Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Gemstone of the Week: Poudretteite

(Poudretteite image found on

Poudretteite is another of those beautiful yet obscure gemstones. By comparison to many other gems, it is still pretty new to the market having only been recognized as a new gemstone species in 1987.  Poudretteite is is a hardness 5 with a vitreous luster. It is a transparent gemstone and may be either colourless or pale pink.  Poudretteite is considered to be extremely rare.  It was first discovered around Mont St. Hilaire in Quebec, Canada, but it is now known to also be found in Burma(Myanmar).  Because of its rarity, Poudretteite tends to be very expensive.  One place that I have checked was selling them for $2,700 per carat; another cited that Poudretteite value is generally in the range of $3,000 per carat.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Copper Akkadian bracelet

("Akkadian bracelet" by Handmaden Designs LLC)

An elegant piece, this is a copper Akkadian weave chainmaille bracelet.  Every link in this piece has been made by hand.  It measures at 7.25 inches long and over 1/4 inch wide.

Akkadian is an original weave by Handmaden Designs LLC.

Friday, February 22, 2013


("Anitra" by Handmaden Designs LLC)

I know it's been a long while since I posted a new piece, but at long last my recent experimenting has yielded some results!  

This is a sterling silver European 4in1 chainmaille bracelet with a hand embossed copper sheet centerpiece.  The copper was textured by hamming wire swirls onto it and then was coloured using Prismacolor pencils.  The clasp is a three-ring hook-and-eye clasp and entirely hand smithed.  The bracelet measures at just over 7 inches long and is 1 inch wide at the widest point.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Gemstone of the Week: Shattuckite

(Shattuckite image found on
(Shattuckite image found on

Shattuckite was discovered in 1915 and is a rare secondary copper silicate.  Like many other gemstones, it was named after the location where it was first found: Shattuck Mine, Bisbee, Arizona, USA. Its colour may be light blue, dark blue, or green and tends to be translucent (sometimes even transparent) with a vitreous or silky luster. Shattuckite has a hardness of only 3.5 so more care should be taken not to possibly damage it.  Shattuckite forms  as either fibrous crystals or as granular anhedral or subhedral crystal massives in matrix. Shattuckite forms in the oxidation zone of copper deposits and is sometimes confused with Plancheite, another rare secondary copper silicate of similar appearance. Shattuckite may be found in: Argentine, Austria, Democratic Republic of Congo(Zaire), Germany, Greece, Italy, Mexico, Namibia, Norway, Slovakia, South Africa, England, and the states of Arizona, California, Nevada, and New Mexico.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Artist Feature: A Mechanical Mind

("Mantis No.5" by A Mechanical Mind)
I don't often do featured artist blog posts, but there's a Steampunk artists who's work I just had to share. 

Based in Chicago, Illinois, the artist behind "A Mechanical Mind" is Justin Gershenson-Gates.  His work is really Steampunk whimsy at its best.  All of his sculptures and jewelry pieces are made up of watch parts and other mechanical salvage that have been re-imagined in very ingenious ways.

("Quiver: Clockwork Heart Necklace" by A Mechanical Mind)
As a fan of Steampunk, and a jeweler myself,  I've looked at a lot of Steampunk and Justin's work is among the best I've seen.  One thing in particular that makes his work stand out from others is the fact that the pieces are soldered together rather than simply being glued.  It is a much more difficult process than using glue, but the results speak for themselves.  The pieces will be stronger than when epoxy or other glue is used and without the yucky mess that glue tends to leave behind.  His jewelry designs are elegant, and not over-fussed which is a common problem in Steampunk.  Sometimes, too many great parts get combined into one piece and pushes it over-the-top to where the piece no longer makes any sense and doesn't look right anymore; sometimes, less is more. While many others repeat their designs exactly, no one piece of his creation looks the same but is unique unto itself.

(Mechanical Scorpion" by A Mechanical Mind)
 Along with jewelry, he also creates amazingly whimsical and spectacularly made sculptures. Again, just as with his jewelry, the pieces are soldered together. The amount of detail he puts into these creations is really quite something, and what makes it all even more amazing is when you look at the size of these sculptures.  He's not working with massively large pieces, but small and accurately detailed sculptures that are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.

(Alien: Watch Parts Pendant" by A Mechanical Mind)
The patience and love that he has for what he does is evident in every piece that he makes.  Whether sculptures or jewelry, they are pieces that truly are beautiful pieces of art.  If you would like to see more of his work, you may find him through the following links:


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Gemstone of the Week: Purpurite

(Purpurite image found on
(Purpurite image found on

Purpurite is a beautiful mineral that was discovered in 1905 and has a kinda funny sounding name.  Every time I see its name I have to stop myself from misreading it as 'purpleite.'  However, there is actually a logical reason for that, the name 'Purppurite' comes from the Latin word purpura which is an allusion to the stones colour: purple. Purpurite may be purple, purple-red, pinkish purple, pink, brownish-black, violet, dark pink, and dark red.  It has a hardness of 4-5, which is comparable to Flourite and Apatite, and has a dull or earthy luster.  Purpurite may be subtranslucent or opaque and never forms as crystals, but as granular massives. Some examples I've seen also appear to have somewhat of a chatoyancy on flat polished surfaces; this is likely due to the fact that the luster may actually appear satiny on fresh fractures, while dull on altered surfaces. You should be cautious of samples of Purpurite that are overly bright in colour, as it has the colour is frequently enhanced to that bright shade by acid treatment.   Purpurite may be found in: Australia, Austria, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Madagascar, Namibia, Portugal, Rwanda, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the Canadian provinces of: Manitoba, Ontario, and the Northwest territories, and the states of Arizona, Colorado, California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Dakota, and Wisoncsin.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Gemstone of the Week: Serendibite

(Serendibite image found on

Serendibite is considered to be a very, very rare gemstone.  It was discovered in 1902 and is named after the old Arabic name for Sri Lanka: Serendib.  Serendibite is a hardness 6-7, may be transparent to translucent, and has a vitreous luster.  it may be black, dark blue, grayish-blue, pale yellow, blue-green, blue, or brown.  In transmitted light it may appear near colourless to yellow-green or blue. Serendibite has a triclinic crystal structure and may occur as granular anhedral to subhedral crystals in a matrix, or as twinned crystals.  On occasion, but rarely, Serendibite may be found as tabular crystals.  Serendibite is found in only a couple locations in Burma (Myanmar), Russia, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and the states of New York and California. Serendibite can be extremely expensive.  I have seen some outrageously high per carat values quoted on a couple of sites, I am doubtful on the accuracy of those quotes.  However, you should still expect to spend quite a lot of money for good examples as facet quality stones are rare.