Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sandy, Soldering and Earrings

Another year, another hurricane to worry about. Being on the Virginia coast, we were pretty worried about Hurricane Sandy a few days ago, but we are looking to be safer now. That hasn't stopped the wind from howling for two days and probably for another day tomorrow, as well.  It's been really gusty!

With the wind and rain, there wasn't much better to do today than to flesh out my soldering skills. I don't think I accomplished much, but I tried. It's just been one of those days where nothing turns out right. I'm not angry or frustrated, though. I should be, but I'm not. It happens. I bought some flux that is too thick which made the soldering thing a nasty unpleasant chore rather than a jewelry making adventure. I did make some balls and put them together for a nice pair of earwires. They went on a pair of citrine earrings that I made a few days ago. I wanted something a little nicer for them.

3.7cttw Brazilian Golden Citrine

See the 3 little balls on the earwires? I did that :) Not the best job, but my first. I did another pair of earwires that came out much nicer. I haven't used them, yet.

You might remember the incredible weave technique from the post I did on it.  It makes beautiful earrings. I did a few more pair, too.

7mm 3.2 cttw Blue Topaz
2.5cttw Ruby

That's about all I have to share today except for this:

I hope that everyone in Sandy's path takes all the necessary precautions to stay safe and that the storm doesn't cause you any grief.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Feeling Philosophical

I did a few stones today. I took pictures, lots of pictures. Instead of having you scroll through them, I made this quickie video for you.

While making the video, I was thinking up names for the stones and it occurred to me that I must be in a very serene mood. I even used the word "gentle" twice. :) Any other time and the titles could be very different. It got me thinking.

I received a few emails lately from people who described rocks as the work of God. We, as a Nation, are becoming more and more secular. Some people may prefer to just say Mother Nature. I usually refer to my rocks as gifts from Mother Nature, myself. But, truth be told, I'm a God fearing woman, though I don't adhere to any ascribed religion. I don't go to a church or temple. However, I do believe there is something greater myself. I give credit to the Creator of all things for the gifts from the Earth.

When I finish a piece, and before I can take credit for it, I acknowledge that I am nothing without the gifts bestowed upon me. I give a silent thanks for allowing me the skills to do what I do. (Not to mention the patience.) I want to be humble, I am humbled. I honestly believe that every wrap starts with a great rock. Not a great cab, but a great rock- A chunk of the earth that was pulled from its dirty home by some devoted rockhound who saw promise in its raw form. But, where did that rock come from?

I could get scientific and maybe sometime I will because it is fascinating. But, it is also so complicated that you have to wonder about how things were set in motion to begin with. During the Age of Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, great thinkers, philosophers and men of science, embraced Him as the Great Clockmaker, rather than turning away towards atheism. When I think of all the momentous events that have to have happened for me to be able to polish and wrap a rock, I can't help but to think of the Clockmaker, the One who set it all in motion.

I am in awe of the perfection in systems of science. Whether it be geology or meteorology, there is a simple beauty in it all. A perfection. What seem to be random events culminate into things we can understand- or eventually understand.

I'm a science nerd and a science fiction geek. I also love rocks. And, in some weird way, I find they are related. I have never thought of science as a substitute for God. I have not met a lot of science nerds who have. For everything that we as a species know, there are many things that are hidden from us- like who put it all in motion? Who created the Big bang? What Was before the Big Bang? These questions can be asked of my rocks, too.

I don't want to devolve here into a discussion of entropy or quantum physics or any number of things that are coming to my meandering mind right now. I just wanted to get a little philosophical about my rocks. Yes, I can be philosophical about rocks. Now, you know how truly weird I am about rocks. It goes pretty deep. They aren't just pretty. They represent, for me, the hand of the Great Clockmaker and interconnectedness of everything. The journey itself from rock to jewelry fascinates me and completes a cycle that was set in motion at the beginning of time.

It's late now and I'm done saying my bit.

Monday, October 22, 2012


I'm so glad I went to the gemshow. The new cabs I picked up were so inspiring to me. They really put me in the mood to wrap. I have been trying to get so much cabbing done that I was missing my jewelry time. I feel so torn sometimes. *sigh*

I finished the smaller pietersite first, the same afternoon as the show, in fact.

But, the really inspired piece was finished this morning.

This is a really fabulous stone and statement piece. Here are the stats- 53.5x40.73mm 89.25 cts. It is done with heavy 18 and 16g round sterling. There are 31.5 grams 13 grams (edited to correct the weight, 31.5 is the total weight.) of silver in this. The stone is so big that I didn't want any wimpy silver, it had to have a big silver look and be sturdy. I admit, I worked this out in copper first, before I even touched the silver.

I haven't had the time to sit and do a piece like this for awhile and I tell you it was exhilarating to finish it, step back, sigh a sigh of relief that it all worked out and simply pat myself on the back. I was so happy when I got this finished that a did two more before calling it a day.

Starry Night Obsidian (looks a lot like Ocean Jasper)

While I'm at it, let me share a few odds and ends pieces that I've done here and there.

Lapis and Stainless Steel

Kyanite in Silver

Ocean Jasper in Copper

Kabamby Ocean Jasper in Copper

Peach Aventurine in Copper with incredible sparkle

You may remember the peach aventurine and kyanite from the last gemshow. Both were really hard to photograph because of the light effects of each.

I was having such a good time wrapping today. I will try really hard to make the time for it tomorrow, too. Did my soul good. :)

I haven't mentioned my cabs, have I? Here's a peek. :) More later....

Sonora Sunrise

Saturday, October 20, 2012

I Did It Again- The Gemshow is Here

Oh Lordy, the gemshow is here this weekend.

Gem show floor
It was about 1/2 the size of the usual show, but my favorites were there.

I went to get a saw from a seller who has refurbished saws. He wasn't there.

I brought money for a 10" lapidary saw and maybe a few cabs. I had a written in stone rule- NO BEADS!

But, they are so sparkly and pretty....

Rows of Austrian crystals

And these are sooooooo cool and came with a neat story, too.

The story is there is a woman known only as Gail, who was originally from Ohio and now lives in a tepee. She doesn't have a phone, internet or car. But, she makes these fabulous clay pendants and has drawn the attention of magazines, The Smithsonian and Tucson Gemshow. Ach- I don't know about all that. They are incredibly awesome, though and I did buy one. (It doesn't count as beads. Does it?)

My new bead pendant

You may remember the last show I went to where my money and I were soon parted at the Russian dealer's table. Well, this time was no different. "Good Lord, Tela, you have enough cabs!" Yes, I know, I know. But, these are rare and pretty and expensive and all at a good price. I'm a collector, too, so give me a break. I can stop anytime I want to.


My new Pietersite. Big, colorful and flashy, but camera shy. A very lively stone. The best one she had. Here's another smaller one, also very flashy.

Blue Pietersite

Of course, being Russian stones, I had to have a few more charoite and eudialyte.

Too bad the eudialyite doesn't photograph well. The red looks like Christmas foil. I couldn't resist the beckoning trays.

And, Simbercite, can't forget about those.

I also got an awesome astrophyllite before my husband dragged me away.

Then, I was momentarily distracted by some really nice Fordite

I didn't get any of those because the booth across from that one had bargains to be had.

Fanta orange 8mm Mexican fire opal.

This Mookaite had my name written ALL over it.

I chatted with that guy for awhile. He wanted to show off his eBay buys, which I am always up for hearing about as I have a few of my own to share. He got a killer deal on that fire opal rough and he was good enough to pass it along. :)

I picked up a few more things to round out the day and headed home with my booty. My ticket is good for tomorrow, too. If I have any sense or any cents left, I'll stay away.

(Now off to wrap a Pietersite.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

When Things Go Right

I love it when things go right.

My grand daughter made a miraculous recovery. What the Drs were hoping would happen, finally happened. It took a little longer than they thought it would, but it did. And, what a difference a day makes! She is eating broth and jello and may be home today or tomorrow. :) YAY!

More good news. Many of you contacted me about our fellow jeweler in need and offered her help in various ways. Awesome!!!! You ladies rock!

More... My blog has it's 100th follower (not counting email subscribers)!!! Thank you, Lisa and thank you all for reading along. 

And more... We had another gorgeous day Monday in which I didn't mind getting soaked in shorts and tank top while sawing away. I got some slabs done and about 50 preforms. Yay!

Remember that box of rocks I showed you last post? Well, the kaleidoscope jasper was the first thing that I started cutting yesterday. Here's a cab that we slabbed at my friend's house on Saturday.

I oriented the cut and cab like in the top picture. My older grandson picked it up, turned it around and said it was a forest fire. I think he's right. Great eye! This polished so well that the glare obscures the image a little, but I think you can still make it out.

Kaleidoscope jasper is crazy stuff. One side of that slab was yellow, the other is the one you see. If I ground down any more it would have been even more different. Each rock has a totally different look.

I met a few new rock hounds and put some faces to names at my friend's house on Sat. I was real happy that I had some Kaleidoscope jasper to share. Not too much, though, because we burned up the extension cord on the saw before we could cut very much of it. My friend gave me a little rock, too. Something very special that I have been looking for for the longest time. It's horribly difficult to get and he was like, "Oh that, you can have it." THANK YOU! You'll have to wait and see what it is, though. I slabbed it today and when I cab it, you'll see it. (You'll think it's awesome, too.)

There were more surprises, too. I was made a gift of a Petoskey stone, which I had never seen before and a beautiful little porcelain jasper cab, which is pretty special because I first "met" the cabber while asking her about the sister stone. I also was gifted some Boatite. Yup. Have you seen or heard of Fordite or Detroit agate? Well, Boatite is paint from a boat manufacturer. Too cool. I'll show you some when I cab it. Teasers, I know, but I only have so much time in a day. LOL!

I still had time after my visit with rock friends to visit the hospital and do this orby variscite wrap. Oooo, this stuff is purdy! Some of the emerald green is translucent.

While I got you here, let me show you these tools I picked up. This is a cheap set of punches from Walmart. I got them to punch little circle shapes in sheet metal, but I find that they are awesome small mandrels!

I reach for these all the time now for any number of things. Pretty cool tool to have handy. :) The tip sizes are 1/16", 1/32" and 1/8". Oh, and they are pretty good punches, too.

I'm in such a great mood. I love it when things go right. Here's hoping everything goes right for you, too.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Shorter Days

Seems like I just don't have much time in a day anymore. I think that happens as you age. The days getting shorter, I mean. Maybe, it's just that Fall is now officially here. No more hinting at it. It's definitely getting darker earlier and the days cooler.

What this means for me is less time to work with rocks. All rock cutting is done with water and we all know what long exposures to cold water does to the hands. I've heard of people cutting themselves and not even knowing it until they see red. But, today should be one of our remaining warm days. I'm going go to my rock friend's house and meet up with some fellow rock hounds and see if we can get some good slabs from this big box of Kaleidoscope Jasper.

This is the new and rare Kaleidoscope jasper. I got it straight from the miners. 20 odd lbs of it. I'm hoping there's some beauties in there. I'm also going to get some pointers on buying rough rock and how to cut it with a bigger saw. I think a bigger saw is in my future. As it is, my trim saw will only do these small rocks, like this gemmy Australian chrysoprase.

Now that I have less time to slab and cab, I have been doing more jewelry. Nothing too elaborate, I'm just trying to get back into the swing of it.

Swirly Rhyolite (Yes, that is what it is called.)
Natures Paintbrush or Chinese Paintbrush
Morgan Hill Poppy Jasper
Sonora Sunrise
Do you notice the color palette trending more to Autumn? LOL! Also, I am using more silver and getting over my fear of it. :) I found that the trick is to have plenty of it, then I won't be so worried about messing it up.

You know, sometimes life throws you curve balls and you realize that everything isn't rocks and jewelry. My granddaughter has been back in hospital for a week now with no end in sight. She has more complications from the surgery. It's looking like more surgery. Her intestines are completely blocked with scar tissue and probable adhesions. She is way more miserable than before. Very bad to see her like this. :( But, as horrible as that has been for all of us, I got an email from a reader and JL member who has been going through her own ordeal. She didn't ask me not to share, but I won't say who she is for her privacy's sake. She has been battling a severe aggressive cancer with surgery and chemo. Because of it, she lost her job. Jewelry making has been a big distraction for her and sanity keeper, however, now she is too broke to keep in supplies. So, if any of you in our little community have anything to destash, any well wishes or have been through a similar battle to see the light, please email me  tela dot formosa gmail - I'll put you in touch with her. I'm sure she could use some fellowship right now. :) Don't be shy people. It's that time of the year when we all feel the need to reach out to those in need.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Serious Eye Candy

40x30mm Ocean Jasper Shield

I finished this perfect Ocean Jasper yesterday and had to share. It may possibly be the best cab I ever do.

I love this stone and everything about it.

It has everything an OJ has to offer including the jasper bubbles floating in clear green agate. 

I have some more to do, but this is the one that makes my heart stop. I will probably never get the nerve to wrap it and may never sell it- unless another comes along and jumpstarts my heart again. LOL!

Here's another. It is probably the smallest cab (26mm h) that I have done yet. My fingers are too arthritic for the real small stones. I love the colors in this.

Ocean Jasper

Then there is the first Crayola Jasper I have done. This material is rare as hen's teeth.You might remember a piece I did with it a while back. It's gorgeous stuff and so hard to get. The picture muddied the yellow a bit.

Crayola Jasper

Here's a new one for me. This is Belvade Jasper. This is from an old collection. I got two slabs. I picked the least attractive preform to start with. As you will see, if this is the worst, I can't wait to do some more.

Belvade Jasper

And, because I love blue and this stone, I cabbed my first African Dumortierite. I wrapped a piece of this once and have been looking for more ever since. It has 2 shades of blue with an ostrich leather pattern in the darker blue. It's a bit difficult to work, at least my first one was.

African Dumortierite

That's it for today- now to come up with nice wraps for some of these.

Thanks for looking, now go out and make something beautiful. :)