Treasures for body and mind

31 March, 2011

Literary Jewel- Looking for a Photo

I've spent a few hours, now, looking for a photo of the symbolic necklace that Patti Smith shared with her first great love, Robert Mapplethorpe.  She describes it in Just Kids, her love letter to Mapplethorpe:

'It was made of two enameled metal plaques bound together with heavy black and silver threads, like a very old and exotic scapular. It cost eighteen dollars, which seemed like a lot of money. When things were quiet I would take it out of the case and trace the calligraphy etched upon its violet surface, and dream up tales of its origins.'
She still has it.  Has anyone seen a photo of this necklace? 
Just Kids is romantic to the last page.  Patti is a poet, writing a love letter to her beloved, so she may have sacrificed honesty to beauty since that is where a poet's fealty lies.  One moment clearly illuminated the truth of their love and relationship.  Mapplethorpe, dying of AIDS, photographed Smith and her new daughter and said, "We never had a child," adding, "We gave ourselves to art."  

30 March, 2011


Bracelets bracelets bracelets...which would you wear?

Rebecca Lankford

Joan Parcher

Christa Luhtje
 I love them all.  

28 March, 2011

Overheard in a Salt Marsh

Nymph, nymph, what are your beads?
Green glass, goblin.  Why do you stare at them?
Give them me.


Give them me.  Give them me.


Then I will howl all night in the reeds.
Lie in the mud and howl for them.

Goblin, why do you love them so?

They are better than stars or water.
Better than the voices of winds that sing.
Better than any man's fair daughter,
Your green glass beads on a silver ring.

Hush, I stole them out of the moon.

Give me your beads, I desire them.


I will howl in a deep lagoon,
For your green glass beads, I love them so.
Give them me.  Give them.


--By Harold Monro                     

25 March, 2011

Pomegranates for Friday- Oops!
                                                             Pomegranates symbolize resurrection, Christ's bursting from the tomb, life after death, and the Church itself (filled seeds/people).  Other religions and cultures have also loaded the ruby fruit with meaning.  Today's necklace by Hamsa references the pomegranate's decorative role in Solomon's temple (and other things) in Jewish history.  Other ancient civilizations connected pomegranates and their 613 bloody red seeds to goddesses of fertility and death.  They are a feminine fruit- see Vanessa Amalia's necklaces- but I can't get any further with the Women's History Month theme.  I've tried all week to develop a feminist evolution of the pomegranate symbol from pagan to Christian, but it's honestly not supported by data.  So, avoiding historical revisionism, I thank you, the readers, for your patience with my theme week that did not survive its collision with the Lentan Friday theme.  And please, in your prayers, thank God for the women in your life and the women whom you never knew who gave you choices and responsibilities unheard of in other places in this beautiful, astonishing, heartbreaking world.  Amen.
Vanessa Amalia

24 March, 2011


It's the sparkle in the woman that makes the sparkle in the jewels memorable.

27 February 1932- 23 March 2011

23 March, 2011

All Women Are From the Same Tribe

Women's fondness for jewels proves the Turkish proverb titling this post.  Most of the people involved in the jewelry business are women, as craftsmen, sellers, and consumers.  A cruise through the GIA course catalogue's photos supports this.  Jewelry blogs indicate that we like bling for itself and like what it does to us- wearing jewelry is a dynamic process.  We are more than consumers; we are artists, expressing ourselves with symbols, costume, and layered messages.  Simultaniously Pygmalion and Galatea, we add beauty to the world and love the result.  There is not one right answer-- there are millions of, "Yes, exactly!"  It's an almost exclusively feminine form of art- I hope you enjoy it today with your sisters worldwide who also know they look fantastic!   

My Month With the Moon, by Genevieve Yang

Moonstone earrings at

21 March, 2011


Happy Spring!

Wrap cuff by Susan Elizabeth

Happy Women's History Month- Suffragette Jewelry

This week's posts are provoked by women's history month and are in honor of the women (and men) who advanced civilization by establishing the worth and legal standing of all people, regardless of their sex.  In the West, women my age and younger cannot remember life before legal protection from sexual harrassment and without the right to take oral contraceptives- thank God!  So what does this have to do with jewelry?  Read on...

Most suffragette jewelry is fraudulent.  Supposedly, suffragette jewelry is green, white, and violet and secretly represented "Give Women the Vote."  The Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), disparagingly called "suffragettes," were not outlawed and their colors were not secret.  They participated in violent protests, arson, and vandalism, and were treated with horrific brutality by the police.  Their motto was "Votes for Women," not "Give Women the Vote."  Some contemporary commerical and arts and crafts jewelry was created supporting the cause, but the phrase "Suffregette Jewelry" is anachronistic.   Genuine jewelry created for the women who participated in the struggle is very rare, usually commemorates specific events, and usually remains within their families.

Today's jewel is a genuine piece of suffragette jewelry.  It is a pin or badge depicting a portcullis with a prisoner's arrow on it.  It was given to commemorate imprisonment in Holloway Prison, a women's prison in north London.  

 Thank you, ladies. 

18 March, 2011

Butterflies for Friday

Butterflies symbolize resurection...not only for Christians during Easter but wear one now in solidarity and hope for Japan's rebuilding and renaissance.

I've had a lot of Alex Monroe stuff lately on this blog- but I love it.  It's more dainty and sweet than my usual preference, but his craftmanship is superlative.  And, repeating myself, he's donating some of his procedes to relief for Japan; go to  Alexis Bittar is donating 100% at  At that site, go to his blog for more information.

For those who express themselves more flamboyantly (more my usual style):

From Dior's fine jewelry line.  They have a great sense of humor and fun over at Dior- check them out at   

Anyone else notice the ring is Lentan purple? Do you think they designed the ring to have a symbolic communication of sacrifice and resurection?  Naaaaahhhh- I doubt it.  But that does not mean it is not there! 

16 March, 2011

Jewels For Japan

Alexis Bittar  and Alex Monroe are donating portions of their profits for the next few weeks to assist the Japanese people.  They did something similar after the Haitian earthquake as well.  Thank you, gentlemen, for being awesome like that.

The Wearing of the Green

Do these say "Kiss me, I'm Irish" to you?

Sydney Lynch at

Enrique Majoral at


Stephanie Albertson at

14 March, 2011


Why do the same people who spend $100 on a pair of jeans or $200 on running shoes balk at spending money on decent jewelry?  $200 will get you something that lasts forever- or until you get tired of it and have a jeweler melt it down and make something else.

Don't know why, but this necklace is haunting me. 

It could be dressed up or down, go out day or night, be worn in any season, and is appropriate for an executive or a flower child.  There's also a version with some gold in it so that I could wear it and not look dead. It is more expensive, sadly.

These were created by Nicola Bannerman,

13 March, 2011


Please pray for the Japanese as they struggle to regroup and rebuild from the hurricane and tsunami.

I keep contrasting the damage in Japan with the damage in Haiti.  This was an 8.9 earthquake AND  tsunami!  What a demonstration how incredibly engineered Japan's buildings are and the value of building codes; the damage was nothing like what an 8.9 would have inflicted anywhere else.  Anyone know what can be done, other than early warning systems, to prevent or moderate tsunamis?

Many people say natural disasters are proof of an uncaring or evil God.  But people don't use the resources God freely gave them to assist and care for each other.  When bad things happen, either by evil people or predictable natural events, people are harmed by the action or inaction of other people.  Blaming God for human action or apathy abrogates responsiblity.

Some scientists speculate that the size of the earthquake changed the shape of the earth to alter the length of the day.  Wow.         

11 March, 2011

Fish for Friday

Chopard released it's 150th anniversary Animal World Collection in 2010, but the sardine bracelet  haunts me.  Part of the fun is, "Seriously- you had to choose 150 animals and you chose to enshrine sardines?" I know, I know, the romantic frog prince ring is unforgetable and the monkeys are cute (usually I don't like monkeys but Chopard's are better than life), but the subtlety of the sardine bracelet wins.  Unlike the amazing in-your-face parrot necklace and the eco self-aware sea turtle ring, a casual observer would see a shine and a flash, but would not necessarily notice that the glimmer around a wearer's wrist came from a tiny school of fish. This bracelet appeals to a different kind of woman than the other pieces in the collection.

Here is how it was made.  First there was an idea.

Then there was paintasking craftmanship.  The artisans made little fish and their net- did they savor  the contrast between the bloody reality of fish and nets and the fantasy where beautiful little fish rest securely on their net?

Chopard made other fish jewels that should be admired, too.  Nemo grew up!  Imagine how wearing this (called a "plastron") would make you feel?  Would you feel emboldened or frightened?  Encumbered?  Like "Plastron" was an evil robot in a '50s sci-fi movie?

Lastly, the way the jewels were displayed at the Chopard 150th ball in Singapore was enough to make me weep and praise God for people who dedicate themselves to creating such beauty.  This tableau had an ocean theme.

Yup, seahorses for your deserving earlobes.  Siiiiiigh.  This was a long post, but did you really mind?

Have a great weekend! 

09 March, 2011

Fire and Ice

"Fire and Ice" is the name of the jewelry collection created by Autore, reenvisioning pearls in jewelry.  The theme is the titanic volcanic and glacial forces shaping the earth.

Santorini Earrings, Lava Flow pendant, and Advent of Spring earrings. I could not get ta copy of the Antarctica necklace, which looks like something for the White Witch from Narnia.  It's spiky and c-c-c-oooooollllld. Check it out on the Autore website:

These reminded me of Mike Wickstrom, a jeweler and Army chaplain friend of mine who kicked me in the butt to get my GIA degree and volunteered me as the leader for a refugee assistance program, changing my life in multiple, wonderful ways.  He's also promised to take me to the Tuscon gem show when we can get our schedules together.  Anyway, pearls bore Mike because there are only so many things that can be done with them.  Mike, what do you think?  Is this different enough?

Make new friends, but keep the old! (second post)

...And the other is gold!  (How many of you weren't Girl Scouts and didn't know the song?)

Nothing ghetto about gold, true gold, synonymous with wealth and health since ancient days, glowing like the sun, a color unlike any other metal. feels like real gold!    

Better buy it now because the price is only going up! 

Both of the earring sets above can be found at  Both are longer and more dramatic than they appear.  

If you like hanging birds, these are available at  Anyone know what they symbolize? They're Victorian!  Of course they symbolize something!

 WARNING!  Today is Ash Wednesday (hopefully you've recovered from Fat Tuesday.)  For Lent, I give up wearing and buying jewelry.  At times I may become delerious, rave, or shake.  When that happens, throw cold water on me, and I'll snap back to normal.  Why do this?  Jonesing for jewelry is a simple, daily reminder of Jesus' real sacrifice for an uncaring world.  

07 March, 2011

Make new friends, but keep the old! (first post)

One is silver, wonderful silver! So many silver options for every taste and budget!

From  She makes thoughtful, original, colorful things.

From Natural agates. 

Victorian Bangle from The ibex looks offended. "You talkin' to me?"

Wonderful, affordable, fun silver!  Too bad white metal looks bad on me.

06 March, 2011

Nothing to do with jewelry- respect for the heroic

You may never have heard of Tom DeBaggio.  He was an herb grower and Alzheimer's patient who died on 21 Feb 2011.  When he was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's, he determined he would record what the disease was like, not unlike a spaceman reporting back to Earth during his one-way voyage to the sun.  His courage was breathtaking and a model of achievment through insurmountable odds.  Please pray for his family as well.  Read his obituary in The Economist here:

Begining with Arachne

Bling is the reason for the Academy Awards. Only. Reason. At. All.  While Nicole Kidman's reinterpreation of a one of a kind vintage piece ruled the red carpet (The White Queen and her awesome iciness- maybe she'll publish a book about her collection like Liz Taylor did), the spider pendant worn by Melissa Leo made a totally different statement.  Ms. Leo's lace overdress became a web that encased her; does Ms. Leo empathize with the spider or the fly?  A lot of people dislike fashion as costume, but when it is done as well as it was here, what's not to love?   

--BTW, the amazing spider is not by Forevermark as some photo captions imply. Her earrings and ring were by Jay Carlile for Forevermark, but that glorious spider, a mythological creature from a fairy tale, was by Katherine Wallach.  Katherine Wallach clearly knows her way around her stones!  Check out her store at: