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The Gemstone Detective

Tourmalines

Tourmalines

Tourmalines are a particular favorite of mine because of their incredible range of color. Just like garnets and sapphires, they come in a huge range of hues from pink, red, green, blue and not just blue but a screaming neon blue from Paraiba State in Brazil.   This is an amazing color and the first time I saw one, my breath was taken away.  Yes, a Paraiba Tourmaline is breath taking away awesome! On the Mohs scale of hardness, tourmalines are a 7 to 7.5. They are generally stable to light and are not affected by exposure to chemicals although...

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Fair mined and fair traded

Fair mined and fair traded gemstones are a very timely topic these days within the jewelry industry and not just with us designers and metalsmiths.  For example, many millennials have decided that only lab grown diamonds meet their requirements for fair traded and conflict free diamonds.  Fair traded stands for the support of small scale artisanal mining where the miners receive a living wage for their work, they have safe work conditions and gender equality.  While this is a huge topic too complex to cover in just one blog post let me ask my dear readers a question:  Do you...

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Gemology 101

Gemstones equal millions of years of history. They begin as carbon in the mantle of the earth, then as discoveries among the rubble of the earth's crust and finally, as physical evidence of the many lives and the earth's forces that have touched each stone.  Each stone tells its individual story by the inclusions that, for a gemologist, are fascinating. For example, a ruby might contain certain mineral inclusions only found in Mynanmar thus, helping the gemologist to clearly identify the source country of the stone. The deep pigeon blood red body color that glow with red fluorescence and light-scattering...

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Inspiration and Ideas

Back when I was learning to be a metalsmith, a teacher once advised a design class to always go with the third idea, not the first or the second.   Now this does not mean I cannot make the first two that end up in the sketch book, it just means to create everything in multiples of three in order to see the original design or ideation through.   Very often, the third piece is the best one of the series. Let's talk about design and how this all relates.   How do I come up with my designs?  ...

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Inspiration at my Jeweler's Bench

Inspiration at my Jeweler's Bench

Hand Made Jewelry all begins at the jeweler's bench. Actually, it really starts way before. It begins with inspiration! For each artist, the source is different and quite variable, but for Ellen Lyons there are three major sources: travel, nature and the beach.

In Plovdiv, Bulgaria there is an Ottoman Era Mosque wall with a tantalizing texture provided by century old bricks and mortar laid out in a pattern that is eye-catching. A single rose stands in front accenting the brownish red bricks. Mother Nature leaving her mark with one of her beautiful and aromatic flowers.

In Rome, a section of the old Roman road trampled by thousands of horses hooves and chariot wheels also has a beautiful pattern of stones of various hues and saturation levels of color. Rubbed smooth by the centuries, one can almost feel the pounding of hooves and the rolling of the wheels. Patterns that can be translated into metal with a variety of hammers.

Zoom in on a beach somewhere in Mexico where there are shells and the remains of fish bones that provide contrasting color and textures that are translated into reticulated silver and watery and sky colored gemstones such as iolite and sapphires. Green and turquoise colored apatite with yellow topaz and rhodolite garnets representing the iridescent shell nacre. These are just some of the precious stones that Ellen Lyons Jewelry Designs is inspired by and works with on a daily basis.


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