100 Etsy Sales!!

I am celebrating having reached my 100th sale in my Etsy shop! There is something rather wonderful about moving from 2 digits into 3 digits and reaching such a nice big round number.  I also just made it within my 1 year Etsy anniversary, which is in 2 weeks time.

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A big THANK YOU to all my lovely customers and supporters out there.

A special thank you also goes to Mr Big Skies Jewellery for his unwavering belief in me and my endeavours, and for a) letting our house become overrun by beads; b) listening to me talk incessantly about all things beading; c) still managing to look interested when I say “what do you think of this” for the umpteenth time; and d) devoting precious weekend time to bead/supply shopping.

This is the necklace that was my 100th sale – purchased by Caroline as a birthday present for her mom.

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Big Skies Jewellery’s 100th Sale – Onyx and Turquoise Howlite adjustable necklace

Mom is receiving a pair of complimentary matching earrings and Caroline has received a nice discount voucher by way of a thank you.

Here’s to the next 100 sales 🙂

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New Bead Candy!

Last Sunday, my kind husband took me on a day’s tour, from the south of Johannesburg to beyond the north of Johannesburg, of my favourite bead and gem stockists.  He then finished it off by treating me to a tasty prawn curry!  Perfect day 🙂

Here’s a little taster of some of my new bead candy:

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Natural Pyrite crystal beads, with a Titanium finish

I love these Pyrite beads – they have a Titanium finish which I have never seen before, fascinating!

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Faceted rectangular Anthophyllite beads

This is a very unusual clove-coloured fibrous mineral called Anthophyllite.  I can find very little information on this stone – but I will keep searching and hopefully do a blog post on it later.

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Chunky round Lapis Lazuli beads with flecks of golden Pyrite

Gorgeous chunky natural (untreated) dark blue Lapis Lazuli with flecks of golden pyrite – always beautiful.

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Dainty round Kyanite beads

For some reason Kyanite just speaks to me….

Botswana agate, botswana agate beads, botswana agate bead string, striped agate beads, brown gemstone beads

Botswana Agate oval beads

And finally another favourite of mine to work with – silky smooth Botswana Agate.

Plenty here to keep me busy for a while!

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Learn About Gemstones – Prehnite

History of Prehnite?

Prehnite has the distinction of being the very first mineral ever to be named after an individual. The gemstone Prehnite was named for its discoverer, Colonel Hendrik von Prehn (1733-1785), a Dutch mineralogist and an early governor of the Cape of Good Hope colony. Prehnite was also the very first mineral to be named and described from South Africa (where I now live), long before South Africa became an important source for precious gems.

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Loose Prehnite faceted beads

So What is Prehnite?

Prehnite occurs in an unsual soft yellow-green to apple-green color. It is a fairly strong crystal, quite resistant to pressures and scratching. Prehnite is composed of aluminum, calcium and silicon with a few specimens containing small trace of iron as well. It is considered a secondary or second stage mineral, meaning that the crystal did not form during the initial volcanic activity, but instead the crystals were formed by events caused by the volcano, much after the fact.

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Prehnite and Hematite Gemstone Collar Necklace – $72 from Big Skies Jewellery

Prehnite Meaning

Prehnite is a stone of unconditional love.   Wear prehnite to strengthen your intuition and recognize truths.  Prehnite is said to encourage composure, forgiveness and acceptance and is excellent for meditation. Interestingly, some people also believe that prehnite helps sufferers of claustrophobia.

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Prehnite and Hematite Gemstone Necklace – designed and created by Big Skies Jewellery

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Happiness is….New Gemstone Bead Strings

Looking at this little lot, I must have had a secret yearning for more colour in my life when I went bead shopping!

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New Gemstone Bead Strings at Big Skies Jewellery – Dyed Agates, Green Jade and Red Coral

Most of these beads are dyed agates, but at the top you will see some green jade and red coral.

Happy days!  Roll on the weekend…. 🙂

It’s All About Amethyst

Amethyst

Amethyst is the most well-known purple gemstone.   It has been highly esteemed throughout the ages for its stunning beauty and legendary powers to stimulate, and soothe, the mind and emotions.

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Amethyst necklace using raw amethyst crystals and tiny facet cut amethyst beads – $53 from Big Skies Jewellery

It is a semi-precious stone in today’s classifications, but to the ancients it was a “Gem of Fire,” a “Precious Stone” worth, at times in history, as much as a Diamond!!

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Amethyst Pendant Necklace – $28 from Big Skies Jewellery

Amethyst ranges in hue from pale red-violet to deep violet, and can be transparent or opaque. It is also sometimes layered with white Quartz, which is known as Chevron Amethyst.

Ever wondered how Amethyst got it’s name?  Read this from my series of posts on gemstone folklore and legends.

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Amethyst and Diamante Charm Necklace – $33 from Big Skies Jewellery

Throughout history the special virtue of Amethyst has been that of preventing drunkenness and overindulgence. Ancient Greeks and Romans routinely studded their goblets with Amethyst believing wine drunk from an Amethyst cup was powerless to intoxicate. Catholic bishops also wore Amethyst in a ring to protect from mystical intoxication. Kissing the ring kept others from similar mystical intoxication and kept them grounded in spiritual thought.  This is why Amethyst is also known as Bishop Stone.

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Amethyst Earrings on Sterling Silver Ear Hooks – $12 from Big Skies Jewellery

Whether its crystals are left natural, polished as tumblestones or faceted, Amethyst is a gem whose beauty transcends its commonality. It is actually a variety of Quartz and is found in many locations around the world.

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Jewellery Ideas for AW 2013

Fall Jewelry

I thought these rich jewel-toned colours were ideal to combine in a gemstone necklace for those who will soon be transitioning from Summer to Fall 2013.

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Gorgeous faceted agate beads in rich jewel-tones

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Genuine faceted green emerald rondelle beads

Lovely rich vibrant tones in dark reds, greens, pinks, oranges and browns – perfect for your Fall wardrobe. These gorgeous berry colours offer a sophisticated take on brights.

The finished necklace….available from Big Skies Jewellery’s Etsy shop:

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Agate and Emerald Gemstone Necklace – $47 from Big Skies Jewellery

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Jewel-toned Sparkly Agate and Genuine Emerald Necklace – designed and created by Big Skies Jewellery

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Turquoise Slabs – My New Gemstone Crush!!

Ok, so my new gemstone love affair is with freeform turquoise howlite slabs. They are funky and bold, but have a rustic earthy feel to them which really appeals to me. And……they are just crying out to be made into statement necklaces.

From this….

Turquoise howlite slabs

To this……

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Chunky Turquoise Statement Necklace – $42 from Big Skies Jewellery

I couldn’t resist using a whole string of freeform slabs in one glorious ‘out there’ piece.  I think the turquoise slab beads in this necklace look like a garland of beautiful blue butterflies…..

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Turquoise Slab Statement Necklace – $42 from Big Skies Jewellery

I also combined some side-drilled turquoise howlite slabs with genuine Tibetan brass beads inlaid with real turquoise and coral, to create something more ethnic but still very exotic.

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Turquoise Howlite Freeform Slab and Tibetan Brass Bead Necklace – $60 from Big Skies Jewellery

I am loving the brass and turquoise combo.

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Turquoise Howlite Freeform Slabs with Genuine Tibetan Brass Beads – $60 from Big Skies Jewellery

If you are interested in Statement Jewelry and Chunky Gemstone Necklaces, why not pop on over to the Big Skies Jewellery Etsy store and see what else is available.

If you love Turquoise Jewelry, check out this section: https://www.etsy.com/shop/BigSkiesJewellery?section_id=12366413 

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Fabulous Fluorite

What is Fluorite?

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Natural Raw Green Fluorite Crystals

Fluorite (also called fluorspar) is a halide mineral composed of calcium fluoride (CaF2). Fluorite has a wide range of colors including yellow, blue, pink purple and green. It is an isometric mineral with a cubic habit, but octahedral and more complex isometric forms are not uncommon. The natural fluorite crystal beads I recently purchased were of the octahedral form.

Octahedron 3D image, octahedron shape, octahedron image

Octahedron 3D Image

History of Fluorite

Fluorite derives from the Latin noun fluo, meaning a stream or flow of water. In verb form this was fluor or fluere, meaning to flow.

In 1852 fluorite gave its name to the phenomenon of fluorescence – due to certain impurities in the crystals found in certain locations, many samples of fluorite exhibit fluorescence under ultraviolet light.

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Gemstone Necklace Featuring Octahedral Raw Fluorite Crystals – created by Big Skies Jewellery

Fluorite Gemstone Meaning

The ancient Egyptians used flourite to carve statues and scarabs, the Chinese have used it in carvings for over 300 years. In the 18th century, fluorite was powdered in water to relieve the symptoms of kidney disease.

Fluorite is said to help with absorbing new ideas and bringing order to chaos.

Fluorite is said to absorb and neutralize negative vibrations.  It is believed to be effective against computer and electromagnetic emanations (says she, sitting in front of her computer for 8 hours a day!)  It is also known as the “Genius Stone” by helping us increase our concentration and make decisions.

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Raw Fluorite Crystal and Pearl Necklace – designed by Big Skies Jewellery

Healing properties of Fluorite

Fluorite can be used as a meditation stone to help energize the body and raise the power of concentration.

Healers use it to help with ulcers as well as the respiratory tract by stimulating cell regeneration in these areas. It fortifies bones, improves arthritic or other joint ailments.

It is reputed to be a powerful healer and is believed to be good at fending off colds and flu, reducing the pain of arthritis and reducing the discomfort of shingles and other nerve related pain.

The Finished Fluorite Jewellery Piece  – Green Fluorite Crystal Necklace

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Green Fluorite Crystal and Pearl Necklace – $75 from Big Skies Jewellery

Pictured above is how I used my “octahedral” raw fluorite crystals.  I favoured a simple design, just using square bead caps to complement the cubic crystals and pretty iridescent grey freshwater pearls to act as highlights between the crystals.  I find this necklace very calming and soothing…..

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Two More Tiger Eyes in My Collection!

Followers of this blog will know that I love working with the gemstone Tiger’s Eye.

Recently I made two exciting new Tiger Eye additions to my gemstone bead stash – faceted Red Tiger’s Eye and some rare Blue Tiger’s Eye.

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Faceted Red Tiger Eye Beads

Because Tiger Eye is such a naturally beautiful gemstone, I favour simple designs that let the gemstones speak for themselves.

I combined the red faceted beads with a single square Hill Tribe brushed silver focal bead to make up this modern, urban stretch bracelet.

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Faceted Red Tiger Eye and Hill Tribe Silver Modern Stretch Bracelet – $45 from Big Skies Jewellery

This bracelet is available in my Etsy shop.

The Blue Tiger’s Eye beads I bought were stunning large smooth ovals.  I can honestly say I have never seen Blue Tiger Eye beads of this quality or size before.  The blue chatoyant striations in them are almost mesmerising!

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Blue Tiger Eye Beads

I again kept the design simple, just adding 4mm faceted genuine sapphire accents and tiny patterned silver tone spacer beads to make up a simple elegant necklace.

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Blue Tiger Eye and Sapphire Gemstone Necklace – designed and created by Big Skies Jewellery

This necklace actually sold on my website last night, and is heading off to California today.

Tiger Eye must have been in the air this weekend – as I also sold these two Tiger Eye pieces as well.

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Chunky Tiger Eye Statement Necklace – designed and created by Big Skies Jewellery

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Tiger Eye and Turquoise Howlite ‘Tree of Life’ Charm Stretch Bracelet – designed and created by Big Skies Jewellery

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Happiness is…..a Black and Yellow Necklace

I love this new necklace design – it makes me feel happy.  I can’t help smiling when I look at it.  For me, this is happiness in necklace form!

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Onyx and Jade Necklace – $40 from Big Skies Jewellery

There is something so cheerful about the glossy onyx petals combined with sunshine yellow jade. The colours remind me of big fluffy bumble bees….another image which makes me smile.

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I also love dramatic colour combinations……they appeal to the drama queen in me!  I have a woollen scarf/snood in this yellow colour and I love to wear it with all black.

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Black Onyx and Yellow Jade Necklace – $40 from Big Skies Jewellery

Find this necklace and other colourful and unique gemstone necklaces in my Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/bigskiesjewellery

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