Find Your Tribe
This collection is all about tribes.
Both the tribes people are born into and the tribes people choose.
While I don't know the specific names of the tribes I am celebrating, I used components from tribes in locations such as: Africa, Afghanistan, & Ancient Rome.
Many of my designs feature African trade beads. Most of the trade beads I used were created in Venice and traded in Africa.
Some of these beads are vintage and some are antique.
I also used beads that were handcrafted in Africa using techniques passed down from generation to generation.
I have several pieces celebrating The Day of the Dead.
The Day of the Dead is a celebration of life and death that originated in Mexico.
While Mexico has indigenous tribes that trace their ancestry to groups of people living in that area before the Spanish arrived, my collection focuses on this, specific holiday.
In my research for this collection, I was overwhelmed by the number of people who define themselves by their love of this celebration.
A quick search on Pinterest will bring up thousands of Day of the Dead related ideas. There's pins on: Home decor, jewelry, wedding, clothing, food, parties, & more!
Many of the accent beads in this collection are from Afghanistan.
I especially relied on olive wood spacers that were handmade in Afghanistan.
Afghani Lapis also features prominently in several pieces.
Finally, while Ancient Rome is far from being the first tribal society, it is the oldest society with which I am well acquainted. While at Hope College, I minored
in Ancient Civilizations simply because the subject fascinates me.
So, in honor of my love of Ancient Rome, I added a piece
created with Roman Glass beads.
Roman Glass is glass from the time of the Roman Empire that was excavated in modern times and made into beads. This glass was most likely in the form of amphora.
Think of amphora as being ancient Tupperware.
Part of what makes Roman Glass so desirable is that
during its time in the ground, the glass develops a gorgeous patina.
It is beautiful!
While creating this collection, it became clear that there is so much more to
tribal-inspired jewelry than any specific tribe.
For me, it is a celebration of our collective love of beauty and adornment and the varied artistry of cultures both around the world and throughout time.
Please enjoy perusing my collection.
If there is a piece about which you would like more information, please click on the picture and you will be taken to its Etsy listing.
Sometimes. . .Every once in a while. . .When the mood strikes me,
I create something different.
During the Holidays, I started making ornament wreaths. Soon after, it struck me that I could use different colors and different accents to go beyond Christmas.
That's all it took.
With wreaths celebrating fairies, champagne, wine / grapes, romance, and more, there is something for everyone.
The wreaths featured in this collection are all one of a kind creations made with
my usual, exacting, attention to detail.
They are jewelry for your walls!
While they are all unique, each wreath was created with a styrofoam base,
shatterproof ornaments and hot glue.
For optimum beauty and durability, I recommend hanging the wreaths inside.
Mermaids are beautiful, magical, and mystical.
The fantasy is so potent.
The idea of swimming freely through the ocean, unencumbered by mortgages, taxes, errands, politics, and the relentless stream of information from
any and all electronic devices.
Several years ago, I watched, "Mermaids: The Body Found" on Animal Planet.
Shortly after, various institutions revealed the entire thing to be a hoax.
BUT, what was told to my brain never quite made it to my heart.
My theory is, "Why not?"
It's a simple, yet beautiful, theory.
Do we really know everything?
Gaia* is forever revealing her secrets. Little pieces of history and information that lead scientists and historians down a previously unheard of path.
What secrets does Poseidon** hold that we have not yet discovered?
Making this collection became all encompassing. The more pieces I made, the further my imagination took me into their world.
I created pieces for the big and bold mermaids who demand that their jewelry make a statement, for mermaid royalty, for those mermaids who like a more organic and natural look, and for the mermaids who prefer the most delicate and feminine of accessories.
A few of the pieces are also ones that I imagined mermaids themselves would create.
Beyond mermaids, I was inspired by how things in the ocean move.
The power of the tides, the flowing, graceful dances of seaweed and kelp, and both the stillness and the fury of the waves are reflected in this collection.
I designed many of these pieces to be layered and dimensional.
The ocean does not demand that things remain singular, flat,
and in rows, so neither did I.
I was also inspired by both the modern and the prehistoric creatures of the ocean.
Both are gifts and reminders of all of the various life forms that the ocean supports, including each one of us.
Please enjoy discovering all of the treasures in this collection.
If you would like to make any of these one of a kind pieces your own, please click on the picture and you will be taken to my Etsy site where you can read a more complete description and complete your purchase.
Thanks for joining me on this journey.
*Greek Mother Earth goddess
**Greek god of the Sea
All Hail Queen Quartz!
Quartz is a Queen.
She knows it.
Her Queendom runs far and wide as Quartz can be found in pretty much all mineral environments.
Quartz is also the most varied of all minerals.
There are more variety names attributed to Quartz than any other mineral.
There are two major parts to her Queendom, Macrocrystalline and Microcrystalline.
Macrocrystalline Quartz "has crystals with distinct shapes that are recognizable to the naked eye."
Examples of Macrocrystalline Quartz are:
Rock Crystal, Amethyst, Ametrine, Citrine, Rose Quartz, Smoky Quartz, & Aventurine.
Microcrystalline Quartz "has microscopically small crystals that are so miniscule and packed tightly together that they're completely indistinguishable to the naked eye."
Examples of Microcrystalline Quartz are:
The entire Chalcedony group, which includes Agates & Jaspers,
Chrysoprase, Bloodstone, Carnelian, Sardonyx, & Onyx.
Something else to consider is how all of these different colors and varieties of Quartz occur.
Different colors are made by different chemicals or in some cases,
by different treatments or enhancements.
A few examples:
Amethyst gets its purple color from iron.
The color of Smoky Quartz is caused by traces of aluminum.
Rose Quartz gets its color from traces of titanium, iron, or manganese.
Bloodstone is a Green Chalcedony (a Microcrystalline Quartz) with red spots caused by iron oxide.
Prasiolite, or Green Amethyst, gets its color by heat treating violet colored Amethyst.
Until now, I thought Green Amethyst was natural!
If you're curious about how a specific Quartz got it's coloration, Google it.
There's more information available than a casual Quartz enthusiast would ever need.
So what about Quartz's metaphysical properties?
There's a lot of information out there.
As to the specific properties of the different varieties of Quartz,
I go into detail on several specific stones in my Etsy listings.
For the purpose of this portion of my blog, I'm going to be using,
"The Book of Stones: Who They Are & What They Teach" by Robert Simmons and Naisha Ahsian. Also, because you don't know where you're going until you know where you've been,
I'm going to focus on some fascinating historical beliefs about pure, clear Quartz.
* The Japanese viewed Quartz "as a symbol of infinite space, purity, perseverance, and patience".
* "Indigenous cultures in both North America and Burma have believed clear Quartzes to be living entities and presented them with food as ritual offerings."
* "In Scotland and Ireland, spheres of rock crystal were long used to cure disease in cattle."
* "In past cultures of Central and South America, Quartz crystals carved into the shapes of human skulls were venerated as powerful religious objects - the dwellings of deceased ancestors or gods."
There's so much more that makes Quartz worthy of her royal title.
But, it's time to show you and not simply tell you.
Please peruse my beautiful Quartz creations.
For more information, please click on the picture of the piece in question and you will be taken to Etsy where you can both read the piece's description and make it your very own.
I referred to and quoted from the following websites:
(Said excitedly and with jazz hands.)
You know, like, "Just Jack!" from the TV show, Will & Grace.
Yes! Jasper is that exciting!
I tried to find out exactly how many different types of Jasper actually exist.
I don't think anyone truly knows.
I tried to list all the Jaspers with which I am familiar:
Picture, Red, Dalmatian, Zebra, Pink Zebra, Red, Brecciated, Ocean, Porcelain, Owyhee, Rainforest, Kambaba, Elephant Skin, Pink Elephant Skin, Silverleaf, Red Muger, Imperial, Noreena, Picasso, Red Creek, & . . .
I wanted to continue, but I got distracted.
I have seen heated discussions over if a stone truly is a Jasper.
Even if that issue gets resolved, there's also the matter of the variety of Jasper.
While researching for this post, I checked Wikipedia and I disagree with their example of Orbicular Jasper. I think it's Ocean Jasper.
Well, when looking for that answer, I discovered a site where Ocean Jasper is called Orbicular Ocean Jasper.
So, is Ocean Jasper a form of Orbicular Jasper?
I looked at the mountain of articles and arguments in front of me and
opted to bow out gracefully.
Are you overwhelmed too?
Truthfully, I'm more than happy to step aside and let worthy doctoral candidates defend their positions on all of Jasper's minutiae.
According to www.minerals.net, Jasper is an opaque form of Chalcedony and
Chalcedony is a microcrystalline variety of Quartz.
(Microcrystalline is a fancy word for really, really small crystals.)
It's the impurities, such as Iron, that give us all of the different varieties.
If you want it to be so, it's just that simple.
On a metaphysical level, Jasper has been prized since ancient times for its
strong healing, nurturing, grounding abilities.
Beyond that, each specific type of Jasper has it's own set of properties.
There are any number of books and websites that can give you more information.
I own several books on the subject.
I have really enjoyed my most recent purchase,
The Book of Stones, Revised Edition: Who They Are and What They Teach
by Robert Simmons and Naisha Ahsian.
What matters most to the designer in me is that Jasper is beautiful.
I just love to see the "eyes" in my favorite pieces of Ocean Jasper, the speckles of Dalmatian Jasper, the mottled greens and browns of Rainforest Jasper, &
the pinks and purples of Porcelain Jasper.
They all inspire me and I am happy to share with you the products of that inspiration.
In this case, I have been inspired to create over 20, different
pieces of jewelry with Jasper.
Please keep scrolling to see them all for yourself.
I consulted the following websites:
Being Your Best Self
One of the things that adults love asking kids is,
"What do you want to be when you grow up?".
As with most of us, my answer changed over the years.
First, a nurse because my Mom was one.
Later, a famous psychologist, like Dr. Joyce Brothers, who lived in a high rise condo in
New York City.
Even later, a high powered executive assistant who was more trusted ally and friend than employee.
But now here I am, an artist and a Lightworker.
(One who devotes their life to being a source of uplifting love and light.)
Right where I am meant to be.
When I think about how I would answer that same question now, as a grown up,
my answer is, "Happy".
I want to be my best self.
I want to help others be their best selves.
The best way for me to do that is to do what I do best. . .Jewelry!
In this case, Semiprecious Gemstone, Chakra, Buddha, & Evil Eye jewelry made with
the highest of intentions.
The energy of Gemstones can help you on your journey.
Gemstones, or rocks/crystals, vibrate at their own frequencies.
"The cells in the human body also vibrate at certain frequencies, as do the chakras
(The centers of the human energy body)."
"So when we come into contact with a crystal, its vibration interacts with the vibration of the cells in our body."
Different Gemstones have different vibrations and therefore different properties
that can help us.
I have several different pieces of jewelry composed of dozens of different Semiprecious Gemstones.
(Each stone's metaphysical properties are listed in each item's Etsy listing which can be found by simply clicking on the pictures below.)
I have Semiprecious, Glass, & Swarovski Crystal pieces that represent the 7 chakras and remind you of the importance of balance.
I also have a piece with a beautiful, inlaid Brass Buddha pendant to remind you to be more peaceful, kind, & patient.
Lastly, I have a piece designed with Evil Eye beads that protect you from the bad thoughts or evil wishes of others.
So, please take a look around and find the piece that is just waiting to connect with you.
If you have any questions, please use the above link to contact me.
I consulted the following website as a source of information:
Goddess of the Earth - Brown Goddess with Mookaite - NO LONGER AVAILABLE
Goddess of the Skies - Light Purple Goddess with Kunzite - NO LONGER AVAILABLE
Goddess of the Seas - Peach with Coral & Freshwater Pearls - NO LONGER AVAILABLE
All Have Sterling Silver Beads, Findings, & Chain.
Big Jewelry For Big Girls
If you've got a neck or earlobes or a wrist or an ankle and you want to feel fabulous, I'm your girl.
But, there's one queendom in the world of beading and jewelry where I
reign supreme . . .
The queendom of Plus Size Goddesses.
I am one.
I know what looks good on us.
I know what fits us.
I know what we want.
It's not just about taking a small piece of jewelry and adding some chain or another strand of beads. It's about balance and proportions and thoughtful design.
Big girls, in general, have bigger shelves.
(The area between your neck and your breasts.)
It's about using that shelf to display something amazing.
Something that shows the world that you are proud of who you are and what you are.
Something that makes you feel beautiful.
Now, just in time for the holidays, I'm introducing my latest line of jewelry especially designed to celebrate our bodies and our beauty:
Big Jewelry for Big Girls.
These pieces are perfect to give as a thoughtful, one of a kind gift or even more perfect to give to yourself.
Enjoy having THE most fabulous accessories at all those holiday parties and reigning supreme in your own queendom.
Plate by Pia Brown
Plate by Pia Brown
Coral is an organic gemstone.
It is created by a biological process instead of being created with various minerals or mysterious elements coming together deep within the Earth.
Tiny coral polyps, with their hard exoskeletons, grow on top of each other for generations. Eventually, larger structures are formed. This process happens very slowly. Often, the formations grow only 1 mm per year.
The coral used in jewelry, with the exception of Blue Coral, is not the same as the coral composing coral reefs.
The coral used in jewelry is either Precious Coral or Semiprecious Coral.
Both grow in deep, 500 to 1,000 feet, waters.
Precious Corals are colorful, less porous, harder, more lustrous, and are harder to obtain.
Precious Corals include:
Pink Coral - Angel Skin Coral falls into this group.
Gold Coral - This coral is rare but it can be found in Alaska or Hawaii.
Semiprecious Corals include:
Blue Coral - Blue Coral is the only coral used in jewelry that is a reef building coral that was not grown in deep waters.
Many of the other types of coral of which you may have heard are usually the same corals listed above with a dye or treatment applied.
Fossilized Coral is also referred to as "Agatized Fossil Coral" because during formation, the coral remains are replaced with Agate. These Corals are usually found inland; in places where oceans once existed.
Genuine coral is rare due to both over harvesting in the past and its extremely slow growth process.
Most of the coral beads available today are made from bamboo coral found in the Philippines. Bamboo coral is naturally gray. After being shaped into a bead or a cabochon, the coral is either dipped in red dye or injected with it to spread the color through the entire piece.
It is then coated with resin and polished.
While this coral is legal to harvest and sell, many countries have laws limiting or restricting harvesting and ownership of the coral found there.
So before you go on that lovely vacation, intent on bringing home some native coral, do your research! Even if the type of coral with which you have fallen in love is legal to purchase where you are, it may not be legal to bring it back to the United States.
For more information, please check out the sources I used below:
These beautiful charms are from Afghanistan.
They are antique.
At 200 or more years old, they are a piece of history.
To bring back their original beauty, these pieces have had a new layer of
Sterling Silver applied.
The original pieces had a Sterling Silver content of 50% - 85%.
That is quite different than the 92.5% Sterling pieces of today.
Why the difference?
The .925 Sterling of today is a combination of Sterling with a small amount of other metal(s), usually Copper.
Solid Sterling Silver is very soft. The Copper is added to make the Sterling a bit harder.
Designers and craftspeople are able to use the .925 Silver to make more intricate designs that will hold their shape.
It is the addition of this Copper that makes Sterling Silver tarnish.
The Copper tarnishes when it reacts to moisture and Sulfur in the air.
It was this tarnish that the original owners of these pieces were coveting,
Real Sterling Silver pieces tarnish.
Plated pieces do not.
The higher quantity of Copper means these pieces tarnish much faster than
the jewelry of today.
Reaching beyond the science of it all, wearing these pieces connects you to history in a very real and physical way.
I like to imagine who wore these pieces first.
A young woman bejeweled from head to toe on her wedding day.
A tribal elder's wife proudly displaying her husband's wealth as she
strolled through the market.
A little girl excitedly trying on Mommy's best jewelry for the first time.
Let your jewelry be your guide for a trip through history.