Precious Stones: 1920s Gemstone Postcards from the British Museum

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Turquoise Spodumene Spinel Sapphire Rhombohedral Quartz-1 Hexagonal Euclase+etc. Entrance Emerald Diamonds Beryl

I sometimes get lost in Pala International’s “Gemformation” — a series of newsletters that comes out monthly and is compiled and backdated on their website. So much valuable information, much of it straight from the desk of the infamous Bill Larson, world-renowned gem and mineral expert. If you’re unfamiliar I highly recommend reading his story-book bio on his website, it is fascinating to say the least!

In the July 2016 edition, I was incredibly gaga over the collection of gemstone postcards created by the British Museum. The story goes, “According to a story by postcard-collector John Taylor in the Jan/Feb 2009 edition of Rocks & Minerals, these cards were printed in about the 1920s by Waterlow & Sons. The firm was an engraver of currency, postage stamps, and stock and bond certificates. James Waterlow’s son Sydney (1822–1906) eventually became Sheriff of the City of London, during which time he was knighted, and later became that city’s Lord Mayor.”

Each one is a piece of art and the colors are magnificient. Thanks to Bill Larson for digitizing these in the best way possible. There are forty cards total, all of which can be seen here. I’ve included quite a few favorites in this blog post–it was hard to narrow down my absolute favorites!

If you like information like this, feel free to sign up for the PalaGems’ Gemformation newsletter:

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Late Summer Update from Gem Gossip

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I’ve been getting ready for a big trunk show that I’m doing up in Boston on September 7th at M. Flynn, so all the new acquisitions are killing me. So many great pieces I want to keep for myself! These three are my current favorites and I think they go SO WELL together.

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I love acquiring pieces that I’m completely obsessed with and love more and more each day–this medallion is certainly one of them! I got it from Oakgem at the show in Las Vegas this year. It is 18k yellow gold and the blue gemstone is sodalite. To my surprise, the zodiac featured is Virgo (I didn’t know it when I first got it) which is my zodiac, so it makes it even more special. Thanks to my Instagram followers who helped me figure out which zodiac it was.

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I guess I’ve been unaware how drawn I am to spheres lately. My latest purchase was this moon lamp that I can’t get enough of–I bought it from The Apollo Box, which has some really unique gift items on their site. The moon is apparently made using 3D print technology with eco-friendly materials. The photo on the right is from Instagram account @theearthsgems and I love everything about it! Look at all the variety of minerals and gems each are made of!

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I had the pleasure of viewing a brand new jewelry line called Oli and Tess, a new venture for Polly Wheatley who started designing jewelry after 15 years in the fashion industry. She received a Victorian opal ring from her husband as a gift, which sparked her love for opals. After having a daughter, she wanted to design an opal ring to celebrate her birth, which is how her line indirectly began. Her work has an heirloom quality and feel, using all hand-selected opals.

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We know how much I’m obsessed with Egyptian Revival jewelry, so this turquoise scarab collection was an awesome find! TBH it was a large pendant and one bracelet–I had my jeweler turn the bracelet into ten different pendants and I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out! They will be offered for sale over on @shopGEMGOSSIP very soon!

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Some treasures I brought back from my trip to Boston in the left photo–I added a carved Jade Buddha to my charm necklace from Long’s Jewelers and these 14k yellow gold Tuck studs from e scott originals. The photo on the right is from last week at the county fair. I ate way too much fried foods (got super sick actually) and played some games. The games and the baby goats are my favorite part of the fair. Worst part of the fair: ruining your favorite sneakers and getting in the way so you end up being the reason why a sheep escapes. lol

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Some of my newest acquisitions–this Victorian black enamel ring (I think the top piece is Victorian and it was made into a ring) was a really unique find. I’m still adjusting to it and might sell it but I don’t know yet! Sometimes pieces speak to you right away, other times you have to grow to love them. I also got this ’03 date ring from Rusted Anchor Antiques and I think it pair awesome with my big diamond band and gold Saxon chain ring from Walters Faith.

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More favorites from my personal collection — two pieces I want to talk about here: the 9k yellow gold Pacman hoop earrings by Ellie Air Jewellery and the letter D Vadabet charm set with a diamond from Vada Jewelry. Loving these two pieces so much right now.

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I was working hard one day and that sometimes forces me to “disrobe” my jewelry, which is what I did. The pile of rings sitting in my windowsill against the sunlight were perfect in that moment, I had to capture it in a photo. The 1917 date ring was a cool find from Louison Rare & Fine when Angela had a 50% off sale. Yes, that’s why it is important to follow everyone closely on Instagram because you never know when someone is going to have an insane sale.

The photo on the right was snapped in the car on the way back from Kentucky after a day full of antiquing. I somehow created a new collection (not that I need to collect anymore things) which consists of little porcelain dogs. I can’t explain how the collection is not just any porcelain dog–they have to look somewhat cute/creepy in the strangest way possible. It’s a very personal collection lol. The date ring I’m wearing here is from Eddie & Rose and it may be one of my favorite date rings in my collection.

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Latest and greatest ear stack I’ve got going on, here’s what it consists of: Paige Novick ear cuff, tiny huggie hoop from Stacy Nolan Jewelry, Paige Novick‘s newest creation from her Powerful Pretty Things collection the Prism Suspender earring worn upwards, Pacman hoops from Ellie Air Jewellery. My perfect summer ear stack!!

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Seriously might be my favorite piece in my entire collection–I find it so rewarding to collect something for several years before you can finally piece it all together and make something of it. That’s exactly what my figa collection is; years of collecting and one day randomly putting it together with my gold collar from Arrow & Anchor Antiques. These things were meant for each other. And I highly recommend getting a solid gold, stiff collar necklace for your charm collection. It will change the way you wear charms!

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Here’s a fun project I did over the summer: I took these three near and dear pieces that I hardly ever wear and mashed them together to form a giant long stick pendant. I actually am obsessed with it beyond words. Each is special to me, but the tanzanite pendant is most special of all. It was the first piece of jewelry I ever bought for myself…and I was in 7th grade! I learned about Tanzanite from the home shopping channels and fell in love with the stone. I went to the one and only jewelry store in my hometown mall and found this special pendant–it was $150. That was SO much money to me back when I was 13 years old. I put it on layaway and would do chores around the house and babysit. Eventually I earned enough to buy it and I wore it all the time.

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This is just another styled look from over the summer–a jewelry look that I really liked paired with an off-the-shoulder top that I really love also. I think I’ve already gone over almost every piece that is pictured here, but if you’re wondering about something in particular, let me know!

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Gem Gossip Visits Quadrum Gallery in Boston, MA

Quadrum | Gem Gossip

Quadrum Gallery resides inside a mall called The Shops at Chestnut Hill

Quadrum | Gem Gossip

The most mouth-watering stack I’ve ever created, all rings are by Lilly Fitzgerald, shop here

Quadrum | Gem Gossip

Mesmerized by Paul Morelli’s designs, love the moonstones! shop here

Quadrum | Gem Gossip

Director of Quadrum Gallery, Sia Maravelias, shows me around as I’m entranced by all the gorgeous jewels

Quadrum | Gem Gossip

California-based designer Julez Bryant is one of Quadrum’s newest additions, shop here

Quadrum | Gem Gossip

the work of Lilly Fitzgerald inside one of the cases

Quadrum | Gem Gossip

Last year, Quadrum added Spinelli Kilcollin to their repertoire and it has been one of their best sellers, shop here

Quadrum | Gem Gossip

I love when designers’ work complements one another–here I’m wearing Moritz Glik & Sorellina

Quadrum | Gem Gossip

Quadrum understands that one can never have too much Gabriella Kiss Jewelry, so they keep a heavy stock! shop here

Quadrum | Gem Gossip

I fell in love with these whimsical gemstone charms handmade by Maria Beaulieu, shop here

Quadrum | Gem Gossip

Wearing two gorgeous diamond necklaces by TAP by Todd Pownell, shop here

Quadrum | Gem Gossip

Anthony Lent Jewelry is another new addition for Quadrum, shop here

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Jewelry by Sorellina both left and right photos, shop here

Quadrum | Gem Gossip

Moonstone magic, all jewelry by Paul Morelli, including the engagement ring

Quadrum | Gem Gossip

the unique earring display for the work of Maria Beaulieu

Quadrum | Gem Gossip

Spinelli Kilcollin rings piled on…they go perfect with my star boots

Quadrum | Gem Gossip

Lilly Fitzgerald jewelry–the necklace is made of apatite, shop here

Quadrum | Gem Gossip

Jamie Joseph is always popular and her work is highly collected, shop here

Quadrum | Gem Gossip

Quadrum is an ideal place to shop for your engagement ring, look at the variety of styles! Shop more here

Quadrum | Gem Gossip

These watermelon tourmaline earrings by Lilly Fitzgerald were a favorite, shop here

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We’ve got a mix of Sorellina, Moritz Glik, and Paul Morelli

Quadrum | Gem Gossip

You can stop by Quadrum Gallery any day of the week! Love that about the store…if I lived closer, I would be there all the time 🙂

Quadrum | Gem Gossip

More Gabriella Kiss, this time on my hands! shop here

Quadrum | Gem Gossip

Gabriella Kiss designs lots of unique pieces, all shown here

Quadrum | Gem Gossip

Wearing Julez Bryant–check out my geometric ear stack! shop here

Quadrum | Gem Gossip

Up close shot of the two Moritz Glik rings (“shaker” diamonds) and Sorellina band

Quadrum | Gem Gossip

The outside of Quadrum Gallery, where you can easily spend hours gasping and coveting.

Quadrum | Gem Gossip

Another shot of the Spinelli Kilcollin rings, shop here

Quadrum | Gem Gossip

Gabriella Kiss rings lined up all in a row, ready for new homes!

Quadrum | Gem Gossip

For over 39 years Quadrum Gallery has paved its own way, formed its own niche, and outshined ordinary jewelry stores both locally and across the US. There’s something to be said about a store that can march to the beat of its own drum and their success is because of this. Cynthia Kagan – the owner of Quadrum – had the passion and vision of creating this space known for its unique and exciting mix of artisans and jewelry designers. The artists represented can easily wow with a single glance. I was laughing as I was going through the photos taken from my very fun visit to Quadrum early on a Wednesday morning–every photo of myself I have my mouth open in a state of euphoria, most likely verbalizing the words WHOA or WOW, because that’s all I could say. The jewelry is just as special as each designer’s story is–what inspires them to create, where they are based, how they started…Quadrum is full of magic and I’m excited to share my visit with you all!

Sia Maravelias has been director of Quadrum for over 12 years, with 18 years total of working at the store, and has an enormous passion for jewelry. I also met with Amy Renneisen, assistant director who is equally addicted to jewelry as well. Playing with jewelry all day is just a tiny fraction of what these women do on a daily basis. One of their most favorite things is interacting with their dedicated clients who follow profusely on Instagram, print out their own wish lists from scrolling through the website, and are counting down days until their favorite designers host a trunk show at the store. Sia recalls, “Our Gabriella Kiss trunk shows create some large crowds in our store…it is always so much fun!”

Quadrum is exclusively designer-centered, meaning they don’t create their own in-house line of jewelry or have a repair shop on site. With the focus being on the artists, the store has become a destination. The selection is one of the most unique and distinct out there, having formed some of the longest-running relationships with certain designers. A great example of this is they’ve carried Barbara Heinrich for over 32 years, John Iversen, Reinstein/Ross, and Pat Flynn all over 20 years! Every year the Couture show is a tradeshow the team looks forward to and is often when they scout out a select few new additions to their artist lineup. This year they’ve added Anthony Lent, Sorellina, Moritz Glik and Julez Bryant.

Another aspect that I highly admire about Quadrum is something I just learned of when I visited. They do all their own photography, as well as their website and social media. All photography has been self-taught and it is honestly some of the best I’ve seen. Jewelry photography is no easy feat and those in the business know this quite well. I also love how both Sia and Amy have their own Instagram pages aside from the main Quadrum Gallery page. Both of their Instagrams are dripping with inspiration, whether it is how to stack or style some of the pieces from the store or new arrivals headed to the cases. You can follow Sia at @jewelry_maven and Amy at @thegemdiaries

Thanks so much for having me and I will forever be dreaming of all the incredible jewelry I saw while visiting.

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The Shops at Chestnut Hills

199 Boylston St.

Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

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Why Are Crystals & Healing Crystals So Popular Right Now?

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So much can be said about crystals and their role in the millennial mind. The mainstream’s relatively recent fascination with crystals is far-reaching and undeniably polarizing. There are those that think a crystal’s ability to heal is hogwash. Others go so far as to dedicate their lives to healing crystal’s seemingly magical powers.

Then there are people like me who fall somewhere in the middle. Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely fascinated by crystals, and my collection is vast enough to need its own cabinet or two. I use crystals while meditating, and I even playfully ponder over the unseen “energies” different crystals emit.

But I’m still skeptical. Do I think holding a piece of rose quartz over your heart is going to heal a cardiac arrhythmia? No. Do I think every crystal sends off a different vibration? Not really. What I do know is that each type of crystal has a different composition and absorbs and refracts light (and radiation) in different ways — to put it simply.

Regardless of where you stand, the age of buying druzy crystals in mass numbers is upon us. Crystal healing has been around for centuries, but why all of a sudden are these specimens so in-demand? Skepticism aside, here are some reasons why crystals are so popular:

1. Crystals Are Helpful Meditative Aids:

A crystal doesn’t need to be unearthly magical to help with a simple meditation practice. If the crystal just so happens to emit an energy that helps you channel a goal, great. But that isn’t the point. So much of our own energy is channeled through our thoughts.

If we think a particular stone will enhance our intuition, chances are we’ll be seeing things more clearly. Whether it’s the stone’s work or just our mind, having a token to focus our attention on while meditating can help with the process of destressing.

2. Healing Crystals Lend to Personalized Spiritual Practices:

I’m not a New Age expert, but I do know that the culture developed as a means to explore spirituality for those that don’t fit into the confines of standardized religion. In a New Age practice, no one model that fits all. An individual explores varying belief systems and ideologies, then they practice a mixture based on works for them. One potential area of study is crystal healing, which is an ancient practice that has been around for thousands of years.

Many millennials that don’t easily fit into another religion are adopting this New Age model to help them through difficult times. Whereas some might find their solace in Catholicism, Hinduism or Islam, New Agers might find that same comfort through astrology or paganism.

A recent cultural shift to more New Age type thinking among millennials explains in part why crystal sales have been seeing a resurgence. Before you’re quick to agree or disagree, remember that with belief systems, you don’t necessarily see what you’re believing. If crystals bring someone closer to their spirituality and the universe and if crystals somehow make them a better person because of it, all the power to them. So long as someone’s beliefs are ethically okay and don’t infringe upon someone else’s beliefs, no judgements here.

3. Crystals are Absolutely Fascinating to Look At and Study:

Alright, so let’s get down to the reason why most of my jewelry friends and I are obsessed with crystals. They’re gorgeous! Most of the time they’re completely untainted. And they can grow under the most extreme yet specific conditions. They’re colorful, optically fierce, and exceptional little snowflakes. Okay, I’m going a little overboard, but you get the idea.

Crystals and gemstones that haven’t been dyed or altered in any way are such a profound testament to the beauty of earth and nature. Something as seemingly simple as rain pushing sediment into a mountain crevice can transform into an unworldly treasure millions of years later. Hello, opal! And that’s just one example.

The science behind crystals is vast, complex, and undeniably intriguing. And even when you fully understand the how, you still can’t help but be mystified when you come across an even more radiant and unusual specimen.

Whatever marketing or New Age trend that pushed the mainstream population onto crystals has only promoted what we gemology and geology fanatics have known all along. There’s nothing quite like a perfectly imperfect crystal.

Five Crystal Items You Can Shop:

Crystal Gifts | Gem Gossip

Crystals – Paperback by Jennie Harding

Agate Bookends

Crystal Cluster Amethyst Art

Wellness Gem-Water Bottle by VitaJuwel

Green and Blue Mineral Art Print

This post was contributed by:

Ageless Heirlooms Lauren Thomann | I: @agelessheirlooms | W: www.agelessheirlooms.com

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30 Ways to Incorporate Your Love of Jewelry into Summertime!

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Summer is next week–can you believe it?! Are you ready?! One of my most favorite things to do in the summer is to plan activities that I wouldn’t normally get to do…this involves taking days off from work, surrounding myself with people I love, and living my best life. I also like making lists or a group of goals to complete over the summer–they can be wishful thinking or very, very serious. I thought it would be fun to put together a list of 30 Ways to Incorporate Your Love of Jewelry just in time for summer!

1. Pick a gemstone, any gemstone, and learn all about it.

2. Find a gem show that is coming to your area and attend!

3. Have a gem or mineral specimen collection? Reorganize it in a cool way.

4. Plan a trip to go gem mining.

5. Do you have a favorite Instagrammer in our jewelry community? Plan a summer meetup.

6. Pick a state that is somewhat close to you, and research the best jewelry store they have to offer. Plan a visit!

7. Make a cool treat on a hot day–these gem ice trays can be filled with any fruity liquid!

8. Find a gemstone print top, bathing suit or towel and wear it to the beach.

9. Reserve a day at the nail salon and go for a gemstone manicure!

10. Buy that jewelry book you’ve been eyeing and lay by the pool with it!

11. Scout out some amazing flowers in your city, buy them, and take some jewelry photos with them.

12. Find a new way of wearing some of your favorite pieces of jewelry.

13. Take a day to clean your most-worn pieces of jewelry.

14. Plan a SWAP party with friends that also love jewelry.

15. Pick a time period you don’t know as much about as your favorite jewelry period, and learn about it!

16. Spend an entire day “hunting” for antique jewelry online–but do it by a pool.

17. Learn about crystal healing and depending on where you live, schedule an appointment with an expert.

18. Throw a gemstone-themed party!

19. Learn about a new designer you’ve never heard of before.

20. Need a new way to store your jewelry? Splurge on a jewelry cabinet and reconfigure it if necessary.

21. Take a jewelry making class.

22. Decide on creating a charm bracelet or necklace–gather charms, buy some new ones and put it together.

23. Get something very special and sentimental made into a piece of jewelry.

24. Size all of your fingers and keep it written down.

25. Get registered to bid at your favorite auction houses.

26. Put on all your favorite Art Deco jewels and watch a 1920s old movie.

27. Hit up your local estate sales or garage sales. You never know!

28. Tell someone thank you by gifting them a piece of jewelry.

29. Get lost on Pinterest by searching “antique jewelry” or “jewelry.”

30. Pick your favorite medium (water colors, arcryllics, pencil, etc) and try drawing/painting a diamond.

xoxoGemGossip

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Let me know which of these you want to do! –> @gemgossip

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James D. Julia Auction Features 60 Jewelry Items in Upcoming Sale

Hey Gem Gossip readers! As many of you know, writing about upcoming auctions is one of my favorite topics–I’ve written nearly 100 blog posts on this topic throughout the past almost nine years of having this blog! I live it, breathe it, and am constantly talking about jewelry auctions. I love discovering new auction houses and I’m excited to be writing about James D. Julia Auction house today since I never have featured them before. They have an upcoming sale on June 16th, 2017 that is called “June Rare Lamps, Glass & Fine Jewelry Auction” which is of interest, particularly the 60 lots of fine jewelry items which is at the very beginning of the sale.

James D. Julia Inc. is located in Fairfield, Maine and has been in business for over fifty years. The company began in 1965 by Arthur Julia as a small country auction house which quickly grew over the years. Current owner James D. Julia purchased the company from his father in 1974 after graduating college. Always staying current with the times has been a key to the success of this auction house–state-of-the-art catalogs, photos and descriptions as well as an easy interactive website where bidding can take place from anywhere in the world have allowed an auction house located in Maine compete with world-known names. They are currently ranked as one of the top ten antique auction houses in North America.

The June 16th auction features 60 lots of jewelry items–pieces from the low 100s on up to six-figure digits–so a pretty large assortment. Diamond rings, lots of emeralds, a high-end Breitling watch, jewelry suites, pearls, gorgeous every day jewelry, and everything in between. One of my favorite lots is the last one in the jewelry section–a group of 40 jewelry books! I am such a jewelry book nerd and this lot features a bunch of rare, out-of-print titles. It is definitely worth checking out and the people of James D. Julia were kind enough to create an interactive catalog (embedded above) which features all 60 of the jewelry lots! It is also worthy to note, many of the pieces, starting with lot #1019 as noted in the catalog, are from a private Texas Estate collection which is completely unreserved and thus could result in some excellent buying opportunities.

Here are some of my favorites highlighted:

Lot 1005: A stunning all-diamond bypass style ring, set in 14k white gold and an estimated 1.78 carats total. I love the bypass style, with this piece having three diamonds set at a diagonal. If you’re thinking of a unique alternative engagement ring, this would be a great choice! Estimate: $2,000-3,000

Lot 1007: The most expensive/highest estimate piece in the sale–this 10.02 carat natural fancy intense yellow diamond ring! This rare and unique stone is VS-1 in clarity and comes with a diamond certificate from GIA. To accompany the center stone, it is beautifully flanked on each side by bullet shaped diamonds, VVS/VS clarity and FG in color. The ring is done in platinum and 18k white gold. Estimate: $130,000-160,000

Lot 1016: Elegant and charming, this diamond pendant necklace features gorgeous bright white diamonds set into a Art Nouveau treasure. It features a dangling bezel set diamond at the bottom and hangs from a 16″ chain. Nothing like a piece of history. Estimate: $1,500-2,500

Lot 1020: A vintage Cartier ring of finest quality–composed of one center emerald cut diamond and two emerald cut emeralds on each side. The ring is done in platinum with 18k yellow gold settings. Center diamond weighs 1.98 carats and the emeralds are Columbian. Can’t get much better than that! Estimate: $20,000-30,000

Lot 1023: I like this ring because it has a bypass style but it also has sort of a serpent look to it! The ring is set with a modified-fan cut emerald and lots of diamond accents, 1.75 carats to be exact! This ring is trendy and classic at the same time. I could easily pair with other pieces for a fun look. Estimate: $1,200-1,800

Lot 1035: If you love a good multi-gemstone piece of jewelry, this one is my pick for you! This cuff is done in 18k yellow gold and bezel set with multiple gemstones of all colors! We’ve got rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and an unidentified yellow stone…all of various shapes and sizes. A truly well-made and exquisite piece! Estimate: $500-800

Lot 1052: This necklace caught my attention the first time I ever looked at this catalog. It consists of a multi-serpent pendant that hangs from a gold toggle necklace–the various gemstones are peridot, garnet, amethyst, and citrine. The layers of serpents graduate in size, as do the gemstones. I’ve never seen a pendant quite like this one before and I’ve always been drawn to serpent jewelry. Estimate: $600-900

Lot 1060: Remember the lot of jewelry books I talked about above–this is the lot! It features 40 different jewelry reference books, including several out-of-print titles. 100 Years of Collectible Jewelry, Cameos Old & New, Jewelry in America 1600-1900, and The Art of Fine Jewelry are definitely intriguing me and I feel like I will be bidding on this lot come auction day!

This sponsored blog post was brought to you in collaboration with James D. Julia.

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Online Jewelry making classes

I was talking to my friend and fellow blogger a few days back regarding her Europe travels and she remarked that she had only travelled to all those places as she was already stationed abroad and that it requires dedication to travel to another country (and continent) just to learn a skill and better yourself. She, ofcourse was referring to my latest USA travel to attend Beadfest Workshops

I was talking to my friend and fellow blogger a few days back regarding her Europe travels and she remarked that she had only travelled to all those places as she was already stationed abroad and that it requires dedication to travel to another country (and continent) just to learn a skill and better yourself. She, ofcourse was referring to my latest USA travel to attend Beadfest Workshops. Some people might consider me lucky but only I know the hurdles that I had to cross and planning and work that I had to do (and still doing) to make the trip happen.
Many have also written to me asking if I could teach them enamelling or Precious metal clay that I learnt there. As a full time design educator, I am not someone who takes teaching lightly and without really practicing what I had learnt ( I mean I just did it once in a few hours time!) and experimenting with different techniques I cannot teach them.
But this Diwali, we are all indeed lucky. You and me can take any class we want, from world class instructors in the comfort of our our own homes for just $20 at Craftsy. Post contains affiliate links

craftsy classes sale

Yes you heard it right! Craftsy is now having a mega sale on its classes – you can learn anything from water color painting to how to sew a bra or how to solder metal for $20 starting today till Monday. Isn’t this a great Diwali bonus?
The best part about craftsy classes is, once you buy a class, it never expires. So you can watch the demo over and over again or go back to it and watch a particular step if you ever get a doubt which is not possible in a live class which far outweighs the other benefits

 

Craftsy online classes

I do agree that not everything can be learnt online, in a asynchronous platform. As jewelry being a touchy feely subject you might think that learning online might not work out for you. This issue can be simply solved by picking classes and techniques that can easily be learnt online. Here is a handy guide aka cheat sheet to help you figure that out.

How to Pick Jewelry making classes online

1. Material Availability – Pick a class where the materials are easily available to you (locally) or that use materials in stock as you need to be able to practise the skill that you just learned. For E.g – Take a Creative wire jewelry class if you already have base metal or artistic wire and required tools with you
2. Technique Up gradation A new or advanced technique class where you have experience with the material For e.g A Metal Form folding class will help advance your sheet metal skills, A Resin casing and sculpting class will help you further polish your resin jewelry making skills

cheat sheet on how to pick a online class

3. Learning tips and tricks To get guidance from a master – to learn tips and tricks of the trade. If you are self taught in soldering, then taking a course like Soldering Success in Every Scenario will equip you with tips and tricks that you would take years to learn by yourself.
4. International Exposure Pick a class which is not taught locally in your state or country. Believe me, it is much easier (and cheaper) to import materials and try out a technique taught online rather than flying to another country to try learning it, especially if you are not sure if you are going to practice it professionally after learning it. It is almost impossible to find a tutor to teach Torch fired Enamelling in India but it can be easily learnt online.

Pin or print out the above cheat sheet on how to pick a online class and use it as a guide whenever you are faced with a dilemma. Remember to never let your age, health or financial issues come in the way of your learning to be the best that you can be. Whether you are looking to add a new skill to your repertoire or pursue a new hobby, I hope that craftsy’s classes give you the best that you are looking for.


I hope you found it interesting. Wishing you all a very very Happy Diwali. May this festival of Lights with your lives with happiness and prosperity Cheers

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How to: Write a DIY Tutorial

Let me open with the disclaimer that I am not a tutorial expert and there are people who are far more experienced than me when it comes to writing design instructions. But as someone who has been writing DIY Jewelry and craft tutorials for both web as well as print, I thought I’ll share my learning with everyone.

Let me open with the disclaimer that I am not a tutorial expert and there are people who are far more experienced than me when it comes to writing design instructions. But as someone who has been writing DIY Jewelry and craft tutorials for both web as well as print, I thought I’ll share my learning with everyone.

Contrary to what people think creating a jewelry tutorial is a hard job. It hard enough when you get paid for it but harder still when you write it for free on your blog. You need to come up with an original idea (that well, will work!), create it, document it every step of the way using photographs, edit the photographs and then write the tutorial. That is just the first part; the second part is promoting it, responding to comments, answering questions, and updating it as you go. Also ,tutorials are slightly different from “How to” posts such as this one, in the sense that there is a definite product/ process that results from following the tutorial and how to is just a series of steps leading ot varied results.

When I started writing tutorials for my blog, I thought if everyone is doing it, why can’t I, it must be easy after all. I learned the hard way, that there is a big difference between writing a tutorial and writing an excellent tutorial and I cringe when I look at my old posts. So in this post, I’ll talk about the elements that make a tutorial stand out in a great way.


1. Show Finished product images:

This might sound like a no-brainer but there are hundreds (maybe 1000s) of tutorial on the net that do not show clear pictures of end products. Some of them have such tiny pictures enclosed in all sorts of fancy frames that I cannot see the details. Personally, I cannot follow text instructions and often learn how to make a product just by looking at the final picture and the material list. I look at the step wise pictures only if the product is very complicated or if the final product image is very small.
Also post at least 2 pictures (one full image showing the back, clasp or hook) and one close up. They must be in large size – one landscape and one portrait preferably as it makes your tutorial easily shareable across social media channels. Showing how the item is being used is an added bonus, though not a must.

2. Write a Detailed material list
The craziest part about writing for magazines is that they want a super detailed material list. Interweave specifies that name, size, finish, number, measurement and supplier name must be mentioned for every single consumable that it used. Also, all tools and equipment must be listed. When you write online, it doesn’t have to be that specific but it is good to have a clear material list so people know what exactly they need to create the item. When using Affiliate links, do not flood the entire list but use them only when the item is specific or uncommon as a common courtesy.

3. Take Step by Step pictures
A Majority of the craft world seems divided on this. Many say that a great tutorial must show every step (video tutorials might work better in that case) while others say that pictures showing the important or complicated steps are sufficient. I follow my “N-4 or above” rule for tutorials. That is, if there are 10 steps, I show a minimum of 6 steps visually. They can be separate images or a collage provided the images are clear and big enough. A tutorial is no place for tiny fudgy pictures. The idea is that a person who does not understand the language (in which the tutorial is written) must be able to comprehend the making process with just a rudimentary knowledge of the field.

4. Offer material or technique alternatives

When we write for an international audience, we must keep in mind that materials that are easily available to us might not be available to them. So suggest alternatives. For e.g, if the material list says Swarovski crystals, mention that it can also be created using glass, plastic or coated Chinese crystals. If the tutorial uses artistic wire mention how it can be created using base metal or other coated/plated wire. It might seem self-explanatory to an experienced person but a beginner coming across your post will require that support and guidance.

5. Discuss design Variations

Unlike Print, when we write for the web, basic courtesy demands that we discuss variations of the suggested idea. Apart from curbing plagiarism, it will encourage people to use your tutorial as a starting point to create new ideas and products.

Though there are many more good practices, I feel that the above five are an absolute must. As a bonus for all you tutorial newbies out there, here is a sample Tutorial template that I follow for every tutorial of mine. It is not restricted to jewelry making or crafts but can be adapted to any set of design instructions. So do download and share!


How to: Write a Jewelry Tutorial
A Sample Template

1. Introduction: Background of the design, your inspiration, how you chose the materials and what is the application of the idea or design
2. Finished product image no. 1
3. Material list, Material image optional
4. Method – numbered Step by step instructions with pictures
5. Finished product image no. 2, 3…..N
6.Conclusion – Summary if required (for complicated designs), any problems that you faced in the process and how they can be resolved, tips, suggestions, and variations. Add additional images if you have them as variations.
7. Call for action

That’s it for today folks, do add your tips on how to write a great tutorial in the comments section and tell me what you think of my tutorial template. If you find the template useful, please share on Social media (twitter, Instagram or Facebook) by tagging it to @jewelsofsayuri
I hope you found it interesting
Cheers

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Beadfest beads

Hello folks, thanks for all the comments on Facebook, Instagram, blog and mail asking about my well being. I am truly grateful for your love and affection

Hello folks, thanks for all the comments on Facebook, Instagram, blog and mail asking about my well being. I am truly grateful for your love and affection. As my trip was very short (11 + 1 extra day due to time difference it was very hectic. Out of the 12 days, I spent 4 days travelling, 4 days at beadfest and 4 days sightseeing, apart from being sick for 9 of them (and still am with a horrible cold that refuses to go). But I don’t want to keep you guys waiting to hear about my adventures, and so, here is a short post on the beautiful beads that I saw at Beadfest Summer 2016, held at Oaks near Philadelphia, United states of America, between the 17th-21st of August (expo from 19th to21st)

This was my first time at Beadfest and first time in USA so before my Travel I had this question on my mind – what to buy at Beadfest? Why, Beads, ofcourse, people said, as it is literally in the name BEAD FEST”. I saw beads, a great variety of them and went around photographing quite a lot as well. Beads were available in every color, shape, size and material possible. It was like an exotic treasure filled cave.
Friends, who saw my instagram posts asked me if I bought them all, Sadly my answer is no. I visually feasted on them, but I didn’t buy any as most beads were from India or China and are available here at atleast half their respective fest prices and I was on a teeny weeny budget. But they were beautiful to see, and wonderful to touch and feel. Here are some of the bead pictures


Semi Precious Beads
I think there was enough Lapis Lazuli there to buy a small house in the countryside. Wonderfully blue and beautifully streaked, lapis was available in every shape possible – coins, nuggets, teardrops, rounds, and cabochons.

 

There was no dearth of semi precious beads like carnelian and agate either. I found lots of large agate slices in pastel colors and druzy agates in candy shades. Again just with regard to price (without thinking about quality) these were higher in price compared to even American web stores like Firemountaingems, beadaholique or even Autnie’s beads (which I consider slightly pricey). But they were extremely yummy to look at.


Pearls and MOP
There were 3-4 types of pearls available – real fresh water pearls, synthetic pearls, Shell pearls, and Swarovski pearls. Most of the pearls were from China or were being sold by Chinese vendors.

The MOP connectors were fascinating and they reminded me of the printed shell buttons that I used in my Valentine showers of love button necklace tutorial here

Glass
Most glass beads were Artisan made Lampwork beads or seed beads. I know that manufactured or recycled glass beads are not easily available in America, but I was surprised to see that the Indian vendors not carry them as well. I hope they do realise the opportunity and fill in the gap soon. The following picture was taken on Friday, when the expo was relatively free, I couldn’t take any pictures on the weekend as the lampwork booths and by extension the expo was quite packed with people.

 

Resin and Acrylic
Beadfest has something for everyone in terms of beads. While I saw individual beads being sold $12-$20, I also saw bunches of $3-$5 resin and acrylic beads and loads 1 dollar crystal strands.

 
 

I saw lots of different types of beads from across the world – African discs, Tibetan turquoise, Nepal cabs, beetle wings, and Afghan Coins. I recognised a majority of those materials I have come across them in Neena Shilvocks’s Caprilicious Jewellery blogposts previously. Oh Neena! You should have been there, you could have gotten all your favourite stuff at one place 🙂

Cabochons
There were multiple vendors selling Cabochons, but this particular booth was captivating as it had a huge wall of cabs. This image only shows a portion of their display which by itself is drool worthy.


Apart from these types of beads, there are also wooden beads and disks, enamelled beads, metal beads, and Polymer clay beads. If you are in America then beadfest is one of the best places to buy beads for the variety is just fantastic. A really big crowd comes out just to shop for beads at the expo. On Sunday afternoon, I saw and heard so many Indians (Tamil, Kannada and Hindi was spoken freely) that I felt that I was in Alwarpet or RA Puram in Chennai than in Oaks, Pennsylvania. South Indians are obsessed about quality and value and the fact that they were out there, shopping in large numbers only goes to show the quality of merchandise that was being showcased and sold there.

So what did I buy if not beads? To find out the answer to that question tune in later in the week to see my USA supplies haul.
PS: I have a small Giveaway upcoming for Readers in India – Stay tuned!!
I hope you found it interesting
Cheers

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