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2005: It would be nice to start off a fresh, clean
year with beading fun, but tsunami news won't let me. I wrote
a bit about this in the Diary of a Mad Web Lackey weblogs
29, 2004 Normal
Search and January
5, 2005 Bearly
January 13, 2005: I opened this page to bring you a ruby update and found a Diary of a Mad Web Lackey blog entry (January 10) here in this very spot. I hate to think my brain has gone, but ...
Ruby alert: If you read these pages, you know many gemstones may be "improved." Reputable dealers let you know when, for example, glass has been used to fill in the cracks in rubies, but the newest process in ruby doctoring is harder to detect. Use a microscope to look for elongated bubble shapes or flashes of different colors. If you see them, have the ruby checked at reputable lab or get a discount.
January 24, 2005: I thought I was onto something fantastic when I came across the term "turquoise chalk." Further research led me to discover chalk is not a new material for beads.
What's below isn't official, but there appear to be three grades of the stuff:
The color in stabilized turquoise is acceptable. Reports on the color quality of the lesser grades are negative. However, the photos I've been seeing are mouth watering. I can't wait to actually see the beads.
January 31, 2005: All our affiliates are throwing heart-shaped jewelry at me. I make the turquoise necklace for our Aphrodite Collection, but variety is the staple of any jewelry box, right?
February 12, 2005: You'll want to know that in ancient Egypt, the word for luck was "sha," while the word for bead was "sha-sha."
Also, carnelian represented life.
I have a note about lapiz, too, but I can't read my writing.
February 19, 2005: Someone finally wrote a beading mystery. I would refer readers to our Beading Books page, but my mini-review is so short, you may choose to go directly to Amazon:
February 25, 2005: I can't believe how expensive the glass "quartz" beads are. I had hoped that prices would come down, but no. I wonder how intense the labor must be to justify the numbers. Ah, well.
Last month, I signed up to take a basic course on earring making because so many customers have requested earrings to match our necklaces. The shop, Friendze, now hopes to offer classes in April. Please be patient.
February 28, 2005: After years of attending the annual Friends of the Library Book Sale in Oklahoma City, I finally scored a book that had something to do with beads. It's Beverly Dieringer's The Paper Bead Book.
While I don't actually have time to make paper beads, I am very confident I could make them (if only) thanks to Dieringer's detailed instructions. This is the book I would have purchased when my kids were younger and still had time for quality crafts had I manifested my latent fascination with beads.
March 5, 2005: I didn't watch most of the Academy Awards, but finally, after seeing bits and pieces of the fashion review shows, I can say the jewelry mostly looked fabulous - with few exceptions.
Beyoncé always looks beautiful, but her huge earrings were too much for me. And Annette Benning's earrings didn't seem to have anything to do with her necklace. On the other hand, the pins on Cate Blanchett's shoulder and in Scarlett Johansson's hair were fantastic.
In any case, jewelry is great fun. I'm just glad I don't have to be followed around by an armed guard who takes all the pretty things away at the end of the night.
March 8, 2005: Imagine my surprise this morning when I opened my front door to find two books for review on the porch. One was a novel I started over breakfast that doesn't seem promising. The other is Easy Beading from BeadStyle magazine.
March 12, 2005: There's a new white gold color index from the jewelry trade associations. The categories are:
Apparently, white gold is bleached yellow gold. Bad bleaching or bad plating means an ugly result.
March 20, 2005: Last time, I wrote about our diamond-selling affiliates. We believe they offer good deals on everything from inexpensive to worth-more-than-my-house jewelry. We also know there's more to the story, told here in the words of stock market expert Malcolm Berko:
"Almost all diamonds are so egregiously overpriced that you gotta be a gross (that's 144 ignoramuses) ignoramus to purchase one. If you think I'm joking, then ask a jeweler if you can take home a ring on approval. Then bebop across town to another reputable jeweler and tell him that you want to sell the ring. You'll be lucky if the second jeweler is willing to give you $8000 for that $16000 bauble. ...
"Diamonds are one of the cleverest hoaxes in history and among the most foolish and useless purchases a man can make."
Berko correctly stated, "There is a huge oversupply of diamonds in the world. ... The real price of those baubles is [a] gnomic conspiracy of DeBeers family members from South Africa to Israel to Switzerland and Holland."
What he left out is the beauty factor, the glory of gemstones. We don't crave diamonds because they're expensive, but because they are endlessly fascinating.
Our Caryn said, "You can't have too much jewelry." I'd take that a step further and say, "You can't have too much beauty. Just shop wisely."
Malcolm Berko's syndicated column is distributed by Copley News Service. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 26, 2005: I got an e-mail from Rikki, a visitor to these pages, asking if I had ever found any sources of half-drilled beads. I had to tell her no, but I started searching the net in earnest. And still couldn't find any, though I did sign up for all the bead ezines I could find that didn't have anything to do with body jewelry - a topic that holds no interest (sorry, Steph) for me.
April 4, 2005: Just in case you can't get enough of the upcoming nuptials of Charles and Camilla, you might want to check out her jewelry at http://www.hellomagazine.com/royalty/specials/camillastreasures/pagina_1_1.html
It's a photo gallery from Hello! magazine, which has other royal links but not much else in the way of jewelry that I could ferret out.
I can't get very excited about the happy couple themselves. I always thought if Prince Charles had spent five minutes a day paying attention to Princess Diana, they would still be together. What do I know about it? But at least he's rescheduled his second wedding around the funeral of Pope John Paul II - and graciously took time out from his pre-wedding ski vacation to attend a memorial service for the pope.
April 17, 2005: There is a market for everything.
It is now possible to make synthetic "memorial" diamonds from the remains of the dearly departed. For $3000 and up, a number of companies will extract carbon from the cremated body of your loved one and produce a golden diamond for you.
April 28, 2005: I've been after Jane Marie to write an article on Victorian mourning (hair) jewelry since she explained what it was - jewelry to honor the dead, but I have to say I was stunned to learn Josiah Wedgwood, of pottery fame, marketed a wax seal for letters in opposition to the slave trade within the British Empire. The logo, which had an image of a slave in chains and the words, "Am I Not a Man and a Brother?," was so popular, women wore medallions in their hair and in bracelets.
May 4, 2005: The jewelry world is debating the merits of watered down platinum. The current standard purity level is 90% or more, but the new product is only .585% platinum.
I once worked for a jewelry company that obtained the legal right to sell 6 karat gold jewelry. It looked fine and was probably more durable than jewelry containing a higher percentage of gold.
I say people should know what they are buying. Reputable jewelers tell you. It's the law.
May 6, 2005: I am so excited. For several years, I've been enjoying the articles about gems, Indian culture and more in the newsletter from Exotic India. Check out their archive for yourself:
May 12, 2005: Jane Marie and I want to thank everyone who clicks through the links on our pages to make a purchase. We appreciate your support more than we can say. And, of course, we wouldn't be online without it.
May 21, 2005: I make it a point to wear my jewelry everywhere I go. It is absolutely amazing how many people ask where I got whatever piece I'm wearing. When I first started making jewelry, I decided it would grab people's attention if I would always reply, "I made it yesterday," no matter how long a piece had been sitting around unsold.
This turned out to be a major problem since I'm not comfortable being dishonest. Now I say, "I made it. Do you like it?" This response leaves me with a clear conscience and a sales talking point.
June 4, 2005: We just got back from visiting Jane Marie on Amelia Island where I happened to drop in on Beadlemania, "Amelia's Premier Bead Source." Beadlemania is pretty much what you'd expect in a small bead shop - somewhat limited selection, but a nice attempt to be all things to all beaders.
Of note - I saw a teen attempting to
assemble the beads for a bracelet without regard for their design
compatibility. She chose
June 8, 2005: Jane Marie, who never likes to hurt anyone's feelings, called my attention to the last entry. She was afraid the girl I mentioned might see it and feel badly.
I don't want to be cruel, but mismatched designs only work if there is an underlying theme of color or shape or style or something. That bracelet was ugly.
I didn't stay around long enough to see how the shop owner handled things, but I bet she said something like, "You know (pause), if you moved this bead and added several more of those, your design would be even better."
Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, but we all need guidance sometimes.
June 11, 2005: The price of "cultured diamonds," a term banned in Germany, is going up. These lab-created diamonds are grown from a single crystal and often come in colors like yellow or blue.
June 16, 2004: I was watching the Stewart Granger version of King Solomon's Mines when something struck me as interesting / depressing: attitudes toward other people's stuff have not changed and probably never will. In other words, once I get my hands on whatever it is, whatever it is is mine. Mine. Remember the seagulls in Finding Nemo? "Mine."
Solomon's Mines (pun intended), people are pursuing other people's treasure or pursuing
other people pursuing other people's treasure. There is no moral
censure against this in that film or in any other Hollywood product I can
think of. In fact, except for a highly improbable haircut and
Back to my theme. Just because the Watusi have tons of gems in the movie or because the Hope Diamond was originally part of the eye of an Indian idol doesn't make liberating these items and adding them to one's own stash a right and proper act. It's stealing.
I bring up the Hope Diamond because it has now been confirmed to have been stolen at least twice. The second time was during the French Revolution, when it disappeared along with the rest of the crown jewels and later turned up as a possession of England's King George IV, the Prince Regent for all you romance novel fans. Tsk.
June 19, 2005: Last week at this time, I found I wasn't going to be a psychic bead columnist since they weren't (gasp / growl) going to pay me! Just so my powers wouldn't go to waste, I got my hands on Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem & Metal Magic. It's full of mystical wisdom, like wearing one gold and one silver earring to cure a headache.
June 24, 2005: Just read this in the Pizazz Works newsletter: "You can pretty much assume that all [black] onyx sold today are color enhanced." I had no idea. But except for the seashell necklace I just made for my niece by inserting a jump ring in the predator-made hole at the top of a shell we found together, all "natural" jewelry components are at least cut and polished if not dipped in something or lasered or ...
June 27, 2005: I've been waiting to announce my new affiliation with Luxe Jewels until our July newsletter and until I knew all the ins and outs of the program. But if I always held off until things were completely and fully ready to go, we certainly wouldn't be where we are today.
I'm chronicling my Luxe experience on a page called My Luxe Life, but I want to say here and now how impressed I am with the creativity and flexibility of the company. I am convinced their jewelry kits and my jewelry, along with my teaching experience, are a good fit.
July 9, 2005: I finally set up our newest contest, the "Goodbye Lie" Island Rose Contest. Here is the necklace you can win:
Note: This contest has closed.
July 21, 2005: From this morning's e-mail to Julie, my Luxe Jewels' mentor:
July 30, 2005: I have finally learned to make pretty, wearable earrings thanks to Luxe. I wore some of my creations this week when I taught etiquette for tweens and got compliments. What a thrill after months of not so good results.
Now that class is over, I am catching up on my e-mail. Yesterday's Professional Jeweler newsletter had an article about poor quality pearls that were seized by customs in Tahiti. Tahitian pearls are famous for they quality, and the government doesn't want low quality pearls destroying their reputation. When they find junk pearls, they crush them.
July 31. 2005: I don't publish all the e-mail I get, but here's an edited version of my correspondence with Kim who wants to break into the jewelry business:
August 8, 2005 Inspired by the closing of my nearby Friendze bead store, I've been making jewelry like crazy - especially earrings. It is absolutely wonderful to have finally mastered the simple skill of earring making. And I owe it all to Luxe Jewels kits. I have a photo of my first earrings - Luxe and my own designs - on our Luxe page.
Learning curves are different. We probably would all flourish at whatever craft we wanted to pursue if we had a good teacher at our sides to show and explain. That's why I joined Luxe - to be the teacher I couldn't locate in the OKC area. I had no trouble learning to make necklaces and bracelets from books, but it wasn't until I opened a Luxe kit and looked at the instructions that the basic process of wire wrapping clicked in my head.
As a personal aside, the Luxe Jewels training video, while very clear and quite well done, did not work for me in terms of jewelry skill building. Now that I think about it, I've never used a video to learn anything in my life. My brain needs what it needs.
I signed up last year, by the way, for earring classes at Friendze. Since they're even selling off the fixtures, I'm betting their classes will never happen.
August 10, 2005: I woke up this morning (the Brodie Monster, our new puppy [right column], pounced me) and realized life would be so much better if only Oklahoma City had a bead society. We could learn from each other and perhaps someday host bead events.
Although there is an Oklahoma Bead Society in Tulsa / Bartlesville, we don't have one here. And I intend to do something about it. Starting today.
August 18, 2005: While I expect my involvement with Luxe Jewels to increase sales of my own VeryShinyObjects.com jewelry, I just realized it's done several other things for me:
August 19, 2005: Friday is the big day for beading newsletters (even though the ezine-tips.com recommended mail days are Tuesday through Friday). This morning I got word chocolate brown was the important color for the upcoming fashion season. While our CDO loves brown, I'm not so sure I crave it, but there are a lot of beautiful stones with brown tones. Maybe my coffee hasn't kicked in yet. No, wait, I don't drink coffee.
August 27, 2005: There's nothing like early morning e-mail to open the sinuses and get your day off to a terrific start. But when I'm half awake, I sometimes panic before my sluggish brain filters the new info properly.
Just seconds ago, I was reading about burglaries in the latest edition of the Professional Jeweler ezine. (It's one of their main topics since jewelry stores are such glittering targets for the criminal set.) I started forming mind pictures of the Great Kamp Household Robbery - you know, "Tell me where you keep the diamonds or I'll kidnap your cat" - when I realized any thief who targeted me and mine would be in for slim pickings.
I don't keep much inventory on hand thanks to the magic of quick turnovers. What I do have goes into a nearby bank on a daily basis. And as for other household goodies that might be of interest to the criminal set, they wish. I love beautiful art as much as the next afficionada, but even when I win a lottery (and I know you're all praying for that as hard as I am), I'd invest in hungry children before I bought expensive paintings because that's where my priorities lie (and because the CDO has enough canvases tucked around the house to choke a fair sized museum). Also, more than several of our neighbors are cops - the one and only time our house was broken into, there was a helicopter and canine cops and well, let's just say the bad guys didn't count the event as a victory.
So, we are in minimal danger. I would rest easy, but I'm wide awake now.
September 18, 2005: I went to a gathering of the Oklahoma City beaders yesterday, the second in a week. They do lovely things with seed beads, and while I probably don't have the time or patience to learn their craft, I want to try.
Of course with my schedule, I don't see how I can join them again before November. That's plenty of time to get out the bead books and find a simple project, I hope.
September 23, 2005: Beads are beautiful, but when they are utilized for a good cause, so much the better. BeadsforEducation.org markets beaded items made by women in Kenya. They use their profits to educate their daughters.
September 29, 2005: The Spiral Beadery on N. Western in Oklahoma City is expanding. They will reopen Saturday. Can't wait.
October 3, 2005: I've been devouring books on all kinds of jewelry making, but I admit I don't have time to explore every facet of this craft. It's sort of like planning a major trip. If there are more sights than you have time to see, something has to give. Alas.
Of course, yesterday's little wire fiasco (I broke an expensive stone) has nothing to do with this, and I'm going to continue to dabble in the same way I dream of waltzing in Vienna or strolling along the Great Wall of China. I can't help myself. And I can't help this periodic rant because I am a bead freak.
October 12, 2005: There's an interesting article about gemstone engraving at http://www.ganoksin.com/borisat/nenam/gem-engraving-history.htm.
November 1, 2005: I use Luxe Jewels pouches when I sell completed jewelry from the Luxe Jewels line, but I just discovered pouchdepotinc.com thanks to another Luxe Consultant. Their product works perfectly for packaging my own jewelry. It's also perfect for Jane Marie' s Secret Pebbles™.
November 10, 2005: I made 10 pairs of earrings the other night - all the same design. When I finished, I started to bag them up and realized they weren't quite the same length. I hung them on a handy school ruler (everything is handy if you don't put it away) and was able to make perfect pairs.
Usually, I only complete one pair at a time and match the second earring to the first as I wrap the wire. But my assembly line process clearly needs tweaking or I wouldn't have had the length discrepancies in the first place.
November 18, 2005: Catherine the Great's necklace was auctioned for $1.5M. OK.
November 27 - 30, 2005: I've learned a great deal from the weekly /monthly ezines I receive, so it seems only fair to pass their URLs along as they pop into my mailbox:
About Bead Newsletter - Your bead guide, Tammy Powley knows her stuff! Lots of ads. http://jewelrymaking.about.com/mbiopage.htm
Exotic India Newsletter Archive - Bead lore and more
Pizazz Works - Advice and original bead designs http://www.pizazzworks.com/
WigJig - Wire work ideas http://www.wigjig.com/making-jewelry-with-beads.htm
Wire-Sculpture - Daily tips on working with wire and more
December 8, 2005: The latest issue of the About Jewelry Guide has a link to their new free course in how to start a jewelry business.
December 23, 2005: While visions of jeweled gifts dance in our heads, it seems appropriate (and I just read in the latest Bead Bugle article by Sandra I. Smith) that rubies, from the Latin word for red, were called the "king of gems" or ratnaraj in ancient India.
December 29, 2005: If you didn't know there was a World Gold Council, now you do. And you'll be happy to know they have the details on colored golds like the familiar rose gold and the not so common purple gold. Yes, purple gold. And blue gold and black gold!!!
May is gold month
Secret Pebbles™ - Jane Marie's handmade favors and little gifts
click on the photo of Secret Pebbles™ to enlarge it
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