Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Beader Design #15 : Adorna's MOP necklace

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MOP? That stands for mother-of-pearl, the large round disc that Adorna used for a pendant. A very eye-catching design complimented by pewter and glass beads. Adorna chose larger beads closer to the pendant which helps balance the overall look.
MOP or nacre, is the inner shell coating of pearl oysters and mussels. Its iridescent look is highly attractive, easily tinted into many colours and has many uses besides jewelry. Did you know that shirt buttons were once made from MOP although cheap plastic has replaced its use?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Beader Design #14 : Holly's Pink Bead Earrings

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Holly loves pink. She also loves earrings. Voila! A pair of dainty and pretty earrings with large pink focal beads. She teamed these with smaller glass beads. The sterling silver stem was triple scrolled for interest.

Did you know that earrings were more favoured by English men than English women in the 16th century? At that time, women's hairstyles just did not allow for earrings unlike Spanish women who loved pendant style earrings. The men favoured either gold hoops or stones or pearls in their ears.

After that time, it became less and less fashionable for men to wear earrings although today, the tide seems to be turning a little.

Ernle Bradford (1967). Four centuries of European Jewellery. Spring Books.
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Monday, January 29, 2007

Beader Design #13: Courtney's Blue Quartz and Glass necklace

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Pretty in pink and blue! Courtney centered her design with a diamond shaped blue quartz gemstone. She then added two translucent dagger or spear glass beads on either side to balance her design. Blue and pink glass beads pick up on the colour theme. Courtney chose to go with bugle beads towards the clasp thus tapering down her design.

The dagger beads are from the Czech Republic which makes very beautiful glass beads. These are made by the pressed glass method which means the glass is pressed into molds by mechanical means. This technique has been around for many thousands of years for making all kinds of glass objects including beads.

For more information on quartz, please check the post Beader Design #4.

Pressed Glass
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Sunday, January 28, 2007

The legend of the Borgia poison rings

By on Sunday, January 28, 2007 2 Comments

Without a doubt, the murderous Renaissance excesses of Rodrigo Borgia (later Pope Alexander IV) and his son Cesare Borgia are shocking. But Lucrezia Borgia (1480-1519), Rodrigo's illegitimate daughter was a victim of extremely bad press and her supposedly dastardly deeds have been portrayed in many forms including books, opera and films. She was supposed to have had a ring with which to deliver poison. In reality, there has been no evidence to suggest that the Borgias ever used such rings.

Rings do exist that have a hinged bezel which opens to reveal a small cavity within. They were probably used as miniature pomanders. The pomanders were some perfume essence to protect against bad odours and possibly infection when going amongst the great unwashed masses long ago. Other purposes of poison or locket rings include housing a small holy relic or even a memento of a loved one - like some hair. In Elizabethan times, things got rather morbid when jewellers made mourning or funeral rings (coffin shaped, skeletons and skull decorations etc) which were given to mourners to commemorate the death of a loved one.

But all those uses are not as deliciously evil a purpose for these rings compared to poison when it comes storytelling!


Ernle Bradford (1967) Four Centuries of European Jewelry. Spring Books.

Short Biography of Lucrezia Borgia :

A&E Biography- Pretty Poison : Lucrezia Borgia :

Sarah Bradford (2006) Lucrezia Borgia: Life, Love, and Death in Renaissance Italy

Picture source :

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Not just seedbeads

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There are indeed beads that are made from seeds. But seed beads generally mean small glass beads used as spacers or as the main component of our jewelry. They range from "Oh-my-goodness-I'm-never-going-to-be-able to-bead-with-THOSE" sizes to about several mms. The smallest size we use is the 11/0 size - there are yet smaller ones but we won't go there. Do not despair - there is a tip on how to string 11/0 seed beads easily.

11/0 is pronounced as "eleven aught". Other seed bead options include the 8/0 which are slightly bigger but still dainty looking and the 6/0 (pony beads) which is just under 4 mm wide. E-beads are 5/0 in size. And crow beads are even larger yet at 9mm. These are all classified as seed beads. Notice the diminishing number as the beads get larger. That is because they are graded according to how many fit in a standard measure. The smaller the bead, the more will fit.

The best seed beads are those made in the Czech Republic and in Japan. I have both. The Czech beads have the most interesting finishes. Japanese beads are renowned for precise sizing which is very important for bead embroidery or bead-weaving using looms. These particular crafts depend on evenly sized beads. My mother is an expert bead embroiderer - I'll save that for another post.

Look closely and you will see that seed beads come in not only all sorts of colours but in all sorts of finishes. Here is a quick look at the main ones :

Transparent - lets light through just like tinted glass

Translucent - lets some light through, frosted effect

Opaque - solid colour

Lustre - a shine to the surface

Matte-has a dull surface

Metallic - has the look of metal

Silver or copper-lined - the inside of the bead is finished with a metallic look, giving it an inner sparkle

Colour-lined - only the inside of the bead is coloured

Iris or Aurora Borealis (AB) - an iridescent finish

You could have a matte transparent bead or a frosted AB bead. The combinations are endless! That is why beadaholics say that there is no such thing as too many beads. One cannot possibly have too many beads.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

How did they make holes in gemstones?

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The story of beadmaking is not just about their ornamental value but the important technological steps that emerged to create them.
Early shell beads or thin stones were easy to perforate using perhaps a piece of flint or a simple palm-rotated drill.. Thick stone beads required a relatively more sophisticated drill of some kind for a more sustained effort when making holes in the beads. These same drills also made fire by rubbing the drill bit against another piece of wood. There is archaeological evidence that neolithic dentistry required the tool, too! Indeed, modern lapidarists do use dental tools.


J.D. McGUIRE 1896.

The bow drill (above, first from the left) was probably the most commonly used. It is like a bow and arrow held horizontally. The user either held the cup like object in one hand to hold steady the upright drill and moved the bow to and fro with the other, creating friction. The next one along is the pump drill, then the disc drill. The Inuit strap drill is on the far right. These early beaders realised that it was not the drill that actually wore away the stone but the abrasives they used.

Although there are now modern drills available, many East Indian artisans still prefer to use the hand-held bow drill although they have upgraded to diamond-tipped drills (and electricity for the grinding and polishing). Some still use the time-honoured technique of drilling from both sides of the bead to produce a "wasp-waisted" bead - so if you do come across such a bead, you'll know why.


A. Coppa et al. Palaeontology: Early Neolithic tradition of dentistry. Nature 440, 755-756 (6 April 2006) :

Lois Sherr Dubin (1987). The History of Beads: from 30,000 years to the Present. Harry N Abrams Inc.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Cilappatikaram - The Story of the Jewelled Anklets

By on Wednesday, January 24, 2007 2 Comments

Cilappatikaram, is an epic Tamil poem dating back to about the fifth century CE (or AD if you are of the old school!). It is a tragic tale, like a lot of epic poems. The central character is the ever loving Kannagi who was the owner of two jewelled anklets. Although her husband, Kovalan was wealthy to begin with, he threw away all his riches in an adulterous affair which ended badly. He returned penniless to the patient Kannagi who offered her anklets to sell in order to raise money.

Whilst at the marketplace, Kovalan was framed by Pandya, the Queen's jeweler, who had stolen the royal pearled anklet. Kovalan was arrested and killed on the King's order without a fair hearing. Grief-stricken, Kannagi confronts the King and shows him her other anklet which was gem encrusted, not pearled as proof of her husband's innocence. The royal couple were stricken dead. Kannagi then put a curse on the city, whereupon a fire soon destroyed it. Kannagi eventually ascends to heaven with her love, Kovalan.

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Beader Design #12 : Tracy's Tortoise shell beaded anklet

By on Wednesday, January 24, 2007 0 Comments

Tracy loves anklets but could never find one to fit her slim ankles so she made one that was just right! Anklets are fun to wear and very attractive in the summertime drawing attention to pretty feet.

As an ornament, anklets are not new although they have become very popular in North America in recent years. Anklets have been worn for centuries and are still very common in the East, particularly in the Indian subcontinent. There is even an epic poem on anklets! (see next post)
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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

African Beadwork : The Romance of Zulu Beads

By on Tuesday, January 23, 2007 5 Comments

Beads feature prominently in the culture of the Zulus of South Africa. They decorate everything including themselves with lots of beads. 

Beads play an important role in the courtship of young Zulu men and women. The men try their best to impress a maiden of their choice and if she reciprocates his attention, she presents him with most likely an ibheqe, a beaded necklace and keeps another for herself to wear. The traditional designs are geometric.

Some ibheqes carry messages and a prudent young man quickly learns how to read them. This bead language is based on colour, their position in the overall pattern, the background colour, even the intensity of the colour. You can see why some men have to resort to help from their sisters in order to interpret this intricate language of love.

Take this bead sequence for an example :

Red can mean intense longing or anger. As the pattern starts and ends in red, it signifies anger. The yellow beads bracketing the blue one signify pining or wilting like dying leaves. And the blue itself is a request. The translation is : " I am angry. You are neglecting me. When will you return?" If she is really angry, she'll add more red beads! The young men could therefore be wearing not only messages of love, but of rebuke and even "Dear John" necklaces. Remember, all these beads are public announcements! But a girl can cleverly make a special message more private by making a single bead less conspicuous.

The ibheqe is not a pledge for a popular guy could be sporting several ibheqes! If the girl manages to cut through the competition and gets him to commit to a formal engagement, she presents him with an ucu, a 5-yard long white beaded coiled necklace. He wears it only at their engagement celebration. Thereafter, she wears it. This is their equivalent of an engagement ring.

Photo Credit : ethekwinigirl on Flickr.

Chris and Janie Filstrup. (1982) Bedazzled : The Story of Beads.The Murray Printing Company.

Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 

Beader Design #11 : Bin-Bin's Chandelier Earrings

By on Tuesday, January 23, 2007 0 Comments

Not everyone likes chandeliers, but Bin Bin does! She jump-started her design with an open scrolled chandelier finding and then experimented with combinations of glass and pewter beads until she got the look she liked!

It's no surprise why they are called chandeliers as they sort of resemble the light fixtures' complexity.

Earrings go back a long way - the earliest archaeological evidence comes from Western Asia some 5000 years ago. Women have worn them constantly since then except for the medieval period when hairstyles and various headgear covered the ears. But the popularity of earrings returned with the up swept hairdos of the 17th century. The 17th century saw many pendant earrings, called girandoles - much more elaborate and heavier than our chandelier earrings today. Some were so heavy that ribbons were attached to the earrings and to the hairdo helped take up the weight. Such is the price of vanity!


Earrings : From Antiquity to Present

Beader Design #10 : Holly's Blue Goldstone Chip necklace

By on Tuesday, January 23, 2007 0 Comments

The sparkle in the blue goldstone chips caught Holly's eye such that she decided to make a necklace with them. She carefully selected just the right sort of glass beads, including those with inside colour to go with them. Repeating the pattern right around was an easy design decision!

Blue goldstone and its more well known copper-toned goldstone are simulated material like hematite/hemalyke (see earlier post). The sparkles you see are copper precipitates. Goldstone was most likely created by 17th century Venetians. However, other stories claim that it was a monk's accidental dropping of copper shavings in a vat of molten tinted glass that resulted in the embedded shavings shimmering like gold once the material cooled. Hence its alternative names, "monk's gold" or "monkstone". The monks were so pleased that they went off and invented brandy!


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Beader Design #9 : Debbi's Mother of Pearl Necklace

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Debbi created this necklace using three mother of pearl round discs which were coloured lightish brown. She teamed this design with creamy glass rice pearls with small grey beads as accents. The whole effect not only matches her grey suit but is also sufficiently neutral to go with more than just that outfit.

Mother of pearl (MOP) is also known as nacre which is secreted by certain species of molluscs, notably the pearl oyster and freshwater pearl mussels. This material lines the inner shells and its iridescence is an attractive quality.
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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Houston's magnificent gem collection

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The newly opened (November 2006) permanent exhibit hall called the Lester and Sue Smith Gem Vault of Houston's Museum of Natural Science complements the Cullen Hall of Gems and Mineral - a world-renowned collection of some of the finest gems and jewelry.

The collection boasts a magnificient 1,869-carat natural emerald crystal, the largest and most spectacular ever recovered in North America, the world's finest aquamarine, a gem first mined in 1938 and the world's finest Tsavorite garnet (144 carat) which is green, a rare colour for garnets - some consider the Tsavorite garnet finer than emeralds. And the impossibly large 2765 carat Boulder Opal.

Other jewelry highlights include stunning emerald, platinum and diamond tiara shown in the picture and a magnificent blue star sapphire. More about star gemstones in a future post.

If ever I was lucky enough to go to Houston, I know where I am headed!

Houston Museum of Natural Science :

Image from Press Release :

Boulder Opal :

Internationl Coloured Gem Association's article on Tsavorite garnets:

Beader Design #8 : Ginette's Tree Agate necklace

By on Saturday, January 20, 2007 0 Comments

Ginette chose three tube tree agate gemstones to form the focal point of her necklace. She did not use black cord for the rest of the necklace. She instead used small black and green seed beads interspaced with metal beads to complete the design.

Tree agate is a lovely gemstone with green veining. It is a good choice if one likes green and wants a change from the completely green stones such as aventurine or jade. The green can vary but the kind here is what I would call "hunter green". As many gemstone beads don't look alike, Ginette took advantage of that fact and used a darker piece bracketed with two lighter ones in her design.
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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Beader Design #7 : Alison's Tiger eye necklace

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Alison designed a very simple necklace with two different sizes of yellow tiger eye gemstone. She tapered down the design towards the clasp. A casual look that is not too dressy for everyday.

Only the large beads are seen when the necklace is worn with a shirt or blouse. But it takes on a different look when worn with a turtleneck or a tee-shirt.

Tiger eye beads catch the eye of many people because of it's unusual stripes of colour. Like other natural gemstones, no two beads are exactly the same. Turn the beads in the light and you will see the "eye" move.

In the eye of the tiger

By on Tuesday, January 16, 2007 0 Comments

Tiger eye or tiger's eye gemstones are popular. The distinct bands of iron oxide staining on a black stone gives it the unique look of a cat's eye, an effect called chatoyancy. A number of gemstones are chatoyant including true cat's eye which is a green-coloured chrysoberyl.

If the yellow-brown colour of tiger eye does not work for you, there is an attractive variant available called red tiger eye. The red colour is achieved through heat treatment (most gemstones on the market are heat treated including rubies and sapphires) which oxidises the iron, turning its colour to a reddish hue. I also have a less common yellow-bluish variant.

Tiger iron is an interesting gemstone from Australia which is a composite of three different gemstones - tiger eye, red jasper and black hematite. But the rarest type of tiger eye is the marra mamba also from Australia which contains several colours - reds, blues, yellows and greens! The Outback Mining website shows you some recent finds of this collector's item.

The Silverhawk Designer Gemstones website shows you drop dead gorgeous photos of finished marra mamba pieces that are absolutely to die for!

R.V. Dietrich. Gemrocks : Ornamental and Curio stones.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Metal allergies

By on Monday, January 15, 2007 0 Comments

My own metal allergy probably started with my intial earlobe piercings which were done with a needle (gasp!) of unknown metal content. Ear piercing guns (as in the picture) were not available then. That first sensitization, probably due to the nickel in the metal, worsened when I repeatedly wore cheap fashion earrings in later years. I developed a sorry case of allergic contact dermatitis.

Making my own jewelry became the affordable solution because I can wear sterling silver which is 92.5% pure silver. The other 7.5% is copper which doesn't usually cause any problems. Without a doubt care must be taken in the metal choice for initial piercings.

Nickel is the most common culprit for metal allergies although there are other metals. Note that surgical steel does contain nickel and I think it is best avoided. I only offer sterling silver and gold-filled earwires (14K gold in much thicker layer than gold-plated and will last with care) even if beaders are not sensitive. It is best to be careful where the metal goes through the pierced earlobe. I have a range of both sterling silver and ordinary metal clasps for necklaces and bracelets which almost all the beaders seem to be fine with. For the very few who cannot tolerate any metal at all, I have leather and cotton cord for necklaces. Any metal that might be used for the pendant will be on top of the garment and therefore not in contact with the skin.

If you have a nickel allergy, white gold is also to be avoided as it is usually alloyed to nickel (or palladium) to turn the normally yellow gold a white colour. However, all is not lost if you do have a favourite pair of earrings that you still want to wear but can't - bring them to our workshops and we'll convert them over to sterling silver ones (small charge).

I have come across someone who gets a slight blackening of her skin where her earring rubs. This is not an allergy but simply an individual's cosmetics or perspiration reaction to some of the other metals in the jewelry. The solution is to keep your jewelry away from cosmetics and lotions and keep your skin dry if you are prone to this problem.

I used to wear my gold stud earrings all the time and found that where they made contact with my skin discoloured to a reddish colour. As gold is an inert metal my skin was probably reacting to other alloys in the jewelry. Pure gold at 24 K is too soft so it must be alloyed with other metals. So another tip is to avoid wearing jewelry for too long or upgrading to 14K or 18K if your 10K gold jewelry is discolouring. The design of my stud earrings also trapped skin oils etc more easily. I recommend taking off jewelry at night and not putting them back on until after morning showers.

For those of you who have teenagers, the last two medical reference links below discuss body piercings. The oral variety just makes me shudder!

And oh, there is one other kind of allergy - I call it an upgrade allergy which has no health basis. Just a "need" to go from 14K to 18K gold or to platinum! The malady can strike anytime but most often in November or December.

Medical Encyclopedia on Contact Dermatitis
Jewelry allergies
"The itch that won't quit"
Why did my skin turn green?
Gold Allergy/Tarnishing of Gold
Why does gold change colour or tarnish fingers?
Hand eczema in a 22-year-old woman with piercings
Oral piercing health hazards

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Beader Design #6 : Anne's stiletto-style earrings

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Anne has grown to love long slim earrings that have movement.

She designed this pair using just a single large round red bead flanked by two pewter beads on each "stiletto". She wanted the sterling silver stem to be exposed to match the simple sterling silver necklace which already had a large pendant enclosing a red bead. Now she has a classy set to go with her garnet-coloured outfit. The design is particularly effective with short hair.

Many beaders at home beading parties and workshops have designed complimentary jewelry to existing pieces - a truly custom design option!
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Beader Design #5 : Anne's Feather Earrings

By on Sunday, January 14, 2007 0 Comments

Anne liked a pair of feather earrings that I made so much that she was inspired to make two more pairs using different beads for herself and for her sister.

Jewelry can be fun and funky using unusual material. In this case, if you haven't guessed already, the feathers are those used to make fishing lures! Perhaps I should have beading parties for anglers as suggested by the husband of a beading hostess!

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Canada helps fight blood diamond trade

By on Sunday, January 14, 2007 0 Comments

Conflict diamonds, sometimes called blood diamonds, recently received publicity through the release of the movie "Blood Diamond" starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou.

The sale of such diamonds on the black market are used to finance very violent conflicts in some African countries - Angola, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Congo. Therefore tracing where diamonds come from became internationally important in the fight against brutal regimes, criminal gangs and terrorist groups.

In 2000, the World Diamond Council was created which went on to develop a system called the Kimberley Process or Protocol to ensure that only legitimate rough diamonds (like the one in the picture) make it into the diamond supply chain. By 2004, the Canadian Government as Chair of the Kimberley Process reported that 99.8% of rough diamonds are now certified to be from conflict-free sources. The process involves the transportation of rough diamonds in sealed, tamper-proof containers accompanied by forgery-resistant and serially numbered certificates to countries all over the world where they are traded, cut, polished and sold.

There was much excitement when Canadian diamonds were first discovered in the 1990's in the north not just because it was a large source making Canada amongst the top three diamond producers in the world, but because of the high quality and the "clean" status - ie not used to fund terror. Canadian diamonds are laser-etched with a very tiny polar bear (and serial number) as a trademark to prove their origin!

It is important to realise the sale of legitimate diamonds support a lot of people worldwide - some 10 million according to the Diamond Facts Organisation website below. They also report that "In 2002, approximately 15% of total employment in the Canadian Northwest Territories was related to diamond" !

So if you are in the market for this popular gemstone, make sure you buy a certified diamond from a reputable jeweler. Better yet, buy a Canadian diamond!

"Blood Diamond" movie info :

CNN news : "Diamond trade fuel bloody wars" (2004)

BBC news : "Conflict diamonds still on sale (2004)

CBC in depth news : "Canada's Diamond Rush" (2004):

PBS's The Hunt for Diamonds in the Artic

Diamond Facts Organisation :

The Fortune-Telling Gemstone

By on Sunday, January 14, 2007 0 Comments

Rock Crystal or Clear Quartz is not to be confused with crystal which is just plain glass. Crystals like the famous Swarovski variety are sparklingly attractive but they are still glass.

The word quartz comes from the Greek one, krustallos, which means ice. It does resemble a transparent mass of ice so much so that the ancient Greeks thought it to be fossilized ice or ice made by the gods.

Since the Middle Ages, crystal balls have been used for fortune telling or scrying, to see things past and future. This type of divination using a crystal ball is called crystallomancy. Rock crystal is seldom found without faults so a perfect gemstone especially crystal ball size is very rare.

Today, clear quartz has a number of uses including the manufacture of precision instruments. Synthetic or cultured quartz is used in electronic applications because of its valuable physical properties. One such application rests on your wrist - your quartz watch. Your watch quartz vibrates when a voltage from the battery is applied. This oscillating vibration at 32,768Hz is a more accurate timekeeper than the balance wheel of the old style mechanical watches.

"The Crystal Ball" by John William Waterhouse, 1902 (oil on canvas.

Wikipedia : Crystal Ball
The Mineral Information Institute : Quartz
Quartz Watch, Smithsonian Institute
Judith Crowe (2006). The Jeweler's Directory of Gemstones: A Complete Guide to Appraising and Using Precious Stones From Cut and Color to Shape and Settings
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Beader Design #4 : BG's Triple Quartz necklace

By on Sunday, January 14, 2007 0 Comments

I am a beader too and since this is a braggin' gallery for all of us, I would like to show you one of my latest personal designs. This necklace and earrings set matches my new purple jacket that I got for Christmas.

I used oval rock crystal or clear quartz, and round amethyst and rose quartz beads interspersed with pewter and silver beads. I call this my triple quartz necklace because the gemstones are all quartz.

Quartz is the largest gem family and the most varied. There is an old gem trade saying that "if you're in doubt, say it's quartz"! There are two general categories of quartz. The transparent varieties include amethyst, citrine, smokey quartz, rock crystal, and rose quartz. Transparent rose quartz is quite rare - most of the time this gemstone is cloudy. The translucent or opaque varieties include agate, carnelian, aventurine, bloodstone, jasper, tigereye and petrified wood. Yes, petrified wood because the original sections of trees or branches have been replaced by a quartz-type silica. The wood transformed into a mineral after eons of being submerged in silica-rich water under extreme pressure. Usually a reddish-brown colour.

I have all the above mentioned gemstones available for designing.


Antoinette Matlins & A.C. Bonanno (1998). Jewelry & Gems the Buying Guide: How to Buy Diamonds, Pearls, Colored Gemstones, Gold & Jewelry With Confidence And Knowledge (Jewelry and Gems the Buying Guide)

Cally Hall (1994).Gemstones (Smithsonian Handbooks)

A Jewelry Box of Quotations

By on Sunday, January 14, 2007 0 Comments

A still life. Heinrich Uhl, Still life with Je...Image via Wikipedia The first one could be my motto! Some of them are delightful chuckles!

"The pearl is the queen of gems and the gem of queens."
Author Unknown

"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies."
Proverbs 31:10 (New International Version)

"Your cheeks are beautiful with earrings, your neck with strings of jewels."
Song of Solomon 1: 10 (New International Version)

"You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace."
 Song of Solomon 4:9 (New International Version)

"Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without."
Confucius (551 BC - 479 BC)
Chinese philosopher and reformer

 "I prefer liberty to chains of diamons."
Lady Mary Worley Montagu (1689-1782)
English poet and writer

"Dive into the sea of thought, and find there pearls beyond price."
Moses ibn Ezra (~1055-1138)
Jewish/Spanish philosopher, linguist and poet

"Adversity is the diamond dust Heaven polishes its jewels with."
Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)
Scottish essayist, satirist, and historian

“Sweet are the uses of adversity,which like the toad, ugly and venomous,wears yet a precious jewel in his head.”
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
English poet and playwright

"If you don't know jewelry, know the jeweler."
Warren Buffett
US investor and billionaire

“Lost, yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered, for they are gone forever.”
Horace Mann (1796 – 1859)
U.S. education reformer

"And these gems of Heav'n, her starry train."
from Paradise Lost by John Milton (1608-1674)
English poet

"In diving to the bottom of pleasure, we bring up more gravel than pearls."
Honore de Balzac
French novelist (1799-1850)

"There are many sham diamonds in this life which pass for real, and vice versa."
William Makepeace Thackeray
English writer (1811-1863)

“The soul is placed in the body like a rough diamond, and must be polished, or the luster of it will never appear.”
Daniel Defoe (c. 1659- 1731)
English writer

"Each day is a gem, different in kind, size, and colour and yours to polish!"
Carolanne Reynolds,
Canadian "Grammar Goddess"

"Praise, like gold and diamonds, owes its value only to its scarcity."
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)
 English poet, essayist, biographer and lexicographer

"People will stare. Make it worth their while."
Harry Winston (1896-1978)
Jeweler and owner of many legendary gemstones

"We shall find peace. We shall hear the angels, we shall see the sky sparkling with diamonds."
Anton Chekhov (1860-1904)
Russian physician and writer

"There is in them a softer fire than the ruby, there is the brilliant purple of the amethyst, and the sea green of the emerald - all shining together in incredible union. Some by their splendor rival the colors of the painters, others the flame of burning sulphur or of fire quickened by oil." (about opal)
Pliny the Elder (23-79)
Roman author, naturalist, naval and military commander

"I would rather be adorned by beauty of character than jewels. Jewels are the gift of fortune, while character comes from within."
Titus Maccius Plautus lived in ~2nd century BCE
Roman comic playwright 

"Let us not be too particular; it is better to have old secondhand diamonds than none at all."
Mark Twain (1835-1910)
American writer

"The difference between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels: it is always the false ones that look the most real, the most brilliant."
Salvador Dali (1904-1989)
Spanish surrealist painter

“A diamond is a chunk of coal that is made good under pressure.”
Henry Kissinger (1923-)
Political scientist, diplomat, Nobel Peace Prize laureate

"The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good. Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom."
James Allen (1864-1912)
English writer

"All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster's autobiography."
Federico Fellini (1920-1993)
Italian filmmaker

“Wit must be foiled by wit, cut a diamond with a diamond.”
William Congreve (1670-1729)
English playwright and poet

"In Beverly Hills, they have real jewelry and fake people. In West Virginia, we have fake jewelry but real people."
Cecil B. Roberts, President of the Mine Workers of America in reaction to CBS's plans for a new reality show called "The Real Beverly Hillbillies."

"Jewelry takes people's minds off your wrinkles."
Sonja Henie (1912-1969)
Norwegian figure skater, Olympic gold medalist and actress

"I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond."
Mae West (1893-1980)
American actress

“Kissing your hand may make you feel very good, but a diamond lasts forever.”
Anita Loos (1888-1981)
author of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

"Opportunity knocks for every man, but you have to give a woman a ring. "
Mae West (1893-1980)
American actress

"I have always felt a gift diamond shines so much better than one you buy for yourself."
Mae West (1893-1980)
American actress

"No gold-digging for me; I take diamonds! We may be off the gold standard someday."
Mae West (1893-1980)
American actress

Also see Gem-inspired Phrases and Sayings

Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Rare Pink Emeralds for Valentine's Day

By on Saturday, January 13, 2007 1 Comments

Pink Emeralds are the gemstone industry's Official Gemstone for Valentine's day 2007. Pink? If you thought all emeralds are green, you are right!! A pink emerald (or pink beryl) is actually morganite which is in the beryl family of gemstones as are green emeralds and aquamarine. Beryl itself is colourless but when it contains small amounts of chromium and vanadium, it becomes green (emerald) but if the impurity is manganese, then the colour is pink (morganite).

Natural pink emeralds are scarce. They are classified as rare gems - they are 25,000 times rarer than green emeralds, 40,000 times rarer than rubies and sapphires and 120,000 times rarer than diamonds which are really not rare at all. And what makes these beautiful stones such an investment is that there are apparently no working mines still producing them.

The Pink Emerald Company, the exclusive and largest retailer of pink emeralds just announced that a one of a kind "World's Largest Heart Shaped Pink Emerald" (169 carats) is for sale for $2,600,000 USD. It is about the size of a baby's fist. This beauty was found and mined in Minas Gerais, Brazil and was cut and faceted a master gemstone carver in Idar Oberstein in Germany, the leading gem cutting center of Europe. The ultimate Valentine's gift indeed for one lucky woman.

Click on the banner below to see their collection :

Hematite or Hemalyke?

By on Saturday, January 13, 2007 3 Comments

Hematite is an opaque mineral with a metallic lustre. It is actually iron oxide which we know as rust. Indeed, if you slice or powder hematite, it appears blood red. In some countries, they call this bloodstone (not to be confused with the jasper variety of bloodstone). "Hema" is Greek for blood. Understandably, it was used as protection against bleeding in olden times. If you see a gemstone called "Alaskan black diamond", it's just a misnomer for hematite. Hematite is found in many parts of the world including Lake Superior and Quebec in Canada.

The hematite we use in jewelry should really be called hemalyke which is the trade name for reconstituted hematite. The hematite is ground up and mixed with a glue binder before being pressed into molds. So hemalyke is identical to hematite but the former is less brittle and thus more beader-friendly.

Hematite is soluble in acid so keep it away from household chemicals. Not that any one of us would put our jewelry in contact with such solutions!

Cally Hall (1994) Gemstones (Smithsonian Handbooks)
Judith Crowe (2006) The Jeweler's Directory of Gemstones: A Complete Guide to Appraising and Using Precious Stones From Cut and Color to Shape and Settings
The Beading Gem's Journal
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