after a teaser of a few days of near balmy weather, we were once again experiencing snow…not a huge amount but enough to coat the roads and cars and make walking and driving dicey at best. i had been sorting through my gemstones and found that i had unconsciously sorted a pile that looked, well, positively snow like..so i decided to make the “snow” neckpiece for my four seasons collection. i already have autumn and spring…summer remains, but i am not feeling quite up to that yet!
so this is the work in progress. it is made of white quartz, white jade, white pearls, blue chalcedony, aquamarine and opals. i will finish it with silk ribbon and a sterling clasp.
does it look like snow to you?
i use a great deal of pearls in my work, so here are some facts about them.
An organic gem, pearls are formed inside mollusks such as oysters and mussels. They are formed when an irritant such as a tiny stone or bit of sand gets inside the mollusk’s shell. A lustrous substance, called nacre, is secreted around the object to protect the soft internal surface of the mollusk. As layer upon layer of nacre coats the irritant, a pearl is formed. Light that is reflected from these overlapping layers produces a characteristic iridescent luster. This process of building a solid pearl can take up to seven or eight years.
The most valuable pearls are perfectly symmetrical, relatively large and naturally produced. They have a shimmering iridescence which is called orient luster. The principal oyster beds lay in the Persian Gulf, along the coasts of India and Sri Lanka, and in the Red Sea. Chinese pearls come mainly from freshwater rivers and ponds, whereas Japanese pearls are found near the coast in salt water.
There are many types of pearls:
natural pearls (made without human interference),
cultured pearls (made when a foreign substance is intentionally inserted into a living oyster. This method was first used in 1893),
baroque pearls (pearls that have irregular shapes),
Biwa pearls (an irregular shaped pearl which forms in the freshwater of Lake Biwa, Japan),
blister pearls (pearls which grow attached to the inside of the shell),
black pearls (gray to black pearls),
freshwater pearls (pearls which form in fresh water mollusks and resemble puffed rice),
Mabe pearls (cultivated blister pearls ),
seed pearls (small, tiny pearls used in Victorian jewelry and sewn on clothing).
i enjoy working with biwa and baroque pearls because of their unusual and irregular shapes.
Cultured or freshwater pearls are considered to offer the power of love, money, protection, and luck. Pearls are thought to give wisdom through experience, to quicken the laws of karma and to cement engagements and love relationships. They are thought to keep children safe.
Early Chinese myths told of pearls falling from the sky when dragons fought. Ancient legend says that pearls were thought to be the tears of the gods and the Greeks believed that wearing pearls would promote marital bliss and prevent newlywed women from crying.
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