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.
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