Thursday, 31 May 2012

Amazing Amethyst

Amethyst is one of the most popular and to me most beautiful gemstones available. It has many different tones and clarities and is universally loved. Pairing it with other gemstones is no hardship, as it co-ordinates with so many things.

Amethyst, Amazonite and Rose Quartz:
A sherbety, summery set that looks good enough to eat! These shades pack a little more punch than your average pastels, but still remain wearable if you don't like things too bright, and are very on trend this season!

SOLD: Faceted Amethyst and Baroque Pearl.
Cuff bracelets are something I dont often venture into. Mainly it's because they can use up as many beads as a necklace, and I worry that people dont want to pay so much for a bracelet. However, I am always wrong, as they seem to sell when I do make them. This has taught me to go with my instincts when it comes to making jewellery: make something you think is beautiful, and people will pay for the quality of handmade goods and genuine gemstones without hesitation.

Amethyst coins Sage Amethyst ovals and purple Jade.
Creating a one-colour necklace using different shapes and cuts of stones gives a dramatic and classy finish. This longer necklace would sit beautifully over any maxi dress, plain white tee, evening name it. Its rewarding to make a piece that you can see has great versatility and that is fun and easy to wear.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Holly & Ivy

Moss Agate & Carnelian
I know with the sweltering heat we've been experiencing, this may seem like a strange time to bring out a christmas-inspired set, but here we go. I particularly love the earrings, the drop-style nuggets of moss agate fall prettily from the wire, while the vibrant orange carnelian stones are reminiscent of bright, juicy berries.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Pearly Queen

Pearls are such a classic, lovely organic gem. Having been the mainstay of, ahem, grannies for a number of years, pearls have enjoyed such a resurgence. This is in part due to the popularity of vintage style, but also the setting of pearls into simple modern design, and the availability of gorgeous coloured pearls. I personally am as much a fan of the classic white pearl as of the lovely colours, but coloured pearls definitely add a new dimension to a classic look.

Pink Baroque Pearls and Haematite
When I started making jewellery, coloured pearls and haematite was one of the earliest combinations I put together, and I still use it often to this day. There is something really special about the play of light berween the two gems that is very pretty and so popular. Baroque refers to the oval shape of the pearl. These pearls are different from round/ potato pearls in that they do not usually have rings but are smaller, and may have a slightly flat back.

SOLD/ Commission Set: Teal Baroque Pearls and Silver.
This is a great example of a modern take on a string of pearls. Using nothing but pearls, I integrated a simple flower design into the piece to lift the look and make it slightly more feminine. I added small silver spacers to the earrings to add interest, and make them pretty enough to be worn alone without the necklace.

Fabulous Fluorite

Fluorite is a glorious, multi-tonal gem with fluorescent properties (hence the name). It has a lovely transparent-translucent clarity with tones ranging from deep purples and lilacs to minty greens. Ideal with spring pastels and sorbet shades these gems also hold their own against darker colours and look stunning against white.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Sunset over Ayer's Rock

Mookaite is a wonderfully diverse gemstone. This set is made completely of the one stone, with colours ranging from cream to mustard to pinks, reds, purples and rich browns. Mookaite is a gemstone that is only mined in the Mooka Creek, Australia and to many evokes the feel and rich earthy tones of an Aussie sunset.

Here, different shapes, sizes and facets of Mookaite have been used to bring out the best in this unique gemstone. I have wired some of the beads to make pretty flower shapes and add an asymmetric design to the necklace.

A Myriad of Earrings!

I tended to make sets of earrings and necklaces until one colleague of mine told me she only really wore earrings- she didnt like the feel and fuss of having something at the neckline. I have since found this to be the case for a lot of women. There is something extra-gratifying about making a gorgeous pair of earrings: exploring bead shapes that would be more difficult to work with in a necklace, being able to tailor-make something exactly to the needs of the customer, because you only need a couple of each type of bead (how many times I've been frustrated not to be able to lengthen a necklace easily because I've run out of the beads that I'd used).

More importantly, big or small, a pair of earrings can really brighten the face! When I'm having a day when the mirror is not my friend, I put on a sparkly or colourful (or both!) pair of earrings and look and feel so much more awake. I love the way earrings look peeping through glamorous long locks when hair is worn down, and also the contrasting drama of seeing the whole earring and its beautiful silhouette against the neck when hair is shorter or worn up.

Left to Right: Black Onyx and Cracked Quartz. Garnet and Cracked Quartz (SOLD). Pearl and Cracked Quartz (SOLD). These cracked quartz drops are so full of depth and texture, and glimmer beautifully. They work with all kinds of colours, shapes and sizes of other gems.

Garnet and Cracked Quartz close-up.

Lapis Lazuli (1 pair sold, 1 pair still available) Lapis is so popular. The richness of the blue is like nothing you get with any other gem.

Aquamarine: small chips are used effectively for a dimensional earring with lots of movement.

Red Agate: these cascade beautifully when worn, the effect isn't seen so well when flat.

 White Pearl and Black Onyx: a Chanel-inspired combination.

 Red and Blue Tiger's Eye with black Jet. I am a huge fan of Tiger's Eye, and these photos sadly dont do justice to the depth and texture of the gems.

 Garnet, Black Onyx and Quartz. The faceted Bicone cut of these gems is one of my favourite cuts. They just seem to bounce light beautifully in all directions and bring instant glamour to any piece.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Hot Stuff

Shades of red are so popular in jewellery. From the bright crimson of Coral to muted tones of Jasper, reds offer something for everyone. Glamorous, fun, earthy, sexy: whatever you want from your jewellery there will be a red to suit you! I love that people who feel that they can't wear red clothes, or that it doesn't suit them, still love red jewellery as it can add a bit of pizazz to your outfit!

SOLD: Red and Leopard Jasper
The colours of this piece are really rich (it has paled a bit in the light on this photo!) and the variant tones within the leopard jasper compliment the red jasper beautifully. I love the more matt texture of Jasper, and it feels lovely against the skin. This is such a comfortable, wearable set.

Red Coral and Dalmatian Jasper
Its no secret that I love Dalmatian Jasper, and I often seem to pair it with coral as I think reds compliment it beautifully. The square shapes of the Dalmatian add a different look, and really make the design of the pendant stand out. Again, dress it up or down for night or day a really versatile set (apologies I had run out of earring hooks when I took the photo, but you get the idea!)

Friday, 11 May 2012

Visions in Violet

Amethyst & Magenta Imperial Jasper.

Set 1:
The flat oval shapes lay beautifully against the skin here, with 2 different sizes and 2 gemstones co-ordinating to make a great look for day or night.The faceting polished texture and translucency of the Amethyst makes them reflect light for extra sparkle, offset by the opaque matt texture and depth of colour of the smooth Imperial Jasper.

Set 2: SOLD.
This set uses the same stones, but some different shapes and sizes. The Jasper ovals used in set 1 are co-ordinated here in a long necklace with Jasper rondelles (a "squashed" round shape) and smaller Amethyst rounds. I made a choice of 2 bracelets for preference, the one made with the rondelle shapes is nice and chunky (the lady that bought these said they reminded her of juicy fat blueberries!) and the oval bracelet sits flatter against the skin, so is suitable for everyday wear as it doesn't get in the way.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Blue Moon

SOLD: Blue crazy lace agate, Porcelain Jasper.
This pretty set has a beachy feel and would make lovely jewellery for a summer's evening, as its a little bit more sophisticated than your average pieces of beach jewellery but transcends the look from day to night beautifully. The gems are a flattened shape which sits beautifully against the skin, and the grey tones of the porcelain jasper remind me of little full moons with their matte texture, which contrast with the polished aquatic blue of the Agate.

Monday, 7 May 2012


For me, a holiday just isn't a holiday without sand and sea. Jewellery that captures ocean blues and natural driftwood or sandy colours and shapes are perenially popular. When I wear it, it never fails to lift my mood.

Blue Crackle Agate, Bronzite, Tiger's Eye.
The chunky Bronzite barrels give a casual look to these pieces, and are a popular look for men's jewellery too. The tiny Tiger's Eye beads add an element of delicacy to the pieces to balance them, particularly the earrings, and the lovely frosted crackle Agate just reminds me of frothy white waves on a blue ocean.

SOLD: Blue Crackle Agate, Blue Fire Agate, Picture Jasper.
Rather than the highly polished shine that is usually found in Agate, this Crackle agate has a frosted surface, giving a different texture to the jewellery. The smaller fire agate beads are polished and faceted, to catch the light. The long nugget shapes of Picture Jasper have myriad patterns and colours, giving a natural look  reminiscent of driftwood.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Himalayan Influence

Turquoise, Red Coral.
When I was in Tibet, I noticed that a lot of people wore Turquoise and Coral beads. This struck me as a little odd at first: here, at the highest plateau of the earth, for thousands of years, people had had access to this organic gem of the sea. But geologically, the mountains of Tibet used to be at sea level: millions of years ago, when the Indian sub-continent smashed into the Asian mainland, the land that was once at sea-level was forced upwards to eventually produce the highest mountain range in the world. And the coral of course moved with it.
I love the history - both natural and cultural - of gemstones, and to use them in the combination that is traditional to a culture adds interest to the pieces. Plus, the colour combination is lovely and bright, with a summery, tribal feel enhanced by the design of the necklace.

Friday, 4 May 2012


I am a little bit in love with Fire Agate, it has a wonderful organic, volcanic look that adds an exciting fiery earthy element to jewellery, and always makes a statement! Though it comes in different colours (the blue and burgundy will follow in later posts) the red/orange does it for me every time!
The look of a gemstone can be altered depending on the gemstones surrounding it, as these two necklaces show: the first has a dramatic, autumnal feel, the second a lighter summer feel. This is also an excellent illustration in the effect of light on the gemstones: the second photo captures the essence and beauty of the gemstones in natural sunlight, which is sadly lost in the first picture.

Fire Agate, Coral & Lava Rock.
The use of lava and coral adds lovely texture to this piece, and further enhances the organic quality of the agate: think bright orange embers burning amongst dark coals. The smaller stones are light, so make lovely earrings, and look dramatic when worn with hair up so the shape can be seen against the skin.

Fire Agate, Carnelian, Orange Chinese Jade.
Teaming the agate with lighter colours brightens the overall effect. I have used Carnelian nuggets and round beads to add variety in texture, and a jade drop pendant that sets off the agate nicely. Orange is very on-trend for summer, but I love it through the autumn as well with black or brown clothes.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Candy Colours

Multi-coloured Quartz with Citrine.
Using contrasting shape, cut and colours of gems introduces a contemporary feel to pieces. The pale yellow rough-cut nuggets of Citrine stop the rainbow of smooth quartz nuggets from being too overpowering, but still add to the summery feel of the piece. I have introduced a simple design element of the citrine flower, which sits asymmetrically at the neckline to add an unusual look. I tend to make symmetrical designs: if there is a flower or a cluster or design element, it tends to fall in the centre, but I am trying to expand away from this, to give more variety and interest to my pieces.

A good design tip: if you want to make earrings, select the beads for these first. Particularly if you are using nuggets or irregular shapes. In this case, I decided to use 2 different colours of the Quartz, but I selected 2 of the citrine nuggets of a similar shape and weight.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Monochrome Magic

SOLD/Commission piece: Black Agate, Black Zebra Jasper, White Jade.
Black and white will never go out of fashion, and look great for day or night. This piece was a long necklace but would look equally good at choker length. Black agate pendants like this are so versatile in jewellery making, and I love to integrate them into my designs, as they go with any colour.

Heavy Metal?

SOLD/Commission set: Pyrite, Lemon Jade.
I enjoy working with pyrite, though striking a balance with this metallic gem can be challenging. I've learnt not to be afraid of mixing it with delicate colours and shapes, and as a result have produced some pretty, feminine pieces. These flower-shaped beads and smaller round shapes help to keep the girly element of the design, and complement the pale, creamy jade beautifully.

Sweetie Pie.

Fire Agate, Adventurine, Blue-pink Jade, Pink Magnesite.
There is something universally appealing about gems that look like sweeties. These summery bright colours give a slightly tribal design a contemporary look. As I make more jewellery I bcome less concerned about trying multi-colour combinations: I know I can always snip the thread and start over. But there is always someone that will like the unique piece you have created. 
Large focal beads such as these lush honeycomb-like Fire Agate look lovely alone but when framed by a design of smaller beads, they really stand out.

Mother Earth

Nature-inspired green and brown tones can be easily dressed up or down, and transcend seasons and trends to become a versatile addition to any wardrobe.

Green jasper & Brown zebra jasper:
Simple round beads of different sizes work well together on this drop necklace and bracelet set. The drop pendant adds added interest without requiring a separate large pendant bead. Jasper is lovely to use in the summer as it is a lighter gem than many others, making great beach jewellery.

Moss Agate & Picture jasper:
This pretty set is a contrast of colour, shape and texture: the picture jasper nuggets have an opaque, matt finish, and remind me of driftwood. Moss agate varies greatly in hue across the green spectrum, and some gems are opaque while others are partially transparent and have pretty, moss-like inclusions. They are polished to a glass-like finish that reflects light beautifully. I particularly like the earrings in this set, as the nugget shape drops hang nicely and give a very different look compared to regular bead shapes.

Friday, 27 April 2012


Peach Adventurine, Yellow Agate, Black Veined Jasper.

I couldn't help but think of summer while making this set. Lovely scoops of ice cream and lemon sorbet! Somehow I often think of food when I look at gemstones. Maybe I'm just always thinking of food...! Combining different shapes of bead gives a more organic feel to the pieces, especially using the nuggets of yellow agate. The cluster at the centre makes an unusual focus. The adventurine beads are large, so I've used them quite sparingly, and they definitely make a bold statement!

Mini Sets

I personally don't always like to have complete matching sets of jewellery. Often I make a whole necklace, bracelet, earrings combo, but sometimes a cute earrings and bracelet set is preferable. Some people like big statement necklaces, but I know lots of people who actually don't wear things round their neck. Also, because the necklaces use such a large number of beads, these smaller sets can be a cost-effective option for buyers.


 SOLD: Fuschia Tiger's Eye and Rutilated Quartz. 
The "texture" of some gemstones amazes me: while the surface is smoothed and polished, the way light is refracted internally gives Tiger's Eye its beautiful characteristics. Rutilated quartz is a white quartz with needle-like inclusions of another mineral, in this case tourmaline. They give a striking dimensional look to the gem.


SOLD: Purple Agate & Labradorite.
This agate is a gorgeous colour, and the different densities within the stone give a lovely two-tone effect of a deep dark purple and a lighter translucent purple. Labradorite is a lovely stone, which has a subtle blue internal shimmer which sadly isn't picked up in this photo. The faceted cut of both these stones really makes them sparkle.

SOLD: Dalmatian Jasper, Red Coral & Red Jade.
Jasper is an opaque stone with a fascinating array of different patternings. Dalmatian is one of my favourites, giving a chic animal print look in a natural gemstone. The red coral really complements the jasper. For the record, the coral that I buy is ethically sourced, mined from dead or fossilised rather than living reefs. The small red jades finish off the earrings and charm beautifully.


Red and white, but no blue! This necklace is white coral ovals, with red jade small beads. I love flower designs in my jewellery, so I experiment with different ways to add them. The necklace is strung on clear nylon with gaps in the beads for an "illusion" effect.

I'm still experimenting with photographing my jewellery, at the moment using my dressing table stool as a background. I'd like to find ways to improve, but I've always struggled to photograph my crafts to the best effect.


My jewellery making hobby is taking off in a big way, so I'm separating it from my other blog, Paper Cadillac. Hopefully it will make it a bit easier for me to showcase the different designs and talk about them without it getting lost with my other crafts. This blog isn't about the hard sell, its more to display my designs. I love to inspire and take inspiration from other crafters and lovers of handmade, so welcome on board!