Monday, May 27, 2013

Romancing the Stone

One part of the business of creating beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces of jewellery is the process of choosing the stones to be used in the designs. The first part of this process, for me, is finding the right supplier. I research all my suppliers, making sure they have excellent reputations for honesty and integrity. There are a lot of fake stones out there and I don't ever want to be required to question the authenticity of any of my designs. The stones have to be right and true. Once I have chosen the supply partners with whom I want to work, the next stage is to find the right stones. 

When choosing stones, I like to find pieces that are unusual and unique. To a certain extent, you can say all natural stones are unique - no two are ever the same. That is the joy of working with the products of Mother Nature rather than the products of laboratories or factories. But I like to find focal stones that have that 'wow' factor. When I see a stone, I know immediately whether or not I want to use it. There is no hemming or hawing. And sometimes I find a stone when I don't have the funds with which to purchase it. Fortunately, the suppliers I use will allow me to reserve stones so that I can purchase them within a specified time. What do I look for, specifically, when I am shopping for focal stones or even for the smaller stones that act as complementary parts of a design or used for earrings on their own? 

Firstly, I look for the right size. If I am looking for a focal stone, I try to find stones that are about 2 inches or more in length. A focal must make a statement and it can't do that if it is too small to be seen or gets lost in the design. Secondly, I look for colour and pattern. Do I have stones in my inventory that will work well with the stone? Does the stone lend itself to working well with copper or bronze? Does my mind immediately start designing around the stone? If the answer is yes to these questions, then I know I simply must have the stone. It is already part of my collection before I've even purchased it.

Boulder Opal
I like to buy stones that are less known or less available. The brecciated red jasper in the 'Flame and Ash' design is a good example. Brecciated jasper is becoming more and more difficult to find. The colours in this particular piece were amazing. I knew the moment I saw the stone that I had to have it for my collection. The bonus is that it is even more beautiful in 'person.' I have recently added a boulder opal to the collection to be used in The Selkie's Haunt jewellery. Usually reserved for use in the sterling silver designs of Ailleas Designs, the boulder opal is expensive and completely unique. But the colours of this particular opal seem perfect for use with bronze or copper. I hope to start working on a piece incorporating this beautiful opal very soon. It's not time, yet, though. I will sense when it it time to sit down and work with this incredible piece of Mother Nature's artwork. As you can see, it is a stone that easily captivated my imagination. I think it was a case, this time, of the stone romancing me.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


I have been working hard on new pieces for the collections and, if you have visited the site lately, you will see all the new earring and necklaces that have been created. I am working on bracelets right now and having a wonderful time.  I have three each for bronze and copper - I would like to have at least six for each category. Hopefully, they will make an appearance on the website in the near future. I am also beginning work on brooches. These will be in a variety of designs and uses - from substantial pieces for wearing with your coat and scarf to stick pins that will, hopefully, have a bit of the playful about them.

I am always so inspired by the beautiful stones with which I work. As I have with Ailleas Designs, I have decided to concentrate on building a working relationship with just one company for the supply of my stones. I am very happy with my supply partner and also with the woman in the States from whom I buy an occasional specimen piece of stone to include in the designs. (I bought the rainbow fluorite focal and pietersite from her.) I think it is very important to know and trust your suppliers, and I have utmost trust in and respect for my supplier. I am looking forwards to a long and hopefully lucrative future with her.

I've included a photo of one of my favourite pairs of earrings. These are relatively new. I love them. I had no idea what I was going to end up with, but I think I have managed to get a sort of cascading, organic feel from these. These earrings are copper made with pure copper wire in both heavy and light
gauges and also with beautiful B-grade tourmaline. Tourmaline is an amazing stone when in the lower grades. You don't get the sparkle and transparency, but you get a myriad colours and inclusions in the stones. To look into my container of the tourmaline used here, it is like looking into a rock pool at low tide - the colours and markings are so earthy and real.

I am awaiting delivery now of two more focal stones. One is banded black agate - a truly beautiful stone - and the other is brecciated jasper, which is becoming more and more rare. I can't wait to get my hands on them and see what happens. The process is nearly as much fun as the outcome.

So, until I write again, thank you for your support and interest in The Selkie's Haunt.