Thursday, February 17, 2011

Crystal in Handmade Jewelry - Part One: More Than One Definition

Quartz crystal point in back, propping
up a rhyolite gemstone flecked with
crystal inclusions
Hello Gemstone Fans:

'Crystal' is a common constituent of handmade jewelry, but the word is very often used in ways that are confusing.  Is the designer talking about the composition of the material, its shape, its clarity, or saying it is a single piece of rock, uncut?  When designers describe their jewelry, sometimes they do not provide enough information to let the buyer know exactly what they are getting.  Unscrupulous sellers may even allow misinterpretations to remain unaddressed, hoping the buyer will think they are getting something of higher quality than what is actually included in the piece.

So to start, I simply want to point out how problematic the word 'crystal' can be.  In the first image above, we see a nicely formed quartz crystal.  Some people would call it a crystal because of the regular geometric shape.  Others might think 'crystal' because it is made of solid quartz.   A geologist might call it a crystal because it is a uncut chunk of a mineral in its natural form, or because its atoms are in a nicely regular matrix, instead of scattered about amorphously.  A geologist would also use the word 'crystals' to describe the granules of different minerals found in the rhyolite.

Crystal martini glass displays a pair
of earrings, each with a crystal
bicone bead on top.

More examples of 'crystal' are in the second image.  For some, the only crystal they are familiar with on a daily basis are cut crystal glasses and bowls used for dining or serving.  For others, the word crystal always means bright, sparkly, glassy looking beads, like those found atop the shells in this pair of earrings.  It may be that the chemical content of the beads isn't at all what they are thinking of, simply their common shapes, colors, and flash.

So with all the different ideas for what a 'crystal' is, or what 'crystal' can mean, there is no surprise that confusion exists.  Stay tuned here for more information about how you can be more informed about what is in your jewelry, and how to make sure you are getting exactly what you want!


Saturday, February 5, 2011

February Friendship and Romance in Glass and Stone

Hello Gemstone Fans:

The big event in February for many jewelry fans falls on the 14th, with the arrival of Valentine's Day.  It has become one of the most popular celebrations in the United States.  Everyone seems to be looking for a personal and special way to express affection to friends and loved ones.

We've added a new line of products to our offerings at Lunar Blue Designs - lanyard charms you can use to add personality and sparkle to almost anything, anywhere.  Slip the lanyard through zippers to create zipper pulls, use as charms for cell phones, or jazz up purses, belt loops, key rings, or whatever your imagination suggests. 

This is one of the first lanyard charms I created, celebrating Valentine's Day in my own way.  The charm centerpiece is an elegant, puffy Murano-style glass heart with embedded silver foil, topped with a pink bicone of Swarovski crystal, and highlighted with all sterling silver findings and spacers.  The length is about 3.75 inches.  This is one of those pieces that almost didn't make it out of the house.  Although I am partial to skulls and darker themes and icons, this charm has so much appeal.  It showcases so much of what makes glass an attractive material for beaded jewelry and accessories - shine, smoothness, glow, flash, and lovely color.


Image Credits:  Murano Glass Heart Charm posted in our Etsy store January 2011

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