A Splash of Color

Upon logging into my Etsy account this morning, I was greeted with a splash of color. If you are unfamiliar with Etsy (www.etsy.com), they always list a collection of items having a common theme. This morning’s theme was rainbows, so everything was very colorful. After looking through the photos, I decided I wanted to do something with a little color today. I knew I didn’t have enough various colors of beads to make a complete rainbow, but I figured I could at least create a splash of colors.

So I set off for my work desk to see what I could come up with. I usually tout using gemstones in my jewelry, but it is quite difficult to get the bright colors needed for a rainbow with natural gemstones. It is possible with glass, but I didn’t have quite what I needed, so I worked with what I had.

As always, I tried to stick with the elegant simplicity concept I love so much. Beads went onto the desk, and they were put away again. I laid things out and then changed them around. Finally, I came up with what I think is a perfect splash of color for the warm days of summer.

What do you think?

The necklace and earrings are created with pastel colored glass beads and the metal components used in the necklace and the earrings are all sterling silver. The wire you see between the beads on the necklace is stainless steel. I use this in almost all of the necklaces and bracelets I make.

As much as I like bold colors, I have found the majority of ladies prefer pastel and neutral colors. They are very diverse and even though they are colors, they can still match a lot of clothing.

So, it goes to show you can find inspiration anywhere. It’s funny to think my inspiration for these light colored pieces were photos of bold rainbow colored pieces. Where do you find inspiration?

Thanks for stopping by!

Oh, if you are interested in these pieces, they are listed on Etsy here:

Necklace: https://www.etsy.com/listing/105262507/pastel-colored-glass-floating-necklace

Earrings: https://www.etsy.com/listing/105263305/pastel-colored-glass-earrings



Baltimore Bead Results #2

50th post! Wow!

Back in March, my husband and I went on a trip to Baltimore and ended up finding ourselves in a very unique bead shop. You can find out more about that trip here:

Beads + Baltimore = Happy Me

Since then, I have been trying to figure out what to do with the black and white beads. I wanted something pretty, and I didn’t want the piece to be too flashy. The beads needed to be the center of attention.

Over the weekend I finally took some time to work with some of the black and white beads, and this is what I came up with…

It fulfills my elegant simplicity goal very well. At first I was afraid it looked too simple, but the beads are so bold that if I add too much too them, the piece would look over-the-top. I still have the other beads to play with if I want something more interesting.

I like this set because it’s simple enough to wear with a black t-shirt and khaki pants, or you can wear it to a nice event with a little dress. Maybe a red dress so you don’t have too much black.

Thanks for stopping by!


Some Pearly Creativity

I think I previously mentioned my love of pearl jewelry, if not, I love pearl jewelry. I love how diverse it can be, simple, traditional, or modern. And the white pearls go with just about anything in your wardrobe as long as the styles match. Without really trying, I went on a pearl kick over the past week or so, and I thought I would share my results.

This first necklace was created with freshwater pearls and sterling silver components strung on a leather cord. I saw a similar idea at my local bead shop, but I created my own version of it. This is a great jeans and t-shirt necklace, but the pearls dress it up a little.

I designed these earrings to match the necklace above. I always sell my pieces separately so people can mix and match or not feel locked into sets if they don’t want them, but I think these two are a great set to keep on hand. The earrings alone can work with about anything you can think of. (Yes, the earrings hang on an angle.)

I think I showed off the earrings that match this necklace previously. I made a set of these earrings and necklace for my mom so I thought I would add the necklace to the earrings I had as well. Again, it is perfect for dressing up or down. It is simple and elegant, yet it’s different enough to create its own little “oohs and ahhs”

Lastly, this is my pride and joy. I have wanted to create a straight strand of pearls for quite some time, so I finally created it. At some point I will create earrings to match it, if it doesn’t sell first. This necklace is 32-inches long, which is long enough to create a nice dramatic effect without getting in the way if you wear it as a single strand, or you can wrap it around your neck twice and get a double-stranded choker look. Both looks are very traditional and elegant, yet they can have a modern flare to them at the same time.


Side story…

For those who don’t know, I have a mannequin head which I use at shows.  At my last show, a gentleman asked me (with a slight laugh in his voice), “Does she have a name?” I responded, “Yes, her name is Pearl.” He looked a little surprised (I’m guessing he thought I was too old to name dolls). I continued, “It is easier to ask ‘Where is Pearl?’ than to ask ‘Where is the mannequin?’” With that, he nodded and continued on his way. I reference that because I used Pearl to take these photos (even though you can’t see her face). That makes these pearls on Pearl.


Anyway…thank you for stopping by!

The wonder of Rubies…July’s birthstone

“What’s in a name?” Well, for this month’s birthstone, it could be the difference between two different gemstones, depending on how its color is perceived.

 For the month of July, the birthstone is the ruby. Rubies are a variety of the mineral corundum, and what makes them tricky is the fact that sapphires are also a variety of the mineral corundum. How are a dark blue stone and a dark red stone the same mineral? The difference comes from other trace elements which are mixed in with the corundum. In the case of rubies, chromium gives the stone its red hue. Depending on the amount of corundum in the stone, it can range from light pink, to deep red, to a purplish-red. The light pink stones are now referred to as pink sapphires, not rubies. This affects the value of them. Some people see these as being rarer and others see them as being not as well saturated in color as a ruby and not worth as much. It really becomes a challenge in the world of gemology. As a general rule, the more intense the red is, the more valuable of a ruby it is. Going back in time, the lighter stones were simply considered not as well saturated rubies and were not worth as much.

 Speaking of going back in time, let’s look at the historical side of rubies. This stone has long been considered to bring peace and protection to those who wear it. According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA):

             “People in India believed that rubies enabled their owners to live in peace with   their enemies. In Burma (a ruby source since at least 600 AD — now called Myanmar), warriors wore rubies to make themselves invincible in battle. Rubies were worn in medieval Europe to guarantee health, wealth, wisdom, and success in love.”

 In ancient cultures, rubies were also believed to cure diseases. It was ground to a fine powered and placed on the tongue of the sick person.

 Today’s sources of rubies are Afghanistan, Kenya, Madagascar, Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, and Vietnam. A few rubies have even been found in the United States, although this is not very common. Myanmar (Burma) has been the world’s main source of rubies for centuries; however, a large deposit of rubies was recently found in Greenland.

 Rubies are generally considered both hard and tough; however, it’s still good to be careful with them in case they have small fractures which could break under pressure. Heat can also affect the color and/or clarity of the stone.

 Sadly, I do have not created any pieces of jewelry with rubies in them. I really should since it is my birthstone. Perhaps I will consider that for my next supply order.

 As always, thank you for reading!

Fall 2012 Trends

I hope all of you had a safe and wonderful holiday. I’ll admit, with the holiday in the middle of the week, I feel as though I’m back at Monday all over again. Because of this, I found myself needing some motivation so I thought I would start writing. We’ll see where it goes.

Something I have been thinking about a lot lately is fall trends. Maybe it has to do with the heat…I’m trying to think about cooler temperatures. I’m good between 60-degrees and 85-degrees, but 90-odd with full humidity is getting to me (no, I don’t have air conditioning).

 So, here we go. The one thing I find interesting in the fashion industry is that it works at least one season, if not two, in advance. Calls have to be made now for what will be hot or not this fall and winter. I find this to be an interesting concept. I’m not sure how much of this is a predication of what will be hot or not, and how much is the industry telling us this is what will be hot for the upcoming season.

 One of the items it looks like we’re going to see is more silver. With the rise of precious metal prices, gold is starting to move out of reach. Silver can also go modern or traditional and from what I am reading, sculpted silver (a more modern look) is going to be in this fall. Think wider cuff and bangle bracelets, and shorter necklaces with statement focals. Also chunky chain is going to be in.

 When looking at earrings, I’m finding predictions of long and skinny earrings as well as modified hoops. Modified hoops include gemstones, or the metal is squiggly verses the traditional smooth circular hoop. Be careful with long and skinny earrings. If your face is oval or rectangular shaped, long and skinny earrings can make your face look longer and will not complement you well.

 It seems there is more metal than color in the fall 2012 predictions for jewelry. Part of this might have something to do with the warmth of metal and the fact that color is normally thought of as a spring/summer trend. I’m also wondering if it’s a reflection of the simpler styles we’re seeing across the board. Metal jewelry can be bold while staying simple.

 As far as colors, light, flesh tones are supposed to be big this fall. This is interesting to me because I usually think of dark colors (maroon, burgundy, forest green…) as fall colors. The flesh tones will balance these darker colors well. These colors include white, cream, and dusty rose.

 Retro-inspired jewelry is also supposed to stay in vogue through the cooler months. Not the bright colors, but bold, geometric patterns, door knocker earrings, collar necklaces, and enameled colors and patterns. I’ll be curious to see how long the retro-inspired fashions stick around. They seem to be very popular right now, but there are always some people (like me) who have a soft spot for those styles and use them as everyday pieces instead of just what is in style.

 The last prediction I’m finding for fall jewelry is natural styles. These have been around for awhile, but they only seem to be hitting with certain people. I have a few pieces of wood jewelry I’ve made and most ladies say they can’t pull it off. The wood pieces I make are simpler in style and I think most women can pull it off with little effort. The beauty of it is you can get a chunky piece of jewelry without the weight. Earthy colors, leaf and flower motifs, animal prints and suede cord will add to the natural styles of jewelry.

 There you have it, the Gretchen Smith Jewelry whirlwind of fall 2012 jewelry fashions. I’ll be curious to see what ends up actually being in style. I know a lot has to do with where you live. In the area where I live, it’s hard to break women out of their molds. They usually stick with the simple jewelry and are not always wearing what the fashion indicators say is in vogue. Because of this, I encourage you to break out of your shell and go try something different. Don’t go overboard if you aren’t comfortable, but push your comfort zone a little. You never know, you might have fun with it.

 Thanks for reading!