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The Power of Stones

precious_stones_powerOver the years some people attached meanings to stones and believed they had mystical powers to help with certain things they would like to have or help with in their life. For example, diamonds are for love. Jade is for protection. Pearls mean purity.

In the modern world, many still believe that stones hold powers. What is it about these stones that makes some think they are powerful? Could these stones attract people with a subtle message “I’m beautiful, please wear me” or is it something else?

Well, gemstones are made of unique molecules which are formed underground over millions of years. They are tough and very durable. This already makes them special.

Various researchers have been either debunking the concept that stones hold powers or proving the fact that they do. Looking at the research which focused on proving that stones have power in them, it was found that they emit energetic fields, which also include pyroelectricity and piezoelectricity. That’s, ladies and gentlemen, simply put energy.  As many know quartz is used in watches and electronics due to its precise vibration frequencies. It is also used to transmit TV and radio signals.

Of course, no stone will help us solve our life problems, however having a stone and believing in it can provide one with strength and courage, which is sometimes enough to help bring something great into one’s life.


Where did the engagement ring originate from?

engagement_ring_historyEveryone knows what engagement rings are for these days. When a man (or a woman) proposes to their partner, a ring is given to symbolise the exciting occasion and the promise of marriage.  

Anthropologists say that originally this was a Roman tradition to show husband’s ownership of his future wife. Definitely, less romantic as we would’ve wanted the story to be…

It is believed that the very first diamond engagement ring was commissioned by Archduke Maximillian of Austria in 1477 for his loved one Mary of Burgundy. This then created a trend for engagement rings to have beautiful diamonds and mean something more than just ownership among European aristocracy.

Later Victorians started creating their engagement rings including gemstones mixed with diamonds as well as rings with designs from enamels and precious metals. Back then most engagement rings were made in flower shapes and called “posey rings.”

The next Edwardian era had engagement rings created in the same fashion where a master paired diamonds with jewels. There was also a new trend of mounting stones in filigree settings.

Fast-forward to the 19th century (in the 1930s), and we have De Beers launching a hugely successful diamond campaign “A Diamond is Forever” and showing movie stars wearing jewellery with the sparkly diamonds. This campaign was by far one of the biggest within the industry, which motivated great sales. Diamond’s durability was associated with the meaning that the marriage is forever.

These days some people show the level of commitment and their status with the quality of the diamond given to their loved one. Others get creative by giving a unique engagement ring with gemstones or different coloured diamonds. Either way, the engagement ring has come a long way since symbolising the ownership of a woman. It represents the commitment to marriage, deep love and celebration of a union. There are many options and styles available to people these days, which means you can create your one-of-a-kind ring.

Popular Diamond Cuts Over the Years

The round brilliant (made up of 58 facets dividing the top and the bottom half) has been most popular for engagement rings over the years. Followed by the princess, emerald and oval cut.


Why Do We Wear Jewellery?

engagement_commitment_rings_nzWhile we all know that a beautiful jewellery piece is gorgeous on the eye and adds glamour to its owner, we often don’t suspect that jewellery is more than just that. Gorgeous jewellery brings out deep-rooted and powerful happiness in many of us.  And here’s why:

  • Allows Self-Expression

We are all individual and want to express ourselves in whichever way we can. It is a natural human need! So highlighting our personality with jewellery is something we all subconsciously do. We might not understand it, but we definitely express our mood and what’s inside of us through jewellery.

  • Magnetising Jewellery

You may have heard that stones have energy… People are drawn to precious stones and especially when these stones are arranged in a beautiful jewellery piece. The effect is magnetising! Attracting others with your precious stones might not be your primary plan, but when it happens, you sure enjoy it.

  • Feeling Closer to Nature

21st-century modern life is busy and hectic. Wearing a piece with natural stones can make you feel closer to nature and even bring out an inner hippie in you. Whatever the feeling is, people enjoy it and appreciate natural stones or elements in their jewellery.

  • Holds memories

Each jewellery piece has a story behind it. Some stories are very special, especially if it’s engagement jewellery or something that was made in honour of someone special. The fact is, every piece holds a memory and we love it, as it reminds us of something or someone when we wear it.


Important Questions to Ask Before Buying Jewellery

Choosing_jewellery_asking_questionsShopping for beautiful sparkly jewellery is a fun experience where you get to look at options, compare, ask questions and finally become the proud owner of a gorgeous piece. However, there can be some factors to consider when choosing jewellery. So after listening to my customers and taking into consideration what we discuss, I decided to put together a list of ultimate questions to ask before buying jewellery.

What do I really want?

I know it might sound strange, but you should always ask yourself this question and understand precisely what you like even before approaching a jewellery shop. Think of a design, ideas, inspirations and favourite pieces you’ve seen in the past. Understand your own taste before talking to the jeweller. Although being open-minded and ready to explore something entirely new is also a plus. At the end of the day, you might follow your heart and fall in love with something different to your usual taste. The key here though is to know what that usual taste of yours is.

What is this metal?

If you see something you like, make sure to start asking questions like what metal it is made out of. Understanding whether it’s made out of platinum, gold or another type of metal won’t just give you an indication of its value, but let you know whether you like this metal or not. Some people prefer one metal over another, so if you’re one of them, I suggest you start by asking your jeweller to show pieces made out of the metal you prefer wearing.

What are these gemstones/diamonds?

If you’re looking at a piece which contains stones, make sure to ask what exactly they are. With so many different stones out there, you should never assume. A blue stone in a ring can be anything from topaz to sapphire (and even iolite). So check what the stone is as it’ll also indicate the jewellery’s value. There are also diamonds of various qualities, grades and colours. Ask your jeweller to explain what the diamond quality of the piece you’re looking at and what the difference between various types is.

Try it on!

Trying jewellery on is one of the most critical steps in understanding whether it suits you. We all have different looks to us and what suits one may not suit another. If you’re looking at earrings or necklace, it is especially important. You can then see how it looks on you and whether it highlights your beautiful features. Comparing jewellery pieces is also a good idea to understand what length or style looks best on you.

Aftercare?

Once you set your mind on a jewellery piece (and before actually buying it), check what aftercare instructions for it would be. Some jewellery requires more care than others. Some metals (like white gold) may fade faster than others requiring more regular cleans. And while gemstones are hardwearing, pearls can be affected by moisturises and perfumes so you would need to be aware of that and careful wearing them.


Jewellery Personalities

jewellery_personality_style_typeWe all have our preferences and dislikes around jewellery, but did you know you can guess someone’s personality by the jewellery they wear? Some even claim that the jewellery can say the most about who you are. Below is jewellery personality info, see if you can find yourself!

Centre of Attention

Chunky, big and statement jewellery is chosen by a strong personality who loves being in a limelight. Someone who loves standing out and making themselves centre of attention. So whether it’s a huge gemstone ring or gold collar necklace, you’re a centre of attention type of jewellery personality.

  • Romanic

This personality type isn’t all about hearts. You’ll see these people wearing pastel colours like pinks and rose gold pieces. They wear delicate or thin chains and jewellery with small details.

  • Whimsical

If you feel like you were a fairy in your past life and cannot stop thinking about having a rainbow coloured hair, this is you. Whimsical personality is all about having fun and their jewellery reflects it. They love cute charm bracelets or fun shaped pendants like unicorns.

  • Arty

Interesting, one of a kind and sometimes obscure jewellery can reflect its owner’s arty personality. They appreciate well-made jewellery pieces which sometimes don’t make sense, but have an interesting story to them. Think daring, bespoke and unique jewellery!

  • Bling

These people will always go for what sparkles the most. They appreciate diamonds and will flaunt their whole collection on any occasion. They wear a big shining smile and you will notice them from miles away. These people are all about being dazzling brilliant.

  • Fun and Funky

Mixing and matching (and not being afraid) is the key to this jewellery type. If you see someone who has multi-coloured bangles or mismatched earrings – they are the fun and funky personality type. Someone who can pull this jewellery style off is sure lots of fun to hang out with!

  • Classic

If your favourite jewellery has pearls in it and your favourite earrings are simple studs, you’re a classic jewellery lover which reflects your classic jewellery personality. Some call this jewellery style boring, but it’s a style which never goes out of fashion.

  • Hippie

If you often wear flowers in your hair, no shoes and natural jewellery like unpolished gems, you’re a laid-back person who’s most likely in touch with nature and love outdoors. If you gravitate to the natural style of jewellery, you’re a hippie jewellery personality. Your favourite jewellery pieces will have such colours as turquoise and stones like raw quartz, amethyst or moonstone.

  • Trendy

This would be the hardest style to wear and if you’re it, then congrats – you rock a great jewellery style! There are only a small group of fashionistas out there who know which way the trends are going before others. Sometimes their style is ridiculed but then appreciated (when the fashion is in full swing that is). Their jewellery is eye-catching and interesting and they think and live outside the box.


Why Jewellery is a great as a Christmas Gift

jewellery_christmas_gift_nzSpecial Gift that keeps on giving

Christmas is a very special celebration for many people and finding a gift that reflects that can be very challenging. Jewellery is not a gift to enjoy during Christmas only, but rather a present that is kept and loved for a long time afterwards as well.  

Lovely Surprise

Jewellery has been a perfect timeless gift, however, it still keeps surprising people. When someone gives you jewellery, it often shows how much they care for you on a personal level.

Short on time?

With many of us getting busier towards the end of the year, we sometimes have no time to think and research what to get for a loved one, especially when they are picky or ‘have everything’. This is where jewellery comes in – a perfect solution for a special gift. Make sure to know and understand the style and preference of the person who will be wearing it though.

Express Your Feelings in One Gift

When you give jewellery, you express your feelings on a deeper level. Whether it’s love or appreciation or simply spoiling your loved one, jewellery will express those feelings on a deeper level than other presents.

Make this Christmas even more rememberable

Adding a simple engraving can make a jewellery piece even more special. Get a date or message engraved and you’ll be giving an amazing gift.


Jewellery Style: Contemporary

Did you know that each jeweller follows a particular direction when they create jewellery? There are many various jewellery styles, and each designer usually follows the principles of one style in their work. I guess it’s like someone’s fashion style where they like and wear certain pieces.

There are many interesting jewellery styles like Estate, Costume, and Antique, which are easy to understand. However what is Contemporary Jewellery style is all about?

It’s certainly not the easiest of styles to explain or visualise, as there are so many layers to it. Some translate “contemporary” as “current” or “happening right now”, but that’s not quite right.

Among lots of factors why defining this style is challenging lies the fact that various parts of the world label this style different. For example, Italy talks about contemporary jewellery as ‘art goldsmithing’, France says the jewellery is ‘creative’, and America describes it as ‘art or studio jewellery’.

The perception of this jewellery style is so incredibly diverse, so how could there be one easy description of what it really is?

What we do know about contemporary jewellery is that it is more than decoration. It’s an artistic and creative approach where modern and traditional techniques are used to produce an idea.

It is a way of expressing one’s talent and offering something that is not just part of the current trends but also influences them. Contemporary jewellers usually produce one of a kind pieces from unique occasion pieces to everyday wear pieces.


Choosing the right jewellery for your loved one

Jewellery is a very special gift for your friends or family. However, it’s not exactly easy to choose the right piece for someone even if you know them well. Jewellery is so personal and what we think we know about someone can never be applied for sure to what this person might like in jewellery. It is much harder to choose jewellery for someone who doesn’t know much about the subject itself or follow fashion and trends.

There are however some basic rules you can apply when choosing a jewellery piece for your loved one to avoid getting something very unsuitable for them. Jewellery can enhance someone’s look if worn correctly and if not, it can bring out flaws. Hence it isn’t an easy job to find the right jewellery piece. However, I wanted to put together tips for choosing appropriate jewellery for your loved one.

Who are you buying this for?

Needless to say, this is one of the main factors to consider when choosing jewellery for someone. You will have a different relationship with people which will influence your choice for the jewellery piece for them. Is this for your partner or daughter? Each person will also have their own preference, likes and dislikes. Do your homework and find out what accessories this person wears typically and what they like a look of.

Individual Preferences

Each person will have a preference for jewellery: metal, shape, favourite jewellery type (ring, bracelet, necklace, etc.). Observe what they already wear from the kind of metal (gold, silver) to the shape of pieces. If your daughter wears a lot of silver jewellery, it may pay off to stay away from yellow gold jewellery.

Occasion/Events

Are you getting this present for a special occasion? If you’re getting something very special and elegant like a diamond necklace, know whether this person will be able to wear this piece in the future. Something grand and flashy like that can look amazing at formal events, but if your loved one doesn’t normally attend such events, this piece will simply stay in their jewellery box. If unsure, get something that they would wear more often than not.

Research the trends

If you’re not sure about where to start and would like to get inspired, then checking current jewellery trends may be your starting point. This doesn’t mean that your loved one will be following them, but it can give you initial ideas and inspiration.


The artisans: The Kiwi craftsmen keeping it real (NZ Herald article )

When Trevor Binford realised the guitar he’d spent weeks cutting, gluing and sanding wasn’t up to scratch, he threw it in the ocean.

You wouldn’t expect the same reaction from an employee of the Yamaha guitar factory in Hangzhou, China, where thousands of instruments are made every day.

Automation has become so precise and efficient that products can be created with a perfection that no human hand could replicate, and at a fraction of the time and cost.

So why does Binford keep pouring his blood, sweat and tears into creating his acoustic guitars, ukuleles and basses, spending hours hollowing their tops with miniature planes and gluing finicky pieces of wood to form their complex internal latticework?

The answer, Binford says, will be obvious to guitar aficionados. Some people are willing to pay thousands of dollars for one of his instruments despite being able to pick up a perfectly passable guitar for a couple of hundred bucks at a music store.

Binford, a master luthier who specialises in jazz arch-top acoustics, typically spends a month working on a single instrument, which will fetch about $7000 for a basic model.

“When I’m using the plane, I’m not just looking; I can hear the sound that the plane makes over the timber, which can change with even a few strokes,” he says.

“I can feel how the timber’s moving and whether it’s flexing because if it doesn’t flex then no sound is produced. That’s not something you can really teach anyone and not something a machine can do.”

Binford was brought up in a log cabin in Northern Michigan, from where he still sources some of the timber for his guitars.

After a year-long guitar making course, Binford landed a coveted apprenticeship with American master luthier – stringed instrument maker – Bob Benedetto.

“His instruments, just to give you an idea, go for over US$40,000 because his brand and reputation have earned so much respect.”

Binford worked in just about every department of the luthiery, attaining all the skills necessary to start his own line of instruments.

In his modest Onehunga workshop, the scents of exotic timbers permeate the air and tools which look as though they could be 100 years old are carefully hung from walls.

Obscure glues, resins and polishes line shelves beneath a huge technical guitar poster by his mentor and hero, Benedetto.

When completed and singing sweetly, Binford’s guitars bring him immense satisfaction. But when they fail to meet his high standards, the result can be deep despair.

“When you’ve been working so hard on something and you realise, ‘Nope, this isn’t going to be a quality instrument, I can’t continue with this’, you have no choice but to set them aside as delicately as possible. Well, I’ve thrown them in the ocean before,” he says.

“But when you hear something you’ve built that sounds much better than anything you can get in the shop, and that suits the customer’s desires … that’s what I do it for. The good thing is, you usually don’t have to throw them into the ocean.”

Despite being a young business – and acoustic arch-tops being a relatively little-known style – Binford’s luthiery has a steady customer base, particularly among jazz musicians. He also does repairs and holds increasingly-popular guitar building workshops.

“Obviously there isn’t as high a demand for this instrument as there is for the $300, $400 guitars, but people that play a lot can really hear the difference and know that they can’t go into the music shop and get something that sounds as good.”

Also, every instrument is unique.

“I could use the same timber, from the same tree, to the same measurements and it would sound completely different,” he says

There is also an increasing awareness – sometimes accompanied by disgust – about mass production, with many people willing to pay more rather than supporting a large guitar manufacturer.

So are the luthier’s skills being lost?

“Yes they are, unfortunately. When people get into the business … even if they’ve studied it at school they want to reduce the amount of time they put into building a guitar and in doing that a lot of the hand – that visceral appeal – is lost.”

Onward into the Bronze Age

It’s a process that’s been around for more than 5000 years, but the lost wax bronze casts made by Wellington foundryman Jonathan Campbell are being ordered faster than he can make them.

At a time when an entire car can be created using a 3D printer, you could be forgiven for thinking the ancient craft would be all but redundant.

On the contrary, Campbell is “constantly” casting objects that have been created by 3D printers, transforming them into timeless pieces, often of great complexity and beauty.

Campbell, who is also a sculptor, started his Created and Cast Bronze foundry in 1991as a way to make his own art, but quickly discovered the commercial value of what he was doing.

Campbell’s skills were in hot demand when the Lord of the Rings crew was in town for Sir Peter Jackson’s film trilogy.

He’s also made many life-sized statues of people, countless trophies, statues and also the medals handed out when the America’s Cup was first held in New Zealand in 2000.

The work requires a furnace that heats the metal to, on average, 1100C, as well as a kiln for the ceramic moulds, which must reach some 800C.

“Bronze has got lots of qualities – it’s beautiful to melt, it’s beautiful to weld, it’s really nice to machine and best of all it doesn’t rust. That means if you put a sculpture out it’s probably going to be floating around the stratosphere when the earth explodes,” he says.

Campbell loves his work – never moreso than when he gets to break the ceramic shell to reveal the “present” beneath – but it’s a hard, physically-demanding job which can get uncomfortably hot.

And it can certainly be hazardous.

“In my first few years I was a regular at A&E,” he says. “Usually it’s something really dumb; the worst one I had was when I was welding a sphere that I had in a vice when the phone rang.

“I had a conversation and then put my hand on it to take it out of the vice. It wasn’t until I heard my skin sizzling that I realised what I’d done.”

Although there are only a handful of people in the country who can do what he does, Campbell says the craft could be around another 5000 years yet.

“People always said technology would be the death knell for the industry, but what it’s actually done is opened up different doors for me.

“Like with the 3D printing – they all just bring me things to cast now. But sadly there are people I know in model making industries and things like that where it’s bitten them quite a bit.”

Symmetry is boring: Debra Fallowfield

How does a jeweller working in a tiny studio at the back of her house compete with factories able to churn out thousands of wedding rings in a day?

She doesn’t, and that’s the whole point, says Debra Fallowfield, whose hand-crafted jewellery has gained a niche international following.

Most jewellery labels are now able to make exact replicas of their wares using computer-aided design, pretty much the antithesis of Fallowfield’s approach.

She sees her pieces as being like fingerprints, in that each one is unique.

“Even if I repeat a design it’s always going to look a bit different, and that’s what I tell people: ‘It’s not going to be exactly the same – deal with it’.”

Debra Fallowfield in her Dunedin studio. Photo / supplied
Debra Fallowfield in her Dunedin studio. Photo / supplied

Fallowfield is mainly self-taught but uses fundamental jewellery-making techniques that have existed for time immemorial.

“There’s a lot of forging – heating metal and shaping it with hammer and tongs – lots of filing and a hell of a lot of sanding,” she says.

“It’s tough, dirty work and it’s hard on the body – I’ll go through about 10 different sandpapers before I actually get to that final polishing stage.”

Although it can take just a few hours to make a simple ring, a complex piece can take three or four days.

“It takes maybe 20 to 30 minutes to set a single stone so if you’ve got a ring that’s got 40 stones in it, that’s a lot of time,” she says.

Despite living at the bottom of the world, the internet means she has a global network of clients and rings from Australia to Alaska.

“They know that it’s not off the rack, it’s not mass-produced and so they’re willing to pay that little bit extra,” she says.

Rings by Debra Fallowfield. Photo / supplied
Rings by Debra Fallowfield. Photo / supplied 

But artisans such as Fallowfield need to go that extra mile to justify their higher prices.

“For me and for every craftsperson its about carving that niche, but it’s also about educating the public about what goes into these things,” she says.

“You need to actually tell people, ‘This costs this much because of this – feel it, touch it’. Then people start to understand.”

Since her business found its feet, Fallowfield’s husband has quit his job in construction to join her in the venture.

“My work is quite wobbly and when he started working with me, because of his background in construction, he’d say, ‘Hey, that’s a bit off’, but it’s not. This is a bit of a cliche but it’s about finding beauty in imperfection,” she says.

“Symmetry can be pretty boring. I like fluidity so that it looks hand-made, without being contrived about it.”

Does traditional jewellery have a future?

“On the one hand, I think it doesn’t because so many jewellery labels are using computer-aided design. They’re even using it to make it look hand-made, which irritates me quite a bit,” Fallowfield says.

“But at the same time, the crafting and hand-made movement is gaining quite positive traction here and in Australia, and it’s making its way into the US.

“So there is a bit of a push-back against mass production and I think people like me can feel positive about that.”


February Newsletter

Whoa!
Someone put the brakes on ,February is almost over..
Big apologies for my lack of Newsletters .
Hubby and I have just returned from a 2 week road trip.
We drove all the way up to Rotorua from Dunedin visiting lot’s of places I had never been to!
You see ,I am one of those terrible people who has seen more of the world than places right on her own doorstep.
It was a lot of fun -but now I have to play “catch up ” with all my orders.
Never mind better to be busy than not!
February’s gemstone is the rather regal Amethyst ,which I address belowxx Deb

AMETHYST

Amethyst as a Gemstone

A purple translucent semi-precious stone. Like all quartz amethyst is a commonly used stone in metaphysical work. Amethyst is found in many parts of the world, but only a few countries provide the dark, high quality colour.

About the Stone

Amethyst is a 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness. The only difference between regular clear quartz and amethyst is the colour, which is caused by iron and aluminum that were present while the stone was forming. Amethyst is always a shade of purple, sometimes very light, other times very dark, and occasionally you will find red dots or red or blue hues in the stone.

Amethyst and citrine are closely related: citrine is formed when amethyst is exposed to heat when forming. Some people even call citrine “burnt amethyst”. When citrine and amethyst are found together in one piece, it is called ametrine and is very sought after.

Amethyst is the birthstone for February and is mentioned under the astrological signs Pisces, Aries, Aquarius, and Sagittarius. Amethyst is found in Russia, India, Brazil, US, Canada, Australia, and South Korea.

The use of amethyst dates back to Neolithic times. It has often been associated with royalty, and used in crowns and royal rings.

Lore

The word amethyst comes from Greek, and means “to not intoxicate”. It was traditionally used by Greeks and Romans as a way to keep themselves sober. Amethyst has also been used to deal with insomnia, grief, and addictions.

In other news I am starting a campaign across  social media to highlight our bespoke engagement and wedding ring collection.
As most of you already know “we ” is Hubby and I ,that’s pretty much it -apart from a little help from a couple of fabulous gem setters when a job is just a little bit beyond our skill set!
We truly do everything BY HAND ,from design right through to completion , and unlike the majority do not use CAD
(computer aided design ) in any way ,shape or form.
I cannot stress this enough.
The vast majority of jewellers and jewellery companies now produce their work via CAD .
This is totally ok if it is made clear to the customer, yet there  are quite a few companies in the marketplace who choose not to disclose this , yet still continue to use the terms handmade, bespoke , and handcrafted when describing their work -which I find somewhat dishonest.
How can designing something on a computer and knocking it out on a 3D printer be  justifiably called handmade?


Debra Fallowfield makes custom jewellery to fall in love with … Crafting every piece entirely by hand..