greta pearls of wisdom

Lab - Created stones vs. Natural Gemstones

Lab - Created stones vs. Natural Gemstones

There are typically three different types of gemstones. Here’s a look at each of them. Natural gemstones are gathered or mined (depending on stone) and cut/faceted, and polished. The rarity, color, size, and level of hardness will determine the price. People who do the labor mining and gathering often won't be paid an equitable wage, especially when the stone is more expensive. This isn't true for every gemstone, but sometimes the original sources are hard to trace. Buying from stone dealers and lapidarists, rock cutters and collectors, can be an option. Lab-created stones do not have the same carbon footprint,...

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Metalsmithing with heirloom gold and silver

Metalsmithing with heirloom gold and silver

Using recycled silver and gold isn't just for creative designs. Mining silver and gold both have environmental costs, such as mercury pollution from gold mines. Silver that has been recycled cuts emissions from materials by two-thirds! And, rising costs of metals can be a challenge to create new work. Reclaiming heirloom gold and silver has an array of advantages, yet their are challenges for the metalsmith. I have a few simple tests to be sure that I have silver or gold. Heating mystery metals can release toxins, and are not easy to separate. Once I am certain of what my...

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What is Ancient Glass?

What is Ancient Glass?

The mysteries of history are sometimes revealed in fragments and bits and pieces. Sharp tools chipped from volcanic obsidian are the first recorded uses of glass, dating back to the stone age. Glass vessels were first created, most likely,by the people of Mesopotania and Ancient Egypt. By the time of ancient Rome, glass had become a status symbol. Glass was used to create functional objects, from tiny bottles to large bowls. Artisans were in demand, and they were making glass by mixing two simple ingredients: silica and soda. Silica sand is made of crushed quartz, and by adding soda, or...

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Gingko Leaf Pendants

Gingko Leaf Pendants

The Gingko Tree symbolizes longevity and profound endurance { 4 Gingkos survived the bombing of Hiroshima and are still growing today! } Years ago, I had a Gingko tree growing in my yard and I learned that they were one of the original trees on the planet, which amazed me.This tree also is an urban gem, tolerating heat, confined spaces and air pollution. In fall, the leaves turn a lovely golden hue. Each leaf is a fan shape with a scalloped edge, and naturally, each leaf has a unique outline of its own. The patterns of gingko leaves remind me...

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