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 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  On my website I am offering a coupon sale (CODE IS spring) with 15% off your purchase with FREE SHIPPING this summer.

Coming Attractions!!  I have more vintage jewelry that I am photographing to list on 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%)  at 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  (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

Ear Wire Styles – How to Avoid Losing Another Earring!



We all hate to lose an earring – seems as if I’ve hunted for a million earrings over the years.  I carry a variety of  ear wires and posts for pierced earrings, both commercial and handmade, and hypoallergenic shepherds hooks in niobium and surgical steel, plus some clip style earrings, too.  Some styles are pictured here and we can always order or create something special for you.hypoallergenic ear wires   The shepherds hook style is very popular and the commercial ones are thin enough to go through some clear plastic “stoppers” which we also have.   The stoppers have to be put on the wires after you have the earrings in place.  My handmade ear wire styles include a lot of choices that are longer ear wires.   Posts come in various styles.   Posts with snuggly fitting clutches are pretty good, but I’d lost a number of those over the years, too.

Leverback ear wiresLever-back ear wires are one of my favorites and I have them in sterling silver and gold fill.  People don’t seem to be familiar with this style, but these ear wires lock into your ear lobe and keep your pierced earrings secure.

Something New in Gemstone Designs – New Styles for Gemstone Rings and Earrings

Some of my new versatile sterling silver and gemstone designs:   new bypass style rings – this one shown with gorgeous red garnet cabochons, plus a dangling pearl and gemstone earring style that can be created in the gemstones and colors of your choice.

Pearl Rose Quartz Dangle Earrings 5

The earrings as shown is a mix of faceted gem quality rose quartz with keishi pearls.

The bypass ring offers some adjustability and the earrings can be as long or short as you like.  More designs are on the way.

Garnet Bypass Ring



Mother’s Day is Coming Soon!

Celebrations of motherhood have been happening for centuries, going back to ancient Greece and Rome.   In England a holiday called “Mothering Sunday” was celebrated in honor of Mary, mother of Jesus.   This holiday later became a celebration to honor all mothers in England.   Mother’s Day in America was loosely inspired by the British tradition, but heavily influenced by Julia Ward Howe who pressed for a “Mother’s Day for Peace” in the 1870s.  She was honored for her efforts with a stamp issued in 1988.  Howe’s ideas may have been influenced by an earlier crusader for “Mothers Friendship Day” – Ann Marie Jarvis.

Jarvis’ daughter Anna succeeded in establishing Mother’s Day as a holiday to honor all mothers, living and dead. She started a letter writing campaign urging businesses, members of Congress, and ministers to support a national Mother’s Day

The first Mother’s Day was celebrated on May 10, 1908 and the idea gained in popularity with the formation of The Mother’s Day International Association in 1912 and   President Woodrow Wilson officially proclaimed the second Sunday of May as Mother’s Day the first US Mother’s Day holiday and celebrated May 9, 1914

Today Mother’s Day has become one of this country’s revered “institutions”




Pearls and gemstone jewelry from (pearl necklaces, gemstone necklaces, and gemstone earrings)

Pearls and gemstone jewelry from (pearl necklaces, gemstone necklaces, and gemstone earrings)