Sunday 22 February 2009

Designer Rosary Beads on my new Artfire Store

Over the weekend, encouraged by good feedback on my designer rosary beads, I set up and opened an Artfire store online to make some of them available for purchase.

I used the banner my wonderful son Stephen had made me for a planned Etsy shop, but I get the impression that Artfire is much more user-friendly for non-geeks like me.

They have a number of features I really like, among them there is space to write about what inspired the making of a particular product. They actually give scope to would-be authors like me who love to tell stories and love to write.

You can check out my rosary stories at

Wednesday 18 February 2009

Necklace, enhanced...

Enhancers are a fun way to ring the changes with a necklace. In late 07 I posted an "opulent orange" necklace; the person who received it as a gift returned it to be shortened and asked could the fire agate drop be removed and hung on a simple cord, in effect creating two necklaces for her. I thought of using vermeil enhancer clips that allowed the drop to be on or off the carnelian strand. It inspired me to add a carnelian/vermeil strand with fire agate enhancer to my 2009 collection.

The delicate light violet colour of the cape amethyst goes nicely with a double drop enhancer.

Grey-toned labradorite with that gorgeous blue flash and one large brushed silver bead can be worn as a classic strand, or for a longer line one can clip on the lovely silver and CZ enhancer, with labradorite and brushed silver drop.

In much the same way, the vermeil enhancer with vermeil heart-shaped drop brings more length to a strand of jumbo-size natural peach pearls while adding extra wow factor.

Definitely a year for flexibility!

Tuesday 17 February 2009

Designer Rosary Beads

Some Showcase buyers were very drawn to my designer rosary beads. I have to say, I LOVE planning and making them. It is fun to source and select stunning, beautifully crafted crucifixes, then match up colours, materials and shapes in a pleasing arrangement. And the hand-chaining is a restful, meditative activity. The range of crucifixes I use can be ordered in bronze or in silver, giving great flexibility of design and of budget.

The first picture shows a range of 6mm stones I have chained on silver, any of which could be selected for a bespoke rosary. The stones, left to right, are African amazonite, deep amethyst, black onyx, blue lace agate, cape amethyst, carnelian, garnet, howlite, labradorite, peach moonstone, phrenite, sodalite, smoky quartz, African yellow opal, white agate. Tiger eye is a popular choice for men.

The striking 6mm carnelian rosary has a sterling silver copy of a wooden Irish penal cross dating back to 1722. Penal Crosses typically had short arms as they were held in the palm for concealment because of the religious persecution of the times and longer arms tended to break off. They tended to be one-decade beads, with a ring to slip from finger to finger to keep track of the decade being said. With it I put a centre in an early twentieth century design, I think it suits it well.

The violet rosary drew much admiration: the beads are 6mm A grade deep amethyst, paters have natural brass bead caps and the whole is handchained with natural brass, which seems to enhance the amethyst, though this stone is also lovely with silver. The bronze crucifix is an elegantly simple reminder of the Celtic cross shape, the centre a modest rose.

The pink rosary is made in 7mm Madagascar Rose Quartz which is particularly translucent and fine in vibration. I have paired that stone with a large sterling silver crucifix and sumptuous large rose centre, and handchained it all on sterling silver wire. The crucifix is based on an Italian 'Trinity' pattern and depicts Father overlighting the scene, with the Holy Spirit in dove form above the head of Jesus. The pater nosters are in a larger MRQ stone and I have emphasised them further using silver bead caps.

The brown rosary has a striking bronze crucifixion scene, with Mary and John at the foot of the cross. The stone is 6mm A grade smoky quartz, with faceted 8mm paters. They are handchained with natural brass wire and chain.

Just a sample of my beloved designer rosary beads!

Thursday 12 February 2009

A most productive year

Goodness, I've been away from this blog for a full year, almost to the day. And what a year!

I've been 'crazy busy' working to establish my infant jewellery (or should I say jewelry?) business, True Colours Pearl and Gemstone Jewellery.

Heartfelt thanks for great support to: my 'in-house' designers, Aoife and Stephen; Claire and Gerry; my county enterprise board, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown (DLRCEB); friends / cheer-leaders from CEB networks; colleague, mentor, cheer-leader, Ann Mulcahy; and my many colleagues and clients from the worlds of education / colour therapy.

Commissions and appreciation from people overseas (thank you, Michigan, Australia, Dev Aura and Switzerland!) decided me to take the plunge and exhibit at the Crafts Council of Ireland's annual trade fair, Showcase 09, over four days in January.

Talk about a steep learning curve! I was fortunate in being able to access mentorship from both the CCoI and DLRCEB. Mentors of tremendous practicality, experience and generosity ensured that I was well prepared, with a respectable (self-executed!) catalogue of my 2009 collection, swing tags, a price list, and so much more. And I really enjoyed meeting the buyers in the RDS! More of that in my next blog...