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.

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.

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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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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Decisions, decisions…..

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Southwestern Inspiration Makes a Return!

I don’t think Southwestern inspired jewellery ever goes out of style. Turquoise and silver are meant for each other – a timeless combination.

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Southwestern Inspired Turquoise Chrysocolla Chip Double Strand Choker – only $25 from Big Skies Jewellery

About 5 years ago, a long time before I was ever selling jewellery online, I made a limited edition of these necklaces, and the other day I saw one of my work colleagues still wearing her necklace – and I thought wow, that still looks really good.   So I decided to have a re-run of this classic necklace design for release in my Etsy shop.

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Southwestern Inspired Turquoise Chrysocolla Chip Double Strand Necklace – only $25 from Big Skies Jewellery

The stone chips used in this necklace are actually turquoise coloured chrysocolla, as oppose to turquoise howlite which I usually use.  I like the depth of colour in the chrysocolla.

I loved this necklace design the first time round, and I still love it now.  However, I would like to think that I have managed to improve both the design and my photography skills in the last 5 years!!  Here is the original….. 🙂

il_570xN_392339176_s5mj

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The Story Behind the Necklace…..”Phoenix Rising”

Sometimes I know exactly what I want to do with a gemstone bead string as soon as I see it, at other times……..no clue!

I had no idea what to do with these Labradorite spike beads when I saw them, but I love Labradorite and I like unusual shaped beads; this string fit the bill on both counts, so I bought them.

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Labradorite Spike Beads

I began thinking about what other Labradorite I have in stock, including this pendant….

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Labradorite Oval Pendant Set in Silver Metal

And from that, suddenly came the idea! I know, you would never guess that I passed ‘A’ level Art at school!  Thankfully it is not the accuracy and detail which is important in my design sketches, but rather capturing the essence and components of the design before it disappears from my mind’s eye.

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My artistic rendition of a design idea!

The resulting finished necklace was this, which I think (hope!) you will agree, looks a whole heap better than my artistic rendition:

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Labradorite Necklace – Phoenix Rising – $40 from Big Skies Jewellery

The necklace is called Phoenix Rising as the Labradorite spikes remind me of the arched wings of the phoenix as it rises from the flames and ashes – perhaps I am just being whimsical!

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Labradorite Necklace – Phoenix Rising – $40 from Big Skies Jewellery

In Greek mythology, a phoenix is a long-lived bird that is cyclically regenerated or reborn. Associated with the sun, a phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor.

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Labradorite Necklace – Phoenix Rising – $40 from Big Skies Jewellery

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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.

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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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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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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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Create Rather Than Consume!

I read an interesting article recently, can’t quite remember where, but it basically said that you cannot create whilst you consume. This got me thinking….. social media for me is a bit like a giant glitterball – its shiny and sparkly and I want to keep looking at it. But…..whilst I do, I am not creating and creating is at the core of my business. So every now and then I need to remind myself to create rather than consume.

Here are a couple of new gemstone pendant necklace designs created during this recent reminder to myself……

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Fire Crackle Agate Pendant Necklace – $29 from Big Skies Jewellery

I love this necklace, it has a lovely earthy, ethnic feel to it – the metal beads used are very decorative and the fire crackle agate is such an interesting stone – very unique patterning.  The necklace is wonderful blend of colour, pattern and texture.

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Fire Crackle Agate Pendant Gemstone Necklace – $29 from Big Skies Jewellery

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Crystal and Cherry Quartz Pendant Necklace – $32 from Big Skies Jewellery

This gemstone pendant necklace has an opulent feel to it – it is sure to make whoever wears it feel very special.  It features lovely cherry quartz round, oval and faceted beads, clear crystal beads and a mixture of beautifully patterned ornate metal beads that descend around the neck from a fine textured silver-toned chain, to a stunning two-toned pink and clear quartz, wire-wrapped  teardrop pendant.

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Crystal and Cherry Quartz Pendant Necklace – $32 from Big Skies Jewellery

Learn About Gemstones – Solar Quartz

Ever wondered what a cross-section through a stalactite would look like?  Well then… let me introduce you to Solar Quartz.  Solar Quartz is ordinary agatized quartz that is cut from stalactites in lucid, pale or grey, as well as with mossy inclusions – it is a quartz stalactite that has been sliced crossways into discs.  I think they look like beautiful crystal flowers.

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Solar Quartz, like agate, is often dyed vivid colors – natural Solar Quartz does not have electric coloring.  All the photos in this post have been reproduced with the kind permission of Inspire GemandCrystal, which is full of beautiful and unique stones and findings – please check our their lovely shop.

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As with all quartz, solar quartz is an energy enhancer – connecting to both spirit and harmony. Solar Quartz is said to bring emotional strength and upliftment, with great power and energy. Solar Quartz also has all the properties of clear quartz and is protective, purifying on spiritual, mental and physical levels.

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Quartz is possibly the most flexible, multi-purpose curative stone – it increases power and healing, pulls out and transports energy as well as increases natural crystals within the body’s fluid and tissues in order to reverberate new healing frequency.