Beans and Tambourines

March 20, 2018 § Leave a comment

Yesterday (March 19th) was St Joseph’s Day, and here in the Big Easy it’s a big deal. There are altars all over town, including churches, private homes, hotel lobbies, restaurants, bars and grocery stores. Yes, you read that right. A heavy influx of Sicilian immigrants to New Orleans brought the tradition of these altars here back in the late 1880s. St. Joseph was the guy who saved Sicily from a famine in the Middle Ages. He brought rain and a crop of lava beans.

This year hasn’t been the best, and I thought it was time to hang out at an altar, appreciate the cornucopia, and get myself a lucky fava bean to turn things around. I took a ride to the local grocery store, and was greeted with this sight:

Mardi Gras Indians Rouses St Josephs day 2018

Mardi Gras Indians

Unique to New Orleans, these are members of a tribe of Mardi Gras Indians. In addition to Mardi Gras Day, they parade and preen on or around St. Joseph’s Day as well. There is a rich history that surrounds the Mardi Gras Indian culture. They create elaborate beaded costumes for an annual tribute. This tribute pays homage to the native Americans that helped their enslaved ancestors during a rebellion. Details are fuzzy, but so far, this is what I understand.

So, at the grocery store altar, they were joined by a priest, a rabbi, and a representative from an Italian food company. This is like fodder for the classic ” A priest, a rabbi and a (fill in the blank) walk into a bar…” You really can’t make this stuff up.

FYI: Both groups (Sicilians and African Americans) shared cultural traditions like St. Joseph’s Day and brass band music, and also racist violence.

Here’s part of the altar (I had to elbow my way in to get this shot):

Altar @Rouses

St. Joseph’s Altar at the local grocery store.

Anyhoo, there was a celebration and a second line (a parade of sorts) and I bought groceries, but forgot to see about a lucky fava bean. So I took a ride to another altar.

Altar 2018

This one was more elaborate, and also had a place to petition for favors and express gratitude. Here’s a couple of young ‘uns doing just that: Petitioning St. Joe

I made a donation, and got a little goodie bag.

Goody Bag with Fava Bean

The fava bean is the thing at the bottom. Wish me luck!

Oh, and since this is a jewelry blog, here’s some Leda Jewel Co jewelry with inspired colors like the jaunt around town. Available in the shop: ledajewelco.com or click on a photo for more specific info.

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Rose Cut Sleeping Beauty Turquoise Earrings With Rubelite Drops

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Rose Cut Oregon Sunstone Earrings With Black Spinel Drops

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Deep Purple African Amethyst Earrings With Green Kyanite Drops

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Rose Cut Peridot Earrings With Sleeping Beauty Turquoise Drops

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Super Blue Blood

February 10, 2018 § Leave a comment

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No, not me! While the blue bloods in New Orleans were busy pretending to be royalty during Carnival season, the Super Blue Blood Moon was appearing in Tucson’s desert sky.

As excited as I was on January 31st, somehow I slept through the vivid blood red sight of the eclipse in the morning. In my defense, rock hunting during the Tucson gems shows is intense. I did get a chance to see it rise again in the evening and then I got to howl at it for awhile.

Of course being in Tucson for the gem shows is a magical experience in it’s own right, and this year didn’t disappoint.

Here are some of the jaw dropping rocks and minerals I got to touch:

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Tourmaline Slices

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Rutilated Quartz With Hematite Inclusions

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Geodes On Display

They even have groovy carved agate and quartz sinks and bathtubs for sale:

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Agate Sinks

Every year I try to get to a show I haven’t gone to before (with 50 shows around town, that’s easy to do). This year I went to a show that consisted of old hippies selling hippie accoutrements, like these fabulous lamps from Istanbul:

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Mosaic Lamps From Istanbul

If you want to check out some of my favorite finds that are now part of my h̶o̶a̶r̶d̶ collection, you can see them in my instagram posts (check the shots between cactus photos) here: https://www.instagram.com/ledajewelco/

I made it back to the Big Easy just in time for all the Mardi Gras hoopla. Hope everyone has a wonderful Fat Tuesday.

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Heaux Heaux Heaux (that’s how you spell it in New Orleans)

December 20, 2017 § 1 Comment

Reindeer

Greetings And Good Wishes To All!

My plans to move home to Canada have hit some snags (don’t ask!) and so am still lolling around here in the Big Easy, and working on updating my website/shop. Look out for the spiffy new site in the New Year! Same address: http://www.ledajewelco.com

As I was preparing to write this post, a headline on my feed caught my eye:

The Winter Solstice 2017 Will Be the Worst Day of the Year

Really? Is this what the season has come to? Tomorrow is the solstice, and I gotta say, bring it on!! This year has been usually Bah Humbug for my own fine self; I can take this one day and roll with it. Just saying.

Here’s hoping 2018 will bring you (and ME!) something strange (but not too much) and wonderful! I would like to thank everyone who continues to support my work. I appreciate you.  Merry Christmas and/or Happy What YOU Celebrate! XXX

Lydia

Long Hot Summer

September 12, 2017 § 2 Comments

September in New Orleans has brought some unusually cool weather courtesy of the Canadian cold front (which also kept Hurricane Irma away from the Big Easy). No one who has spent any time here is a stranger to hurricanes, but this year they were breeding like rabbits! Irma + 2.png

My heart goes out to our neighbors in Texas and Florida. Twelve years ago New Orleans was the canary in the coal mine for the flooding to come. Ironically, even though we are below sea level, we are less likely to flood now because of the reinforcements in the levee system that were built after the devastation. Well, that’s what they say anyway!

Some of my clients may know that I have packed up my studio (rocks and tools too) and have placed a “for sale” sign on my house, in the hope of moving back to Canada. Selling a house in New Orleans in the dead heat of summer with hurricanes swirling around is well, um, crappy timing! To make matters worse, the City That Care Forgot, also “forgot” to maintain the pumps. For those of you who don’t know, because we are below sea level AND surrounded by water, we have a sophisticated pumping system that (when it’s operational) keeps the water off the streets. After a lot of finger pointing, the city is on track to get the pumps back in action. One of the things I love about living here is, that even when facing disaster, people have a sense of humor. Below is a sign someone put up next to the pumping station in my neighborhood before the expected deluge of Hurricane Harvey.

I think I can, I think I can

Our optimistic pumping station.

So, I am hoping this cool front will bring more beautiful weather AND a “sold” sticker on the house.

In the meantime, the shop is still (maybe) up. If you have read this far, and have a piece you’ve been hankering for, I am offering a 20% discount for those who have the *audacity to email me (lydia@ledajewelco.com) and ask. I rarely put my stuff on sale because I just put too much of myself into it.

Happy September to all.
Here’s a pretty purple sapphire (September’s birthstone) & amethyst bauble to tempt you to mosey on over to the shop!

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Rose Cut Amethyst and Purple Ceylon Sapphire Necklace

FYI: The shop address is boutique.ledajewelco.com
Please be aware that I am unable to create anything new, or repair pieces at this time.

*this is humor! I am really easy to talk to!! Really.

Flame Into Spring

April 2, 2017 § 2 Comments

Pantone named “Flame” as one of the top Spring 2017 colors, and I am happily (accidentally!) obliging. This year I found a handful of perfectly sized aragonite “sputnik” crystals. They were just too cool. Did you know that in addition to being grounding, stress relievers, these clusters encourage conservation and caring for the earth?

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Aragonite Sputnik Crystals

I paired them with some lovely rose cut emeralds.

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Rose Cut Emerald Earrings with Aragonite Sputnik Drops

Since I was on an orange roll, here’s a pair of emeralds with sunstones for you more “demure” types.

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Rose Cut Emerald & Sunstone Earrings

Not big enough for you? How about some honkin’ big morganite (aka as pink emerald or pink beryl) babies paired with orange kyanite and sapphire briolettes? No wallflowers need apply for these. Just saying.

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Emerald Cut Morganite Earrings with Raw Orange Kyanite & Sapphire Briolettes

A couple of BIG rings: Cantera aka Mexican fire opal and a gemmy pink rhodochrosite. Both over 30 carats each.

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Cantera or Mexican Fire Opal Ring

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Rhodochrosite Ring

Clicking on the photographs will take you to the shop for more info and to purchase. Or click here: http://boutique.ledajewelco.com/

Hoppy Flaming Spring!

Berylicious

February 26, 2017 § 2 Comments

Here in the Big Easy it’s the height of Carnival season. I generally try to avoid crowds, but sometimes you get an offer you can’t refuse; this one was “above” the crowds, courtesy of some of my friends in high places. We were invited for dinner at a fancy schmancy restaurant that included a viewing stand. I had a perch to see three parades, including the Krewe of Muses, which is an all female crew. It’s all about shoes and bathtubs, my kind of theme!

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Krewe of Muses Bathtub Float

Let me use the watery theme to segue into March, which means aquamarines! One of my favorite rocks, from the berylicious (or in boring scientific terms “beryl”) family.

I am always on the hunt for cool specimens, and this year in Tucson I found the coolest aquamarine crystal slices. A matching pair of beautiful cross sections showing different shades of blue in the natural crystal structure. They are now a special pair of earrings, reminiscent of ancient Roman jewels!

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Natural Aquamarine Crystal Cross Section Slice Earrings

I also bought a handful of polished, natural aquamarine crystals, perfect for rings and pendants. This one is especially nice, long and lean with a little curve action!

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Natural Polished Aquamarine Crystal Ring

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Rose Cut Aquamarine Earrings with Chrysocolla Drops

Adding a little interest to these earrings is one of my other favorite rocks, chrysocolla. I have a nice little collection of this stuff, looks nice with aquamarine too.

My latest pièce de résistance is an emerald cut berylicious with gorgeous inclusions. It’s big and honkin, over 40 carats! You can get lost inside this world for hours.

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Emerald Cut Beryl with Inclusions Pendant Necklace

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Beryl with Inclusions – a closer look!

Last but not least, not a berylicious piece, but still droolworthy in my humble opinion. Natural turquoise with black matrix from exotic Uzbekistan. Perfectly Miss Matched earrings.

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Natural Turquoise Earrings

You can get more info on all of these pieces by clicking on a photo, and checking out the shop. Or click here: http://boutique.ledajewelco.com/

For those of you who live where Fat Tuesday is just another Tuesday, go ahead and overindulge in your favorite treats and pastimes! You can repent later. That’s what we do in New Orleans!

Beryliciously yours
Lydia

Garnet Karma

January 17, 2017 § 6 Comments

To say that we are living in “unusual” times would be an understatement. Thankfully, I can tune out, and touch rocks to keep my sanity. Last week I gathered some of my favorite “ruff” stuff, and worked on this talisman.

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Raw Spessartite Garnet Orange Kyanite & Black Spinel with Diamonds Talisman Necklace

The combo of raw spessartite garnet (encrusted with pyrite) and the raw orange kyanite (this piece is encrusted with mica) just seemed to kumbaya together, in an earthy but elegant sort of way. They both help with creativity. Adding the grounding black spinel in a pave diamond setting made me feel better too. Pyrite brings self confidence to the mix. Mica has reflective qualities to see flaws without judgement. Ready to layer, with say a deep orange strand of mandarin garnet?

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Mandarin Garnet Strand Layered with Talisman Necklace

If you’ve read this blog before, you’ll notice that I often refer to my collecting or um, “hoarding” of rocks. This really beautiful hessonite has been in my stash for awhile. I have loved it and gazed upon it for quite some time. It’s ready to go out in the world as a ring. It’s a very unusual cut called “surface cut”, a gorgeous peachy color, and a nice size; over eight carats. Perfect for artists of all kinds: hessonite garnets inspire and bring out the artist even in the seemingly untalented! Hessonite garnets also remove dark thoughts and intensify one’s life.

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Surface Cut Hessonite Garnet Ring

My other obsession is opal (OK, I have way more than just ONE other obsession). But, I did free a couple from my stash to make these Miss Matched earrings. FYI: Opals offer inspiration and enhance creativity.

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Miss Matched Boulder Opal Earrings

Of course, I am gearing up to go get more rock candy in Tucson at the end of January. I’ll post pics of my finds, you can follow me on my Instagram account here: https://www.instagram.com/ledajewelco/

Clicking on a photo will take you to the shop for more info on these pieces.

Happy 2017 to all. It is garnet groove approved!
peace
Lydia

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