February Featured Artists at Amapola Gallery

Amapola Gallery in Old Town Albuquerque is one of my great finds since coming to New Mexico.  I’m delighted to be part of this terrific group.   The gallery features two members each month and  I’m a featured artist for February along with watercolor artist Carol Sparks.  We’re having an opening reception at the gallery on February 2 from 4-7 pm, but you are welcome to come by earlier, too.   The address is 205 Romero Street, Albuquerque NM.  Please join us to see our work and the work of the other local artists who are part of Amapola.

I believe that the creative process is a journey.  My silver story started years ago with classes in stone cutting, silversmithing, and wire work.  Unfortunately, other things intervened and I put my jewelry work aside for several years.  Eventually I began working on jewelry designs again and about 5 years ago I moved to New Mexico from the east coast.  I am so excited about being here – New Mexico is the most inspiring place to live and work.

I love spirals and I use them in a lot of my designs.   A spiral is a compelling shape that can be found in the art of numerous cultures.  Spirals are plentiful in natures, too.  The spiral represents a spiritual journey to many people and I’ve adopted the spiral as a symbol of my creative journey.

Along with some new designs, I’m showing some retro look designs – bringing back some spiral styles from a few years ago






Facts about Tourmaline:

Tourmaline is a crystalline boron-silicate mineral with additional elements such as aluminium, iron, magnesium, sodium, lithium, or potassium. Tourmaline is classified as a semi-precious stone and the gemstone occurs in a wide variety of colors. Tourmaline is actually a group of related varieties rather than a single species. The mineral Elbaite is the member of the Tourmaline group that is responsible for almost all the gem varieties. Tourmaline is the most colorful of all gemstones. Pink, red, green, blue and multicolored are the best known colors. Scientifically, tourmaline is a group of minerals related by physical and chemical properties.  I think my favorite tourmaline jewelry are pieces that display all or many of the colors – like the necklace on the left or the crystal that’s shown later in this article.  Watermelon tourmaline is another of my favorites.

Tourmaline can be opaque or transparent and has a vitreous luster with a hardness of 7-7.5 on the Mohs scale. According to Gemstones of the World, single color crystals are rare – a variety of tones within a single crystal (or even different colors) is more common. The most desirable colors are pink and green. Cat’s eyes are strong only in pink and green hues. Main source of tourmaline is Brazil, but tourmaline deposits are also found in various African and eastern countries. Some deposits also occur in the US.

Heat or pressure can cause a tourmaline crystal to to take an electrical charge (pyro- and piezo-electricity) attracting dust and small particles. As a result, tourmaline needs to be cleaned more often than other gemstones. Heating to higher temperatures can produce color changes in some stones: heating may deepen or lighten colors as can irradiation. Some irradiated stones may fade over time.

When green tourmaline was originally discovered in Minas Gerais Brazil in 1554-55, it was thought to be emerald. According to Secrets of the Gem Trade, “it took three hundred years before the mistake was corrected and ‘Brazilian emerald’ identified as tourmaline. Once found out, tourmaline was shunted aside …until the middle of the twentieth century.”

Minerology distinguishes tourmalines by chemical composition:    1-Paraiba tourmaline is a new variety and color that was discovered in 1989 in the Brazilian state of Paraiba. The color comes from traces of copper and gold in the stone and the primary hues are vivid pastels in the blue-green range. The original mine was quickly exhausted, but similar stone from Australia and elsewhere became available

2-Green tourmaline is the most widely distributed hue and the most common color. There are two varieties of green tourmalines: elbaite (most common and found throughout the world) and chrome tourmaline. The color is due to various impurities. Chrome green tourmaline gets its color from traces of chromium and vanadium.

3-Blue tourmaline historically comes from a couple of mines in Brazil

4-Tourmaline also occurs in pink/red combinations. Watermelon tourmaline has a center core of pink-white with a green outer band

5-Other tourmaline colors – yellow, orange, brown



Useful references:

Gemstones of the World – Walter Schumann, Sterling Publishing, NY
Secrets of the Gem Trade – Richard W. Wise, Brunswick House Press, Lenox, MA



I Love New Mexico in the Fall

I love New Mexico in the Fall – it’s a time when we have sunny, cool and usually dry  weather. The aspens turn a brilliant
yellow in the Fall and there are many scenic routes you can drive to see and photograph the Fall color. The trees around my house turned color very early and were mostly done by early October this year.




There are lots of things to do in the Fall – a variety of craft shows and the annual Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque. We visited on. The final weekend for the mass ascensions. Mass ascensions are spectacular with balloons taking to the sky in large numbers. You have to allow plenty of time to get there – lots of traffic and a crowded highway. For the morning ascension you should plan on arriving while it’s still dark.



I’m a member of the Espanola Valley Fiber Arts Center. Their Fall Fiber Fiesta is a large show every November at the Scottish Rite Temple on Paseo de Peralta in Santa Fe. This year the show will be held November 17-19. Friday evening the 17th is the opening reception and Saturday and Sunday are show days.

There’s lots more to see and do In October and November besides these events.  In December, New Mexico dresses up for the Holidays with farolitos on all the roof tops and plenty of holiday oriented activities!




Gems I Love – Beautiful Amber

Dominican Amber


Amber is the fossilized resin of an ancient pine tree from about 50 million years ago. The species of pine is Pinus Succinifera. Amber is found mostly in the Baltic area but some is also found in the Dominican Republic.



Baltic ambers can vary widely in their appearance. Yellows and browns are the dominant colors for amber, but amber can occur in a range of different colors: the usual yellow-orange-brown through a pale lemon yellow to brown and almost black. Some uncommon colors include red amber (“cherry amber”), green amber, and even a blue amber (found only in the Dominican Republic). Dominican amber is fluorescent. The rarest is Dominican blue amber and it’s highly sought after. This amber turns blue in natural sunlight and any other partially or wholly ultraviolet light source. In long-wave UV light it has a very strong reflection, almost white. this type of amber is produced in very limited quantities

Baltic AmberAmber can be transparent to opaque. Inclusions, bubbles, and hair fine lines are common. Amber is rather soft with a hardness of only 2-2.5 on the Mohs scale, but it can be cut and shaped into cabochons of various shapes. Amber has been used for “eons” to create jewelry and religious and ornamental objects, but according to Gemstones of the World, only about 15% of the amber found is suitable of jewelry.

Amber has been used in jewelry and ornamental objects since the stone age and it has long been used in folk medicine for its purported healing properties. In ancient China, amber was burned during large festivities.


Imitation ambers can be made from younger resins or other fossil resins.  Copal is such a resin that’s dried and solidified. It’s found in many places and is still produced today. Primary sources are Columbia and Madagascar. The resin is primarily from two different species of trees Some copals are very young (only a few hundred years old), others are millions of years old.

According to Gemstones of the World by Walter Schumann, a pressed “ambroid” can be created by pressing small pieces of amber together under intense pressure (around 3000 atmospheres) at a temperature of around 480 degrees.

Baltic Amber

Here’s a good test for amber: make a saturated salt water solution (which means you add enough salt until it cannot dissolve further). Add the bead or supposed piece of amber. Solid plastic beads sink (hollow plastic beads will float) Genuine amber floats.  Another amber test is to rub it vigorously until it gets really hot. Sniff it. It should have a pine-like, aromatic smell because it is after all fossilized tree sap from around 50 million years ago.




Christmas in July and Making up for Lost Time


Christmas in July sale runs through July 22. At checkout, use the CODE christmas in july.

I’ve always been nuts about jewelry, but my interest in vintage jewelry really began when I inherited a few pieces.   I was fascinated with the designs and the techniques used to create them.  I love old Czech pieces set with glass. I love the flow of the lines and the combination of materials used by many vintage designers.   Some of my own work been inspired by “vintage ideas”.

Here three of my favorite designers – one of these days I’ll do an article on more vintage designers I love.

Eisenberg -Eisenberg started in Chicago in 1880 as the first “American” designer clothing company. The company manufactured jewelry to accent the clothing. During the 1930s and 1940s, Eisenberg & Sons was one of the best regarded manufacturers of costume jewelry. Prior to 1950, Eisenberg jewelry was designed for an upscale audience and was only sold in carefully selected stores. Rhinestone jewelry was very popular – both clear and colored, but the pieces with clear stones and marketed as Eisenberg Ice commanded a premium price. Authentic pieces of vintage Eisenberg jewelry can be identified by the mark: Eisenberg Original was used from around 1935 to 1945. Eisenberg and Eisenberg Ice were the names used from about 1945 to 1950. Some pieces dating between 1952 and 1970 have no marks at all.

Juliana D&E -Juliana pieces have lots of stones and very little metal Juliana jewelry was produced by Delizza and Elster. The DeLizza and Elster company was founded in 1947 and manufactured all sorts of elements and jewelry for well established costume jewelers – Hobe, Kenneth J. Lane, and Weiss. Over time much of the D&E jewelry in this style became known as “Juliana.”  The tagged Juliana pieces were only produced for a couple of years in the late 1960s. Unless the paper hang tag is retained, most of these pieces are totally unmarked.


Hobe’ – Hobé Cie was founded in 1887 by goldsmith Jacques Hobé. The Hobe’ mark was first employed in 1926.
Jacques’ son, William, established an American branch of the company in 1927. Early on, William made costumes and jewelry for the Ziegfield Follies and a number of Hollywood stars favored Hobe’ designs. This celebrity connection during the 1950s boosted the popularity of Hobe’s rhinestone jewelry.


I’m trying to catch up after being out of the studio for about 12 weeks.  This summer I will be completing a lot of pieces I started earlier.  Last March I was working on a number of flower and plant designs. There are several different techniques I’m using to incorporate natural textures and lines in these pieces.  There are repousse pieces too, including a bracelet and earrings in a leaf design.  Once the work is completed,  all of these pieces and others need to have their pictures taken.














It’s June!

It’s June!!  This is one of my favorite times of the year.  I love June and all it brings – summer flowers, vacation season, and the warm weather that comes with the season.

You haven’t heard from me in a while now.  Over the last several months I’ve had to deal with personal issues that have taken all my time.  In April I had a hip replacement.  I had expected to be back home in a few days, but there were complications and I ended up in the hospital for a prolonged period and required additional therapy.   It’s going to more time before I can work on going up and down stairs.

As a result, although I have a lot of ideas and plans for new jewelry and more vintage pieces to list, I don’t have a lot of new things to tell you about right now.  A few of my handmade jewelry items at DianaKirkpatrick.com is out of stock.  I’ll be back in the studio in July and I will be able to restock with new items and replacements.

I do want to tell you about COUPON SALES in both my Etsy shops and also at DianaKirkpatrick.com.  On my website I am offering a coupon sale (CODE IS spring) with 15{3f644ebafa59d805439bbc71d16e7adbf8e36c9cc6d6e5f5b0eb479702611d94} off your purchase with FREE SHIPPING this summer.

Coming Attractions!!  I have more vintage jewelry that I am photographing to list on  DianaKirkpatrick.com and also in my Etsy shop (including a number of lovely amber pieces and more will be coming soon).    There’s a coupon sale (use code SUMMERSALE and save 15{3f644ebafa59d805439bbc71d16e7adbf8e36c9cc6d6e5f5b0eb479702611d94})  at DianaKirkpatrickArt.etsy.com on all vintage items.  We have a lot of terrific values in our Vintage Clearance section – marked down already, but you can save even more using the coupon.

There’s also a coupon sale on my jewelry at PearlandGemJewelry.etsy.com  (Coupon Code is  SPRINGSALE)


Fashion Trends – Spring Colors for 2017



Strong Colors for Spring

Niagara is a classic intense denim-like blue shade

Primrose Yellow invites you to enjoy the warmth of a sunny day – a bright no holds barred sunflower yellow

Lapis Blue is a wonderfully strong intense rich deep blue shade with an inner radiance.

Flame is a red-based orange that’s flamboyant and vivacious with a fiery heat. This is an ultra intense color that’s striking alone and great combined with neutral

Island Paradise is a refreshing aqua – a cool blue green shade that symbolizes an escape to the tropical settings of our dreams.

Pale Dogwood is a quiet pink – a subtle pink whose soft touch infuses a healthy glow.

Greenery is the yellow-green hue of bright new foliage

Pink Yarrow is tropical and festive – a whimsical and attention getting hot hot deep pink

Kale evokes the great outdoors – it’s another foliage-based green that lets us connect to nature – reminiscent of avocado hues

Hazelnut is a key earthy neutral for spring. This shade brings to mind a natural earthiness. Hazelnut has an inner warmth and it’s a transitional color that connects the seasons.

This year’s Spring colors are powerful backdrops for silver and gold jewelry. Hazelnut – the “neutral” in the Spring collection is dynamite with pearls and glittery gemstone necklaces. Pearls and other gemstones will gleam and glitter against these intense colors.




Holiday Gift Giving Ideas

Holiday Gift Giving Ideas

This blog is all about holiday gift giving ideas.   The holidays are a busy time of year with everyone shopping for the perfect gift for those special friends and family members. The traditional Twelve Days of Christmas Song starts with the gift of a partridge in a pear tree and each verse adds another item until reaching twelve drummers drumming. The last verse goes:

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me:
Twelve Drummers Drumming, Eleven Pipers Piping, Ten Lords a Leaping, Nine Ladies Dancing, Eight Maids a Milking, Seven Swans a Swimming, Six Geese a Laying,  Five Golden Rings, Four Calling Birds, Three French Hens, Two Turtle Doves, and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

There are lots of holiday gift giving suggestions published this time of year and here’s ours. We don’t happen to have the gifts mentioned in the song, but we do have beautiful hand constructed silver and gemstone jewelry – pearls, amethyst, garnet, peridot, topaz, and other gemstone as well as an enticing selection of vintage jewelry – any of which would be a perfect gift for someone special.  We’re always happy to create something special just for you or make one of our designs in a different metal with a favorite gemstone of yours.



There’s a fabulous fiber show coming to Santa Fe November 18-20.   The show is being held at the Scottish Rite Temple on Paseo de Peralta and it kicks off with an Artist Reception on Friday November 18 from 5-7pm.   The show hours on the weekend are 10am – 5pm and there’s going to be a lot to see and do

One of my woven necklaces is featured in the show poster and I’ll be showing some of my woven fiber pieces and also woven silver designs during the show.

Silver Woven Necklace with Pendant                Art Deco Woven Necklace in Copper Tones with Twisted Golden Beads

The Owl

The Owl

Woven Necklace with Bitty Bells

Pastel woven necklace

Pastel woven necklace

Tulip Focal Necklace

Tulip Focal Necklace


W# 13 ver2

Pantone’s Fall Colors for 2016

These are the Pantone Fall Colors for 2016.   These beautiful colors strike me as somewhat subdued autumn hues that sort of continue the “calm mood” from last Spring/Summer.   

Riverside blue (a marine blue) is a sort of neutral shade that would be really good with silver, lapis jewelry, clear crystal, or red stones

Airy blue is an amped up baby blue – great with silver and crystal beads,

Sharkskin is a lovely silvery gray, A wonderful shade for silver jewelry and one that goes with just about any color

Pantone colors Fall 2016Aurora red is a very bright scarlet that’s great with gold or silverNecklace - apple coral and horn bead bride's necklace_1


Warm Taupe is a medium dark neutral shade, I like this shade paired with silver or black, but you could wear almost any metal

Dusty Cedar (deeper dusty rose with a definite burgundy hue). Great with gold or silver, probably with copper too

Lush Meadow is a rich luscious deep green that is wonderful going into winter – a warm green that teams well with almost any metal

Brooch Robert Yellow Flower3   Marigold is a lush rich golden yellow – the perfect compliment for blacks, browns and neutrals

Potter’s Clay is a great coppery brown.   I love copper, so I really like this one – great with silver jewelry and colorful beads like rose quartz or peridot. Black onyx would be great, tooEarrings Hammered Copper Discs

A bright purple called Bodacious – a playful bright color to have fun with.

I’ve also seen Olive on some Fall color lists.   Whatever your favorites, these are great colors to mix and match for Fall