Monday, December 29, 2008

Back to work

The holidays are nearly over... and I am slowly getting back to work. The shop still needs to be cleaned, have to inventory all metal scraps and stones, do receipts, get ready for tax time... ugh! I hate the end of the year stuff to deal with.

But even though I have all of the end of the year crap, yes... I said crap, to deal with, I do have jobs lined up for next year. So, back to working on ideas for a Nouveau engagement ring.

I really want to include calla lilies and some types of swirls. From the top it would look more like vines, but from the sides you will be able to see the calla lilies holding the main stone. Also, the main store could be round, oval or cushion cut.

Let's see if this one flies!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Festivus!

Merry Christmas... Happy Chanukah... Happy Kwanzaa... and HAPPY FESTIVUS!

I still love the idea of a Festivus for the Rest of Us! So... put up your aluminum pole and air your grievances... and have a very merry merry whatever you want to celebrate!

And just for you, my readers, I got you a special gift...

I wish you all a wonderful, warm and safe holiday season and look forward to many adventures together in the New Year!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Religious Tolerance

Well... it's about that time of year again that I go off on one of my little diatribes that have very little to do with jewelry on the surface. But, with me, in the end it all comes back to jewelry. I had a special little project that I was working on for the holidays, but hadn't shared because of the symbol used. Some will take automatic offense to it, but that is when you are unaware of it's beginnings. So, with that, let's talk a little bit about religious tolerance.

I have never really been a fan of the term 'tolerance' used with the idea religion. To me, personally, tolerance is used when dealing with a screaming child on a plane or a bitter relative that you are stuck spending time with at the holidays. You tolerate all of those situations. I would prefer if we used a term more like 'religious respect' or 'religious understanding'... but religious tolerance is the term coined, so we'll go with that.

This is a time of year when we are surrounded by many different religious holidays, even though what we are bombarded with is commercialism. While most know that we are 3 days from Christmas (due to all of the television ads reminding us) many forget, or do not realize, that we are 2 days into Chanukah... and Kwanzaa begins on the 26th (though it is not a religious celebration.) But remembering specific dates is not what makes us tolerant, it is being educated (even in the slightest) and having ability to understand and show respect for each religion. With this being said, we are not going to talk about religious tolerance dealing with Catholics or Muslums or Christans or Jews... but about the Hindu religion.

About 2 years ago, I was introduced to Sal's parents, who are from India and are Hindu. And what would any good Indian family do when spending time with a jeweler but pull out every piece of jewelry they own to get a verbal appraisal of each. Well, while we were going through pendants, I came across one that was quite surprising, almost shocking, to me. It is a Hindu good luck charm that I later found out dates back to 2400 BC or possibly earlier... the Swastika.

The Hindu Swastika is an equilateral cross with arms bent at 90 degree angles, sometimes with other decorative elements added in. This symbol was once commonly seen all over the world, but with the Nazi regime adopting the emblem it is very controversial in this day and age. The Nazi Swastika is orientated differently by being rotating it 45 degrees... while the Hindu Swastika is straight up and down, similar to a cross.

Well, I felt embarrassed about my reaction to seeing the pendant because I was ignorant to their religious beliefs. And while I am not completely educated in the Hindu religion now, I am much more open minded about what I may come across.

So, where am I going with this? Well, I told you it would all come back to jewelry!

A couple of months ago, when I thought I was going to be killed in an antique shop in Ct, I bought some beautiful glass pieces that were about 125 years old. Along with this bunch, I found a Hindu Swastika. I had them all sitting on my bench and a neighbor came over and asked (in a rather defensive manner) why I had a Swastika in my possession. Well, I went through the whole explanation and she seemed satisfied, but I was still hesitant sharing this with anybody.

But you, my shiny followers, are not just anybody! So here goes... I set a Hindu Swastika for Sal's mom for Christmas...

It's a tiny little piece... no larger than a dime... set in 18K yellow gold. I had to make the bail rather larger because she wears fairly heavy chains (and always mentions how she can't wear American pendants on her chains.)

So, be happy that you learned a new piece of information... and remember to show respect to all religions.

Oh... and on a side note... I couldn't make a pendant for Sal's mom without making one for mine! This is what will be under the tree for my mum this year...

Yes, a 125 year old wiener dog portrait! It is also set it 18K yellow gold. Please... in my family wiener dogs are treated like little demi-gods, so why not wear one around you neck ;)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Swirly Cufflinks

14K white gold and VS1 melee diamond cufflinks.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

plugging along...

I know I haven't been posting much, but I'm just attempting to get everything finished in time for the holidays. Honestly, I'm not having an insane month... just a regular month. BUT the thing that makes this a little extra crazy that everything is due at the same moment.

I finished a couple small projects last night... thought I'd share...

This is a semi-custom lady bug... red gold with little black diamonds.

And personalized collar stays... sterling silver with a stamped personal message.

Seriously, I know these collar stays are simple, but Sal loves his. I don't know why more men don't get them. Those cheap little plastic ones are... well... cheap! These aren't really expensive and they will last a lifetime.

Okay... back to work! Wee!

Friday, December 12, 2008

nouveau engagemet ring idea...

I have been approached to design an Art Nouveau inspired engagement ring. Some of the key words used in describing the project were nouveau, calla lily, bezel set and set low, and NO diamonds... just sapphire. Well, if you follow my blog, you know that I adore Art Nouveau and Calla Lilies! So this project is right up my alley!

After poking around a bit online, searching for examples of nouveau rings, a very cool idea hit me.

A melding of old and new. Somewhat of a traditional shape from the top view, but a more whimsical side view (with the flying saucer shape to the head.) The calla lily pattern could either be carved as a relief or pierced and cut out (which I prefer.) Then the head would connect to the shank with a calla lily on each of the shoulders.

I don't know the clients thoughts on this ring as of yet. I'll let you know!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Flying Buttress Ring

It's finished! And I think it came out pretty damn cool...

The ring is Palladium w/ a .73ct IF F cushion cut center stone and a pair of .52ct total SI1+ G pears.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

the many views of Tracey...

Apparently my newest pastime is attending weddings. Between friends and clients, I have one every month or so during peak wedding months. We already have 4 save-the-dates for next year! It's amazing!

Currently I am trapped on the couch sick (I'm finally admitting that I have a cold) and was flipping through photos of weddings we have attended. And oddly enough, so many of the photos are interchangeable... all that differs is the dress and shoes!

Let's see...

There is insane dancing Tracey...

... and mellow Tracey (after a glass or two of wine)...

... then annoyed Tracey (being forced to try to catch the bouquet)...

... and finally exhausted Tracey (shoes off, hair mussed... looking disheveled.)

So be forewarned... this is what you get if you invite me to a wedding.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

the casting...

Just got the casting back for the engagement ring. I gotta say, it's a pretty sweet design. Sometimes I surprise myself ;)

The casting has not been cleaned yet, I'm going to start on that now. So please ignore the spru at the bottom and the insane length of the prongs. But it gives a good idea of what the final piece will look like!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

engagement ring design...

This is a quick sketch for an engagement ring. The key words for this piece were:


I know... crazy huh? So, this is what we have come up with...

The center stone is an internally flawless F color cushion cut flanked by a pair of pears, which will be held by 'flying buttresses.' The band will be a soft ellipse, based on 'Bird in Space' by Brancusi.

I'll keep you posted on how the design progresses.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

put it on!

I have received so many emails about what the pearls look like on, so I took some photos... just for you. After a few attempts to take photos of it on me (in the bathroom, in a mirror) and they looked horrible, I knew I needed a plan B. So I pulled out the sewing mannequin (My Double) and displayed it on her.

This photo shows a normal day to day style for the pearls with the clasp on the side...

But then, for those special evenings when a sexy low back dress may come into play, you could wear it like this...

The clasp can be worn in the front, as a choker pendant... then the pearls would cascade down the back. OOO... sexy!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Chocolate Shortbread

I haven't shared a good recipe with you for a while... so here goes...

Chocolate Shortbread Bars

• Butter (for the pan)
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 4 egg yolks
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 3 cups flour
• 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• Extra flour (for sprinkling)
• 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips or 2 bars ( 2 ounces each) bittersweet chocolate, coarsely broken
• Granulated sugar (for sprinkling)
• Confectioners’ sugar (for sprinkling)

Set the oven at 250 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch pan. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan. Butter the paper. In a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon, cream the butter. Add the granulated sugar a little at a time until it is well blended. Beat in the yolks and vanilla.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir the dry mixture into the butter mixture a little at a time until it is all incorporated. The dough will be sticky.

Place two-thirds of the dough in the pan. Using your fingertips, press it into an even layer. Flour your hands as you work. Prick the dough all over with a fork.

Sprinkle the chocolate chips of pieces over the dough to within 1/4 inch of the edges. Place clumps of the remaining dough around the perimeter of the chocolate, making a 1/2 inch border. Then scatter the remaining dough clumps to fill in the rectangle. You will still be able to see chocolate through the dough. With a lightly floured hand, pat the clumps gently all over to flatten them slightly. Sprinkle the dough lightly with granulated sugar.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top of the pastry is pale golden. Remove the pan from the oven and set it on a wire rack to cool.

Cover the pan with foil and refrigerate just until the chocolate sets. Remove from the refrigerator and cut the pastry into bars, making 3 horizontal cuts and 4 vertical cuts.

Lift out the bars, sprinkle them with confectioners’ sugar, and stack them on a plate.


Thursday, November 06, 2008

sneak peek...

The holidays are right around the corner (gulp) and Green Spot Studio is gearing up for 'em! The buggies are done... and quite cute, if I do say so myself! And they will be on sale next week on the website... woo0hoo!

I'm going to be completely honest with all of you... well, I always am... but I am extra nervous about this holiday season. None of us have money to burn this year. And that is what I kept in mind when I came up with my small line for the holidays this year... high quality and low cost.

I don't want to force my clients to run out and buy something poorly made, gold plated, hollow, etc., just to save a hundred bucks this season. I really wanted to give an option, even though there are only a few, that would be adorable and high quality and wouldn't break the bank. So I came up with my idea of the LITTLE BUGS.

Each of these pieces are 18K on a Sterling Silver chain. And I'm offering them at WHOLE SALE pricing. Each piece will be $250 (plus tax for MA residents.)

But... my faithful readers... I'm giving you one more chance to save a little money for the holidays. These will not go on sale on my website till Sunday or Monday. If you drop me an email here BEFORE MONDAY AT 9 PM I will give you and EXTRA 10% OFF! All you have to do is send me an email telling me which bug you want, your contact information (full name, email address, mailing address and phone number) and mention the BLOG BUG SALE and I will send you an invoice reflecting the 10% off. Simple enough!

And you don't have to be a full time blog reader either... pass this along to friends and family and co-workers.

So, without delay, here are the buggies...

The BEE - 18K Yellow Gold / Sterling Silver Chain

The GRASSHOPPER - 18K Green Gold / Sterling Silver Chain

The LADYBUG - 18K Red Gold / Sterling Silver Chain

All of these pieces are so much cuter in person! As I always say, high polished - high domed jewelry photographs poorly.

NOW... there is one more small thing! All of these piece can be made semi custom. You can turn any of these into cufflinks (for men or women), add some stones to them (black diamonds for the lady bugs spots, diamond wings on the bee, etc), emeralds on the grasshopper... who knows... get creative! And if you contact me about this before Monday at 9PM I will give you 10% off of a semi-custom on the bugs.

I hope this helps to kick off a good holiday season for us all! Cheers!

Monday, November 03, 2008

where i've been...

So, I bet you have been wondering where I have been... well, this is what has been taking up all my time...

I built the swirl filigree pearl clasp. It is insanity. Here are a few views of it...

And the back side of the clasp...

And the matching earrings...

NOW... for the specs...

-3 Strands of 10-11mm Fresh Water Cultured Pearls (the color is called Minty Silver)
-The first strand is 19 inches, the second is 22 and the third is 25
-The clasp is 30mm x 15mm
-14K white gold
-the large diamond is .85 ct VS2 I/J color Mine Cut
-the small diamonds are SI quality single cuts, each one is approximately .025 ct

The entire piece was done by me... and me alone. No casting, no outsourced stone setting... all me. And this is one of the first pieces that I have completely fabricated by hand in a very very very long time!

Seriously, the photos don't do it justice! But will get Sal to take a few photos of it on me, you need to see how this lays. I LOVE THIS PIECE!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

new bee wax...

Okay. I have finally given into the fact that my last bee looked like an angry hornet. Actually, it reminded me of the space ship of the Brown Hornet on the Fat Albert Show... remember that? Anyway, I needed to make a less angry looking bee. So, I came up with the cute little guy...

He will be 18K Yellow gold on a sterling silver chain. The chain will slip through the head... in the general area where his antennae would be.

Off to the caster in the morning and photos of it next week... promise.

seeing doubles...

I received an inquiry about turning that one grasshopper pendant into a pair of grasshopper cufflinks. Of Course! That's the joy of custom jewelry!

So today I finally got the time to sit down and carve the mirror image of my original little guy. And if I do say so myself, they are pretty damn close.

But there is going to be a little twist to these cufflinks. We are fabricating them to be both cufflinks and 2 single pendants. How, you may ask? Well, you'll have to wait it I have them finished to find out (but I have a great idea!)

More to come.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Complete Final Swirly Pendant

UPS finally found my package with the metal for the neck wire... so the swirly pendant is now 100% finished. And may I say, it is an amazing piece.

The pictures just do not do it justice (because of the high polished rounded surfaces.)

But the reason it is so amazing is because it has some many different aspects to it. It has the client's grandmother's diamonds (sill set in the gold), my clients diamonds from a pair of earrings... and all set into an insane platinum swirl.

This is a show stopper.

Now I just need to find time that my client and I can actually get together so I can hand it off to her!!!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Final Swirly Pendant

The swirl pendant is complete! Well... almost.... but I'll explain that later.

This pendant took so many steps it was absolutely insane. I know it looks simple, but it took quite some time to get it to this point! We started with a sheet of silver and cut it out, then we made a mold, then we adjusted the wax, made another mold, then we cast it (3 times) till we got it right. From there we cleaned up the casting, polished the swirl, set the small diamonds, polished it again... then we had to send it out to have the diamonds set in bezel balls laser welded in place. Then we put a final polish on the final piece.

But the part that is not completed is the neck wire that this will be hanging from. Unfortunately, UPS is currently missing that package with the material to make it. Hopefully it will be here soon!
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