03 March 2009

More amethyst (of course)

Among (many) other things, I found some beautiful, good-quality amethyst briolettes in Tucson to replenish my depleted supply. These cascade-type earrings sell very well, and I'm glad to have higher-quality gems to offer this time around. Amethyst is a quartz (silicon dioxide) colored by traces of iron and manganese. The amount and proportion of these trace minerals determines the color's hue and intensity, with darker, clear varieties considered the highest grade.

I use sterling headpins to wrap and attach side-drilled briolettes (a faceted teardrop shape) to sterling chain, and stepping the briolettes down the chain allows for the "grape cluster" effect. My variations on this theme have included darker amethyst on oxidized sterling (shown at right), which I'd love to repeat if I could only find those briolettes again. I suppose this is the downside of an eclectic approach to building one's supply, focusing on the unusual and one-of-a-kind. This simple earring style works with any briolette, of course, but we always seem to crave that which we cannot have... and so the quest continues.

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