This past weekend I went to the NY NJ Gem Show, held in Edison NJ. There are very few gem shows in the northeast. I am lucky this one is a short travel distance from me. I go every year and always find a few treasures.
My favorite colors are blues of the water and sky. There are three Lapis stones here that I find magical. I can't wait to set them into something beautiful. There are also two incredible turquoise triangles that will make a great pair of earrings. The rough, raw turquoise I will use for rings. The two stones on top right are Shattuckite from Congo. In the center is a sprinkle of clear Herkimer Diamonds (quartz) that are only found in New York state.
Here are more earthy colored stones. I couldn't resist them. The two cross shapes are cultured pearls. They will be perfect for something to add to the Crosses and Saints Collection. In the center are sprinkles of warm Amber from Poland. An interesting Dinosaur Bone stone is top right , in reds and gray. The two large oval stones on bottom are brown Picture Jasper and a Royal Imperial Jasper from Mexico.
Do you have any ideas for what I should make to set these stones? Let me know if anything here speaks to you.
Making custom wedding rings, I am often struck how lovers see themselves in their own world and their love as the center of their own special universe.
Spirals are found throughout nature. A seashell's curve, a hawk following it's prey, even weather patterns and beach formations occur in spirals. NASA's site has some wonderful images of Spiral Galaxies. They inspired me to think of how I can recreate the spiral symbol in my jewelry to reflect that special center of the universe love.
What a nice way to start the day. My Ancient Rustic Opal Engagement Ring was featured on the front page of Etsy this morning.
Here's a copy of the collection that was shown. My ring is the last picture. It sold right away, but I have more Australian opals to make a few similar but unique rings.
This week I enjoyed creating a custom pendant to showcase a client's special Rune stone.
He requested that I add a fleur-de-lis symbol. We decided to add it both as a cutout on the back and also a chased design on the sides. An ancient, rustic style was needed to reflect the ancient symbol of the Rune stone.
Following are photos of the process.
I measured the stone he provided and figured the right height for the custom bezel. I tested a design on a scrap of silver. Once the bezel was completed, I tested it for the fit. I created a fleur-de-lis sketch to fit. The backplate and bale were soldered. The cutout was pierced with a jeweler's saw. The stone was set using a hammered handpiece. A dark, antique patine was applied and then hand brushed and polished.
Do you have a special stone, coin, token or shell? Would you like to make it into a wearable piece of jewelry? I'd love to work with you on creating a one of a kind treasure.
Choose a word, put it on a pin, wear it and you have made a public statement. During the first week of the daily challenge called Brooch a Day 2013, I enjoyed thinking about the power of pins.
Pins are very public. The wearer doesn't even see them. They are like a billboard. The question becomes, what do you have to say?
Sometimes, we let others say something about us, by putting a pin on us.
Why do we let others put a pin on us? It says we are in the club, we paid, we are with the band, we are of the same tribe.
So, what word would you wear? Let me know. I'll be offering custom word pins soon.
Follow my progress on Brooch a Day here.
I love what I do. I really do. I move metal, five days a week, into forms of love, memories, faith and hope. I felt so blessed this holiday season, in the midst of all my busyness. What a wonderful job I have, to create treasures for others! How cool is that?
Shhh...its a secret. Don't let my family know, haha... Even when I had a ton of orders to make, I was sooooo happy, sitting at my jeweler bench, late into the night. You know how Derek Jeter says in the post season, "I live for this"? Well, making jewelry that means something to the recipient - I live for that.
Many people like to give a cross as a gift. I can engrave initials, a special date, a Bible verse citation, etc. Most of my crosses don't allow for too many characters though. One customer asked me to engrave the names of her four children on the back of a cross, as a gift to her husband. It seems I'm always asked to engrave more than what will fit nicely. So, I was inspired to create this square cross design.
It's a one inch square solid sterling silver on the back, which allows for lots of custom engraving space. The cross is also sterling silver. The two pieces are textured with different hammers, to create a bold contrast. I add a dark antique patina to highlight the rustic style. It's great for a man or a woman who likes the rustic look.
You can order your own version at this link.
You can see more cross designs here.
The price of silver has almost doubled in the past six months! For interesting chart reading, check out the Kitco charts on silver here. Just a year ago, I could buy an ounce of silver for less than $20. Today, the price of that same amount will most likely hit $40. There are predictions that the prices will continue to climb, possibly hitting $60 an ounce.
I'm sorry to say, I will have to raise some of my prices. I'll be going over my costs on the silver pieces and adjusting prices. If you have been thinking about a certain piece, please order it now. I still have a small amount of silver stock that was bought at lower prices that I can use for orders in the next day or two.
Another option that now makes more sense, is for you to provide the silver for your pieces. If you have old broken, out of style, orphan earrings, etc., that are marked sterling or 925, they can be melted down and cast into something fun. This is also a nice option if you have some old silver that is sentimental, but is in such bad shape that it's unusable. You can be assured the same silver that was given as a gift many years ago is now in the new piece you are wearing.
Most of the pieces in the Bones of the Sea Collection can be made from your silver.
I'll update the site soon with more details about this option. Meanwhile, contact me if you are interested.
I'm busy in my shop making crosses.
Silver Cross Earrings
I'm always trying to figure out why we wear jewelry. One of the reasons, I believe, is to declare our beliefs to the world. A simple symbol can become a powerful statement.
During Spring, a metal cross is the perfect gift for Easter, Mother's Day, Confirmation and Communion. It's also sweet as a graduation gift.
I offer silver and copper crosses, with free personalized engraving or stamping on the back.
They are fun to make, but keep me busy. Get your orders in soon!
I'm going back to basics. After spending a year making a ring a day in 2010, I'm starting all over again with my approach to rings. Yes, even after all those rings, I still have so much to learn and explore about rings.
There is one piece of adornment that the majority of both men and women wear every day. It's a simple, plain wedding band. A symbol of love and commitment and indicator of relationship status.
A simple wedding band ring was the first piece of jewelry that I made when I learned to solder. I felt such joy when I made my first ring. Yesterday, I made this simple silver band and felt the same joy again. Just enjoying the process and the wonder, that there is a piece of jewelry that is treasured by so many. It's not about trends or the latest style. It's not about art jewelry. It's something much more ancient and universal. It's somehow a part of the reason I make jewelry, although I struggle to use words to define this.
I've made this ring available for custom order, for any size and inscription, through my Etsy shop. If you'd rather order directly from me, just use the contact form.
Mary Lu Wason
is a studio jeweler. Here she shares the inspirations, discoveries and process of creating her art jewelry collections.