Hello and welcome again to the Caprilicious Blog, where I talk about my jewellery and other incidentals that have attracted my attention over the week.http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/photography/photo-tips/fireflies-in-the-dark-richardson/
The week gone by has been a bit warm (understatement - but who's complaining?) - those of us in the UK know how we longed for a bit of this last year. We have a Level 3 heatwave on in the UK - what that means is that you can fry an egg on the pavement at midday, and fabulous it is too, after all the sogginess of the winter gone by.
I showed you some of my latest acquisitions - little sterling silver pendants - in a blog a couple of weeks ago. A couple of them have the most beautiful fire opals - I love opals, don't you? The little lights that dance deep inside them reminds me of the fireflies I used to see in the park when I was a little girl - haven't seen one of them in ages.
Fireflies glow due to a phenomenon called Bioluminescence - to attract a mate, and they flitter around switching themselves on and off, like tiny fairy lights. They communicate with one another using a kind of Morse code - flash, flash ... flaaash - which probably means 'come and get me' or is it ' get your hat and coat, you're pulled', in firefly speak? I imagined the dance they might be doing - and the one that came to mind was a foxtrot, and this little necklace got its name from my flight of fancy. Iridescent peacock pearls fit the bill perfectly, and strawberry quartz gave the piece an extra injection of colour.
I found these photographs of fireflies in a woodland in Germany taken with a camera using a slow shutter speed - have a look, they are simply fabulous.
This necklace has a very similar pendant to the last one, except that the opals are blue. I teamed it with blue jade in two colours and some silver beads to make this necklace that seems to dance around your neck. The vibrancy of the blues imply a more fast paced dance - the fandango is a lively Spanish dance accompanied by hand clapping, guitars and castanets. It has a very lively, carnival feel to it, which is reflected in this necklace.
Once I got started, I was on a roll with the firefly theme. The last pendant was six little blue fire opals set into a sterling silver cross. To complement the chatoyance of the opals, I teamed them with faceted labradorite and blue jade beads - to my annoyance and frustration, I was unable to display the sheen of the stones in a photograph. I spent ages experimenting with different lighting and backgrounds, but was forced to admit defeat in the end. Labradorite gets its sheen from being deposited in layers - each layer shines at a different refraction angle when moved in the light, and it seems to flash at you when around your neck.
I do apologise for the pictures - I will ask a friend of mine who takes professional pictures if he will take some for me, but until then, these are the best of the ones I managed to take.
The epiphany referred to here is the sudden revelation of the chatoyance in the opals and labradorite on movement - and believe you me, the beauty of it takes your breath away for a moment when the necklace is handled.
One of the young doctors who works with me bought a necklace from me for her mother as a birthday present - I think she was hoping her mother would accept the gift, and then hand it back to her to wear - unfortunately for her, her mother liked the piece and requested two more - both of which were made to the young doctors spec - she secretly hopes that her mom will give one to her - we will have to wait and see what happens.
The weekend looms, with the prospect of more sunshine, which is just as well as we have a barbeque planned with about twenty five folks planning to attend. We host it each year for the junior doctors who move on to another hospital in August as part of their training rotation schemes, it is a sort of thank you for all the work they have put in over the year. The party can be as lively, or as sedate as they wish, and really depends on their personalities - they are allowed to invite guests from the hospital - midwives, anaesthetists and any others they choose are welcome, as are juniors from previous years. The neighbours have been forewarned!
That's my week in a nutshell folks, stay cool and we'll meet up next week, same time, same place
Hello readers, I trust you have all had a good week. The flowers are a-blooming and everything looks so pretty when we walk into our garden or drive around town. The warmth of the unaccustomed summer sun in the UK has brought out the romantic in me and this mood has touched all that I have made this week.
I had a bunch of coloured baroque pearls and I strung them onto mono filament invisible nylon, using jeweller's glue to get them to stay in place. Of course, the nylon had a mind of it's own, so did the pearls, and as for the glue - let's not even go there - a few newly invented swear words later, this necklace appeared - my husband wondered whether I was developing Tourette's syndrome and I had to take time out to reassure him that it was all for real and the air around me wasn't blue due to a psychiatric disorder. I had to prise my fingers apart after soaking them in warm water to take some pictures of my latest creation.
Anyway, it was all worth it in the end, and I can present Summer Holiday...............
This is an ideal piece to carry away on holiday, light and pretty, and with so many colours, it will go with anything - Summer Holiday seemed apt.
The next piece was almost to claw back the now distant memory of our holiday in the spring, and Peter Cincotti's rendition of I Love Paris says it all. Romance was firmly back on the agenda.
Shiny heart shaped Czech glass beads, little crystals and rose quartz wired onto a torque sit around the neck in this piece like a garland of flowers. I didn't put any crystals at the back of the necklace - the stiffness of the torque would cause the wired flowers and leaves to dig the wearer in the neck - who wants that in the heat of a warm summer evening, when this piece should really float elegantly around the neck? Not me, that's who!
Peacock from the Ocean
Abalone or Paua is a snail, found in temperate waters around the world from the genus Haliotis ( no, not Halitosis - pay attention now!), meaning 'sea - ear'. It has a flattish shell, which is dull on the outside, and beautifully coloured on the inside, with a mother of pearl nacre. The snail has a strong foot, and clings to a rock surface on the ocean bed, and has to be prised off - this can be extremely difficult, and I was surprised to read that divers have perished in the attempt.
"Abalone grip so hard that unless you catch one by surprise, you are unable to pry it off the basin. Divers used to drown while collecting abalone . . . a diver would pry an abalone loose, stick his fingers under the shell to lift it and then in surprise and pain when the ab clamps down would drop his ab bar. At that point, there would be no way to get his hand loose and he would drown. (Tank diving is illegal when gathering abalone.)"
This is called the 'Abalone's Revenge'.
One question - how does one catch an abalone by surprise?? - there is no mention of this anywhere - maybe you have to leap out at it from behind a rock, all guns blazing?? Clint Eastwood, eat your heart out!
Red Abalone are harvested mainly for the Sushi restaurant trade - males and females are put into large tanks on moonlit nights ( they prefer to mate on full moon nights), with soft violin music, candlelight, and a bottle of wine (yes, joke!).
An Abalone Farm - a far cry from 'bring on the violins'!
They produce baby abalones, which are collected and given a diet of kelp smoothies and snail spaghetti, which is a slurry of bran, seaweed and other nutrients made into a dough, extruded through a pasta machine and baked, to help them grow till they are large enough to be eaten. The shells are used for jewellery, but have to be ground and polished by experts as the dust is very toxic, and causes lung diseases.
No wonder then, the shells are expensive - however, the colours are so beautiful, I am sure you will agree it is worth all that trouble. I made a polymer clay ruffle bead in abalone colours, and put a necklace together. The colours are gorgeous and I could only hope that my ruffle bead would be up to the task of complementing the abalone shell beads - what do you think??
This necklace, made with crystals and diamante encrusted spacers, has been one of Caprilicious' more successful designs. It has been reproduced in quite a few colours, and at the jewellery party at my friends place, the hostess picked it up almost immediately - when she showed it off to her friends, they fell in love with it, and I had orders for the same piece, having asked her permission first, of course. I sent off for strings of crystals and spacers and clasps, and I made the first of the necklaces on order this week. Fortunately, I have the design and the suppliers written down, and this is one of the few that can actually be remade.
That's about all I have had time for this week folks, it looks like another scorcher here in the UK over the weekend. Have fun, and I will catch up with you next week, same time, same place
You know the old saying "..... are like buses, you wait forever, and then three show up at once" - well, in my case, the '.....' at the beginning of this aphorism was old friends. I met people whom I hadn't met for over twenty, and in one case, thirty years last week, and it was really fabulous to see them again.
Friends from the USA were visiting the UK, doing a bit of sightseeing with their children, and had arranged to meet up with us along the way.
Of course this meant that my fingers were flying all week, making little gifts for them, and I didn't make anything else for Caprilicious the whole week.
One of my friends had her hubby and two daughters in tow, and I made little pendants for the three ladies. I was meant to meet them at another friends place, although this didn't work out quite the way we intended, one more was made for the hostess.
Two days later, another friend came to stay with me overnight - she interrupted a schedule of sightseeing with her son, and took a train all the way from London to Warwickshire to visit with us, and we had a great deal of fun, catching up till 3 am, chatting about all the things that had happened to us in the past years.
Since we hadn't met since she moved to USA in 1974, there was a lot to talk about! I wanted her to have something to remember me by - just in case we didn't meet again for another age - but the world has shrunk since we were kids and chances are it wont be so long before we meet up again.
She received a little pendant as well, and I sent one more to her sister in the US of A who was meant to be with us, but couldn't make it. Mike enjoyed their visit with us too - a Cohiba each and Courvosier to wash the taste down contributed to a conversation with my friend's son till 4 am, setting the world to rights.
All these were inspired by the wire weaving of Nicole Hanna, and I have been trying to make my pendants smaller and smaller - almost in competition with myself to see how tiny I can get the weave down to.
I am all pendanted out, and my fingers are sore from wire twisting and weaving - next week will have to be a nice simple couple of necklaces (except, I don't know quite know how to do simple, and now people have come to expect a few flourishes from Caprilicious - sweet and simple doesn't cut it!).
It was a nice feeling to be able to give them something that I have made myself - these people already have at least one of everything else and it is difficult to buy gifts for them.
I took delivery of some really pretty silver pendants I ordered a while ago, and will spend the next couple of weeks making little necklaces with them, to nurse my sore fingertips back to the rude health they normally enjoy. Take a look at them - they are really pretty.
I have fallen in love with gemstones that have hidden depths - fire opals, hawkeye,
and solar quartz - their beauty is visible when they are moved in the light - a little secret between them and their wearer, my inner child is well pleased by this.
You can see that I have collected plenty of shinies - storing them away like a magpie - but of course, I am well brought up and have this compulsion to share - that means you can have some too - they will be on these pages one by one, when I get around to parting with them, I promise, sooner, rather than later.
Have a fabulous week won't you, and I'll catch you all next week, same time, same place
'Clasp my love around your neck,The windows in our house and light playing on the carpet
Wear my heart on your finger.
My soul will be your pendant:
I live to adorn you -
You're the precious one'.
~ Grey Livingston, Genuine Adoration.
I found this poem quoted by various people on one of my random browsing sessions - but cannot for the life of me find out who Grey Livingston is - even Google doesn't know! If you are a reader of poetry and know, please drop me a line.
Will the real Grey Livingston stand up and take a bow, please.
Well hello, readers, how have you been? It has been a good week here in sunny Warwickshire, at work, in the garden and making some fun pieces of jewellery.
Stained glass has long been a favourite in our house, and we have had a couple of window panes replaced with a Frank Lloyd Wright design. Mike and I often watch the colours from the window inch across the floor on sunshiny days.
I have been trying out a new technique, and am having so much fun, I don't want to stop. I once bought a pair of earrings from a little boutique in Stratford on Avon, and always wanted to learn how to make them - and now I have. It is liquid resin painted onto a metal frame, and a bit fiddly, but with fabulous results. The transparent resin lets the light through like stained glass, but of course, the pieces are very light, and suitable for earrings. I think they might just be a bit too fragile for heavier wear in necklaces etc. There is also an opaque resin, which is meant to give a porcelain effect. Have a look at the earrings made using wire shaped into dragonflies, butterflies and flowers - they are so very pretty .
These flowers are more robust than 'the real thing' and have allowed me to manipulate the wire underneath into various shapes after the resin was applied and dried. However, they are made with a thin film of resin suspended over a wire frame, and will need to be treated with a degree of delicacy. They are so pretty, I hope people will find it worth their while to look after them.
This piece is made from a dendritic opal pendant and aquamarine nuggets offset by baroque pearls, blue agate, and silver crystals.
The prosaic explanation for a sea breeze is that the warm air overland rises in the daytime, and is replaced by the cooler air from over the sea - well, what a killjoy explanation that is!
When I imagine a sea breeze, it is something light and frothy, bringing the scent of the sea, and a taste of salt to the lips, fluttering white clothes, and flying hair, walking hand in hand on a beach, with perhaps a little dog running on ahead - am I a romantic at heart?? or have too many romantic movies addled my brain - you might think so; I couldn't possibly comment. I grew up loving books like Summer of '42 by Herman Raucher, and perhaps this has coloured my rose tinted spectacles a deeper shade of pink!
Dendritic opal is not really an opal, as it has no shimmer to it. The manganese oxide which is the black part of the stone is an excellent balance to the white. The stone is popular because of the black and white contrasting colours that go with many outfits and other gemstones, and the patterns are amazing and strikingly realistic. 'Dendritic' refers to the tree or fern like patterns in the stone. This pendant is set in sterling silver, with pale blue aquamarines, and I loved the contrast between the milky white opaque 'opal' and the transparent aquamarines that look like droplets of water.
Thank you very much, thank you very very very very much....
This necklace was bought as a birthday gift for her friend by one of my customers - both she and her friend were pleased with the service they received from Caprilicious - its nice to get thank you notes, and for both the customer and her friend to 'love love love' it.
I love free form nuggets - all the little shapes and sizes mean that somebody hasn't tried to tame the wildness of nature. Druzy and geodes appeal to me similarly - I don't believe that everything must be cut and trimmed into shape by human hands, which is what we tend to do to give us that feeling of superiority - we ought to be able to revel in natural beauty. These amethyst nuggets reminded me of little grapes, so I hung a bunch of green Czech teardrops in front of the leaf skeleton, and named it after my favourite wine.
This beautiful pendant deserved a beautiful necklace to go with it - three strands of blue gold stone beads were press ganged into action - coral and turquoise accents tied them in with the blues and reds in the pendant.
Blue gold stone looks black at first sight, but in the light, it is actually a dark navy, with little glints of gold deep inside. The gold glints are from copper particles in the stone, and are very pretty.
The word Maya comes from Sanskrit and means magic, illusion or deception, a veil draped over the eyes of the beholder so that they are unable to perceive the truth. The gold stone beads certainly deceived me - I bought them thinking they were black! but on reflection, I like the deep blue just as well, or even better - and the flash of gold is fabulous - here's one time an illusion has served me well!
For readers in the UAE, pieces of jewellery from Caprilicious are being sold online and in store by Farhat Khan of Ehtnic Couture - contact her here https://www.facebook.com/writetofarhat to find her in Abu Dhabi.
That's it for this week folks, catch you next week, same time, same place. UK readers will definitely have a fabulous weekend - according to the weatherman, the summer is finally here - probably for all of four days. Enjoy, and I will catch up with you later
I'm Neena Shilvock, and I'm crazily addicted to jewellery. I've been designing and making quirky and interesting statement necklaces for the last five years and my passion hasn't cooled off one little bit - in fact it has got worse, such that I'm even dreaming jewellery.
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I would love to hear from you - please leave a comment on the blog or send an email to jewellerybycaprilicious(at)gmail.com
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