Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Power of Peridot

What is Peridot?  Peridot is a bright green to yellow-green gemstone and is the birthstone for August.  The major world supplier for peridot is the United States with the majority of mines being located in Arizona, and some in New Mexico.  While mines in the U.S. produce large amounts of peridot, the finer, more rare and higher quality stones are mined in Myanmar, Egypt and Pakistan.

History and Folklore:  Cleopatra was known for her love of peridot, and it has been said that some of her "emeralds" were actually peridot.  According to legend, peridot possesses magical powers to protect against evil, calm anger, repel negative thoughts, and attract love.

Wearing Peridot:  The tranquil green color of peridot makes it particularly suitable for wearing in the summer months.  Both gold and silver compliment the stone nicely.  It is generally a pleasant, lightweight jewel that can be worn on a casual everyday basis, but can just as easily adorn your evening wear as well.

In addition to actual peridot gemstones, many beautiful pieces of jewelry can be found using glass replicas of peridot.  Check out some of these beautiful peridot gemstone and glass jewelry items created by various Etsy artisans that I organized into an Etsy treasury entitled  Peridot Perfection.

The earrings below are an example of using a combination of peridot glass gems and actual peridot gemstones:

Green Lampwork and Peridot Earrings

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fabulous Filigree

These past few weeks I have been learning about using filigree in jewelry designs.  What I have learned is that it is a fantastic way to showcase jewels of all kinds such as glass and gemstone cabochons.

What is filigree?  It is an ornamental type of jewelry using open lacy type designs.  Gold, silver, brass or other metal "wires" are soldered together into intricate designs.  Learn more about filigree on Wikipedia.

I have been using antiqued silver and brass filigree stampings from  Their products are high quality, reasonably priced and shipped quickly.  Be sure to also check out their sister site which has some excellent tutorials for learning how to use filigree.

Here are some of my first designs using filigree:

Sapphire Blue Glass Filigree Necklace
This necklace features a beautiful faceted glass gem cabochon wrapped in oxidized silver plated filigree.  Embellished with a smaller antiqued silver stamping and "fire opal" Swarovski crystal in the center.  Matching stampings and crystal rhinestones are used to attach the pendant to double stranded antiqued silver chain.

Mexican Glass Fire Opal Necklace
A gorgeous glass fire opal is securely wrapped in an antiqued silver filigree piece.  Center has a small "fire opal" Swarovski crystal.  I finished the back with an antiqued pewter earring finding that fit the piece perfectly (see third picture below for back of pendant.)  Necklace is finished with links made with Swarovski crystals in dark red coral, antiqued silver bead caps, and antiqued silver chain.

Red Glass Filigree Pendant
I made this pendant using a 15mm round glass cabochon in a color called Rosaline which is a rich rosy red color.  I then used two antiqued silver stampings to wrap the stone so that the back and front actually look alike except that the back shows the flat foiled back of the stone.  Pendant is connected to antiqued silver chain with links beaded with Swarovski crystals in "black diamond" and dark grey Swarovski crystal pearls.

Antiqued Brass and Glass Gem Necklace
This pendant features another sapphire blue glass gem cabochon like the one in the first item above but I used antiqued brass instead of silver.  I used four pieces of antiqued brass stampings to wrap and layer around the edges of the stone, then embellished the center with a  round filigree stamping and clear AB finished rhinestone.  Pendant hangs from a medium 5mm link rollo chain in antiqued brass.

Antiqued Brass Filigree Heirloom Necklace
This necklace has a large round clear faceted glass gem set into a beaded edge four prong antiqued brass setting.  It was pretty just like that, but I embellished the pendant with several layers of antiqued brass stampings.  Center has a round filigree stamping with a clear AB finished rhinestone.   A Czech glass teardrop is hung from the bottom of the pendant.  Pendant hangs from an antiqued brass rollo chain.

Victorian Filigree Heart Earrings
These earrings feature antiqued brass filigree stampings and Czech glass teardrops.  I wire wrapped the teardrops using antiqued bronze wire.  Dangles hang from antiqued brass fish hook earring wires.

Antiqued Silver and Mexican Fire Opal Pendant Necklace
For this pendant I used a genuine Mexican opal cabochon and wrapped it like a tiny treasure in two antiqued silver filigree stampings.  I used no other decoration, just hung it from a delicate antiqued silver chain.

With the exception of the last item above (which I am thinking of keeping for myself), all of these pieces can be found in my Etsy shop: