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:

Pyrite, pyrite with a titanium finish, pyrite beads, pyrite bead string, natural pyrite crystals

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!

anthophyllite beads, anthiophyllite, clove coloured gemstone, anthophylite, anthophyllite bead string

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.

Lapis lazuli, natural lapis lazuli, lapis lazuli beads, lapis lazuli bead string, blue beads, blue gemstone,

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.

Kyanite, kyanie beads, kyanite bead string, gemstone beads,

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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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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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?

Fluorite crytsal bead string, raw fluorite crystals, octahedral fluorite cyrstals, cubic crystals, crystal beads, fluorite beads, green fluorite

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.

Fluorite Crystal and Pearl Necklace, green fluorite, raw fluorite cyrstals, fluorite necklace, gemstone necklace, handmade necklace, fluorite jewelry

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…..

Shop for beautiful and unique gemstone jewelry at Big Skies Jewellery: http://www.etsy.com/shop/bigskiesjewellery

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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.

Faceted Red Tiger Eye Beads, tiger eye bead string, red tiger eye, tiger eye beads, faceted tiger eye

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!

Blue Tiger Eye Beads, blue tiger's eye, tiger's eye bead string, tiger eye beads,

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.

Blue Tiger's Eye Necklace, Blue tiger eye and sapphire gemstone necklace, handmade necklace, gemstone necklace, blue tiger eye necklace,

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.

Tigers Eye Chunky Statement Necklace, tiger eye necklace, chunky gemstone necklace, handmade necklace, handcrafted gemstone necklace,

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

Tree of Life colour block bracelet, tiger eye bracelet, turquoise howlite bracelet, tree of life charm braclet, tiger eye and turquoise bracelet, nature bracelet, handmade bracelet, stretch gemstone bracelet

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

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Learn About Gemstones – Tibetan Quartz

One of the recent additions to my gemstone bead stash is a string of beautiful Tibetan Quartz crystal beads.

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Beautiful Tibetan Quartz Crystal Beads

I have never seen or heard of this stone before, so I was very interested to see what information I could out about it on the Interwebs.  What I discovered possibly explains two things:

a) Why it is so expensive!

b) Why I felt so drawn to it

When I saw the crystal string, I immediately fell in love with it.  But then I saw the price….over twice that of everything else I was looking at… so I moved on, reluctantly.  But I kept going back to the crystals.  Several times.  Eventually, I had to buy them!  I couldn’t leave without them – I knew I would regret it if I did.

Tibetan Quartz Beads, tibetan quartz crystals, himalayan quartz, cyrstal beads, vibrant crsytals, energy crystals, holy crystals

Tibetan Quartz crystals are considered to be some of the most energetically vibrant crystals available on the planet.  Maybe this explains my attraction to them…

This Quartz is mined in the Himalayan Mountains of Tibet, one of the most sacred areas on Earth. They are brought from the Ganesh Himal Mountain range that borders Tibet and Nepal. Found at elevations of over 15,000 feet, the mines are not easily accessible by machinery, so most Tibetan Quartz is mined by hand, sometimes by monks themselves, and carried out in sacks.

Tibetan Quartz Beads, tibetan quartz crystals, himalayan quartz, cyrstal beads, vibrant crsytals, energy crystals, holy crystals

It is a 10 day trek to reach the remote location where these very special Quartz Crystals are found and the snow-covered passes are only open for a short time during the warmer months.

The vibration of this highly spiritual area is imparted on the stones, making thousands of years of spiritual and healing knowledge more easily accessible. Their source also seems to give Tibetan Quartz Crystals an almost holy, enlightened vibration as well as very harmonious and balanced energy.

Tibetan Quartz Beads, tibetan quartz crystals, himalayan quartz, cyrstal beads, vibrant crsytals, energy crystals, holy crystals

Out of curiosity I decided to look on the Etsy website for Tibetan Quartz jewellery.  My search on “Tibetan quartz” necklace returned only 85 results – just 3 pages!    Given that there are over 300,000 jewellery sellers on Etsy and usually about 200 pages with thousands of search results, this gives you an idea of how rare Tibetan Quartz is.  Of the three pages of results I found, only 6 necklaces contained more than one Tibetan Quartz crystal – the rest were all single crystal necklaces.

Tibetan Quartz Beads, tibetan quartz crystals, himalayan quartz, cyrstal beads, vibrant crsytals, energy crystals, holy crystals

So what to do with these lovely stones?  Share the energy and vibrancy amongst many necklaces?  Make one super powerful statement necklace?

Decisions, decisions…..

.

What is Black and White and Stylish All Over?

Here is a selection of some of the smaller gemstone beads that I have added to my bead stash and have been working with recently.

Gemstone bead strings, blue imperial jasper, snowflake obsidian, onyx, mother of pearl, zebra stone, goldstone, chrysocolla, red tigers eye, gemstones, bead strings,

Gemstone bead strings – part of Big Skies Jewellery bead inventory!

For those that like to know the names of the stones – from the left we have blue imperial jasper, snowflake obsidian, faceted black onyx, gold mother of pearl, faceted zebra stone, goldstone, chrysocolla and red tiger’s eye.  The stone I would like to talk about  today is Zebra Stone.

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Zebra Stone bead string – faceted rectangles

Zebra Stone, as the name implies, is half-black and half-white with a metrical pattern  similar to that of its animal namesake, the zebra.

Zebra

Zebra (picture taken at the Kruger Park, South Africa)

This striking and unusual stone is all about balance. Like the yin/yang of Chinese philosophy, Zebra Stone possesses balanced qualities of opposing, yet complimentary, forces – it is said to help us quieten the mind and take action.

By themselves the Zebra stone beads are actually quite dainty, but I wanted to use them all together to create something more powerful.  I chose a triple-strand necklace design, where each strand is clearly defined and the beads can lie flat, showing off their natural beauty to its full potential.

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Zebra Stone Triple Strand Necklace $85 from Big Skies Jewellery

Monochrome is on trend for 2013, and every woman needs a good black and white necklace in her jewellery box.  This necklace has been specifically designed with versatility in mind.  The length is adjustable so you can wear it high under a blouse or with a summer top, but you can also wear it longer over a polo neck or turtle neck top in winter.

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Zebra Stone Triple Strand Necklace $85 from Big Skies Jewellery

For more gemstone necklaces, bracelets and earrings, please browse through the Big Skies Jewellery Etsy store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/bigskiesjewellery

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Back to the Beading Table….

At the beginning of June I went to Cape Town on a bead buying trip.  Well, actually it was a trip to attend my husband’s army reunion, but it combined very nicely geographically with two of my favourite beads shops!

Raw Amethyst Crystals, amethyst bead string, amethyst fingers, Purple gemstones, amethys gemstones

Beautiful Raw Amethyst Crystal bead string – new inventory at Big Skies Jewellery

I then went straight to England to celebrate my Mum’s 70th birthday, so all my new gemstone goodies had to wait in their packets another couple of weeks before I could get my eager hands on them.

Labradorite spikes, labradorite beadstring, labradorite fingers, labradorite beads

Lovely Labradorite Spikes – new inventory at Big Skies Jewellery, and one of my favourite gemstones to work with

Since I have returned home, there has been a flurry of activity at my beading table, so I have much to share in the next couple of weeks.  Included today are just a few photos of the lovely gemstone bead strings I have been working with recently.

Fluorite diamond shaped gemstone beads, fluorite crystals, pale green fluorite, fluorite beadstrin,

Pale Green / Aqua Fluorite Crystals – new inventory at Big Skies Jewellery (the diamond shape is their natural crystalline shape!)

Please visit Big Skies Jewellery on Etsy for beautiful and unique gemstone jewellery:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/bigskiesjewellery

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Rock Shopping at Rockchic

On Saturday I spent a very happy hour in my favourite rock shop, Rockchic in Hout Bay, Cape Town.  The owners were kind enough to let me take some photos to share with you.

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Crystal shelf at Rockchic, crystals, rockchic hout bay, rock shop, gemstones

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The shop is split into two – one half for their crystals and exclusive handmade gemstone jewellery and the other half for their gemstone beads.

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Rockchic has the most amazing selection of gemstone bead strings and loose beads and pendants.  I shopped til I dropped – straight into the Woodcutters Arms which had conveniently opened up right next door, much to my husband’s delight!!  Talk about win-win 🙂

I shall be posting pictures of the lovely gems that found their way into my shopping basket, and the resulting new jewellery pieces over the next few weeks.

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The Fairest Cape

This time tomorrow I shall be on my way to Cape Town for the weekend. It is a two-hour flight from Johannesburg – time enough for a nice cold glass of white wine between ascent and descent.

View towards the Lion's Head - Cape Town, Cape Peninsula, Twelve Apostles, Lion's Head, the Cape

View from Chapman’s Peak drive on the Cape Peninsula looking back towards the Lion’s Head, with the Twelve Apostles coming into view on the left

Sir Francis Drake, the celebrated English navigator, wrote of the Cape: “This Cape is the most stately, and the fairest cape in the whole circumference of the earth…”

Table Mountain from Blouberg, Table Mountain, Cape Town, Blouberg, Cape Peninsular, the Cape, South Afrca

View from Blouberg across Table Bay towards Table Mountain and Cape Town

Home to the famous landmark, Table Mountain, the shores of Table bay are where South Africa’s recorded history began on Christmas Eve in 1652, when, Commander Jan van Riebeeck, his French wife, young son and a small party arrived.

Cape Peninsula 1

View along Chapman’s Peak drive on the Cape Peninsula

Cape Town is also home to one of my favourite shopping streets – the Main Road in Kalk Bay – it’s cobbled streets offer a variety of arts & crafts, pottery, unusual antiques, book stores, jewellery stores, curios and bric-a-brac shops. A shopper’s paradise!  There is also my favourite rock shop, Rock Chic in the fishing town of Hout Bay.  And let us not forget Cape Town is next to the Cape winelands…..yes, it is going to be a good weekend!

View of Table Mountain from a restaurant in the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, Table Mountain, Table Bay, South Africa, the Cape

View of Table Mountain from a restaurant in the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront

I am looking forward to purchasing some unusual and eye-catching gemstone focal beads from Rock Chic.  Here are some of my necklaces in which I have used the gemstone beads I bought on my last visit.

Grey agate bib necklace, gemstone necklace, agate beaded necklace, handmade gemstone necklace, handcrafted gemstone necklace, handmade jewelry, gemstone jewelry, bib necklace

Grey Agate Gemstone Necklace $50 – from Big Skies Jewellery

Black Tourmaline, Natural Pyrite and Carnelian Statement Necklace, gemstone jewelry, gemstone necklace, handmade gemstone necklace, handcrafted gemstone necklace, black tourmaline necklace

SOLD – Black Tourmaline, Pyrite and Carnelian Gemstone Necklace by Big Skies Jewellery

Tribal Bostwanan agate, red coral, silver and chain gemstone necklace, red coral necklace, gemstone necklace, gemstone jewelry, tribal necklace, chain necklace, tribal jewelry, agate necklace

Tribal Red Coral and Botswana Agate Chain Necklace $45 – available from Big Skies Jewellery

Tribal Pyrite, Crystal, Citrine and Sunstone Necklace, gemstone necklace, gemstone jewelry, tribal necklace, chain necklace, handmade gemstone necklace, handcrafted gemstone necklace,

SOLD Tribal Pyrite Crystal, Citrine and Sunstone Gemstone Necklace by Big Skies Jewellery

Agate Slab Bib Necklace, Agate bib gemstone necklace, bib necklace, gemstone necklace, gemstone jewelry, handmade gemstone necklace, handcrafted gemstone jewelry

SOLD Agate Slab Bib Necklace by Big Skies Jewellery

 

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