Style Jewelry

By on Saturday, April 25, 2009 2 Comments



Ethnic Inspirations

Part 1 of 2
I must say I was confused with the name shop junCk when I came across it. Their byline is "Don't shop dumb...shop junCk!". This new online boutique does feature some really lovely artisan jewelry from India, Nepal and Tibet amongst other handmade items. The above Tibetan inspired earrings caught my attention not just for the cultural aspect but because of the beautiful and brightly colored gemstones used. Inspirational color combinations to note!

The earrings on the left are what are known as double stone jewelry featuring the traditional mix of turquoise - one of the world's oldest known gemstones - and red coral. Another early known gemstone is lapis lazuli which can be seen in the second earring design complimenting the turquoise and red coral. Lapis lazuli was highly prized years ago not just as a gemstone but as a paint pigment (see my past post Lapis lazuli - The Twice Precious Gemstone).


These gemstones are part of Tibetan culture. According to shop junCk, "turquoise, lapis lazuli and red coral are worn by many Tibetans who believe these help protect from evil and represent faith, fortune, love and wisdom. Coral is one of the seven treasures in Buddhist scriptures, and Tibetan lamas often use coral rosaries."
The 2005 photo on the left is of a young Tibetan girl wearing lots of turquoise and coral.

ReferenceTibet Artwork.com
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Friday, April 24, 2009

Diamond is NOT the Hardest Substance Anymore

By on Friday, April 24, 2009 9 Comments

We've been told over and over again that the world's hardest substance is diamond. On the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, it is at the top at 10.

However, it has recently been knocked off its pedestal by two substances called wurtzite boron nitride, 18% stronger than diamond and lonsdaleite, a whopping 58% tougher. Zicheng Pan and colleagues at Shanghai Jiao Tong University proved this in indentation tests.

Wurtzite boron nitride is structured like diamond but is not made from carbon atoms. Lonsdaleite is called the hexagonal diamond because while it consists of carbon like diamond, the atoms are arranged hexagonally. The reason why they are both so much harder than diamonds is due to the flexibility of their atomic bonds under stress.

They are both rare in nature. Wurtzite boron nitride is created during volcanic eruptions under very high temperature and pressure conditions. Lonsdaleite is formed from graphite found in meteorites after they land on Earth. Small amounts have also been produced in the lab but no one has yet come up with a way of making them in greater quantities. If they could, wurtzite boron nitride in particular will be ideal as a super abrasive for the tips of cutting and drilling tips. That's because it can endure higher temperatures than diamonds.

Diamond dealers can sigh with relief as these substances are not about to replace their gemstones. But from now on, if you ever hear someone say, "Diamonds are the hardest substance" you'd be able to say, "Not any more".

Via, Picture Source

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Luscious Rhodonite and Dream Agate Necklace

By on Thursday, April 23, 2009 6 Comments

If anyone is still unsure about vintage brass, Lynda's design here should convince you how versatile this alternative metal is.

The vintage brass filigree balls and amber colored cathedral beads were wonderfully contrasted with the warmly toned large flat oval dream agate gemstone beads. The even larger tear drop shaped rhodonite focal also added class to this first time beader's design.

Yes, you read right. This workshop was Lynda's very first exposure to making jewelry! She loved every minute of it.

Beader Design #: 501
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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Be Prepared With Paracord Survival Bracelets

By on Wednesday, April 22, 2009 7 Comments


Let's Get Physical Jewelry
Part 2 of 2

Do you spend a lot of time outdoors, camping, hiking and other such physical activities? Then you probably do appreciate paracord or parachute cord. The nylon cord is handy for a number of tasks where you have to lash or tie things together. But if you hate being caught without a length of paracord in an emergency, then you'll need some backwoods bling like the paracord lanyard bracelets by Survival Straps. Each item can unravel to give you up to 20 feet of paracord! It's a bit early, but I think one of these would make a great Father's Day or birthday gift for the macho man in your life!

These are hand made by a Florida based family business. They offer 900 color combinations for their bracelets, anklets, belts, watch straps and so on for the whole family with a choice of either a black plastic release buckle or a stainless steel shackle. There are also pretty colors and smaller sizes for women and kids. What's really neat is their free offer to reweave your bling if you had to undo it for an emergency! Just send them the story of how you used the paracord like this man who used it to pull a drowning woman to safety.

Survival Straps also donate a portion of their proceeds to the Wounded Warrior Project which helps seriously wounded US soldiers.



TUTORIAL LINKS
Inspired? If you want to have a go at making lanyard bracelets, here are some free how-tos from the web.

1.Instructables.com has full instructions on how to make a wide paracord bracelet shown on the left. It uses a plastic side release buckle. People who were in the scouts or who do macrame will feel at home with this technique.

2. Stormdrane's blog has a similar paracord tutorial but in a single color and using a metal clasp.

3. Want something more feminine? Then try Jenna Z's ribbon lanyard bracelet tutorial which folds rather than knots.

Via

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