Thursday, April 25, 2013

New rings from the studio:

Intaglios (engraved gems) in green and topaz glass, set into fine silver bezels on sterling ring wire. I've had these intaglios for years (and have more in different sizes and colors) but only now found a compelling way to use them. They're simple, so I added beaded wire around the bezel for extra interest, and found a wonderful decorative ring wire that I chose for the green ring.

I oxidized the topaz glass ring, as I thought that the warmth of the stone would contrast nicely with the darker metal, I then brushed it for added texture. This one I will keep for myself for a bit!

I don't know that rings will become a mainstay of my shop, but I've enjoyed making these and am eager to move on to more interesting designs that are still wearable. I have so many glass cabs and vintage glass buttons as well as gemstones to make new settings for. A year ago I had no idea how to do any of this, and every week I learn something new that opens my eyes and makes me think about what might be possible.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

White Jade

White jade lilies on sterling silver earwires - simple for Spring, and pretty for a bride. Made late last night - I even made a second pair for myself. The jade flowers are so smooth and lovely and can be worn all year round.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Earrings Preview

I spent yesterday putting together these new Spring colors gemstone and sterling silver earrings - don't you love the fresh colors? 

On Tuesday I formed the silver frames in the studio and yesterday, while the wind howled and rain poured down, I had the fun of playing with my colorful stones. Chalcedony, quartz, carnelian, rubilite, blue topaz quartz, green amethyst and plum faceted quartz, druzy, and solar quartz sparkled despite the overcast weather. 

The chalcedony drops are re-listed after the first pair sold, and the rest will appear over the next week. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Games of Thrones Costume & Jewelry Appreciation, Pt 2

Here we are with the Mother of Dragons, wearing...what else? Dragon claw or tooth jewelry. 

There's some beautiful hand-stitching of pleats and the man's tunic with contrasting thread. It's good to be reminded that this is a primitive society and at least try to make the clothing look as if it's all made by hand...even if it isn't practical to do so.
Love the back peek-a-boo cutout! It's always nice to have something surprising happening on the back of a gown.

 These necklaces could be formed copper, or maybe bronze with a contrasting tip. I would think that they're hollow formed pieces, rather than cast solid shapes, which would be quite heavy.

The double claw/tooth necklace is stunning and paired with this wonderful blue dress, shows that Khaleesi is confident in her appearance and is developing her own style.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Costume/Jewelry Review - Game of Thrones, Season 3, Episode 1

I've been watching Game of Thrones and like fans everywhere, tuned in last Sunday night to see the first episode. I subscribed to HBO again after many years just to watch this, and I'm glad I did. Michele Clapton is the talented costume designer.

The pictures posted are a combination of production stills and pictures I took while watching. Shall we begin with Cersei? I'm quite uninformed about the various crests of the Houses and haven't read the books, so I will describe these as best I can. I am in awe of the casting shop in charge of making these pieces - I think it would be a lot of fun!

There isn't a superb shot of this gown, only upper body or profile shots, but it's the metalwork that matters. I love the collar necklace and stomacher piece with full relief that may or may not be real metal. Is it cast metal over hammered and shaped pieces or leather or some kind of plastic or faux plastic? When I worked in craft houses many moons ago we used celastic, which could be shaped but was quite toxic to use because of its solvents. I'm glad that those days are long gone for me.

HD is quite unforgiving, so I think these pieces are real metal. The casting shop worked with the costume shop on this and I hope this gown was comfortable to wear. What's the fabric? No idea, I wil have to rewatch. Are the sleeves velvet? Possibly.

I am not sure about the crest/symbol on this necklace, but it's a nice heavy piece with a beaded edge and raised center figure. The heavy rope chain is both primitive and strong. The embroidery and beaded edge/trim on the neckline adds to the savage richness of this costume.

Here's a good view of most of the red dress. I could have used a good lingering long shot of this gown that took a lot of time to make. Blood red silk velvet never disappoints, and I like the mix of silver and burnished gold together. The silhouettes are Medieval and Renaissance, which serve this genre well. There is something depraved about her costumes, which suits her well.

There used to be a shop on Madison Avenue in New York City that specialized in embossed and painted velvets that made you feel as if you were walking into a Venetian realm. This painted or printed burgundy velvet on Joffrey reminds me of some of their wares, and is truly gorgeous and above all, decadent. This boy loves being king, and the colors are a tribute to his ruthlessness, as are his rings. The rings are hard to capture, but they seem to be jeweled cabochons and large cast pieces with animal heads that scream Renaissance and animalistic human nature. 

I would watch Charles Dance as Tywin read the telephone book, I am such a fan of his. This scene with Peter Dinklage was terrible and wonderful at the same time, and the visuals were gorgeous. Let's begin with this leather coat with a top layer of punchwork that must have driven its tailor mad. One wrong punch 1/4 of an inch off, and you're screwed. 

The hardware on all of the clothing is quite different per person and no doubt house-symbolic. The bigger the casting, the bigger the d*ck. These clasps are beautiful, as is the belt and the dangerous-looking Hand brooch or fibula with its scary spike. This is a costume worthy of a Shakespearean villain, and its period non-specific cut is very flattering on the trim Mr. Dance. Leather photographs beautifully, doesn't it? I notice that there is no fancy cut on this, no exaggerated shoulder line or details. It's pretty straightforward and he looks powerful, not ragingly evil, but the diamond shape of the punching is regular and sharp, which tells us that he may not be all that variable in his nature, despite his interesting relationship with Arya last season.

Here's Peter Dinklage as Tyrion wearing the Hand badge last season.

This seems to be the same jerkin as the picture above, with different sleeves. The jerkin is black leather, punched in a smaller and quieter pattern to suit the actor's size and character's decency and softer nature, with a quilted skirt and smaller cast clasps and leather doublet sleeves. I'm not certain if the leather skirt and sleeves are one piece or faked together with the jerkin for the actor's comfort and lessening of a layer.

Poor Tyrion! I had to include this shot because it's so beautifully framed with all of the desk accessories and hangings, not to mention the stunning lighting.

Aiden Gillen is quite dashing as Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish. His little silver mockingbird brooch stands out well against yet another black robe which this time is rather monastic in appearance.

I was drawn to the richness of this beautiful belt, which reminds me of pieces I've seen in museums. The metal pieces are ornate and very beautiful and are the only visually interesting part of this plain and streamlined robe.

More fantastic belt and clasp artistry!

Coming up: Danaerys

Thursday, April 4, 2013

New Jewelry Pieces

Thought I'd share some new pieces that I finished for the shop. With Spring almost here, weather-wise (it's been cold this week), I am so happy to use the colorful gemstones and glass pieces that are begging to be worked with.

I went a little crazy with this bib-style necklace despite vowing to simplify things! The gold plated chain is vintage and I added another row of green-gold beads to fill in the space. Glass and quartz beads, new and vintage, were plucked from my stash, and it felt good to leave the silver realm for bead land.

The green Egyptian glass button (shank removed) inspired me to make a theme piece - haven't done this in awhile. I was inspired by the spruce green and gold button and kept the palette to that realm. It's an oddly-shaped button, so I had to make a setting for it and cut a brass base and added prongs so that the detailed molding could be admired. I textured and oxidized the base so that it recedes into the background, and the focal is more noticeable.

A recent shipment of colorful gems from India included these stunning celery green chalcedony faceted drops and sparkly amethyst (!) quartz briolettes. I fashioned sterling silver wire into a frame, filed, oxidized and brushed the metal into a satin finish, then wired the gems into place using fine sterling silver wire. Handmade earwires finish them off. I'll be experimenting with other shapes and color combinations, so check in again later this spring for more colorful earrings in this style.


I've had this string of colorful briolettes for a couple of years and finally decided to use them ALL in one go. They're threaded on to sterling silver wire and hang from a fine sterling chain; all metal has been oxidized and brushed for contrast. Pretty for spring and will go with so many colorful outfits all year round.

This was a button originally. It's glass; I sawed off the shank and made a pretty bezel for it using scalloped bezel wire. The chain is made from tiny milky opal  and pink glass beads and fine sterling chain. Swans are symbolic birds of faithfulness, so this would be a romantic gift. Opera fans, if you know a lady who loves Wagner and his opera "Lohengrin", which features a swan prominently, this would be a nice choice as well.


My supply of chandelier crystals in bright colors is going, but I found two crystals in fresh Spring green and paired them with vintage pink glass cabochons and brass filigree. Sweet and pretty earrings in candy colors.

This is the Era of the Druzy! Have you ever seen so many in so many colors? I fell for these hot pink sugary beauties right away, and paired them with cute little carnelian marquise briolettes and darkened sterling silver.

I took a pair of earrings I made a couple of years ago that features antique glass pearls, crystal rondelles and mauve carved freshwater pearls and added deep plum chandelier crystals and my favorite fussy brass bead caps. They hang from handmade copper earwires and are full of vintage-era romantic goodness.

Antique carved mother of pearl button, shank sawed off and set in a bezel.

I added round mother of pearl  and gray agate beads to hammered sterling rings and the button cabochon to make this modern necklace. You can't see it in these pics, but I also made the hook and eye clasp in sterling. 

That's all for tonight, but I'm working on more to show you. :)