Monday, November 30, 2009

mooshu dog puppy friendsSuddenly, they're friends!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Just thought I'd share this adorable photo. These poor little meerkats lost their mommy at 2 days of age. But with some human love, a hot water bottle, and the help of a stuffed animal, they're doing great and are now over a month old.


Friday, November 27, 2009

swedish blue slag ring sterling
Another cabochon from my Russian dealer!

This one caught my eye immediately and I had no idea what the stone could possibly be. An incredibly bright blue, but not quite the right shade to be turquoise. I was told that it was "Swedish Slag" and came from foundries in Sweden. I bought it (and I should have bought more!) and did a little research on it.

The blue stone is actually 500-year old glass from Sweden. But it didn’t start that way. It began its life in the 1400's when metal smiths would dump the waste product from iron they were smelting. This sludge or slag which they dumped outside their shops would accumulate in piles which got buried for centuries. During that time it changed into this glass-like stone which is now being mined. Different minerals or metals would make the slag different colors. This one was probably contaminated with cobalt, creating this lovely blue color.

swedish blue slag sterling ringSo wearing this ring means wearing the ultimate in recycling. 14th century sludge on your finger!

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I know a dealer who sells gemstones that come from all around the world, but especially Russia. He comes to Indianapolis a couple of times a year and I've bought some amazing cabochons from him.

During his last visit, I picked up way too much stuff (again!) and I'm going to have the pleasure of working with the beautiful stones for quite a while.

Among the items I picked up were some intensely purple charoite.

I've seen charoite before and for a while I assumed it might be synthetic because of the incredible color, luster, and swirly patterns in the stone. Charoite can be so incredibly purple that it’s almost hard to believe that this stone occurs naturally.

But they're real and they're only found in Russia.

If you've seen my silver jewelry, you know that I like to incorporate swirls. But I haven't done so in a ring until know.

This design almost seemed to create itself - I guess the swirly patterns in the stone inspired me. There are swirls on either side of the stone and little graduated spheres of silver to balance the pattern.

charoite purple sterling ring

sterling silver band charoite ringRather than using a plain half round wire to make the band, I cut out heavy silver sheet to create a wide band and then accented it with spirals and stampings. Then everything was oxidized and polished to bring out the details.

I really love how the band turned out and think I have to make a band (sans stone) just for me!

(Did you get the reference in this post's title? If not, maybe the name of my ring will help. Click here to see it.)

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Plume Agate Cabochon

plume agate contrariwise To me, gemstone cabochons are very inspiring. Each one is unique and each one holds some promise. Sometimes I get a stone and know exactly what I want to do with it. But sometimes I fall in love with a stone not knowing what it's destined for.

This one is one of the latter.

I picked up this plume agate from an Etsy shop called StonesInMotion. Ed has some wonderful pieces and this one caught my eye. I bet you can see why. It was collected at the Woodward Ranch in West Texas which is world famous for these gorgeous plume agates. Apparently, they're getting harder to find at the ranch these days so I feel lucky to have picked up such a gorgeous speciman.

While I loved the stone, it didn't speak to me right away. It took several months before I decided to highlight it in a ring. But I think it was worth the wait.

I didn't want the setting to destract the stone, so I decided on a simple setting. Here's the stone, set in silver, with just a little extra border that I hand stamped. Then everything was oxidized and polished to give the ring a little bit of a rustic feel which I think matches the feel of the stone.
plume agate sterling ring bezel contrariwise More pictures of this ring can be found here.

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It's guess about time I started posting again! Let's begin again with Mooshu, who's now about 9 months old.

This morning, our black lab mix, Indy, dragged out an old soupbone of hers and started gnawing away. Mooshu was very interested but possession is 9/10ths of the law. And Indy's growls let Mooshu know it was her bone.

Mooshu hasn't shown any interest in his own chew bone for a while, but I gave it to him anyway. Well of course he was interested! The funny thing was that Mooshu sat right next to Indy, and both of them lay there and chewed away, best of pals.

Of course, dogs are very like people. Sometimes the other bone will always seems better.

(By the way, if you noticed the fluff on the carpet, it's from one of Mooshu's dog toys. He's been happily eviscerating a stuffed bunny for the past week and there's always new fluff around!)