Sunday, 7 January 2018

Gemstones for January

Hello and Happy New Year to you.  Well it's been almost a year since I started working with metals and I am enjoying every minute of it.  I work with three metals at the moment Sterling Silver, Copper and now Brass which is a much harder metal, next I hope to include gold but it may be a while before I do that. This coming year I'm planning to include more gemstones in my work and would like to learn more about the stones I am using.  I was given two books last year a Jewellers Dictionery of Gemstones and a book on Sacred Crystals, so will be learning about both the technical aspects of the stones alongside the more spiritual side and will be doing a monthly blog about what I learn, so I hope you will enjoy finding out about gemstones with me.

I'm going to start with gemstones associated with January, which according to my books are Garnets and Flourite.
The Garnet is a traditional birthstone for January, most commonly dark red but in more recent times other varieties of garnet have been discovered in shades of Orange (Spessarite), greens & yellows (Grossular Garnet), Violet (Rhodolite) and a curious Colour Change Garnet (Demantoid).

Garnets are said to provide fortitude, strength and security, keeping you grounded and bringing feelings of vitality.

Garnets are quite hard wearing, but can be brittle to work with as I discovered whilst making the heart bracelet, I accidentally cracked the first garnet and had to replace it.
This is one of my favourite pieces made using garnets, I particularly love the colour of these ones which are a fabulous the deep purple/red (middle strand right hand side), working well next to the soft lilac pearls.

Purple Flourite is also associated with January. Flourite is quite a delicate mineral stone and is more often used for carving decorative objects rather than used in jewellery because of this. Flourite used in jewellery is often treated with resin to help prevent fracturing.  Colour ranges from clear through violet, purple, yellow and green.  There is also a variety know as Blue John found in the UK. Flourite is said to help with personal growth, creativity and innovation.

It is known as an excellent stone to use during meditation to help clear your mind and improve concentration.

Flourite also has uses in the metallurgical, ceramics, and chemical industries.

I have used a bright violet shade flourite chip in this bracelet. Perfect for 2018 with Ultra Violet, being the Pantone® Color of the Year this year.

I hope you have enjoyed reading what I have learned about gemstones associated with January and continue to visit for future updates.  I for one have learnt several things, some the hard way (i.e. don't press too hard on a stone whilst setting it!) some interesting, especially the spiritiual side of stones and area which I know very little about, but want to continue to learn  about, and one surprising that we have a  unique variety of Flourite in the UK, who knew!.

Thanks for stopping by and I'll be back in February with more on gemstones. 

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

It's my Folksy-versary this month, celebrating 8 years on Folksy

Well, there I was just looking back over some old blog posts and came across one from November 2010, celebrating my first year on Folksy, now here I am another 7 years on! where has that time gone?

I started out with my first shop Maxine Veronica Jewellery selling beaded jewellery and as time went on I expanded into other crafts including art and greeting cards, which actually started to take over so in 2013 I closed Maxine Veronica Jewellery and opened as Paper, Chains & Beads a name, I felt better reflected what I was doing. 

Some of my early and favourite makes for Paper, Chains & Beads

My little Folksy shop has done well over the past 4 years reaching more than 500 sales, and every sale still makes me do the Happy Dance!  In terms of overall sales since I started on Folksy, my total number of sales is 814, though some of those were for multiple items so it's probably closer to 900 items (Wow! I'm pretty amazed by that!)

As for me, over the 8 years I have continued to learn new skills and developed my own style and (almost) settled down to just a few crafts. Paper, Chains & Beads is still going strong but these days I mainly concentrate on memory books and art, jewellery though has moved on to Sterling Silver & Copper and earlier this year I opened a second shop Max Pring Jewellery, I know deja vue!

I can honestly say I have loved every minute, I won't deny it's been hard work, much harder than I thought it would be, there is so much competition out there now for handmade items that you have to work to promote your shops and social media is my main tool for this, time consuming but necessary. 

For anyone thinking of opening an on-line shop, I say go for it, but do be prepared to work at promoting and engaging with your customers. I spend a lot of time communicating with customers, especially on commission makes. I find it especially rewarding when my customers let me know how happy they are with an item and I'm humbled to be part of someones special day be it a Book for treasured memories or a piece of Jewellery with a special message.

It will be interesting to come back in another 7 years and see what's changed. 

Thanks for stopping by and it's a bit early but what the heck have a Merry Christmas!