Welcome 2019 and the American Sleeping Beauty Turquoise

“American Sleeping Beauty”

 

I remember when I was first introduced to American Sleeping Beauty Turquoise at one of my beloved bead shows in Northern California.

Whether it was Oakland or Santa Barbara; what the exact date was; I have no recall. I saw the clarity of a robin blue strand of really big faceted turquoise beads, and just like the first Tiffany boxed gift you receive, you are transfixed by the color and you know you are in the presence of something iconic.

The strand was expensive ($39 per bead), but I intuitively knew it was worth it. And guess what? I never saw turquoise from the American Beauty mine in Globe, Arizona, again. After my research for this blog, I know why: the mine closed in 2012*.

Close-up of the front of the centerpiece showing artistic use of boring ole electroplate. There are two pieces: the flower shape on top and the rectangle of dyed magnesite on the bottom.

Turquoise mines in that area date back to the Anasazi era (200 BC to AD1500) of Native Americans. The Navajos mined it into the 1900s. An American entrepreneur took it over in the ‘60s and closed it in 2012 to mine copper.What made this necklace possible was my discovery of the creative centerpiece at my favorite Boston area bead show this past October. Currently it is the only show I attend since I am well-stocked after 24 years in this endeavor! But like all acquirers, I can’t stop looking! And buying….

The vendor didn’t tell me the name of the designer even though I asked, so I can’t give credit. I have two more to use later. Can you see me smiling?

What attracted me to this centerpiece was the creative use of copper electroplate, usually seen as smooth and sleek. This inspired artist made it to the consistency of mashed potatoes and just piled it on, with a few balls of pure copper accenting the bumps. S/he picked dyed magnesite (often confused as turquoise, and, worse, often claimed as turquoise by unscrupulous vendors), then cleverly added a “flower” in the spirit of more is better. There is even more: the top bead of frosted rock crystal is artistically embellished, crowned by a generous circle to attach to a necklace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The back of the centerpiece:

electroplated copper on dyed magnesite.

 

 

 

The third component to this magnificent piece (forgive my abandonment of humility) are the Swarovski pearls which the world-famous crystal producer made by using a crystal instead of the usual shell irritant, resulting in faux pearls in a myriad of colors! So this necklace is the classic high/low I often see in home design magazines. They are reasonably priced, but a quality pearl: the low to the above two highs.

Now for the summary: this American Beauty Turquoise necklace is 20” plus a 3” long centerpiece. $259.00 including earrings.

 

*Not to say American Beauty Turquoise cannot be found. Many people, especially the miners, have stashes of it. Prices have increased, as they do for all scarce commodities.

GOLDSTONE

“Grand Illusion”

As I reach the end of my second regular blogging year (weekly in 2017; monthly in 2018 and onward…), this Goldstone research produced my first big “Aha!”

For almost 25 years, I have assumed Goldstone was one of my beloved semi-precious stones found in Nature.  It’s called stone, right?  But no!  It is a glass product cooked up by artisans!  I am not disappointed, dear readers, because it still is a fabulous glittering glass and it makes a great necklace.  I am now informed!

The original goldstone manufacturing process was developed in 17th century Venice (and Murano) by the Miotti family and exclusively licensed to them by the Doge.  The ingredients include silica, copper and other metal oxides to produce glass containing tiny crystals of metallic copper.

I have also used blue goldstone which I now know substitutes cobalt for copper.

This 22″ necklace contains two sizes of facteted goldstone with a center bead called a briolette, also faceted, which plays up the glitter very nicely.  Copper clasp and matching earrings.  $69 for the set.

 

 

 

 

How Do I Love Copper?

Let me count the ways. It is warm in texture and in color. It is different: not gold nor silver. You can actually find earrings in the retail world…or in my studio. Yes, copper has moved into the mainstream. I’ve been using it in my jewelry since the late 90’s and I remain firmly committed to this orange-y metal. Now there is a clue why I like it!

This necklace is named Anisoptera, the species name for dragonfly and which, translated from the Greek, means uneven wings. It is made in Mexico from Patty Healy (CA) designs and executed in copper and brass. What I find unique about her use of copper is that she has it heated with a torch resulting in a bright and warm red-orange color. Note also the brass accents soldered on the wings and those perfect brass bug eyes!

I wanted the necklace to stay with the copper color, so I used a coordinating strand of dyed freshwater pearls with a tad of apricot pearls as contrast.

I made the clasp from copper wire: I hammered the circle flat and hardened it in that process; the toggle is bent copper wire. I want my necklaces to look as good from the back as from the front! I made earrings to accompany the necklace. The earrings are 1 ½” long with copper ear wires.

The necklace measures 18 ½” long. The dragonfly is 3 ½” long and a little over 2” wide. “Anisoptera” is light and easy to wear, not to mention fun! The price is $125 and includes shipping.

This necklace is named Anisoptera, the species name for dragonfly and which, translated from the Greek, means uneven wings.  The pendant is made in Mexico from Patty Healy (CA) designs and executed in copper and brass.

This necklace is named Anisoptera, the species name for dragonfly and which, translated from the Greek, means uneven wings. The pendant is made in Mexico from Patty Healy (CA) designs and executed in copper and brass.