Modern or ancient, cameos are gorgeous and skillfully carved in relief. Often made of agate or conch shell, the carved images are striking while soft and feminine. A staple of any woman’s fine jewelry collection. Continue reading Cameos
The gems from this Mark Twain book are too many to count but there is one that stayed with me. The following passage is Huckleberry’s internal battle over whether or not to turn Jim, his traveling companion and friend who is also a runaway slave, over to the authorities.
“It made me shiver. And I about made up my mind to pray, and see if I couldn’t try to quit being the kind of a boy I was and be better. So I kneeled down. But the words wouldn’t come. Why wouldn’t they? It warn’t no use to try and hide it from Him. Nor from ME, neither. I knowed very well why they wouldn’t come. It was because my heart warn’t right; it was because I warn’t square; it was because I was playing double. I was letting ON to give up sin, but away inside of me I was holding on to the biggest one of all. I was trying to make my mouth SAY I would do the right thing and the clean thing, and go and write to that nigger’s owner and tell where he was; but deep down in me I knowed it was a lie, and He knowed it. You can’t pray a lie–I found that out.”
I think this passage is a powerful illustration of Huck’s (and children in general) innocence and purity regarding a complex issue.
This is one of those books that most of us were required to read in grade school or high school but deserves a revisit as an adult. If you like to listen to great storytellers (and I think writing like Twain’s lends itself to oration), the audiobook narrated by Tom Parker is a MUST. Thank you to my brother for seeking out the best one- it is an absolute pleasure to listen to Parker’s oral interpretation of exceptional text.
Illustration by Achille Sirouy from “Huckelberry Finn”
Blackamoor jewelry has long been a favorite of mine. Striking in both contrast and its use of the human form, they fascinate. But, blackamoor can be easily misunderstood. Not to be confused with insensitive “Mammy” representations, blackamoor art and jewelry predates American slavery. They depict characters from Sicilian folklore regarding the Moorish invasion of southern Italy over a millennium ago. (Read more here.) That is not to say that undesirable undercurrents are not present in blackamoor works, more that they are not American slave representations. Continue reading Blackamoor Jewelry
“We’ve got to figure this out…” That was the first thing my mom and I said when we saw an article in Elle Decor magazine featuring the incredible artistry and creativity of Codor Design. We poured over the pictures and were inspired to give it a try. This is a little photo journal of our first attempt at creating something like Codor Design’s “Jabberwocky” mirror for my mom’s living room. Be sure to click the link so you can explore their website and see the awesome work they produce. Continue reading Clustered Object Mirror Project
In honor of October’s colorful birthstone, I offer these incredible photographs by Danny J. Sanchez. They perfectly capture the mystery and exceptional nature of this gemstone. One hardly knows if they are peering into an aquarium or viewing the birth of a star through the Hubble telescope. Notice the depth of this naturally occurring mineraloid that, depending on the conditions under which it was formed, deffracts light to create what is called a “play of color” within. Enjoy these scrumptious photographs!
Featured photo from The Handbook of Gemmology.
“Local tales and superstitions thrive best in these sheltered, long settled retreats; but are trampled under foot, by the shifting throng that forms the population of most of our country places. Besides, there is no encouragement for ghosts in most of our villages, for they have scarce had time to finish their first nap, and turn themselves in their graves, before their surviving friends have traveled away from the neighborhood, so that when they turn out of a night to walk the rounds, they have no acquaintance left to call upon. This is perhaps the reason why we so seldom hear of ghosts except in our long established Dutch communities.”
– Washington Irving, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”
I knew I wanted to do the October/November windows in a leaf theme. I also knew that I wanted to use cream-colored paper to create the look, as I had before. (My goal is to create a continuity in my designs over time.) Originally, I thought about a cyclone of leaves but after trying to figure out the materials and the execution, I scrapped it. I love curling up with a good book on cold days, so I decided to used some of the wonderful old books in the salon library. You might notice (The Magic of Jewelry and Charms from an earlier post!) Here is what I came up with! But first how I did it.
In the spirit of October and the fast-approaching Halloween holiday as well as this cold and rainy day, I thought I would write a few words about some of the ways people have expressed mourning through they jewelry they wear.
Just a few pictures I’ve taken that run along a theme. I love these tones and relish the change in seasons. Click to enlarge.
I came across this old volume, The Magic of Jewels & Charms by George Frederick Kunz, in the library of gem and jewelry books at work. I borrowed it and turned its crumbling pages.
The book offers interesting bits such as, “Coral and safran, if wrapped in the skin of a cat, were believed to have marvelous powers.” Another chapter revealed that in China, some physicians asserted that if pulverized and ingested, jade, “passed unchanged through the system, but that the essential principle, the innate virtue, was absorbed by the patient.” What notions do we entertain today that hundreds of years from now will seem tough to swallow?