Sunday, December 30, 2012

Garnets, Birthstone for January

Garnet is the birthstone for January. There is something extra special about this semi-precious gemstone that can take your breath away.  A good quality specimen can be truly exquisite.

Red Garnet Pendant. Sterling Silver Chain Necklace. Strawberry Wine
Red garnet teardrop pendant 'Strawberry Wine'
The name apparently derives either from the Latin 'granatus' meaning 'seed-like' in reference to the seeds of the pomegranate or from the Middle-English word 'gernet' which means deep red.  Garnet is a hard and durable stone that has been popular for centuries. Some have been found in burial sites dating back to 3000 BC

 Garnets can be found in several shades including red, green,orange, yellow and blue, the latter being the rarest of them all. The blue garnet was discovered only as recently as the late 90s in Madagascar and is an unusual, colour changing stone. In daylight it is a bluey-green but it changes to a warmer purple in other lights. Although some of the green variety can be much more valuable, the less rare and more easily recognised, red stones are usually stunningly beautiful, especially when teamed with warm gold or cool silver.
Red Garnet Earrings.  Sterling Silver. Wire-Wrapped Teardrop Gemstones. Strawberry Wine
Red garnet teardrop earrings (TEMPORARILY SOLD OUT)
 Here comes the short science bit.....Collectively, garnets are a group of silicate minerals. They include pyrope, almandine, grossular, uvarovite, spessartine and andradite. They vary in chemical structure so the hardness of the stone varies from 6.5 to 7.5 on Moh's scale.
Red Garnet Earrings. Sterling Silver.  January Birthstone. Ruby Berries
deep red garnet earrings 'Ruby Berries'
Like most gemstones, throughout history and across civilisations, garnets have been surrounded in myth and attributed special meanings. Known as 'The Warrior Stone', these  crimson stones were once incorporated into the armour of soldiers. It was believed they would protect them during battle. According to legend, Noah used a bright garnet to show the way through dark storms.
Red Garnet Earrings. Sterling Silver.  January Birthstone. Ruby Berries
Garnets are the symbol of fire, faith, courage and truth and also fidelity, grace and compassion. Traditionally they have been used as a healing stone to combat depression, lethargy and nightmares and to stimulate the bloodstream and pituitary gland. This stone is also the gem associated with the 2nd and 19th Wedding Anniversary.

If garnet is your birthstone then I wish you a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY this coming month.

click here to read about Amethyst, February birthstone 

click here to read about Citrine, November birthstone

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Crafty Exchange of Seaglass

seaglass and pottery from the Irish shore
Recently I've had a unique opportunity to try out something different in seaglass.  This was thanks to a lucky encounter with Joy of Seaglass Lass in the USA.
Christmas Green Sea Glass Bracelet, Goldtone toggle
drilled seaglass bracelet by Seaglass Lass
A few months back I was approached by Joy who makes beautiful jewellery from drilled seaglass beads. Descending from Irish heritage, she was looking to buy some local seaglass for sentimental reasons. Joy was especially interested in pieces from the West coast of Ireland.
Seaglass Pendant Handmade in Ireland.  Pale Aqua Seafoam Beach Glass. Still Waters
Wire wrapped seaglass pendant by Handmade by Amo'r
Our skills are very different. Joy drills and beads the seaglass whereas I wire wrap undrilled pieces to encage them. She would use the smaller pieces that are way to tiny for wrapping as the wire would swamp the glass instead of showing off its natural beauty. Those pieces are more suited to drilling into beads.
I managed to find several small pieces I'd collected on the West coast in Sligo this summer plus a few from local shores near Dublin.  I threw in a few larger ones just in case she wanted to make drilled pendants too.

Fixing a value on the pieces was a little difficult for me. After all, it was unlikely that I would be using them myself. So I asked Joy if she would exchange them for a few drilled pieces that I could experiment with. I have been toying with the idea of investing in a drill so I can make earrings and ornaments. Here was a great opportunity to see what I might do with it.
Seaglass Fairy Suncatcher, Christmas Ornament, Rear View Mirror Charm or Pendant
Seaglass fairy suncatcher or ornament, Handmade by Amo'r
I sent off the Irish glass and in return, Joy sent me some sample seaglass beads she had drilled. This little fairy is the first item I have made using the glass that Joy sent. I have stacked 3 pieces of the seaglass onto a pin for her skirt. Her bodice is a combination of silver beads and her wings are silver plate. Her head is a stunning pink crystal that will catch the light and sparkle.
Seaglass Fairy Suncatcher, Christmas Ornament, Rear View Mirror Charm or Pendant

I may use the rest to make a pair of earrings for myself and perhaps one more fairy. Or maybe I will incorporate them into a long necklace.
Irish Gifts. Bookmark Celtic. Seaglass, Silver & Stone. Made in Ireland
Irish seaglass bookmark, Handmade by Amo'r
However, I will hold off from buying a drill for the moment. Wire wrapping is my true art and I do not wish to detract from that. A drill to make beads from the smaller pieces would be useful of course, and I'll consider getting one at some point in 2013. I hope Joy has as much fun experimenting with the pieces I sent.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Oh Christmas Tree....

This year my Christmas ornaments will be gracing trees in various corners of the world including locally in Ireland, in the USA, Canada, Japan, Germany, Australia and the UK. This photo of one of the Connemara marble mini trees decorated in silver plate was taken in Finland where my Etsy friend Heli, is home with her folks for Christmas. Thanks Heli for sharing a glimpse at the gorgeous winter wonderland.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Recent Treasuries, December

A few more recent treasuries to share and say  
A BIG THANK YOU for. I am always grateful and honoured to be included:
 Thank you Barbara of Fau Mit Hut   for this unusual collection 'Stones'. Some very clever ideas brought together in a beautiful treasury!
It'a an honour to have been included in a treasury titled 'Proud of my Team gifts from Emerald Isle'. So thank you Margarita of Linen Artesan for this. I'm proud to see my cobalt glass pendant in such fabulous company.

And after a Bee Gee's themed work party, I have lyrics floating in circles in my head 'I've just gotta get a message to you-u-u' I wonder is it cos I haven't sent all my Christmas cards yet?!  Whatever the reason, the words inspired me to make the following treasury to promote fellow Irish on Etsy:

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Difference is in the Detail. Last One.

I've just posted the last in the series, The Difference is in the Detail on the Etsy Ireland Blog:
Click on the photo above to see the blog post (this will take you away to the Etsy Ireland Blog. Don't forget to come back to me please :-)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Last Dates for Christmas Shipping from Ireland

 Last chance to order gifts on time for Christmas and destined for the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan and Mainland Europe is tomorrow: 
December 6th!

The last Christmas shipping to these destinations (and other countries beyond Europe) is Friday Dec 7th so if you wish me to send something on time, please purchase it in the next 24 hours. Purchases will be still shipped after that date, but will most likely arrive a few days after the holidays. Last date for UK is 13th December and for Ireland is the 16th. 

Please click on the banner to enter my Etsy store home page

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Only 1 Connemara Marble Christmas Ornament Left

Connemara Marble Decoration. Irish Tree Ornament. Green Red and Silver  Connemara Marble Tree Ornament from Ireland. Celtic Christmas Decoration. Christmas Tree Ornament from Ireland. Connemara Marble. Celtic Spiral Charm Irish Tree Ornament. Connemara Marble Christmas Tree Decoration. Celtic Squiggle  Connemara Marble Tree Decoration. Irish Ornament. Green Red and SilverConnemara Marble Tree Ornament. Irish Christmas Decoration with Silver Heart.
These cute Connemara marble mini trees, and other Irish ornaments I made, will be gracing Christmas trees around the globe this year. Most, but not all, have gone to the USA and Canada. If only they could send me back photos of the happy families gathered around the trees over the holidays!

SALE Snowflake on Tree Decoration. Connemara Marble Ornament from Ireland.
Connemara marble tree ornament decorated with silver snowflake
This little fella is the last one left in my Etsy shop. I've reduced it to clear from €12.50 down to €11. 
 SALE Snowflake on Tree Decoration. Connemara Marble Ornament from Ireland.
Connemara marble is a rare stone found only in the West of Ireland. It comes in varieties of green from a faint white-wash to darkest forest green with 40 shades of lime and leaf in between.  This piece is a soft, pale green with grey and white marbling and lime speckles. It was carved by a Galway mason.

I flattened the snow flake shape from a silver cap bead using a chasing hammer and wrapped it onto the tree with silver plate. The crimson glass bead above will catch the twinkle of fairy lights beautifully. It has an ornate, silver plate hook for hanging. Just latch the ornament onto the branch or use a ribbon or tie if you prefer. 

This handmade ornament would make a thoughtful gift for an Irish family or friend abroad. 
SALE Connemara Marble Decoration. Christmas Ornament from Ireland. Irish Celtic Art.
OOAK Connemara marble ornament, REDUCED
 There are still  a few other styles of ornaments available in my shop. (Click here to view).

Last date for Christmas for International orders: 6th December! Happy Holidays!