Monday, April 29, 2013


("Thyra" by Handmaden Designs LLC)

These beautiful asymmetrical earrings are made from sterling silver, copper, and Brecciated Jasper combining both chainmaille and metalsmithing.  The copper sheet has been hand-embossed and then patinaed using a torch.  A copper has been clear coated with a sealant to ensure the longterm durability of the patina. The chainwork on the earrings combines regualr chainwork, Mobius balls, an Alternating Half-Romanov.  They measure at about 2.25 inches long.

Alternating Half-Romanov is an original design by Handmaden Designs LLC.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


("Thalia" by Handmaden Designs LLC)

This beautiful chainmaille bracelet is made entirely of sterling silver and has carved  Green Moss Agate, red Jasper, and Brecciated Jasper beads.  It measures at 7 inches long and has been completely made by hand, from the coiling and cutting of each and every ring to the making of the clasp.  The design used is the Romanov and Alternating Half Romanov Byzantine designs.

Alternating Half Romanov is an original designs by Handmaden Designs LLC.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Gemstone of the Week: Maw Sit Sit

(Maw Sit Sit image found on

Maw Sit Sit is a truly beautiful stone.  It was first discovered sometimes during the 1960's by the Swiss gemologist Eduard J. Gübelin while during fieldwork in Burma.  While Maw Sit Sit may look like Jade, that is not entirely accurate. Maw Sit Sit does contain some Jadeite, Jadeite is but a small part of its mineral composition.  The minerals that make up Maw Sit Sit primarily consist of: Kosmochlor, Chromium Jadeite, Chromium, Eckermannite, and Chromium Albite but small amounts of other minerals are also sometimes present.  Maw Sit Sit has a varying hardness, but it may reach as high as a hardness 7.  It is an opaque gemstone with a colour ranging anywhere from an intense emerald green to dark green and often has some black patterning to the stone. At present, the only known location for Maw Sit Sit is in Burma(Myanmar) where it was first discovered. Maw Sit Sit can be difficult to buy as not only is it rare, but it is also largely unknown to most people, but when you are able to find examples for sale the prices are generally fairly reasonable. However, the gem market, like the stock market, is in constant fluctuation with values continually rising and falling and so should this gem become more known, and a demand created for it, it's anyone's guess what the prices may become in the future.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Liusaidh (Pendant)(Tantalum/Sterling Silver)

("Liusaidh" by Handmaden Designs LLC)

Liusaidh is a very elegant chainmaille design based on the weave: Chelydra.  Every link in this pedant has been coiled and cut entirely by hand.  It is made from sterling silver and tantalum wire with a freswhater pearl drop.  Tantalum is a very rare, and absolutely beautiful metal.  It is naturally a gray-ish purple in colour, and is related to the better known, and far less rare, metal niobium.  The pendant measures at just over 2.5 inches long and is just over 1 inch wide at the widest point.

Chelydra weave and Liusaidh design are original creations by Handmaden Designs LLC.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Gemstone of the Week: Cacoxenite

(Image of Cacoxenite found on
(Image of Cacoxenite in Quartz found on

Cacoxenite is an interesting looking gem.  It forms as these almost cute looking little crystal puff balls.  It is a secondary mineral and is often found in the oxidized zone of phosphatic magnetite deposits. It may also be found in phosphate-rich pegmatites, in novaculites (a form of chert or flint), and sometimes, though rarely, in soils and sediments that are rich in iron.  Cacoxenite is a hardness 3-4 and in colour may range from yellow to brownish-yellow, reddish orange, golden yellow, deep orange, and green. In transmitted light it appears yellow.  It is a translucent gemstone with a silky luster.  Cacoxenite was discovered in 1825 and it's name comes from the Greek words meaning 'bad' and 'guest.'  A rather unusual name to give a a gem, but the reason for it was because of how if there was Cacoxenite present in ore for iron smelting the phosphorus content of the Cacoxenite lessened the quality of the smelting. Cacoxenite, it would appear, is frequently found in/with various types of Quartz as a great many of the images I have seen of it involve Cacoxenite inside of regular Quartz or even Amethyst the result of which is absolutely stunning. Cacoxenite is found in: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada (province of Ontario), Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Namibia, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, England, Wales, Uruguay, and in the states of: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Gemstone of the Week: Lepidolite

(Image of Lepidolite found on

Lepidolite was named in 1792 by Martin Klaproth.  It's name came from the Greek words lepidos meaning "scale" and lithos meaning "stone."  The name is in reference to how the stone looks in its rough state.  Lepidolite belongs to the Mica group of stones and so most often forms as platy sheets.  It may also from as massives of uniform indistinguishable crystals or as flat foliated plats (think thin mica sheets).  Lepidolite only has a hardness of 2.5-3.5 so great care must be taken to keep from damaging it. However, despite it's low hardness Lepidolite is still used in jewelry although I would not recommend Lepidolite be used in any piece of jewelry that is likely to take a beating (particularly rings) as it will not hold up as well as it would with low-impact risk jewelry (pendants; earrings).  Lepidolite may be transparent to translucent with a sub-vitreous, resinous, greasy, or pearly luster.  In colour it is generally pink, light purple, or light rose red, with other colours possible (gray-white, yellowish-white, colourless, white, and maybe some others) but rare.  Lepidolite is very widespread and may be found in: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antarctica, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Burma(Myanmar), China, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo(Zaire), Ethiopia, France, Finland, French Guinea, Germany, Greenland, India, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Mexico, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, North Korea, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, England, Scotland, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe, several provinces in Canada, and all across the U.S.  Cost wise, Lepidolite tends to be rather inexpensive although good quality large stones will be higher.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Eilish - Custom Order

("Eilish" by Handmaden Designs LLC)
Sterling silver and copper wire-wrapped pendant.  Both square and round wire was used to create more interest.  Not sure on the stone, but it looks to be a dyed Variscite.  This piece was a custom order.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Gemstone of the Week: Herderite

(Image of Herderite found on

Herderite was discovered in 1828,  It was named by Wilhelm Haidinger in honor of Siegmund August Wolfgang von Herder who was the mining official in Freiberg, Germany.  It has a hardness of 5-5.5.  It's colour is typically colourless, pale yellow, or greenish-white.  It is a transparent to translucent gemstone with a vitreous or sub-vitreous luster.  Herderite is a rather rare gemstone and most of what is on the market is actually Hydroxylherderite (which from what I've seen tends to have stronger colour).  This makes it very difficult to know where actual Herderite is found, but some of the places that have been confirmed to have Herderite (but also have Hydroxylherderite so still be careful) are: two locations in Brazil, the Mogok township in Burma(Myanmar), the Yichun Prefecture in China, and in Namibia.