Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Power of Stones, continued...Amazonite

Hello!  I'd like to continue my musings on the power of stones.  I'll start off with the disclaimer that I am not claiming any of my jewelry has certain powers just because it features a particular stone.  I am simply stating what common beliefs are and sharing my own thoughts on the topic.  Whether or not these things hold true are up to you to decide, and I suggest doing your own research and sharing your opinions.  Once again, I also want to thank my friend BJ Bigham-Trupp for sharing her own research and beliefs with me.  Some of the information I am presenting was given to me by her, and some is from various internet sources on the topic. 
Last time I wrote about the agate family.  Today I'd like to discuss amazonite.  According to Wikipedia, "Amazonite (sometimes called "Amazon stone") is a green variety of microcline feldspar.
The name is taken from that of the Amazon River, from which certain green stones were formerly obtained, but it is doubtful whether green feldspar occurs in the Amazon area.
Amazonite is a mineral of limited occurrence. Formerly it was obtained almost exclusively from the area of Miass in the Ilmen mountains, 50 miles southwest of Chelyabinsk, Russia, where it occurs in granitic rocks. More recently, high-quality crystals have been obtained from Pike's Peak, Colorado, where it is found associated with smoky quartz, orthoclase, and albite in a coarse granite or pegmatite. Crystals of amazonite can also be found in Crystal Park, El Paso County, Colorado. Some other localities in the United States yield amazonite, and it is also found in pegmatite in Madagascar and in Brazil.
Because of its bright green colour when polished, amazonite is sometimes cut and used as a gemstone, although it is easily fractured.
For many years, the source of amazonite's color was a mystery. Naturally, many people assumed the color was due to copper because copper compounds often have blue and green colors. More recent studies suggest that the blue-green color results from small quantities of lead and water in the feldspar. (Hoffmeister and Rossman, 1985)." 
I don't particularly know or care what gives amazonite it's color but I will tell you that I think it is a beautiful stone- the shades of blue and green often reminding me of the sky or water, and in that it is very inspiring to work with to create a design that paints a picture in one's mind eye.  I often find myself feeling calmer when I work with it or wear it.
According to BJ's research, amazonite is very useful for centering oneself, getting back to balance, refocus and stabilization.  She states it is a zodiac stone for Virgo. 
I have also read that amazonite can help to enhance creative expression, perhaps that goes back to my earlier comment about it being inspiring to work with because of it's beauty?  It is said to help improve one's  self worth. Amazonite is considered a soothing stone that offers confidence. I have seen it called the "hope stone" because it inspires confidence and hope and also heard it called the stone of courage.  It was used by the ancient Egyptians.  Artifacts have been found including strings of beads of gold, lapis lazuli and amazonite.  It was also used in ancient Rome and India for adornment.  I would imagine that any people coming across the beauty of this stone in nature would see the potential it holds for use as a bead or talisman to enhance the beauty of the wearer.  Here are some examples of my own use of the stone in my work. 

Skies Above earrings by greygirldesigns

Heavenly necklace by greygirldesigns

Fly Like An Eagle necklace by greygirldesigns

Whatever properties it possesses, this beautiful stone is a delight to behold, and I hope you find my creations featuring it as mystical and lovely as I intended them to be.  If they help you find some balance or even hope in your life then that could be an added benefit to wearing them!  All three of the designs above are one of a kind pieces that are currently available in my Etsy store.  Have you personally had any experiences with a particular gemstone that made you feel a certain way whenever you wore it?  I would love for you to share your story with me and others here! 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

High Tide

The last time I wrote about my creative process and how I go about designing a piece of jewelry I told you about a coming storm and how it influenced me.  I would like to share with you today how a stone can tell it's story through one of my designs.  You might think it's silly that a stone would have a story to tell, but do you ever see something in nature and see something deeper inside it?  For example, you may be looking up at the sky on a perfect day and see a cloud that looks like a bunny...and the more you look at it, the clearer the image of the bunny becomes in your mind.  Well this is kind of like that. Here's the story of High Tide.

It all started with this gorgeous blue impression jasper that I got at the last Bead Blast here in Kansas City.  Take a peek and see what it brings to your mind:

I have to admit that the first thing I see is a peacock.  Right in the middle of the stone I see a peacock sitting with it's tail spread out down below it.  I could have gone in that direction, but if I look at both sides of the stone it appears to be a beach scene...it's the color of the sea in the Caribbean, with the frothy swirls of sea foam green mixed in.  I can picture the waves crashing on the beach and the energy they bring with them.  I decided to go in that direction with this one.  I may sometimes obsess a little about birds anyway and I realize not everyone would see a peacock in this particular stone, but I think anyone that looks at it could get a feel of the ocean from it. 

 I started off deciding how the stone should hang from the necklace.  I wanted it to hang pretty simply so it doesn't take anything away from the picture that I am trying to convey.  I just used a sterling silver headpin and then added a small green aventurine bead that I think complements the sea foam green colors in the stone.  I started thinking of the colors of the ocean, and waves.  I decided the necklace would be unpredictable, not symmetrical, more of a surprise like a wave can be.  I decided to go with more green aventurine, some white freshwater cultured pearls (even though my pearls are freshwater they still make me think of the sea) and brilliant blue apatite.  The blue apatite really brings out the turquoisy blue colors in the focal stone and they also remind me of pieces of sea glass you might find washed up on a beach.  Then I decided on the most delicate sterling silver tube beads to bind it all together and create my ocean picture.  Here's my project halfway through:

It looks kind of unorganized and messy huh?  I knew where I was headed though.  After much thought, I added more pearls at the beginning and end of the beaded part of the design.  I just think the contrast of the white pearls and sterling silver with the blues and greens is so striking.  It's like the contrast of the sand of a white beach against the blues of the water and the sky.  I almost always use chain in my designs, I like to make the size very adjustable so that the necklace can be worn at the perfect length to show it off.  For this necklace I chose some sterling silver chain that reminds me of waves.  I ended the whole picture with another green aventurine that to me is like a bubble or a drop of water, it ties the necklace back to the green aventurine above the focal stone.  So that is the story of my High Tide necklace.  I was happy with the end result and I think it really conveys the feeling of a day at the beach.  What do you think?

High Tide necklace by greygirldesigns

Friday, July 1, 2011

Fun and flirty anklets for summer!

Hello!  I wanted to share my latest designs I've been working on especially for summer.  I've created a new line of one of a kind ankle bracelets that will have you looking bohemian and free all summer long.  All are currently available in my Etsy store here:  Grey Girl Designs anklets.  Here is a peek at what you will see, I hope you like them!

Barefoot in Love anklet by greygirldesigns

Barefoot on the Beach anklet by greygirldesigns

Dancing on the Sands anklet by greygirldesigns

Dancing with Gypsies anklet by greygirldesigns

Running Wild anklet by greygirldesigns

There are additional photos of each one on my site and a detailed description of the components. Don't see one you like?  Contact me and we can discuss just what you are envisioning... I love doing custom work.  I can even make a set with matching earrings, bracelet or even a necklace.  These anklets are made to last with sterling silver components and beautiful natural stones.  Perfect for showing off a glittery pedicure, some funky platform sandals or even barefoot! I hope you will leave a comment and let me know what you think of them!