Recycled Gems and The Jeweled Butterfly Effect

May 27, 2013 at 8:34 pm (Art, Excellence in Business, gemstones and Jewels, Local Made, Remanufactured goods) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

This pair of earrings is made from a single emerald (once part of a pair of earrings) and a sapphire cabochon which was once a pinky ring. ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????The coins are early 20th century and the wires are handmade from recycled sterling. They can just as easily be two separate pendants on chains. I love the idea of quality jewels no matter the size as they are always worth remaking down the road. I must admit that this is nothing new for me…I was busted turning my mom’s presidential silver spoon collection into bracelets back in the 70’s. The JFK spoon was my favorite. I still occasionally turn a piece of random sterling flatware into a ring.

058 These tourmaline cabochons and slices were from three old tourmaline crystals in a collection given to me by a boyfriend. I didn’t learn to slice and cut them for a couple of years after I received them. A couple of them are drilled and now employed as pendants. The tourmalines were from Maine, USA.They were mined many many years ago so I am not impacting the environment today which adds to their beauty.

Mining in Sri Lanka

As you can see mining even in a primitive way disrupts the natural landscape in ways that are rarely if ever reversed. This is my small contribution to the land which has given us so many gems and with the advent of the shopping channels has been scraped, dug, and tunneled to provide even low grade commercial stones so that every price point from Walmart on up is covered.

By using antique and mid century Italian coral instead on newly harvested I am not part of the problematic issue of over consumption of precious corals.  This dependence on vintage and previously manufactured has its limits on being able to produce commercial quantities of my art and frankly I am A-OK with that. One of a kind has always been my niche and small collections based on some locally sourced vintage beads or gems makes my creative process stretch and grow in ways that having a mainstream supply does not.

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This is another reason I recycle. I am not interested in low grade gems. I try to work with quality even if small gems and rarely use gems which are irradiated or dyed or stabilized.  I love jewelry and all that it stands for so it is important to me that my jewelry share my ethics of respecting the planet and the humans who inhabit this planet. Jewelry means many things from religious or spiritual beliefs to love, affection, ancestry and as a symbol of wealth, fashion, style and energy. Respecting the process means respecting those meanings which people assign to their gems and jewels.

Ask where your jewelry comes from and why?

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How to be a Non Consuming Consumer…and look good doing it!

May 20, 2013 at 9:50 pm (Art, Eating Nature, Excellence in Business, Freedom, gemstones and Jewels, Health, Letting go, Local Made, LoVe, Polo, Remanufactured goods, Sailing, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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My own lifestyle often sparks my deepest thoughts.

I love quality well prepared food.

I love beautiful well made clothes.

I love learning new things.

J’adore bijouterie! That’s French for I LOVE jewelry (and gems).

I also love the planet and all of us on it…well most of us.

I love the creatures and the flora.

…and so I strive to live in harmony with these values. How do I do that you may wonder (work with me here I know you may not really care), well let me break it down for you.

I grow some of my organic  food such as Persian melons as they are hard to come by organic and buy at farmer’s markets organically grown and my local Windmill Farms neighborhood market. This helps limit what I buy at Bigbox inc. I like knowing my food is as fresh as I am and is employing my neighbors and compadres without coming from a hemisphere away and all the pollution that entails. I live in Southern California so we grow a ton of the food out there.

I regularly donate to the Amvets and Goodwill as well as shop there. I find some sweeet finds in USA made, Italian made and French made couture for a small fraction of what Mrs and Ms. Big buck$ paid for them and very often in near new condition. There are a zillion reasons why this is a score.

  1. I’m not paying full price.
  2. The reseller makes money to pay employees when I choose to buy there.
  3. I get to be the fashionista I was born to be…don’t judge I see you looking when I stroll by.
  4. I am not contributing to new sweat shop labor from major companies who source the cheapest available markets as well as freighters again crossing the seas leaving their oily ooze in their wake.
  5. I get to enjoy things for a season and then pass them on when I redonate them for the next lucky customer or gift them to adoring friends.

When I buy new clothes I buy from locally designed and made companies and individual designers. Here is why this is a major win/win.

Paul Rico

  • Locally made means more people locally working.
  • More local tax revenue.
  • I look amazingly stylish and not like everyone who bought this season’s offerings at Bigbox inc. or Massmall.
  • The clothes are designed with my specific area’s climate and lifestyle in mind…you know old school. I live in a temperate climate (or until global warming bakes us all I do) and I need cool breathable clothes for days and layers for early mornings and evenings. I live in a city on the Pacific ocean so beaches, boating, sailing, hiking in the mountains and desert and polo are all under an hour away.
  • The cost is not greater than many mainstream department store lines and yet surprise not made in a sweatshop in Bangladesh or China but here in my neck of the woods often by the designers themselves. Major win!
  • They don’t travel far at all. Often under fifteen minutes by car or 45 minutes by public transportation. Less global warming more great weather.
  • When I choose to give them to a friend or local thrift store they will be treasured as the gems they are and snapped up again by savvy shoppers.

Last year I went to a variety of sailing schools to learn to competently sail a yacht or dingy. I spent a year learning something so new to me my brain ached and so did my body after very windy days…and I love it! Joining a local sailing club affords me discounts on my zero carbon hobby and allows me the ability to take friends out for a beautiful day too.

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This year I am learning to play polo. All new rules all new whole body workout and balance work at its finest. Another green sport played outdoors with other humans and horses all working in teams and cooperating while competing and learning on a fast curve…as my coach says you only leave the field one way if you ignore the rules…in an ambulance or life flight helicopter. I always want to play another day so I catch on quick!

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  1. I want the earth to live another day too so I strive to live in a way that enhances everyone’s opportunity to live another day in peace and prosperity.
  2. Hobbies that are green enhance everyone’s enjoyment.
  3. Workouts outside don’t need well lit air conditioned gyms, with bleached infused workout towels and chemical soaps (but if that makes you happy who am I to tell you how to get your sweat on) but for me that was a toxic way to work out and caused allergic reactions to the chemical cleaners. I am a canary.
  4. I don’t need to take vitamin D supplements as the sun is abundant even in the early morning.
  5. I get to wear my cowboy boots more often without line dancing.
  6. I meet and bond with players versus being next to people at the gym.

On the bijouterie front I remanufacture jewelry here in San Diego so I’m not adding to the issues of conflict minerals and mining slavery and injustices. I buy broken stones and recut them, I buy mining cast off parcels of rock and use water and grit to cut them. I recycle silver and gold to make the settings and I take buy backs from my clients. Here is why buying from your local remanufacturer versus the HSN or QVC is a planetary win.

New Jewels 007

  • There are no conflict diamonds or rubies unless you are referring to the fact that your aunt wanted the ring grandma gave you. Want to preserve her legacy and make sure all the cousins have something from the family jewels. Break it up and make a charm using the stones for each or make earrings. The possibilities are only as finite as your imagination.
  • No additional stress on the planet from mining.
  • No sweatshop labor to cut the gems (sweatshop in my world is me on a hot August day).
  • No sourcing through dodgy governments or buying cartels who routinely abuse their citizens and your wallet.

So I’ve probably rambled on too long so I will release you dear reader with a question.

Are there easy ways you can lower your carbon footprint while also enhancing your individual life?

I would love to hear from you.

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Every Picture Tells a Story Don’t It?!

March 11, 2013 at 8:07 pm (Art, Freedom, gemstones and Jewels) (, , , , , , , , , , )

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jade necklace

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Fashion Week in my Closet

February 20, 2013 at 9:48 pm (Art, Freedom, gemstones and Jewels, Letting go, Style) (, , , , , , , , , , )

So I have been trying on clothes in order to determine what beloved items no longer fit (too big finally) and/or no longer suit my style.

This task has taken on runway proportions as I combine and toss things together to see what makes a solid piece in an outfit. I found a black lace tee shirt whose back is now being sewn onto my zebra print sweater’s back. I embroidered over the neckline of a skritchy Prabal Guhrung tee shirt so that I may enjoy it with my turquoise corduroys this Spring.

I discovered Miss Daisy the six month old Bulldogge has chewed the heels of my favorite yellow snakeskin heels.

The Lilly Pulitzer corduroys two sizes too big will become a knee length skirt to be worn with the hot pink chiffon sleeveless top. The black sweater that never looked right on me is heading for the Hera Hub clothes swap to benefit The Monarch school of San Diego and Planned Parenthood. Also the Levis I gladly relinquish to another with the beginnings of holes in them they are at their prime. The shrug sweater that was not my style will also find a happy new wearer.

I realize I really like skirts over jeans or slacks. I have a pretty good collection of nice skirts gathered from other’s closets, thrift stores, local designer’s wares to wear and even a few purchased by my mother. So I will try each on and be willing to share my overstock with my skirt wearing sisters at Hera.

I have enjoyed this wardrobe overhaul and all it means to me in my life which is in a constant state of overhaul.

Sorting out what works from what doesn’t is always the trick. It isn’t about the fashion but rather your personal style. Wear what makes you look good and feel good. If it means breaking  out your Nancy Reagan red dress and rocking it with your vintage candies go for it if works for you. I have noticed over the years the only people who look awkward in fashion that stands out are the ones who are forcing a look that is incongruent with their inner fashionista. In the eighth grade I had a red corduroy Eisenhower style jacket and matching wide legged pants with high waist AND cuffs. Some kids giggled and made fun while a few edgy fashionistas whose father’s let them shop in New York and Paris understood my statement. I had that jacket many years after the pants were sent on to fashionista recycle. I wish I had it today!

I currently own a jean jacket and a corduroy jacket so maybe that means I’m greedy, or just prepared as I have loaned the corduroy jacket out many a time to friends. I should slip a library card in the pocket for check out! I have refrained from ornamenting it as the jean jacket has a variety of after market trims and embellishments on it.

Back when I still wore suede slacks I had these to wear with my Lady Diana Blue silk blouse. Many thought I was out there wearing these together I thought I rocked it…I still think that : ) women's opportunity week 85 001Yes that is me looking quite conservative in my pearls at the Women’s Opportunity Week Fashion show with talented clothing designer Tawny Walkowiak. Tawny made the delicious suit she is wearing.

So back to editing my wardrobe and my life…add, take away, alter to fit, repeat.

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Art and the Way of the Goddess

February 18, 2013 at 8:47 pm (Art, gemstones and Jewels, LoVe, Relationships) (, , , , , , , )

So in spending time inventorying my current offerings in gems and necklaces I am again renewed in my quest for beauty and uniqueness. I am happy with every single piece in my current collections and see myriad reasons to build on each of these varied themes within the vision of conversation I have begun.

Jewelry is an emotional token in a material world of a spiritual meaning. Meaning it carries with it love and faith and friendship and status and culture. Because of its ability to impact not only the wearer, but those who gaze upon it I want me mine to be about starting conversations…about love, about meaning, and the true nature of happiness. I also want it start conversations about the violence with which it is torn from the earth, shaped into something through cutting and polishing and heat, often by an exploited population using toxic methods on the land…and yet there is no denying its beauty so we must rethink how and why we make jewelry…or at least I do.ImageThis is a piece of fire agate matrix retrieved from a dump after the mine lease holder separated their highest grade fire agate rough from the mine yield. Those gems which will retrieve the highest market price will be cut to maximize their beauty and size. I on the other hand am far more interested in the story the stones seek to tell me…Imagejade necklaceThese are vintage American jade which were retrieved from a scratched and chipped antique pen holder for a wealthy man’s desktop. I made them into spikes and pendants.Image© Michael J Walters 2009These opals are from the Shewa area of Ethiopia. They were part of a parcel of samples brought to the US over a decade ago and the finest stones were sold. These had been in a plastic box for years. Some are drilled and were made into pendants on leather.

So you see I really can find a lot of beauty in what has already been deemed second class…it is all relative. I have surprised even those from whom I have bought with the grace and beauty revealed in their castoffs.

So now you know why I do what I do and with what I do it. I can be reached on occasion at ESGJewelryDesigns@gmail.com if you want to know where to purchase my jeweled art.

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What if Failure Was Not an Option?

January 15, 2013 at 7:12 pm (Art, Freedom, gemstones and Jewels, Health, Letting go, LoVe, Relationships) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

So I ask myself the other day as I registered my daughter for a four day life coaching event what would I like to do if I knew failure was not an option? What if I knew with absolute certainty that I would succeed?

1) I would love with all my heart and soul.

2) I would create what is in my heart without concerns of marketability.

3) I would travel to far away places and learn the language and carry only a backpack and not worry about the cost.

4) I would invest in companies I believe in regardless of what the financial experts say.

5) I would apply for graduate school in a foreign country.

6) I would learn to fly an airplane.

7) I would make a beautiful collection of jewels from my amazing local tourmaline collection for their pyroelectric and piezoelectric health qualities.

8) I would speak my mind.

9) I would paint everyday without thought to whether or not anyone else is interested in my art.

10) I would teach the poor and disenfranchised that they have the power to change their circumstances starting with their own limiting beliefs.

…and so it seems failure is not an option and so it is time to continue the journey. Life is a gift, give thanks daily.

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How to Make Your Art a Star and live quietly in the background.

December 1, 2012 at 6:33 pm (Art, Freedom, gemstones and Jewels, LoVe, Relationships) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Once upon a time there lived a talented young woman and her husband and baby. They lived in a beach neighborhood and so she kept her successes and creations from her neighbors to protect her family from possible burglary. Everyone thought she worked in an office somewhere part time and was busy as a homemaker at home. She was busy…amking jewelry, soldering chain and sheet silver and setting bezels around stones and wrapping wire and knotting pearls…for herself for stores, for other designers. Anyone willing to pay her to make their jewelry so she could be with their young daughter.

Her work ended up around the necks of President’s wives and movie stars and few had ever heard of her by name but they knew they look of mixed gems and pearls breaking the classical rules. She taught herself many techniques and took classes when the budget allowed. Soon some of the retailers were carrying her lines alongside theirs which she had manufactured and often assisted in designing. Throughout the years she worked for various companies in a wide range of the jewelry trade by day and plied her wares by night and weekend while her husband took the lines to market. One day she would leave the day jobs completely and take her knowledge with her to create all her own jewels.

That day came and one after another more opportunities came from high end retailers and she was producing along with local talent her signature looks. Often retailers would market the look under their store brand but she didn’t mind the checks were coming in and feeding her family of five now. Success looks different to everyone and this was her success.

Continued next time…

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If I were a Gemstone which would I be?

November 21, 2012 at 9:34 pm (Art, Freedom, gemstones and Jewels, Letting go)

I have given this a lot of thought over the years as I believe that our favorite gems are not just about color or price per carat but rather a reflection of our own gem like qualities. That being said I have narrowed it down a bit.

Hyacinth yellow sapphire: This is a gem that shines like the summer sun and a January bloom all at once. At surface glance it appears somewhat like Citrine or yellow quartz. Sapphire is much harder (9 on the Mohs scale) and is much less heat sensitive. So that it does don’t crack under the torch unlike Citrine. It is also much more durable and is able take being knocked around daily resistant to damage. Citrine (7 on Mohs scale) can break and chip when bandied about on a hand. I too am often underestimated and prove tougher and shinier than originally assumed.

Pink tourmaline: This beautiful bubble gum variety of tourmaline is fun and bright as well as piezoelectric and pyroelectric!  That means the stone becomes electronically charged either by heat or pressure. This has to do with the gems distorted crystallography. I tend to get busy under pressure or a fire under my feet!  The last dowager empress of China loved pink tourmaline so much that the beautiful bi color gems of our local San Diego County mines were snapped in half for the pink side only!

 

Natural pearl: A natural pearl is an accident of beautiful consequences. The lesson for me is that an irritant can be the start of a beautiful new direction in life.  The tears associated with the irritant become a lovely pearly coating creating one of the few gems which is not formed of fire and earth but rather waves, water and sand. When Columbus set out for Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand bringing back Pearls was a top priority. Columbus did not disappointing them returning with baskets of seed pearls from rivers, tributaries and the sea.

 

Handmade Bronze medal on black freshwater pearls and 14k

So I think I may have to make a piece which employs all of these gems who speak to me so lovingly.

What gems would you be?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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