Garnets and Amber are two stones (well I guess in the official lapidary terms Amber isn't a "stone") that I have always been smitten with. Garnets are so "old fashion", pre -Victorian more Renaissance to me. My favorite ones are the very dark bordering on brown colored ones. I love the faceted glittery ones but my all time favorite ones are rough cut with lovely occlusions!! :) As for amber well there isn't anything I don't love about it! It feels so smooth, and is always warm to the tough, it's firm but it doesn't have the same denseness that stone has. And it's one of those rare gems that can tantalize your sense of smell! I enjoy all it's varying colors but really can't get to much of the darker shades. I don't even care if there are no prehistoric creatures trapped in the stone. There is always "stuff" on some kind trapped in the resin. And for me no matter how many times I look at a piece I always discover something new that I hadn't seen before.
Garnets are very plentiful and really can't be considered rare by any stretch of the imagination. Gads I remember when the kids were little we use to pan for gold (dust) in the mountain streams in Idaho. Many times we came home with out a speck of gold dust, but we'd have a nice little spoonful of garnets.
But amber on the other hand is quite rare and is far more susceptible to damage from our ever increasing polluted air. Because of it's increased rarity, and difficulty in mining it the cost have skyrocketed. However it doesn't make me covet it any less. :(
The other day I made a necklace, bracelet and earrings with some of my garnets and amber(ette) Oh not to worry I don't wear all 3 pieces at the same time. Wooooo that would be way to matchy matchy for me and LW would be asking the Aliens when they were going to put me back in my body! :) The necklace is garnets with 2 little oval shape amber(ette) pieces. I also attached a heart locket. And finished off the clasp with just a touch of the bling. I soooo love just throwing in a little rhinestone flash when least expected! :)
I used copper wire in all three pieces. The wire I didn't bother to add any patina to. It's really not worth the effort. Within a week the copper will already have started to darken as it oxidizes. No kidding!! The heart locket I did give a baptism of fire. Kinda roasted it over the the burners on our gas stove. It's so much more convenient to use it when I have only a small piece to do. We use propane here so basically the only difference is the burner flame isn't able to get as hot as the torch. Inside the locket on one side I placed a scrap of...yep you got it...all together now.."tea dyed lace" ;) and a small light aqua collored mermaid tear. On the other I placed a piece of dried statis and the word undeniable. I used my secret resin (clear nail polish) on both sides. I know it's not as hard as regular resin but it's sitting inside protected in the locket. My reasoning is. I have the last and only two bottle resin kit, in Mazatlan. I can't afford to make up the required amount of resin to then use a thimbleful and throw the rest out. Sooooooo clear nail polish which is less then $1.00 a bottle works just fine :) You know that saying don't you, Improvise thy name is Pattie???
The bracelet is garnets and 2 more of the amber(ette) and one of the copper mermaids my kindred sister Renate sent me from Germany. I so love these charms they are so delicate and detailed and yet so small.
The earrings are rather simple but that's the way I like wearing them plus they are nice and light and easy to were. Like I said all the copper is untreated and has already gotten a nice soft coloring going on. I even make my wires with untreated copper so they grow a lovely patina also. :)
Okay now for that quick confession. Without getting too political or self righteous sounding, I have a bit of a problem using a number of "precious" substances for my pleasure. For me I find myself uncomfortable when beautiful animals are killed for a bit of ivory, or the earth is permanently damaged digging out lovely stones of diamonds, sapphires, amber, so I can wear or admire a "pretty" I also have trouble justifying the abuse that many of the miners of these substances suffer. Slave labor is alive and thriving in the 21st century. So for me it's easier to feed my appetite for Mother Nature's pretties in more sustainable ways. I LOVE dark blue sapphires and the bigger the better. In fact LW had a 1ct placed in my engagement ring along with the smaller diamonds. The only thing is they are all lab created. They look the same and they are even more perfect and pretty then Mother Nature grown ones we could afford. But they didn't cause any damage to either the earth or her creatures. I do have a couple of pieces of beautiful natural amber as you guys know. But there is no way I could afford or justify purchasing all the amber I crave from my friend and his family. Nor do I want them to destroy their land and in danger their lives digging ever farther for that allusive resin. So what I do is use what I call Amber(ette) and officially goes by pressed or sometimes new amber. Like Ivory they basically take the amber scraps, chips. dust leftovers melt it and add it to resin, throw in a few bug or leaf bits let it cool and harden. It's not quite amber but for me there is a lot less quilt. This practice works for me, I'm not saying everyone should do this, heck I'm not even climbing up on a bar of soap to preach about it. I'm just sayin that by appeasing my cravings this way I eliminate a whole lotta guilt and for this little Italian girl, less guilt is an Excellent thing! :)
Remember kids today is a perfect day to make art no matter where in the world you are. p;)