12 February 2009

Slices of heaven

Tucson was a wonderful experience for me; apparently, though, business was way down for everyone this year. We still did well, and I was fairly busy most days I worked. During lulls, I was more than happy to make jewelry, of course, and passersby seemed to enjoy watching. I made this bracelet of rough-cut blue lace agate, pearls, and sterling to complement a stunning Two Cranes blue lace agate pendant that had the characteristic striations on the side and full druzy in front. I put that piece on three pale lavender, blue, and ivory silk cords and presented it on black velvet, along with this piece and one other pendant on a single silk cord. That drew some attention, and both pendants sold by the end of the show. Technically a chalcedony, blue lace agate is found as nodules primarily in Namibia (southern Africa) and is relatively rare. I love the large, irregular pieces that show off this stone's unique coloration and texture, particularly those with druzy.

02 February 2009

Now THIS is my kind of tourist attraction

I am in Tucson at last, having been invited to The Big Dance by Dean and Conne -- not only to make this pilgrimage, which would be amazing enough, but to actually work one of their shows for them. What a way to shake off the winter doldrums -- they have fallen away as I've roamed around taking in as much of the show as I possibly can. My favorite attraction so far: this huge amethyst geode from Brazil, where the world's finest amethyst specimens are found.

I believe (gemstone addict that I am) that all spiritual malady might be erased permanently if I simply crawled inside this amethyst geode to nap for an hour or two. Yes, I would actually fit in there. I could sit or recline, my choice. Amethyst, a quartz, ranges from pale lavender to the cherished deep violet that you can see is abundant in this sample. Found in geodes from alluvial deposits, amethyst crystals grow from a base of humble rough stone, nicely illustrated in my photo above, and gain their coloration from iron or manganese, sometimes in combination. Its name derives from a Greek term, "not drunken." In Tibet, amethyst is considered sacred to Buddha, and in many cultures it has long been thought to bring clarity, serenity, balance, peace, and unity. (Although I am basically an agnostic about gemstones' purported healing properties, I largely agree with the folks at JewelrySupplier.com who write, "We don't necessarily promote or believe these claims, but we think they make for interesting conversation.")

I wonder if they wheel this beast inside overnight... it would make a lovely sleeping chamber, albeit a bit hard on the bones.