Classic with a Hip Twist

Remember the classic pearl necklace? One may live in your jewelry box, like mine, frittering away its time. My beautiful pearls were a gift from my husband, and while the white pearls are beautiful and the knotting divine, it rarely makes an appearance in company. It is a bit too classic for me, makes me think about Regency romance novels. Granted, I like the romance novels, but I don’t dress in flowing silk gowns with low-cut bodices, cap sleeves and long scalloped hems.

Now there is something instantly classic about pearls whether they are long strands wrapped around multiple times or a more simple strand. So I’ve come up with a way to literally twist the time-honored into a much hipper design. Something you can still wear with a wedding dress or a pair of jeans, but looks up-to-date and modern. Throw in different shades of pearls (white, peacock and silver are my faves), and types of metal, and something classic becomes cool and chic.

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Murano Glass

While Venice is one of my very favorite inspirational places, the island of Murano even tops Venice for my jewelry muse. In 1291 the glassmakers of Venice were forced to move to the island of  Murano because of the risk of fire. Hundreds of years later, glassmaking is still the island’s main industry.

White Circle Necklace

Murano Circle Necklace

I was lucky enough to spend a day in Murano, but I could have easily stayed for three and still not have met all the artists I admired. With all the amazing glass, it was tough to decide what to buy. I focused on a few different artists and wish I bought more. I have, in fact, been trying to make a purchase from the artist that makes these beautiful glass circles, but it has been difficult. Perhaps another trip is necessary? Or if you are headed to Venice, let me know. I don’t think there are any laws against glass trafficking!

Interlocking cirlces

Interlocking Circles Necklace

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I LOVE VENICE! Want to go? Last November, my friend Debra and I met up with my niece and my nephew for Thanksgiving week in Venice, Italy. Olivia and Todd, cousins, were studying in Siena, Italy and Paris, France, respectively, for a semester. Lucky, lucky.

My comment at a family reunion, “Maybe I’ll come to Europe for Thanksgiving to see you,” turned into truth when Debra volunteered to be my travel partner.  We rented a fab apartment close to St. Mark’s, and spent a splendid week meandering the canals and corridors. Inspiration was everywhere, and I am the luckiest aunt ever!


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Cast On – The Interview

It’s here! My Christmas present! An interview with knitting goddess Brenda Dayne!

Last June right before my Open Studio, I was interviewed by my favorite knitting podcaster, Brenda Dayne of Cast On. Perhaps I am a total knitting geek that I have a favorite knitting podcast, but I have been following Brenda ‘knit like the wind’ Dayne for years. Her wonderful voice draws pictures in your mind. Her stories provide laughter, as well as food for thought. She picks amazing music, and she makes me yearn to knit with fiber, or at least buy some.

Thus, I was THRILLED when she aquired one of my pieces and took the time to meet me during her U.S. and Canada tour. We sat and had some wine and snacks while watching the sun go down over the Pacific Ocean.

Our interview is now up on Cast On. While I suggest listening to the whole podcast, particularly if you knit, my piece begins at 19 minutes 47 seconds. I also love herAudio Post-card of San Francisco which starts at 9 minutes 40 seconds.

Knit Crown at Bridge of Sighs in Venice, Italy

If you like what you hear, please let her know with a comment on her website. And as Brenda says, “If you’re cold, put on a sweater. That’s what they’re for.”

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What’s an Open Studio?

You’ve been invited, you’ve heard the term, but what is an Open Studio? An artist opens the door to his or her workspace for the public to come in, check out the art, and perhaps (hopefully for the artist) make a purchase. Often bands of artists get together to open all the studios for a weekend. San Francisco takes it to the extreme, as usual, with different areas of the city open over an entire month of weekends.

Open Studio - Welcome!

Come on in!

My Open Studio is similar, but with an added twinkle. As the studio is part of our house, we take over the whole place for the weekend, throwing out the hubby, kids and puppy. It’s a big open house with sparkling jewelry, wine and people being the draw.

Open Studio - November 9-11, 2012

I also love to highlight some favorite local talent. In addition to the wonderful wine chosen by Beth Lemke, proprietor of A Grape in the Fog, this November’s Open Studio includes an extra special treat! Jeff and Melissa Page, proprietors of Highway 1 Brewing Company opening in early 2013 in Pescadero, are creating Amberdextrous – an amber beer with deep roasty flavors, yet light on its feet. (The name is a play on my son Dexter’s fab hockey goalie skills.)  I can’t wait to to taste it!

Dexter in Goal

Inspiration for Amberdextrous

Who’s invited? Friends, family & friendly strangers – it’s always a great weekend. Some people come for quick holiday shopping, and others spend the day wandering through the gems, designing pieces, and making new friends. Hope to see you soon!

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Strong & Supple

How much time do we spend at the gym, straining to become the strong, supple creatures we admire? We lift weights, we stretch, we spin and jog , all in our quest for strength, flexibility and, let’s face it—a super hot bod, or as close as we can come to that vision.

Whether our bodies are a work in progress or perfecto, we should dress and adorn them with the special attention they deserve, yes? Shouldn’t our jewelry also be lasting, strong and supple as well as beautiful?

Swirl Earrings

Apatite & Peridot Swirl Earrings

Customers often ask about my jewelry, “It’s so finely detailed with such a delicate, filagree look. Is it fragile? Will it last?”

You bet it will! Let me tell you the story my client Gina’s poor, tortured earring that took a licking and kept ticking. Gina discovered she’d dropped one of her delicate looking Starlight Twin Circle Earrings. She had been working and running errands and had no idea where she lost it.  She thought it was gone forever. Sigh…

Weeks later, Gina spied a shiny, metal object lying on the pavement between two cars in her work parking lot. You guessed it–her earring! Wondering how many times cars had driven over it, she picked it up, certain it must be crushed and damaged beyond repair.  Not so!  Except for a layer of dirt and a slight bend, easily fixed, the earring was intact and part of a pair before the day was over.

But if it is so durable, how supple can it be? One of the fabulous features of my cuffs, chokers and other necklaces is flexibility. Bend them, stretch them, twist them to suit your mood and attire.  They’re incredibly supple, lithe and adaptable—just the way we want our bodies to be.

Sea Glass and Aquamarine Cuff

Sea Glass and Aquamarine Cuff

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June, Month of Beauty and Joy

Why does June rate three birthstones?  Do you think it’s because June is so chock full of joyous events and celebration? In June, the school year ends, summer begins, the longest day of the year brings hours of light, many grateful students graduate; brides by the bazillion march down the aisle; Flag Day commemorates adoption of the American flag in 1777 and Father’s Day honors all our Dads with gifts and treats, including a day off from honey-to-do lists.

No wonder June, so rich in celebration, is rich in birthstones: the pearl, moonstone and alexandrite.

The elegant, beautiful pearl comes from humble origins. When a small parasite or fish wriggles its way into the flesh of an oyster, clam or mussel, the irritated mollusk produces a protective substance called nacre. Over years, layers of iridescent nacre cover the unwelcome guest, forming a shimmering pearl. It’s rare to find such natural pearls, so we clever humans have created cultured pearls by placing a shell or bead inside mollusks to annoy the hell out of them, thus stimulating the production of nacre.

Spindrift Cuff - Medium

Spindrift Pearl Cuff

White, pink, yellow, gray and black, pearls of different sizes and shapes were rumored to be a favorite of Cleopatra and once were worn only by the royals—the 1% as opposed to the 99%. Now we can all wear pearls, but they’re still considered a mark of taste, refinement and symbol of purity. A perfect gift for all occasions whether you’re wearing a gown or jeans.

The moonstone, a type of feldspar or silicate mineral, got its name because its shimmer reminds us of the moon’s iridescent glow.  Colored clear, bluish white or peach, this stone was believed sacred by ancient civilizations that thought it gave its wearer great spiritual understanding or the ability to become invisible! But I say what’s the point to that? If you’ve got it, flaunt it.

Moonstone and Apatite Necklace

Moonstone and Apaptite Necklace

Last but not least because it’s rare and, therefore, expensive, natural alexandrite is bluish green by day changing to magenta by candlelight, or if you’re poetic, “emerald by day, ruby by night.” This gem is a symbol of joy and good fortune. Who can argue with that?

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Baubles that Mean the World to Mom

Hey, all you mothers, sons and daughters—that means everyone. Think about it. You know what’s coming soon? In fact, it’s just around the corner—Mother’s Day!!

Here’s your chance to show the mother in your life just how special she is.

You know the song, “M is for the many things she gave me. O means only she is growing old…”

Okay, let’s stop right there before we get in trouble. The song was written in 1915 when anyone over 30 was getting old. Whew—we wriggled out of that one.

Aquamarine and Amethyst Cuff

Sunset Cuff

Let’s try the song with a slightly different twist:

“M is for the many precious minerals you can give her.
O is for the opals that shimmer lustrous pink and blue.
T is for turquoise and tourmaline, special beauties, too.
H is for jewels in hues and colors to adorn her.
E is for the ecstasy these jewels can bring.
R is for rubies, riches fit for royalty…
Put them all together. They spell the perfect gift for Mother
and what she means to thee.”

Gem Earrings

Breeze Earrings

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Merry Month of May

“The month of May, the merry month of May, So frolic, so gay, and so green, so green, so green!” –Thomas Dekker

I’ve always thought May birthdays are the best! Spring has sprung. The weather is milder,  gorgeous flowers, wild and tame, are in bloom, and the hills are so green, emerald green, in fact.

Is it any wonder that the lustrous, lush green emerald is May’s birthstone? I even love the word “emerald.” It rolls off my tongue, rich and velvety…

Emerald Pendant on Silver

Emerald City Pendant

From my research—such a student! —I know emeralds belong to the beryl family of minerals and are formed from green crystals that grow slowly within metamorphic rock—rock that has changed form due to pressure, heat or other causes. Because these gems are restricted in size by the rock, large emeralds are rare and costly.

Who needs large anyway? What is it they say about good things coming in small packages? One cautionary note: Although emeralds are pretty durable and hard, they often have tiny fractures or inclusions, so don’t pound the ground with them.

And, of course, the emerald, like our other precious gems, has been thought to possess all sorts of magical powers and mythic qualities. The Egyptians engraved these gems with the symbol of foliage, representing eternal youth, and buried them  with their dead.  The ancient Romans associated the emerald with fertility and rebirth, dedicating it to Venus, the goddess of love and beauty.

So gods and goddesses, if you know someone special who was born in the merry month of May, adorn them with emeralds!

Emerald Rectangular Earrings

Emerald City Earrings

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Easter Baskets

Have you ever wondered how Easter baskets, bunnies and eggs found their way into the celebration of Easter? Bless Google!

Since its beginning as a holy celebration in the second century, Easter has had its non-religious side. In fact, it was originally a Saxon pagan festival celebrating the return of spring and commemorating Eastre. the goddess of offspring and springtime.  Historically eggs were a symbol of fertility and new life, and, according to some, the Easter bunny, a prolific egg-laying hare, arrived in the United States in the 1700s with German immigrants. Children would prepare nests in baskets for the creature’s colored eggs.

Eventually, the bunny’s deliveries expanded to include chocolate and other candy and gifts. Growing up, this meant that my father would hide all of our treat infused Easter baskets during the night, and my four siblings and I would have to tear the house apart of find them. I still remember when he hid Laurie’s inside the piano.

And, in keeping with the tradition, I propose further expansion. This Easter, give that special lady an extra treat in her Easter Basket. Instead of just colored eggs and candy—I don’t care how beautiful or delicious—tuck in a gorgeous stone or two: a sapphire, ruby, emerald, opal, amethyst, coral, jade, quartz, pearl other wonder on a necklace, bracelet or earrings.  Imagine her opening that silly plastic egg, expecting to find five jelly beans, and there are a pair of pearl earrings. She’ll love you and the Easter Bunny!!

Everlasting Shell

Everlasting Shell Earrings

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