October is here, and Christmas will soon be upon us.
As a jewellery maker, this is the time when demand rises and the hard work begins.I do enjoy this time, however, knowing that your best work is going to make quite a few people happy.
This month, as do all months, has its own birthstone. Tourmaline is the accepted gem for the month of October, though Opal is also another choice.
I'm going to stick with tourmaline for one reason alone.
It is my favourite crystal!
Most people associate tourmaline with the colours green and pink, or 'watermelon', which is a mixture of varying shades, but the colour range is quite fantastic.The rarest and most coveted is the beautiful neon blue Paraiba, named after the state in Brazil where it is found. Its colour will mesmerise the viewer. My own stock of ethically sourced Tourmaline comes in a mixture of colours and shades, but I can source any of the rarer shades on request.
A lesser known tourmaline variety is found in Madagascar, USA, and Brazil is the Rubellite, which is chosen for its similarity to Ruby. These stones are ideal as a substitute to Ruby but for me are a thing of beauty in their own right.
California produced some of the best varieties of Rubelite in the 19th and 20th century, but the mineral rich continent of Africa has come up with some beauties.
The best way I have found to set these, and all my gemstones in a way which let's in the light, is the tension ring setting style, which I have been hand crafting for over 20 years. I hand make these rings in all precious metals, and in several variations with all precious and semi precious gemstones.
The sterling silver I use in my craft is all 100% recycled, which means that my suppliers refine new wires and sheet metal from the scrap silver market. Most of the gold alloys I use are ethically sourced from sustainable Fairtrade and Fair Mined certified sources and my gold suppliers experience in auditing small batch segregated refining also makes them the only UK refinery offering Single Mine Origin gold.
I do use refined gold when it is available, and I can also use my customers' own gold and silver to make some of my designs.
To find out more about my designs have a look at my online store