Monday, July 27, 2015

07.27.15 Making a Statement

Photo credit: Stella & Dot
I don't own many "statement" pieces - I tend towards smaller, more charm-like necklaces and earrings.  However, I've got my eye on one at the moment, the "Relic" pendant from Stella and Dot.

Photo credit: Stella and Dot
With a couple of notable exceptions - Tiffany and Kendra Scott - I don't  really think of  myself as a "brand" jewelry shopper.  I make an effort to patronize local shops like Russell Korman and Eliza Page, etsy or artisan jewelers that I know. 

Turns out, however, that Stella and Dot has become another of those exceptions.  I was first introduced to it through my friend Hillary, when she had a brand representative at one of her Chick's Pick's events.  Over the past several years I've bought a number of pieces, for myself and as gifts, from their line - which they update twice a year.

Photo credit: Stella & Dot
It started with their Tribute Bracelet, which supports breast cancer research.  I really like the combination of rose gold and hematite - and I'm always trying to find bracelets that I can wear when I work - ones that don't weigh down my wrists, fall off, or bang into my keyboard.

Slowly, I found myself adding pieces - mostly earrings (because I can't resist earrings, ever) - with each new collection.  Two of my favorite pairs are the fringe hoop earrings and Neeya drops. While both styles are out of stock, if you really want to find a pair, the stylists have samples - and sample sales - so it's worth asking!

Photo credit: Stella & Dot
The hoops have a very me & ro look to them (without the me & ro pricetag) - and are really fun to wear, they jingle when I shake my head.  The sparkly drops combine many of my favorite things - mixed metals, white stones, oxidized silver - and they go with a lot of pieces already in my jewelry drawer (not to mention how well they would go with the pendant above).

It's not just me, either. My daughter favors studs over hoops or dangly earrings, and two of her favorites are pairs that I bought her as gifts.  The pyramid shaped Eden studs have a matching necklace, and the little gold swallows are in her ears at least once a week.

Photo credit: Stella & Dot
Most recently, I've added one of their bags to my collection.  Now, I know bags aren't jewelry - but this one is shiny - so as far as I'm concerned, it counts.

A straw bag can only be carried so many years (even with TLC and being stored in a dust bag) before it gives up the ghost.  That's exactly what happened when the weather turned warm and it was time to switch purses - so the hunt was on for a new summertime bag.

I started at my usual haunts - Nordstrom, Coach, Michael Kors - but didn't find anything   I went to the Stella and Dot site almost as an afterthought, I figured it was worth a look.  What I found was their metallic Riveria tote - it was perfect!

Not only was it just what I was looking for - but it was about a third the price of what I had paid for the previous designer straw bag.  I placed my order, and when it arrived I tied my favorite summer Coach scarf around the handle, loaded it up and was back in business.

So, off I go, to enjoy the summer with my jingly earrings and my sparkly bag. 

Until next time.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

07.21.15 Ruby Tuesday

Rubies in the Gem Gallery
  National Museum of Natural History
Did you miss me yesterday (did you notice)?

I usually post on Mondays, but this week - in honor of July's birthstone - I'm mixing it up and posting a day late.

Rubies get their name from the Latin word for red, ruber, and their color from the element chromium. They are also one of four gemstones (along with diamond, emerald and sapphire) are called "precious".  This classification goes back to ancient Greece, and is based on their relative rarity and color purity.  There are many modern stones that are rarer, and more expensive, but these four gems are the ones that carry this particular designation.

Photo credit:
Met Museum
Precious gems have been used in jewelry throughout history. This gold earring with a faceted ruby is from the Censola Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Even in antiquity, jewelry makers cut facets into stones to enhance their ability to capture and reflect light - and in so doing - enhance their natural color.

The most highly prized stones are a true red - but not so dark that they don't allow light to pass through when they are cut.

This ring  (also shown in the Smithsonian display shown above) is the Carmen Lucia Ruby.  At over 23 carats, it is one of the largest faceted Burmese rubies in the world, and as the Smithsonian site describes it "an extraordinary gemstone".
Carmen Lúcia Ruby
At 23.10 carats, the Carmen Lúcia Ruby is the largest faceted ruby in the National Gem Collection and one of the finest large, faceted Burmese rubies known. - See more at:
At 23.10 carats, the Carmen Lúcia Ruby is the largest faceted ruby in the National Gem Collection and one of the finest large, faceted Burmese rubies known - See more at:
At 23.10 carats, the Carmen Lúcia Ruby is the largest faceted ruby in the National Gem Collection and one of the finest large, faceted Burmese rubies known - See more at:
At 23.10 carats, the Carmen Lúcia Ruby is the largest faceted ruby in the National Gem Collection and one of the finest large, faceted Burmese rubies known - See more at:
Photo credit:
Smithsonian Institution

I don't have any rubies in my personal jewelry collection, in fact, my favorite ruby isn't a gem at all - but Ruby Red Grapefruit - so named for its beautiful red color (and delicious flavor).  But, I digress.  Since this is a jewelry blog, I have put together a Pinterest collection for you to peruse.
Photo credit:

Have a fabulous Tuesday, and a wonderful week!

Until next time.

Monday, July 13, 2015

07.13.15 Dreaming of the sea

Getting our family of five together for a summer vacation is like an advanced level game of Tetris. With our youngest child off to college (and out of the house with a great job from June to August) - and our older ones now working for a living, it has taken weeks to put together a four day trip that fits all of our schedules.

Planning for our rendezvous on Cape Cod made me think  about the summers we spent in the Outer Banks of North Carolina - with our kids, my brother's family, and my parents.  Trying to capture that beach feeling, I pulled out one of many pairs of sea glass earrings I made over the years on those trips.

I first discovered sea glass jewelry in one of the cute shops along Highway 12 - the main beach road.  You know the ones - full of batiked tee shirts and sea shells on everything.  I liked the jewelry - but resisted the immediate urge to make a purchase.  I'm glad I did because on one rainy afternoon my sister-in-law and I took our daughters and went off to entertain ourselves while the guys hung out in front of the TV.

We were thrilled to find a nifty bead store adjacent to a coffee shop in town, and to my happy surprise they had loose drilled glass available for sale.  We spent a few wonderful hours making earrings and beaded necklaces.

We went to the Outer Banks every other year, and in one of the in between years we vacationed in Boothbay Harbor, Maine.  Walking along the rocky coastline, we found a few small pieces of sea glass on our own.  On this trip I did give into my urge to take home a souvenir, and bought a wonderful bracelet with rainbow colored sea glass charms.

So what IS sea glass?  It is pieces of broken glass that find their way into the sea (or a large lake), are smoothed and shaped by spending decades in the water, and then found washed up on a beach. 

The color of the glass depends on its original use - brown glass is generally from beer or medicine bottles; green glass comes in many shades - bright green from 7Up bottles, dark green from wine bottles or paler pieces from Coke bottles.

Rarer colors are blue, red, yellow or orange.  Blue comes from things like Noxzema jars or Milk of Magnesia bottles.  Red is usually from broken tail or warning lights from cars and boats.

There are people who treat sea glass like gems - grading it on size and color, certifying authenticity, and making amazing fine jewelry using it.  This isn't really surprising - especially since the amount of "new" sea glass found every year is declining - as our society has moved from glass to plastic containers.

If you are interested in REAL sea glass, you can learn more about it and find sellers with a simple Google search.  You can also find tumbled, frosted glass beads that have the look of sea glass, but are more uniform, and particularly for larger pieces much less expensive.

For me, the beauty of these things is in the memories of making them, and time spent with my family by the sea.

Until next time.

Monday, July 6, 2015

07.06.15 You meet the nicest people...

When I put up my first post, 6 months ago, I wasn't really sure where I was going with this blog.  I knew I wanted to do more writing - for myself as much as anyone - and that I needed a pretty serious distraction from the Texas Legislature while they were in session.

Iolite Sunflower from
Cecile Raley Designs
Thankfully, the Legislature went home a month ago (although we're still reeling), I've written over 15,000 words and my blog page has been viewed nearly 2,200 times.  I've also met or gotten to know (online, anyway) some of the nicest people.

"Seven" necklaces from Metalsgirl
First, there are the local Austin folks, some of whom I've known for a while - people like Laura Gibson of Metalsgirl, Christine Terrell of adaptive reUse, and the good folks at Eliza Page and Russell Korman.  Then there are others, like Courtney Gray and Wynn Bradford of Creative Side Jewelry Academy that I have worked with over the last few months. 

There are other folks who I haven't had the chance to meet in person, but have been sources of support and encouragement - answering my questions, reposting my blog and in some cases, providing me with an item of jewelry to write about.

Lost Wax Pendant made at
Creative Side Jewelry Academy
Among these are Cari Streeter of Jewelry by Cari, Peggy Li of Peggy Li Creations, Yvonne Raley of Cecile Raley Designs, and Stephanie Maslow-Blackman of Metalicious.

"Modern Rock" pendant from Metalicious
Then there are all of you - gentle readers - who have followed along, commented, pinned or posted.  You, most have all, have kept me on track and help me accountable (at least in my own mind) to write something new every week.

In order to do that, I've had to think and learn - and it has been so good for me and so much fun.  I've worn more different pieces of jewelry in the past six months than I have in years. I've made pieces - with my own hands - that I will enjoy for years to come; and perhaps most important, even when other things in my world weren't going as I hoped, I had this blog to write - about something I enjoy so much, and get to share with you.

 Until next time.