Tag Archive | Amethyst

Call it what you will

We’re all used to the majority of gems being called by their name:
Diamond is diamond;

Opal is opal;

Turquoise is turquoise;

Even in it’s many different colours Topaz is still Topaz.

Emerald is emerald…well actually it’s Beryl…as is Morganite, Aquamarine, Heliodore and Goshenite!  What distinguishes each of these is the colour that the gem comes in (green, pink, pale blue, yellow and colourless respectively).

Ruby, well that’s actually a form of Corundum, called Ruby only when it is red, when it is pinky orange it is called Padparadscha.  All other colours of Corundum are called sapphires so you can find all kinds of sapphires, such as the green one below.

 

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Green sapphire

 

Tourmaline comes in a variety of colours and several of these have particular names too.  When it is red/pink it is Rubellite, green is Verdelite, blue is the fabulous Indicolite and colourless is Achroite.

Tanzanite is a form of zoisite, Morganite is a Beryl and they were both named by Tiffany and Co.

Amazonite is a type of Feldspar, as is Labradorite.  Incidentally Feldspar is the most prolific mineral in the Earth’s continental crust and can be found on Mars!  This is a good example of two types of mineral which are chemically related but clearly very different.

Quartz (the second most abundant mineral behind Feldspar) has another wide variation in colour, and many names or nicknames to go with it.  From the yellow citrine, to stunning purple amethyst (and of course the incredible ametrine is therefore part of this family).

Another variation is green quartz, sometimes referred to as green amethyst although if we were going to be strict about it that’s not it’s real name!  So we are going to go with the official Prasiolite, and here’s an example:

 

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However the quartz pseudonyms don’t stop there, even more strangely Chalcedony (see ring below), Agate, Onyx, Jasper, Tigers Eye, Aventurine and Carnelian are all types of quartz that you might not guess from the name!

 

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Blue Chalcedony

 

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Smokey Quartz

 

Of course the feminine pink of rose quartz to the stunning brown hues of smokey quartz (ring above) and the fascinating Rutilated Quartz are also, more obviously part of the family.

Another slight confusion may arise when considering the names of gems in that often the gem quality variation of a type of mineral has a different name to the non-gem form, Csarite/Diaspore, Peridot/Olivine and Iolite/Cordierite by way of example.

 

Call them what you will, they’re all beautiful to us!

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Cameos

We’ve all seen cameos (or similar) on the high street, and they’re thought of as pretty old fashioned now, but the original cameo is a real work of art so we thought you should know a bit about it!

The art of carving and engraving gemstones is called the glyphic art, a glyph being a channel or groove.  There are actually two types of ‘cameo,’ where designs are incised into the stone they are called intaglio, where the image appears in relief this is a cameo.

The earliest gemstone carving was in intaglio, and the design is carved in the negative below the flattened or domed surface of the gemstone.  This allowed the gem to be pressed into clay or sealing wax where it would leave a mirror image of the design in relief.  Engraved signet stones can be traced back to the Sumerian period in Mesopotamia and even to around 5000 BC in some parts of Asia.

 

2nd - 3rd Century Roman Gold Intaglio Ring - copyright of Trustees of the British Museum

2nd – 3rd Century Roman Gold Intaglio Ring – copyright of Trustees of the British Museum

 

In cameos the design is created by cutting away around the image and leaving the image in relief, and this type of carving did not begin until the late Hellenistic Greek period, when gemstone carving came to be appreciated for its artistic and ornamental value, rather than for the functional aspect of an intaglio seal.

Traditionally cameos feature a white figure on a dark background.  Greek cameos were often made of banded agate or sardonyx carved with the coloured layers of the stone running horizontal to the visible upper plane.  This meant that up to four levels of carving, each in a different colour, could be seen, such as in the cameo below.

 

The coloured layers are visible in this cameo carving

The coloured layers are visible in this cameo carving

 

In addition to agate or sardonyx practically all stones have been used for engraving.  Rare and expensive rubies, sapphires and emeralds have been fashioned into cameos in the past, although they are usually only small simple designs due to the hardness of these gems which make them difficult to carve.  Usually these rare and precious gems will feature in a Roman ring or occasionally in a simple 18th century gold setting.  In the late 19th century citrine and amethyst began to appear as carved gems in brooches, and then opals which are sometimes found in both rings and brooches.  Organic materials such as coral, ivory and jet became extensively used in the 18th and 19th centuries which were much cheaper and more widely available, although shell carving in jewellery has been around since the 16th century.

 

c. 1850 Diana at the hunt

c. 1850 Diana at the hunt

By the end of the 19th century the fashion for cameos had dwindled, there are 20th century cameos often set in nine carat gold or silver with marcasite highlights, more recently, in the 1930s to 1950s, glass, plastic and composite were used to produce cheaper varieties of cameo.  The lack of interest in the cameo means it is not a highly marketable piece and the modern day versions of these stunning carvings lack the charm and detail of earlier pieces, often on the mass production market.  However there are some good buys to be had both of vintage originals, and more unusual takes on the cameo idea, such at these resin brooches from the Maria Allen Boutique. and these cameo inspired rings by Hart and Bloom.

 

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Becoming a Jewellery Maker…

Some of you will recall we were lucky enough to win a competition with Jewellery Maker and we received a lovely goody bag of treasures!  Regular readers will know that this blogging duo is made up of one accomplished jewellery maker…and one who is not so much (but she does shop with sheer brilliance!)

We thought the best way to really test out the goody bag would be for the non jewellery maker to give some crafting a go, and here’s what I ended up with:

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…I was a little concerned when Debs showed up with more than one set of pliars…couldn’t work out why I would need more than one!

 

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Ok so I had a little help – but only in terms of tools and guidance on how to use them I promise!

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We had lots of organza ribbon so I was really keen to use this but couldn’t think of how to use it…so I made something up…I’m handy with a needle…

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I took three different colours of organza and cut them to the same length and then threaded them with cotton and pulled

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Finally I attached a brooch clasp on the reverse (sewn on) and this was my first piece – it’s a bit rosette-y but I do quite like the idea. I attached a gemstone bead to the centre.

 

 

So the first piece was just a little something I came up with on the hoof but what I really wanted to make was a necklace inspired by a friend’s Tiffany bracelet.  Now the Tiffany design was a little beyond me and I couldn’t work out how to get the spacing right so I added some rock crystal to help, but the theme was layers.

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The process of laying out the beads for the necklace

 

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Then I threaded these straight onto the wire

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Learning how to add the findings 

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You see I genuinely gemstone did do it all myself!

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We got a couple of different fastenings in the goody bag but this is a great one as the wire is fairly delicate so I didn’t want anything too fiddly

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Ta da! Not too shabby if I do say so myself

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There were also some fab earring bits and I have left the right pieces of amethyst for those…but after two creations trying to work out how to get gems onto the earring pieces was too much, another time perhaps!

 

Disclosure:  The majority of items used to create these were provided by Jewellery Maker as a competition prize – thank you!

Checking out the competition

You may not have seen, but we were lucky enough to win the Jewellery Maker #blog2win competition a few weeks ago, check out our post if you haven’t already!  We’ll be posting more in due course, but in the meantime we thought it would be worthwhile sharing with you the other entries because we really enjoyed reading them:

 

The Cassia Creations blog is from Kate who is currently on her travels in South East Asia (Vietnam we think), but will be returning to us to continue her jewellerying (…I know, it’s not a real word…but maybe it should be) in September.  We were particularly impressed at her choice of green amethyst – it’s such a lovely colour.  We look forward to following how her jewellery develops and is influenced by her recent experiences, exciting times, keep us updated with what you’re up to on the blog!

 

The Game Over blog post was really interesting, because this is completely outside her usual comfort zone!  We particularly liked the colour theme and well done for spotting the watermelon solar quartz – what an unusual gem and we agree this would look fab on some jewellery.

 

Mel’s Makes is a blog from Mel, a beader and jewellery maker, the whole blog features some fantastic and unique pieces of jewellery from.  We really love beaded jewellery but working in such detail can be a real challenge so it’s lovely to see how she manages to work the beads into such intricate designs.  We really liked the way she had been able to use actual pictures of her jewellery to demonstrate how the gems could be used, these amazing art deco style earrings have become a personal favourite.  Do check out the posts on her blog about storage and organising of your crafty bits, it’s organising heaven!

 

Vovs Jewellery Blog is a fab blog with tutorials and how to guides – they’re very good and tempting us to try loom banding after seeing the finished band with beads!  If you’re interested in trying out jewellery making for yourself do check it out, it’s well worth it, although you could possibly get a bit addicted to plotting all your future makes…

Anyway the point was onyx and black diamond – both pretty unusual choices but excellent ones, these would set off pretty much anything and make a fabulous choice.

 

Aarticrafts by Fi is  a blog from a wonderful beadweaver, she had a really eclectic choice in that she hit the big boys (which we completely missed…pretty unusual for us!) excellent choice and then moved onto mookite, which we love so it really caught our eye (and we’re looking forward to seeing more mookite from you!)  She really knows her stuff when it comes to gems too so her blog is a really interesting read with a mix of jewellery and the inner workings of a jewellers mind.

 

Cazzann was an exciting entry and it was her first blog post!  Congratulations to Carol and we’re looking forward to what else there is to come.  Again the beautiful amethyst, but joined by some lovely opal and tourmaline, and with some more brilliant green in the form of chrome diopside which is a really beautiful and vivid gem, all great choices.

 

 

Have we missed anyone?!  If we missed your post do message us (Twitter: @throughtheloupe; FB: http://www.facebook.com/adventuresthroughtheloupe; Email: adventuresthroughtheloupe@outlook.com) so we can check out your blog and add you to our list!

 

 

Flower power

Flowers are definitely the thing to be seen in this season, and with sales on at many high street stores there are bargains to be had, here are a few of our favourite flower bargains from Wallis:

 

IMAG2098   IMAG2099 (2)   Elsewhere on the High Street how about these cute flower studs for a subtle salute to the flower from Dorothy Perkins, and there are several pieces of flower jewellery on offer at H Samuels at the moment too (and there’s a sale on 😉 ).   If you’re feeling flush how about this amazing Tiffany rose gold and amethyst ring. Alternatively Van Cleef and Arples even have several floral collections, although the Socrate bouquet has to be my personal favourite. You could even branch into the world of jewellery incorporating real flowers with the fabulous Shrieking Violet

The stunning mix of real flowers with silver is emphasised even more in this beautiful (and adjustable) ring from the Purple Haze collection

Shrieking Violet butterfly pendant

Beautiful forget me nots in a butterfly pendant

Shrieking Violet Heart pendant

Mixed flower heart shaped pendant

We’re always proud to support the #bringbackthebrooch campaign championed by the fabulous Jewellery Cloud and here are a few choice flower pieces from them!

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For me this captures the season beautifully – look at those colours

With such great detail and bang on trend turquoise colours it’s hard to believe this wasn’t designed for this year

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Can I interest you in a dainty piece of art deco-esq bunch!