hi everyone,

i am allowing all of my listings on etsy to expire. i will be focusing all of my efforts on my store on 1000 markets. and, i’ve ordered some fantabulous noreena jasper and will be making some new pieces for sale. i am so excited! this is a rare, GORGEOUS, jasper and i hope you will like the pieces as much as i anticipate making them. they will probably be up next weekend. thanks so much for stopping by. i appreciate your support.




For the upcoming Fall/Winter 2009-2010 season, several themes prevailed leaving many options open to the consumer. Of course, I don’t suggest you slavishly follow trends. Pick and choose what works best for you and your lifestyle. Here is my interpretation of what is heading our way in the upcoming season:


A masculine esthetic is big this fall. But more on the foppish side than severe, with muted suiting stripes taking center stage. Darker tones of navy and grey, balanced with taupe and greige make it interesting. Mechanical or steampunk accessories add a touch of individuality to this look. For me, I’m thinking I would wear a close fitting, shorter jacket with wide legged trousers. A pointelle cowled sweater underneath in a peachy beige would look great. A steampunk style brooch, feminized wingtips, and a few strands of large gemstone beads or pearls with ribbon closure would complete the look. This is one style I think I can embrace.

Rough and Ready

A rough hewn sensibility for those of us that gravitate to all things outdoor. Plaids, knee-high boots, tweeds, denim and suede all play a big role. Fluffy, wool lined outerwear will keep you warm and give you that au courant look. Smocking, ruching, topstitching and hand embellishments in general add a feminine flair. At the heart of this look, shades of green with yellow undertones, blue-grey, teal and vegetal hues, make it less predictable than we may have seen in past incarnations. Think lumberjack meets nature guide and that will give you a better idea.

Pop Art

Bursts of bright, neon colors are all over this theme. Electric prints ala Romero Britto and Stephen Sprouse will wake up even the most tired among us. Fuchsia, turquoise, rosy-red combined with calming neutrals such as beige, grey and brown can make this look a bit more wearable for the majority of us. Personally, I would wear just a touch: a scarf, a blouse, a belt. It would enliven your outfit without causing people to avoid sitting next to you on public transportation, lol. Vibrant, natural or dyed stones would accent this look beautifully. Nothing wimpy though. Shrinking violets need not apply.

More is More

This is by far my favorite trend. I love tactile, nubby fabrics. Boucle, tweed, thick, textured woolens, velvets and embroideries are the mainstay of this look. All manner of texture and trim abound: jacquards, fair isle patterning, passementerie, bobbles, smocking, lace, all one big jumble of texture. Face framing draped necklines, smocks/tunics, shearlings, anorak type jackets, cable knits and ribbing and lots of layering make this an opulent look as well as warm. Great for winter, lol. Reptile print handbags, belts and accessories add a great touch along with hints of metal. Tones of rich, deep, blue/green, royal purple, saffron and rose flatter most complexions. To complement, statement pieces are still a hot item. Large, ornate jewelry of metals, pearls, glass, agates and quartz flatter this esthetic. This is a look that I think most can incorporate into their wardrobes with an accent or two and will really make you feel special.

There are a lot of style options in the upcoming season. Choose a theme and pick 2-3 key pieces that can update your wardrobe and give you a lift. Feeling attractive does help with ones overall sense of well-being and promotes a positive attitude. And, in this economy, I’m all for that.

’til next time. –tracy

I always look forward to fall.  The cool, crisp air is wonderful.  And, I get to wear my trenchcoat.  Which I love.  Can’t beat that, lol.

The fashion and design world are generally a year ahead in terms of trends and color.  And there are companies that specialize in providing designers with the colors and trends for upcoming seasons.  This allows designers to plan their collections in advance.  Why would they want to do that, you ask?  Well, for starters, the fabric mills they use need advance notice on the fabrics to produce.   Mills also use the forecasters and create samples of fabrics they plan to produce in the coming seasons.  Designers can choose to use these fabrics, sometimes exclusively, or have fabrics created expressly for them.  There are a finite number of mills though, and they may service several designers so being ahead of the game, timewise, helps a great deal in keeping the designers happy.

Forecasters use various methods to determine what colors and trends will be hot and designers use this information to produce their collections.  This is one reason you will see a similar theme throughout various designer collections in any given season.  They won’t be carbon copies, each designer has their own sensibility and knows what their customer is looking for, but there will be similarities in color families and themes.

Coming tomorrow, Part II – Colors and themes for the upcoming season.

You did it.  You purchased a gorgeous piece of jewelry and you love it.  You wear it almost everyday.  Today though, whilst admiring your bling in the mirror, you realize it looks different.  The same, but different.  Hmmm…  what could it be?  Puzzled, you keep studying your reflection until finally, it hits you:  It’s Dirty!  The gems don’t sparkle like they used to.  The metal looks dull.  It seems your love affair with hairspray/perfume/body spray/spray oil/lotion, etc.–you can fill in the blank– has left residue on your jewelry and it doesn’t look shiny and new anymore.  Waaaahhhhhhh!

Never fear, I’m here to give you some tips and pointers to help your shiny stuff stay that way.  Get ready, this is the biggest and most important tip I can share:  Always, always, always, put your jewelry on LAST.   That is to say, don’t put the rings, necklaces, earrings, bangles, or whatever on until after you have finished getting ready.  Powders, sprays, lotions, they all blanket your jewelry–minute particles settle on your jewelry over time, dulling the sparkle.   Once you’ve primped and fiddled and are ready to walk out the door, then, and only then, should you put your jewelry on.  And the same thing, only backwards, applies at night.  Once you arrive home, always remove your jewelry right away.  Then, go cook, garden, wash your face, whatever your routine, after that.   Making your jewelry the last thing you put on in the morning, and the first thing you remove in the evening, will help keep it looking pretty for much longer.

Ok, Tracy.  Sure.  But i’m not going to do that so what do I do now?  Here are a few suggestions.


Never hang necklaces.  Period.  Those jewelry holder thingies?  Can’t stand them.   I store all of my necklaces flat.  (Actually, I store all my jewelry flat.)  Gravity works on everything–your backside, your face, and your jewelry.  Necklaces strung on thread, like pearls, will stretch out much faster if stored hanging.  Wire jewelry can become distorted and misshapen.   If it is a heavy necklace, the constant weight of it hanging can cause metal fatigue, which can cause metal to become brittle and break.  And, you don’t need a fancy jewelry box to store your jewelry.  Use a drawer.  Line it with a folded double pillowcase, and lay your pieces on it flat.  Don’t overlap the jewelry:  leave a bit of space between pieces so they don’t scratch each other.  Store pearls and easily scratched gems separate from everything else, to prevent damage.  Keep your silver separate and place a tarnish retarding insert in the drawer where you are keeping your silver jewelry.   (The exception to this is for silver that is oxidized.  I love oxidized jewelry, and I use that treatment for a great many silver pieces that I make.  (see example here) Those pieces you will want to keep separate from your shiny silver so that the oxidized pieces don’t dull or tarnish their gleaming finish.)  For rarely worn pieces, place them on the bottom, then place another folded double pillowcase on top of that for the next layer of those items you wear frequently.  Then, if you need to get to the bottom items, it’s easy to pick up the sides of the pillowcase and lift it off to access what’s at the bottom.  It’s also easier to keep track of what you have.  You can see it all at a glance.


What I do, and what has become a habit, is I clean each piece after each wearing, before putting it away.  I use a damp, not wet, just slightly damp paper towel and wipe the piece down.  Gently.  Then I place it on the pillow case, leaving the drawer open to alleviate any moisture, and then close it after 10 mins or so.  Note, your jewelry should not be dripping wet, you are just using the paper towel to remove any oils/sprays/lotions/perspiration.  Doing this daily becomes a habit and reduces the amount of cleaning you would need to do otherwise.

Every so often you will need to clean your jewelry.  I refuse to use sonic cleaners.  All of that supersonic motion, in my experience, loosens the settings.  This is just my opinion.  You may love them.  And that’s fine if it works for you.  I, however, take a clean toothbrush with soft bristles that I bought for this purpose, and lightly brush over my jewelry piece under warm running water.   I then pat dry with a paper towel and allow the piece to air dry on more paper toweling overnight.  Once dry, I put back in the drawer.  ( I save the paper towels and reuse them to clean up after my little toy poodles, Lola and Sophie.  Spoiled little brats.  I love them lots!) 

lola and sophie

lola and sophie

Delicate Stones

For pearls, I suggest the above method of slightly damp paper toweling.  Never soak pearls or leave in cleaning solution.  You will weaken the stringing thread and, in certain chemicals, the pearls will disintegrate and turn to mush.  Have your natural pearls restrung every few years.  Over time, the thread will stretch and to avoid loss, it is best to have them restrung.

For jewelry set with Kunzite, limit its exposure to sunlight, which can fade it over time.  Opals and Turquoise are porous.  Never use cleaners on them as that can lead to discoloration.  And the last/first rule applies doubly for these stones as they can be severly affected by oils, lotions, perspiration, etc.


With proper care, you gemstone jewely will look its best for a longer length of time between cleanings and provide enjoyment to you for years to come.  I hope you found this Tidbit helpful.

’til next time.  –tracy

Mohs Scale of Hardness.  I’m sure you’ve heard this term before when buying gemstone jewelry.  And you probably wondered, what the heck does that mean and why should I care?  I’m just buying a piece of jewelry.  Well, here’s the reason why:  although not a definitive indicator of gemstone durability, the Mohs Scale of Hardness can at least guide you in the direction of the most durable and appropriate gemstone for the piece of jewelry you intend to purchase.


In 1812, Friedrich Mohs, a mineralogist of German descent, devised a way to determine the hardness of certain minerals.  It should be noted that the method of determination Mohs used was one already in existence for centuries prior, although not widely known to the layman.  This method measured the scratch resistance of various minerals commonly available to determine their durability.  By taking a mineral specimen and subjecting it to abrasion by rubbing it with other, increasingly harder minerals, he was able to come up with a determination of where a particular mineral should fall on this scale.  Each mineral on the scale can be abraded or scratched by the mineral(s) above it. 


Using this scale, we can decide if we think a piece of jewelry, say a ring or bracelet, which would be subject to more stress and wear, containing a particular gemstone, is suitable for our purposes.  As an example, I would not make a ring or bracelet using Fluorite–which is #4 on the scale–as it is a relatively soft stone and brittle.  Since those jewelry items tend to get knocked around a bit, say hitting your desk when typing or plonking down on a wooden chair arm when sitting, the likelihood of it being cracked or chipped is very high.  For those items, a stone further up the scale, say #7, Quartz, would be more suitable and up to the wear and tear of daily activity.  But, if you love a particular stone and it is relatively soft, a jewelry piece using a protective setting, such as a bezel, would offer more security and thus help to ameliorate that risk. 

Following is a list of the minerals on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, with the highest number or hardest minerals, first.  (Each individual mineral’s photograph is shown directly under its paragraph):

10.  Diamond – enough said.    
         diamond bead

  9.   Corundum (aka Ruby/Sapphire)  – btw, did you know rubies and sapphires share the same chemical makeup?  only red corundum can be called ruby.  any other color of corundum is called sapphire.
       rubies    sapphires    

  8.  Topaz – can be found in many colors such as golden yellow (imperial topaz), *pink, *blue, *violet and more. 
       imperial topaz   

   7.  Quartz – amethyst comes in purple, pink and green (aka prasiolite), rose quartz, ametrine (a atural combination of both purple amethyst and yellow citrine), and citirine, to name a few.
       ametrine    citrine 

   6.  Feldspar – the most abundant mineral in existence.  quartz is no. 2  you may be most familiar with the varieties of sunstone (orangey-red with copper inclusions referred to as “schiller”), labradorite, moonstone, and more.
       sunstone  moonstone   

   5.   Apatite – generally found in a chartreuse coloration, it can also be found in pink, shades of blue, yellow, purple and green.
      green apatite    blue apatite     neon apatite   

   4.   Fluorite – available in a wide range of hues:  pinks, reds, yellows, greens, blues, and sometimes all of the above in one stone! 
       green fluorite       blue fluorite    multi fluorite

   3.   Calcite – not widely used in jewelry, although that is beginning to change.  usually found in orange, red, green and yellow.

   2.   Gypsum – (aka alabaster or plaster of paris).  also used in some personal care products.  probably to reduce an oily feel and/or to thicken the product.

   1.   Talc – white to greyish, widely used as baby powder


The Mohs Scale of Hardness cannot and should not take the place of a true lab report when considering an important gemstone jewelry purchase.  However, it can be a useful and straightforward first step in helping you make an informed  jewelry purchases. 

’til next time.  –tracy

All gemstone bead photos are courtesy of my dear friend Vivien, of The Gem Bee.

(colors marked with * are heated and/or irradiated to produce the color)

 ’til next time.  –tracy

Rutilated quartz, also known as Venus Hair Stone (Venus is the Roman name for Aphrodite), Cupid’s Arrows (Eros, or Cupid, was Aphrodite’s son) and Sagenite, among others, is a naturally occuring phenomenon.  Quartz (Silica) is a plentiful mineral and can be found in many areas across the globe:  the United States, Madagascar, Australia and Brazil, to name a few, and is used in many applications such as abrasives, paints, circuitry, mortar, glass and counter tops.  What a versatile stone.

In this Tidbit, however, I will be focusing on the gemstone aspect.  For jewelry, quartz, in its crystalline form, is considered a semiprecious stone and comes in various guises such as amethyst, citrine, rock crystal and rose quartz, among others.  Chances are, you already own a piece of quartz jewelry.  However, of all quartz varieties, rutilated quartz, is one of my favorites.

Many gemstones share similar growing conditions and can be found in close proximity to each other, even sometimes forming one within the other.  As in this case, inclusions called rutile, which is a mineral that is mostly comprised of titanium dioxide, forms within colorless to slightly milky quartz giving the appearance of thread or needle-like shots of color in gold, red, green or brown.  My favorite, and the one considered the most valuable, is golden rutile, although all are beautiful and unusual due to the spontaneous formation of the rutile captured within the clear quartz.  As each stone is unique, with its own abstract pattern, no two will appear alike, giving jewelry made with this stone a truly one of a kind identity. To give you a better appreciation, following are links to a set of jewelry, necklace and earrings, I’ve made using rutilated quartz.  As you will see, this stone makes a very dramatic and exquisite presentation.  And, when viewed at various angles and light conditions, the golden rutile glows beautifully.

Folklore for rutilated quartz espouses that this stone helps with healing, fear, depression and indecisiveness.  It is also purported to protect one from negativity, slow the aging process and promote self-understanding.  As for me, I am content to just admire its unique beauty.

I hope you enjoyed this Tidbit.  Thanks for stopping by.



these are the two new pieces i’ll be putting in my shop(s) today.   it’s a bit of a departure from what i have been doing.  these pieces are more informal and rustic–they don’t necessarily require a grand affair to be worn.   i love this look.  very easy to wear but still updated.  –tracy