February 10, 2018 § Leave a comment
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:
They even have groovy carved agate and quartz sinks and bathtubs for sale:
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:
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
May 10, 2016 § Leave a comment
We are gathered here today
2 get through this thing called life
You could practically feel everyone’s hearts breaking last month, when the shocking news of Prince’s death hit the news. We have lost so many talents this year already: David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Merle Haggard, Keith Emerson.
Good grief – it’s all too much.
Whenever I don’t know how to handle a loss, I play with my rocks for therapy. This time they are purple. For the “Her Purpleness” jewelry collection, my tribute to His Purpleness.
You can check out these and other “Her Purpleness” pieces here: http://boutique.ledajewelco.com/collections/her-purpleness
“There are those who do not realize that one day we all must die. But those who do realize this settle their quarrels”. Buddhist teaching.
March 9, 2016 § Leave a comment
If I had to pick my favorite find in Tucson, it would be this:
It was sold to me as an “aquamarine” strand with inclusions. I’d never seen anything like it, very rare and unusual. It is a very pale green/blue color, so to me, it would be “beryl”. Either way, I fell in love with it.
Not only that, but I found these two fabulous pieces that I believe must have come from the same mine in Brazil:
What to do what to do…
I may be keeping this necklace for myself!
Since I was only able to snag 2 of the faceted pieces, I was thinking of “Miss Matching” earrings with a raw crystal to complement the faceted one. The jury is still out on this, it may become a pendant or another necklace. Opinions and comments welcome!
Since this is March and aquamarine is the birthstone, these really are (for true!) aquamarines:
You can check out what’s for sale in the shop here: http://boutique.ledajewelco.com/
If you want to snag one of these crystals for your own fine self, send an email to: email@example.com and we can make it happen.
February 15, 2016 § 1 Comment
Tucson Arizona at the end of January, and beginning of February: Motel rooms become gem shops. Tents spring up all over town overflowing with rocks and minerals. Convention centers bring the world to town with cases and cases of gemstones, fossilized shark teeth and glittery druzy. I am in my element.
This is what I wake up to every morning:
Then I hit the ground running and start the quest. Here are some of the highlights I managed to snag:
Trapiche, taken from the Spanish word meaning “a spoked wheel” used to grind sugar cane. These sapphires resemble the pattern. Found in Myanmar (formerly Burma). Very rare, collectors’ items.
Beautiful raw strand. For self esteem, creativity and positivity.
Rare, rare, rare AND HUGE aquamarine crystal slices (Gem dealers were stalking me for this find!)
Sometimes confused with turquoise; variscite is greener. Brings peace and harmony.
I can never have enough opals in my stash. These are so beautiful, they made me weep.
Rare (there’s that word again!) blue tourmaline crystal slices. Sigh.
Some people have no sense of humor. I was so taken by some of the displays, I broke out into song; specifically the chorus of Itchycoo Park by the Small Faces (“it’s all too beautiful, it’s all too beautiful”), no one joined in. They actually moved away. At least I had fun.
Small Faces aren’t your generation? Have a listen here:
Look out for some new work coming soon, as soon as I stop the drooling and the singing.
For finished pieces to buy, go here: http://boutique.ledajewelco.com/
December 16, 2015 § Leave a comment
When I was in my last year of gold smithing school, I remember wondering if I had chosen a “shallow” profession. I have written about this before (see “Quintessence” https://ledajewelco.wordpress.com/2015/03/). Even though I think I’ve resolved it, I still get pangs of guilt that I’m not exactly saving the world.
My work is not famous. I have a handful of admirers for which I am deeply grateful for. I create pieces that I hope will have meaning to others, and seldom put anything on “sale”. Handmade is time-consuming and expensive for a lot of people; I make available workable lay-away plans for anyone who really and truly loves a piece. I am not interested in coercing anyone to “buy” my work. Of course this doesn’t make for the best, um, “business” plan.
Having said this, I have asked my friends not to go out and buy me “stuff”. If there’s a book you have already, that you think I might enjoy, that’s OK, but no more stuff. Quaffables like wine or disappearing acts like soap are OK, but not necessary. I’d rather break bread with someone and/or give $$ to a worthwhile cause.
This being the week before Christmas, I have been working at not get caught in the stress of it all. My wish to everyone is to have a holiday with meaning and a nice meal. A friend of mine shared this story on social media and I would like to end the year with it. Wishing everyone all the best.
The Gift of Death
Pathological consumption has become so normalised that we scarcely notice it.
By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 11th December 2012
There’s nothing they need, nothing they don’t own already, nothing they even want. So you buy them a solar-powered waving queen; a belly button brush; a silver-plated ice cream tub holder; a “hilarious” inflatable zimmer frame; a confection of plastic and electronics called Terry the Swearing Turtle; or – and somehow I find this significant – a Scratch Off World wall map.
They seem amusing on the first day of Christmas, daft on the second, embarrassing on the third. By the twelfth they’re in landfill. For thirty seconds of dubious entertainment, or a hedonic stimulus that lasts no longer than a nicotine hit, we commission the use of materials whose impacts will ramify for generations.
Researching her film The Story of Stuff, Annie Leonard discovered that of the materials flowing through the consumer economy, only 1% remain in use six months after sale. Even the goods we might have expected to hold onto are soon condemned to destruction through either planned obsolescence (breaking quickly) or perceived obsolesence (becoming unfashionable).
But many of the products we buy, especially for Christmas, cannot become obsolescent. The term implies a loss of utility, but they had no utility in the first place. An electronic drum-machine t-shirt; a Darth Vader talking piggy bank; an ear-shaped i-phone case; an individual beer can chiller; an electronic wine breather; a sonic screwdriver remote control; bacon toothpaste; a dancing dog: no one is expected to use them, or even look at them, after Christmas Day. They are designed to elicit thanks, perhaps a snigger or two, and then be thrown away.
The fatuity of the products is matched by the profundity of the impacts. Rare materials, complex electronics, the energy needed for manufacture and transport are extracted and refined and combined into compounds of utter pointlessness. When you take account of the fossil fuels whose use we commission in other countries, manufacturing and consumption are responsible for more than half of our carbon dioxide production. We are screwing the planet to make solar-powered bath thermometers and desktop crazy golfers.
People in eastern Congo are massacred to facilitate smart phone upgrades of ever diminishing marginal utility. Forests are felled to make “personalised heart-shaped wooden cheese board sets”. Rivers are poisoned to manufacture talking fish. This is pathological consumption: a world-consuming epidemic of collective madness, rendered so normal by advertising and the media that we scarcely notice what has happened to us.
In 2007, the journalist Adam Welz records, 13 rhinos were killed by poachers in South Africa. This year, so far, 585 have been shot. No one is entirely sure why. But one answer is that very rich people in Vietnam are now sprinkling ground rhino horn on their food or snorting it like cocaine to display their wealth. It’s grotesque, but it scarcely differs from what almost everyone in industrialised nations is doing: trashing the living world through pointless consumption.
This boom has not happened by accident. Our lives have been corralled and shaped in order to encourage it. World trade rules force countries to participate in the festival of junk. Governments cut taxes, deregulate business, manipulate interest rates to stimulate spending. But seldom do the engineers of these policies stop and ask “spending on what?”. When every conceivable want and need has been met (among those who have disposable money), growth depends on selling the utterly useless. The solemnity of the state, its might and majesty, are harnessed to the task of delivering Terry the Swearing Turtle to our doors.
Grown men and women devote their lives to manufacturing and marketing this rubbish, and dissing the idea of living without it. “I always knit my gifts”, says a woman in a television ad for an electronics outlet. “Well you shouldn’t,” replies the narrator. An advertisement for Google’s latest tablet shows a father and son camping in the woods. Their enjoyment depends on the Nexus 7’s special features. The best things in life are free, but we’ve found a way of selling them to you.
The growth of inequality that has accompanied the consumer boom ensures that the rising economic tide no longer lifts all boats. In the US in 2010 a remarkable 93% of the growth in incomes accrued to the top 1% of the population. The old excuse, that we must trash the planet to help the poor, simply does not wash. For a few decades of extra enrichment for those who already possess more money than they know how to spend, the prospects of everyone else who will live on this earth are diminished.
So effectively have governments, the media and advertisers associated consumption with prosperity and happiness that to say these things is to expose yourself to opprobrium and ridicule. Witness last week’s Moral Maze programme, in which most of the panel lined up to decry the idea of consuming less, and to associate it, somehow, with authoritarianism(8). When the world goes mad, those who resist are denounced as lunatics.
Bake them a cake, write them a poem, give them a kiss, tell them a joke, but for god’s sake stop trashing the planet to tell someone you care. All it shows is that you don’t.
Here’s the actual post with notes and links: http://www.monbiot.com/2012/12/10/the-gift-of-death/
September 12, 2015 § 2 Comments
Some days stuff just takes longer to happen. I’m hoping that this month’s batch of goodies were worth waiting for! It’s been so hot here in the Big Easy, I tended to go with blue hues and with dreams of the sea.
It’s no secret that I am in love with tourmalines. Indicolite is a blue tourmaline, rarer than most. I was lucky enough to snag a couple of big specimen slices from Madagascar.
One became a necklace (with a hint of the sea).
My love affair with the fossil continues.
And to match?
I had high hopes for a beautifully matched pair of green tourmaline crystal specimens embedded in quartz. My box of broken dreams continues to fill up with stuff like this and several broken shark’s teeth.
This necklace has three types of green tourmaline: An elongated oval cabochon, a tourmaline crystal in quartz, and a watermelon slice. Kinda boho chic!
And to match?
These pieces were being made during a record breaking heatwave. Just so you know I’m not making it up, here’s a typical forecast from August:
While I was breaking beloved rocks, I was also wrecking some of the settings (I’m blaming the heat). I had to wait for some silver to arrive to finish the necklaces. In the meantime, I raided the vault, and took out some cool aquamarines and opals. Sometimes you need simple.
And there are those who like to go BIG or go home. Here’s the big sister to this one: