Let’s ‘Rock & Gold’

This is one of a series of articles by Mónica Arias of Excellence Consulting, a luxury sales and marketing consulting firm based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. These articles will focus on ways that sales and marketing professional in the jewelry and luxury industries can improve their techniques.

Gold has a story, legacy and beauty of its own that’s managed to survive through the ages and whose mystery is still attracting hot genuine value as the number one preference of investors worldwide.

At the same time our beloved earth has also been gracefully producing beautiful and valuable diamonds and gemstones since ancient times for us to appreciate and admire.

The moment jewelry makers discovered the art of joining the two they set the foundations for a fantastic and alluring business, as if declaring: “Let´s rock and gold,” long before Elvis ever existed.

Why is the combination of gold and stones so appealing?
There is no conclusive answer. Rocks and gold simply look fantastic together. The simplest set of earrings can make all the difference if designed elegantly, respecting a true balance between the metal and the stones.

But this is too simple a statement because we are leaving aside the main elements to this gold and rock success: As in the movement once presided by Elvis, the revolution of Gold & Rock is directly associated with intense color. Magic comes out of brilliant colors in full vibrancy of grades which produce the fascination that comes from choosing a jewel we love.

As an example, let´s take rubies. According to many experts, rubies, which mainly come from Myanmar and Thailand, are considered to be the most powerful gems in the universe, usually associated with astral signs and protection to the living. Its magical influence is associated with life force, passion and love. It’s been said that to own a ruby is to have contentment and peace. And when rubies are set in gold they are considered the symbol of vitality and royalty.

However, what is even more striking and fascinating about rubies is their wide range of color, which varies from slightly vermilion to intense red, with the most desired and valuable being the famous “pigeon´s blood” tone.

It’s amazing to have such a wonderful description of meanings and features to help us make the most appropriate connection with the jewel. So wouldn´t you agree that you could literally add value to your demonstration if your customer showed a certain inclination to one of these features?

Whenever possible, do yourself a favor. Next time you are in front of a client, try to Rock & Gold a bit before making any demonstration. In other words, seriously, make the effort to express your true passion for gemstones and gold.

Ask the customer as many open questions about them as you can (see the “open question parade,” which appears in most of my articles). Then begin working towards influencing what you perceive as their preferences by associating the exact feature of the piece that will make the strongest impact in your customer. Trust me, the rock and gold tactic will help you see through your customer’s real passion about a particular piece and you will celebrate a long-term sales bliss after having investigated further on Rock & Gold and its infinite benefits. I am sure Elvis will give a thumbs up.

Mónica M. Arias
Excellence Consultant: Helping you discover how to reach your next level through excellence.
copyright: Mónica M. Arias

Who Bought What at the Elizabeth Taylor Auction and Why

 I’ve never thought of my jewelry as trophies. I’m here to take care of them and to love them – Elizabeth Taylor

After viewing one of the most complete and magnificent private collections of jewelry, art, memorabilia, accessories and other articles ever amassed by a single person during The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor exhibition at Christie’s New York, I wrote the following:

This collection represents a life well spent. Christie’s presentation of the exhibit makes it seem as if her life’s work was complete.

It’s almost a shame that these items will soon be separated.

However, after attending the two days of the fine jewelry sales (part of the four-day Elizabeth Taylor auction at Christie’s New York along with an “online only” component), my mind has changed.

I met friends of Taylor and those who never knew her. I met people who purchased the product because of their ties to Taylor, because of their fascination with a particular piece, or to use what they purchased in their business. It was auction that attracted some of the world’s wealthiest people, celebrities, top professionals in the jewelry and gems industries, and those of modest means.

Bidders prepare for the opening night auction to begin. Photo credit: Anthony DeMarco

The jewelry and other items amassed will be used in all sorts of ways. The important part is that it appears that the jewelry will be used and that’s the way Taylor, it seems, would have wanted it. After all, this is a woman who wore a 33-carat diamond ring almost every day and who was filmed wearing a priceless ruby jewelry collection by the pool. Taylor didn’t put her baubles away for special occasion, she wore them. And her collection showed an appreciation of priceless pieces along with far less expensive items because she either admired the work or they had personal meaning.

Photo credit: Christie's
Jewelry designer to the stars Lorraine Schwartz bought back the fringe diamond bracelet that Taylor bought from her for her 70th birthday.

“I was wearing it for her party at the Bel-Air Hotel, and she kept calling me over to look at it and to try it on,” Schwartz wrote on her facebook page. “Finally, the next morning she called me and said “‘I know who’s buying that bracelet for my birthday … I’m buying it for my birthday!’”

Photo credit: Christie's
Schwartz also bought a pair of earrings that Taylor’s third husband, Michael Todd, created just for her.

“I could feel Elizabeth nudging me telling me to buy them,” Schwartz said on the auction floor during the second day. “That’s what she used to do. She used to say, ‘go ahead buy it.’ She’d be kicking me under the table (saying), ‘Go ahead. You know you want it.’”

Photo credit: Christie's
Schwartz was very busy for the two days. In addition to what she purchased she lost a bid for one of her pieces and purchased a lot of three of her own bangles for Kim Kardashian, who paid $64,900, well above the high $8,000 estimate. “If you have a piece of jade, the energy goes into the piece and you absorb the energy,” Kardashian said by phone. “So I can feel Elizabeth in the piece.”

Photo credit: Christie's
Companies of course got into the act for the larger pieces. The 33.19-carat Elizabeth Taylor Diamond (also known as the Taylor-Burton diamond and formerly called as the Krupp diamond), a gift from Richard Burton, was reportedly bought by South Korean businessman Daniel Pang for $8.8 million. He was bidding on behalf of E-land World, a South Korean concern. The company plans to exhibit the diamond ring at “E World,” an amusement park in Daegu, according to reports.

Photo credit: Christie's
Bulgari, the Italian luxury jewelry house, bought back $20 million worth of jewels, including a 52.72-carat sapphire-and-diamond sautoir for $5.9 million and an emerald-and-diamond necklace for $6.1 million, according to the New York Post.

Photo credit: Anthony DeMarco
Then there’s the paper jewelry. The gag gift from Malcolm Forbes to Taylor has garnered a great deal of media attention—much of it from me. The suite of paper jewelry had a high estimate of $300. It sold on the second day for $6,875. It was purchased by Jenny and John Caro, owners of Jewelry By Design, an independent jewelry store in Woodbridge, Va.

The couple came to the auction with a $50,000 line of credit and in a few minutes it was obvious they were being priced out of buying any real jewelry. So when the paper jewelry came up on the second day, they went all out to win the lot. The couple is using the paper jewelry along with two jewelry pieces they purchased on the online only auction to create an Elizabeth Taylor display for their customers. The jewelry was chosen because they had pictures of Taylor wearing the pieces in books that will be used in the display.

“We’re a good example of a business doing things, being different and taking risks to help our business grow,” Jenny said in a phone interview.

“You couldn’t go by the intrinsic value of jewels, because the truth is everything was selling so high that what you bought you couldn’t turn around,” she added. “The South Korean who bought the Burton diamond bought it for a business reason. What is $8.8 million when it comes to advertising worldwide? What’s $6,800 when it comes to local advertising?”

Using the Forbes gift as inspiration, Christie’s created its own full-color paper jewelry book with recreations of 15 of Taylor’s most iconic jewels. It ran as a limited edition of 5,000 and was available for purchase in person at Christie’s headquarters during the New York exhibition, which was held December 3 -12. It was sold for $25 each, $5 of which went to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.

Los Angeles jewelry designer Sandra Müller had her own unique story. She first met Taylor as a child while living in Europe and credited the actress with inspiring her to build a life in the jewelry field. Taylor was a friend of her parents. As an adult working and living in Los Angeles, she said she would visit Taylor’s house often as a friend and to show her work. In 2001, Taylor bought three of her pieces.

Müller was already planning to go to the auction to bid for a client. While looking through the auction catalog, she discovered that those pieces were being sold as part of the fashion and accessories auction, held on the third day. Her pieces didn’t include her as the creator. She contacted Christie’s and the auction rectified the error.

The high estimate for the jewels was $300. Müller e-mailed me to let me know that her pieces sold for $15,000. With commission the total was actually $18,750.

“The 18k gold value alone would be about 10,000.00 if melted,” she added. “I think it was one of the few good deals in auction.”

I asked her how it felt to sit in the auction room and watch her pieces being sold at the historic event. Her reply was brief.


Matie Anne Patterson Gatz, 64, JCK Art Director

For nine years I worked at JCK Publishing Group and most of those years were good. One of the reasons was because of Matie Anne Patterson, who was one of our two art directors, a position she held from 1998 till 2004. Matie died December 27, on her wedding anniversary, after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 64.

The Telford, Pa., resident worked on several JCK publications, including Trendz, Luxury International, and Facets. Hedda T. Schupak, former JCK editor-in-chief, said that Matie’s “clean design sense and tireless efforts created a sharper, more elegant” look for the publications.

I remember Matie as a quiet and strong person who was able to create sleek, stylized pages for her publications. During the past few days, those who worked with her have been talking about her smile, which was a constant part of her personality. Matie fought breast cancer in the same way she took on her daily tasks in the office—quietly, with strength, dignity and with a smile.

Matie was born in Upland, Pa., on March 5, 1947, to William and Wilhelmina "Billie" Patterson, the founders of Patterson Funeral Home in Media, Pa, now Cavanagh-Patterson. She attended the Media Public Schools and graduated in 1965. Upon graduating from high school, she enrolled in the Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, majoring in illustration. During her career, she worked as an art director, designer, and illustrator at North American Publishing Co., InterMed Communications on nursing journals, before working for JCK.

She enjoyed traveling with her husband, as well as dancing, snorkeling, swimming, attending minor league baseball games, gardening, and decorating her home. Family and friends will remember Matie for her endearing sense of humor, compassion, calmness, and extraordinary artistic ability.

Survivors include her husband David Gatz; his children and grandchildren; brother William "Pat" Patterson of Livermore, Calif; cousin John Suplee of West Chester, Pa; and many friends. Visitation/Service will be held on Friday, December 30, at Cavanagh Patterson Funeral Home in Media, Pa. Calling hours are 10 to 11 a.m. with a service to follow at 11 a.m.

Last Surge Boosts Holiday Sales Past Last Year's Total

Late holiday shoppers—in the week leading up to Christmas and on the day after—provided the boost to lift 2011 holiday sales past the same period last year, according to data released Wednesday.

Consumers spent approximately $44 billion in GAFO retail sales for the week ending Dec. 24, a 37.8 percent increase over the previous week and a 14.8 percent gain over the same week last year, according to ShopperTrak, which provides traffic counting services at retail stores and malls. Foot traffic was also high, increasing 32.4 percent from the prior week.

GAFO is derived from the U.S. Commerce Department's and stands for general merchandise, apparel, furniture, sporting goods, electronics, hobby, books and other related store sales.

Last week’s sales increase ensured this December will outpace December 2010. Month-to-date figures are up 4.7 percent over December 2010, the Chicago-based firm said.

“With good weather in most of the country and the season coming to a close, procrastinators and bargain hunters hit the stores and gave retailers the sales lift they needed to outpace last year,” said ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin

According to ShopperTrak, a late holiday shopping surge is not uncommon. Last year, the 10 days before Christmas accounted for 24.4 percent of total GAFO retail sales in the entire holiday shopping season of November and December.

“Increased foot-traffic does not always translate into sales,” added Martin. “Retailers who monitored their foot-traffic hourly and adjusted inventory and staffing to convert shoppers into buyers were the most successful last week.”

As expected, shoppers came out in full force on the day after Christmas because it fell on a Monday for the first time in six years. The day ranked fourth in foot-traffic and sales for the entire holiday season, behind Black Friday November 26, Friday December 23 and Super Saturday December 17. Foot traffic increased 25.9 percent over the same day last year and consumers spent $7.1 billion on Dec. 26 in GAFO retail sales, an increase of 25.5 percent percent over the same day in the prior year.

“Dec. 26 was likely the last door-buster day of the season as shoppers returned unwanted gift items and shopped for marked-down merchandise,” said Martin. “ShopperTrak expects a drop in sales this week as the season ends. Retailers must continue to monitor same-store traffic to capitalize on the final week of the holiday season.”

ShopperTrak analyzed foot-traffic from more than 25,000 locations in the United States to create this National Retail Sales Estimate of GAFO—a nationwide benchmark of GAFO retail sales.

Weekly Holiday Internet Retail Sales Up 16%

The most recent week for holiday Internet sales, ended Dec. 25, saw a 16 percent increase in spending, year-over-year, to $2.8 billion, according to comScore, a company that measures digital data and provides digital business analytics.

The figure is an expected steep drop from the record-breaking $6.28 billion for the prior week, ended December 18, the last week where delivery of online orders could be guaranteed.

Retail e-commerce spending for the first 56 days of the November – December 2011 holiday season reached a record $35.3 billion, marking a 15-percent increase versus the corresponding days last year. This increase has been consistent throughout the holiday season.

“Holiday e-commerce spending has remained strong throughout the season,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. “We can now say with certainty that the $1.25 billion spent on Cyber Monday will rank it as the heaviest online spending day of the season for the second consecutive year, but we should also note that it was accompanied by nine other billion dollar spending days this year.”

The Reston, Va.-based company noted that over the past several years there has been a dramatic increase in Christmas Day purchases of digital content and subscriptions, a retail category that includes digital downloads of music, TV, movies, e-books and apps. As many consumers get new smartphones, tablets, e-readers and digital content gift certificates for Christmas, they spend Christmas Day loading up their devices with new content.

On an average day during the 2011 holiday season to date, digital content and subscriptions accounted for 2.8 percent of retail e-commerce sales, but on Christmas Day the category accounted for more than 20 percent of sales. Consistent with past years, comScore expects sales for this category of products to remain elevated throughout the entire week following Christmas Day.

Sneak Peek!

Erin Siegel Jewelry: Sneak Peek!: I thought some might like to see this. Interweave Press recently released this preview of our upcoming book. Here's a sneak peek look! Enj...

Materials Monday: Hemp Cording

Limabeads.com is now carrying an extensive collection of Hemp cording on spools. The colors are amazing! I really love it! Here are a few pieces I created this weekend using some natural hemp and some Fuschia hemp.

The necklace above is a handcrafted beaded pendant that I want to have the limelight. So I hung it on a long length of natural hemp cording.

The necklace below was created by using macrame knotting of hemp round 2 strands of thick leather cording.

Our Book

If you've been following us for a little while now, you know that Lorelei and I are writing a jewelry-making book all about creating beaded jewelry with leather, ribbon and cords. Well, a lot has happened with our little book project! And, now we can finally let you know what's going on. The direction of our book has changed just slightly since the inception over a year ago and one of the biggest changes to happen is our book's title. The working title was "A Jewelry Accord". Now, we can officially announce the book and even share the cover! We present to you:

Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry: 50 Designs Using Leather, Ribbons, and Cords

That's Lorelei's necklace and my earrings on the cover! We are so excited to share this with you! The book is available on Amazon for pre-order! I can't even believe I'm saying that, right now.

I really want to thank everyone for the support and enthusiasm you have shown us for this endeavor over the past year while we've been working on this book! THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Sari Ribbon Blog hop!

I unfortunately didn't have time to do this challenge, but Brenda of B'Sue Boutique is the host of this exciting Sari Ribbon blog hop and I just knew when I saw today was the reveal date,  that I had to share!!
Have fun hopping through the blogs and I hope you all are totally inspired to get our your Sari silk this weekend! I have some that I have been itching to use!

here is the blog hop list!

Sari Ribbon Party Blog Hop

Vickie Wills http://www.jewelrybyvee.blogspot.com/

Susan Kennedy http://www.suebeads.blogspot.com ME!

Michelle Mach http://www.michellemach.com/blog/

Michelle Lee Hardy http://fireflyvisions.blogspot.com/

Ruth Crawford http://www.home-with-ruth.blogspot.com

Hilary Frye, FryeStyle http://fryestyle.blogspot.com/

Diana P. http://www.suburbangirlstudio.com

HOST: Brenda Sue Lansdowne, B'sue Boutiques http://www.bsueboutiques.typepad.com/

Elizabeth Owens-Dwy http://www.clarityofpurplesage.blogspot.com

Connie Rios-Relyea http://www.JewelsDesignsCreativeCorner.wordpress.com/

Jennifer Justman http://soulsfiredesigns.blogspot.com/

Deb Davis http://www.naturaltreasuresbydeb.blogspot.com

Beanzie http://www.thevintageheartcharmbracelets.com/the-vintage-heart-charm-b/

Cathie Carroll http://www.cathiecarroll.com/

Rosemary Cowit http://www.gemrosedesigns.blogspot.com/

Georgene Lockwood http://sylvanavintagedesigns.wordpress.com/

Cathy Buckley http://cathybuckleycatsmeow.blogspot.com

Harry Wood http://www.oscarcrow.blogspot.com

Sonya Stille http://dreaminofbeads.blogspot.com

Mary Deis http://mdeis.blogspot.com/

Heather Goldsmith http://asibeadit.blogspot.com/

Susan Rouleau http://mountainshadowstudio.blogspot.com

Terry Matusyk http://pinkchapeau.wordpress.com

Pam Chesbro http://afortunatesoul.blogspot.com/

Mary Shannon Hicks http://uptwnsh-fallingintothesky.blogspot.com/

Janice Everett http://JLynnJewels.blogspot.com

Davinia http://www.daviniadesign.com

Kristina Johansson, Maneki http://wildrosesandblackberries.blogspot.com

Kris Binsfeld http://www.cherishdesigns.wordpress.com

Mandy http://www.beadsforbrains.blogspot.com

Charlene http://thebeaddreamer.com/blog/

Catherine Jeltes http://www.galleryzooart.com

Jackie http://kydojewellery.blogspot.com/

Sharon Palac http://www.sharonsjewelrygarden.blogspot.com

Deb Beechy http://beetique56.blogspot.com/

Jean Yates http://prettykittydogmoonjewelry.blogspot.com/

Patrice Pfeiffer http://treeseatreasures.blogspot.com/

Dorcas Midkiff http://wondrousstrangedesigns.blogspot.com/

Lynn Perry Bennett http://designsbylynnea.blogspot.com

Linzi Alford http://www.magpieintheskyspoilheaptales.blogspot.com

Deb http://greenshoot.blogspot.com/

Cynthia Wainscott http://www.exoticperujewelry.blogspot.com

Marie-Noel Voyer-Cramp http://skyejewels.blogspot.com

Materials Monday: Nifty Thrifty Dry Goods

Looking for pretty trim? Check out Nifty Thrifty Dry Goods, they have sweet assortments in beautiful color palettes- pre-packaged for $30! Here are some of my favorites they offer, I haven't even gotten passed these to see what else the website has in store for me.......... let me go look.................................

Ooooh they have such sweet things! 

Sweet button assortments....
 Large whimsical buttons- love the squirrel!

And lots of different ribbon- Check out the bees and the red tomatoes! How cute!

Tutorial Thursday!

HA Fooled ya!

Thought I would throw a Tute link up today. I found a cute one this morning at The Silly Pearl and I just had to share.  Jennifer from Always in Wonder is guest blogging today at Steph's blog. She has done the cutest ribbon rose Glam necklace, and shows step by step how to create it. Enjoy!


Tuesday Tutorial: Macrame Knots

I found this great site this morning that shows stepped out photos on doing some basic Macrame knotting. Head on over to Stone Brash Creative and learn this classic technique, it's a great way to use different materials such as linen, cotton and leather cordings.

Materials Monday: Royalwood Ltd. Waxed Linen cording

Over the weekend my new colors arrived from Royalwood Ltd.  This was my first time ordering from them. I am quite happy with my purchase. I like buying waxed linen cording in spools, because it lasts so much longer than just buying short lengths of it. I think it's worth the extra cash to stock up on something like this. I picked Victorian Rose, Maroon, Purple, Denim and Dark Rust.

They also sent me this cool color chart that shows each of the colors they carry.  And on the bottom of the chart, they show the 4 different sizes. What I ordered is the 4-ply, that's pretty common, but they also have 2 ply (which would be SO PERFECT for small holed beads like pearls or gem stones) 7 ply, and also 12 ply which would be cool for big chunky pieces with knotted wood beads.

I definitely want to try the 2-ply next time I order. Problem is, picking a color! Each of the cords comes in like every possible color.

Tutorial Tuesday: Silk-Covered Bangle

Click on over to Artsy/Craftsy for this cute tute on making your own silk-covered bangle! It's an easy project, that can be altered and modified into a unique design- and utilizes that old bangle you've had since the 80s or earlier.

Tutorial Tuesday

While I was at BeadFest, I fell in love with one of these wrap bracelets that Nancy had made for herself, using the Craftgawker app on her new iPhone. I bought everything I need for this project- some of that pretty Rhinestone chain, I have leather cording and waxed linen cording, and lots of buttons.  Check out the site where it shows step by step photos on how to make one, at Honestly...WTF.

Designer Spotlight: Shannon Chomanczuk

Each week, we are talking to jewelry designers and/or bead artists who enjoy incorporating leather, ribbon and cords into their work. We will get to know each designer, show off their jewelry creations and ask them their thoughts about using fibers in jewelry.

Today we are talking with Shannon Chomanczuk.

So, Shannon, tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Shannon Chomanczuk, I have a 2 year old daughter and celebrated my 10th wedding anniversary this July. I have been doing nails for 10 years and I own my own salon. I have a 3 day work week since giving birth to my daughter.

Things you may not know about me:
I am the oldest of 3 girls and just turned 35 (last) Thursday.
I worked in banking for over 5 years.
I am a Notary Public.
I graduated Magna Cum-Laude from Marist College with a Major in Communications and a Minor in Photography.
I have 4 dogs, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, a Miniature Pincer, an English Pointer, and a Chihuahua.
I am addicted to Good N Plenty's.
My favorite colors are pink and purple yet I rarely make pink and purple jewelry.

I started making jewelry after attending a handmade jewelry party several years ago. I remember thinking "I can do this - better." I jumped in to jewelry making with both feet. Having the salon made it easy to display my pieces for sale and I am still in shock when my clients wear pieces I made years and years ago.

I had a very difficult pregnancy. It was draining, exhausting, and extremely stressful. I was so tired and so sick all the time that I could not make any jewelry or even read a book. I had my husband pack up all my beading supplies and tools and put them in the garage. My beautiful daughter was born healthy, kicking and screaming 2 weeks early in June 2009. I was stuck in the house most of that summer nursing my colic daughter, it was during that time I found jewelry and beading blogs. In fact I think the first blog I was drawn to was Lorelei's. I slowly began to bring the beads back out of the garage.

The last 2 years have brought my work to places even I didn't think it could go. I am so blessed to have not only had pieces accepted by Bead Trends magazine but to have a piece on the cover of the September 2011 issue! There are still so many avenues I wish to explore- lampworking, enameling, metal working. I am looking forward to an open house I will be putting on in the Fall at my salon. I don't know what the future holds for me but I do know that I am ready for the blessings which lie ahead.

What's your favorite type of cording or fiber to work with in jewelry?
-I love to use leather and silk.  

Why do you like working with cords and fibers in your designs? What quality draws you to these materials?
-I like using leather and silk in my jewelry because it offers a different texture to the overall design and it gives the eye another element to take in or to rest on, especially in a rather large piece.
I love to use leather as a toggle with a button or knotted with large hole beads or along side chain.
I love the feeling of silk especially the silk I get from Marsha Neal Studios. Silk offers a feminine touch to a design that may be using rather hard, rustic or industrial beads.
Adding leather, lace, silk or cording adds a different and an often unexpected twist to your jewelry designs. They can be knotted, wire wrapped, finished with ribbon ends, or tied into a bow.
This gives you the freedom to create the perfect combination of design and durability.

Shannon, you have such a wonderful eye for design and mixing elements together. Congratulations on the September cover of Bead Trends Magazine. Thank you for talking with us!

You can find more of Shannon at her blog: For My Sweet Daughter
Her jewelry and copper etched pendants at her Etsy Shop: Shannon's Etsy Shop

Materials Monday

Ooooo La La! Check out this ribbon I found on etsy! It's silk pleated ribbon and comes in many hand-dyed colors. I just love the texture of it, there are so many things you could use this for! Just think of the possibilities!

Designer Spotlight: Gaea Cannaday

Each week, we are talking to jewelry designers and/or bead artists who enjoy incorporating leather, ribbon and cords into their work. We will get to know each designer, show off their jewelry creations and ask them their thoughts about using fibers in jewelry.

Today we are talking with Gaea Cannaday.
Gaea is a ceramic bead artist as well as a talented jewelry designer.

So, Gaea, tell us a little bit about yourself?
How did mom know that giving me the name Gaea, the Greek goddess mother earth, I would love to work with the earth? Dirty hands are busy hands and I like mine dirty! Studying art and design in collage has given me a nice base to grow from. Working with ceramics for the first time opened my mind to utilitarian beauty. My parents and grand parents were creative people, painting, sculpting, writing poetry which instilled in me a deep love of all things art. I hope to never stop learning and growing in my work! 

What's your favorite type of cording or fiber to work with in jewelry?

Who can pick a favorite type of cording to work with?! There are so many dreamy choices! I am having a love affair with recycled silk sari ribbon at the moment! The colors are juicy and the feel is divine! They give everything a romantic and earthy feel. I just want to roll around in it... Ok! too much information! Leather is always on my radar! It is so easy to work with and practically requires no tools! Just scissors and simple knots make any project a cinch! 

Why do you like working with cords and fibers in your designs? What quality draws you to these materials?

There is a richness with leather and silk that is warm and inviting. Leather can be romantic and tough at the same time. Silk just takes me to a whole new world! I try to imagine what exotic lands it began its journey in. There is just something fantastic about natural materials. I have a whole fantasy that goes on in my head when I look at silk and leather. It totally fuels my creative fires!

Gaea, I love the look of your beads together with the leather and silk. They are a perfect match. Thank you for talking with us!

You can find more of Gaea at her blog: Gaea Handmade
Her jewelry and beads on her Website: Gaea's Website
More jewelry and beads at her Etsy Shop: Gaea's Etsy Shop 

Designer Spotlight: Stefanie Teufel

Each week, we are talking to jewelry designers and/or bead artists who enjoy incorporating leather, ribbon and cords into their work. We will get to know each designer, show off their jewelry creations and ask them their thoughts about using fibers in jewelry.

Today we are talking with Stefanie Teufel.
So, Stefanie, tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Stefanie, I’m 42 years old and live in Cologne, Germany. And to add a random fact about me – actually my last name is Teufel, which means devil in English, so you can imagine I had a fun time in school.

In my day job I’m responsible for the marketing at a local newspaper. But I love to create and express myself. So for me it’s really relaxing to work with all those beautiful beads and fiber after returning home from work. And all the vibrant colors I tend to work with lighten up my mood.

My first love was writing. Actually I wrote some books about the computer system “Linux” – kind of funny for a jewelry artist, isn’t it?, but then I felt the need to do something with my hands, create pieces and see the hopefully beautiful results right in front of me. Making jewelry was a natural consequence because I collected costume jewelry for a long time. 

All in all I've been born with a magpie gen - so when I come across beads or fabric I feel the urgent need to collect them. Unfortunately I have to work till six o’clock, sometimes later and I have a fiancé who wants to spent time with me (and vice versa :-)) so there isn’t too much time left for making jewelry. I try to get things done on the weekend. I love to sit down with my stash and come up with a new bracelet or necklace. A sunny Saturday or Sunday and a bunch of beads and fiber - what could be better?

What's your favorite type of cording or fiber to work with in jewelry?

I'm absolutely in love with sari-ribbon. The vibrant colors and the different textures are so inspiring. And I like the idea that this ribbon helps women to make their living. Isn't that great - to have beautiful stuff to work with and to help using it:-)

Why do you like working with cords and fibers in your designs? What quality draws you to these materials?

In my opinion you can add character to a design. Sometimes a plain and simple design gets sophisticated just by adding a scrap of fiber. I love that. And I also love the colors you can bring into your design with sari silk and the like. So most of the time I can't help myself. Somewhere in the designing process, a little bit of fiber steals its way into it:-)

Stefanie, I love your use of color and that Sari silk. YUM! Thank you for talking with us!

You can find more of Stefanie at her blog: Stefanie's Sammelsurium
more of her jewelry at her Etsy Shop: Stefanie's Etsy Shop
her Dwanda Shop: Stefanie's Dwanda Shop

Erin Siegel Jewelry: Arm Party

Erin Siegel Jewelry: Arm Party: "Today, I'm participating in the Bloggers Do it Better : Arm Party! Not sure what an 'Arm Party' is? Check out the Arm Party challenge post..."

Tutorial Tuesday

I found a cool tutorial the other day on the Dirty Laundry blog. The post was about some DIY bracelets and I really loved this one from the Pink and Blue Blog, original diy by Honestlywtf.com.  It shows nice stepped out photos. I love the use of embroidery thread! You could come up with any color combination you like. One for each day of the week!


Check it out by clicking THIS LINK!

Melinda's Giveaway

Athena Patina Earrings by Melinda Orr

In honor of her Designer Spotlight feature this week, Melinda is hosting a generous giveaway on her blog. There's three prizes and three chances to win! Here are the prizes: A $50 Gift Certificate, these Athena Patina Earrings pictured above and an Athena Patina Necklace.

Hurry on over to her blog post for all the details and to enter to win.
GOOD LUCK and tell her we sent you!!!

Designer Spotlight: Melinda Orr

Each week, we are talking to jewelry designers and/or bead artists who enjoy incorporating leather, ribbon and cords into their work. We will get to know each designer, show off their jewelry creations and ask them their thoughts about using fibers in jewelry. 

Today we are talking with Melinda Orr

So, Melinda, tell us a little bit about yourself?

Creating is my world~ I specialize in handcrafted jewelry designs & components made from copper, brass, beads and leather. Peace Creek studio is located on our beautiful farm in the hills of Northern Central Pennsylvania. I'm forever searching for new design ideas through nature and life. I create what I love to make. My perfect is most others imperfect~ I currently have my designs available online through Etsy and at a few local Artisan Markets. You may contact me via: 
Facebook: Melinda Orr Designs
Twitter:  Melinda Orr

What's your favorite type of cording or fiber to work with in jewelry?

My favorite all out is leather.  I purchase many different Greek (leather) cord colors and scrap leather pieces in different textures that I can cut to fit my project.

Why do you like working with cords and fibers in your designs? What quality draws you to these materials?

 I love the feel, smell and look of leather.  I believe it adds warmth to each piece of metal....it balances it and creates a setting of rustic life, very much like my own.  

Melinda, I love your jewelry creations. Thank you for talking with us!

You can find more of Melinda at her blog: Melinda Orr Metal & Clay Jewelry
more of her jewelry at her Etsy Shop: Melinda Orr Designs 

Designer Spotlight: Cynthia Deis

Each week, we are talking to jewelry designers and/or bead artists who enjoy incorporating leather, ribbon and cords into their work. We will get to know each designer, show off their jewelry creations and ask them their thoughts about using fibers in jewelry.

Today we are talking with Cynthia Deis owner of Ornamentea.
So, Cynthia, tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am the owner and lead designer at Ornamentea.com. I publish 8-10 projects monthly on that website and in magazines and books when I am lucky. I also teach some classes at my store in Raleigh, NC. My favorite materials to work with are artist beads, mixed metals and (usually!) fibers and cording. You can see my work at Ornamentea.com or you can visit my personal blog, 365necklaces.com for flashbacks from my 17-year jewelry design career. 

Click the links below to go to Cynthia's project tutorials at Ornamentea.com!

What's your favorite type of cording or fiber to work with in jewelry?

Oh! I have so much trouble picking a favorite! I love leather for the bright, graphic punch you can get with a grouping of leather cords in various hues. I love sewing and wrapping with waxed linen threads. I love ribbons, especially bias-cut silk duiponi for the fraying and aging that naturally takes place and I really love stitched tubular cording because I love to run wires inside it and create colorful, shaped fabric elements. We are importing some new hand painted rayon gemp from Germany that will be here soon and I will probably fall right in love with it as soon as it arrives.

Why do you like working with cords and fibers in your designs? What quality draws you to these materials?

Lately I have been doing a lot of experimenting with putting memory wires inside of tubular cording like kimono cords and I love the play of hard and soft that results. I am especially drawn to the idea of working with materials that are soft and flexible and I love the color and texture that cords and fibers add to designs. I also use a lot of art beads in my work and combining them with hand-dyed or craft-produced fibers seems a natural to me.

Cynthia, I love the creative, stylish jewelry you make. Thank you for talking with us!

You can find more of Cynthia at her blog: 365 Necklaces
also the blog for her store, Ornamentea: Shiny Little Things
 Visit Cynthia's online jewelry supply store: Ornamentea.com

Designer Spotlight: Jen Judd Velasquez

Each week, we are talking to jewelry designers and/or bead artists who enjoy incorporating leather, ribbon and cords into their work. We will get to know each designer, show off their jewelry creations  and ask them their thoughts about using fibers in jewelry.

Today, we are talking with Jen Judd Velasquez.

So, Jen, tell us a little bit about yourself?

 I have a unique balance in life because my weekdays are spent in uniform as an officer in the Air Force working in an environment where conformity is key but then on my own time, I'm focused on using my creative energy to make fun, unique things. I started beading in 2007 while trying to find something to do aside from dating in D.C. I was not having much luck finding a man but I found a ton of good beads. Once I gave up the hunt for a mate and started focusing on my crafty self, I ended up meeting a wonderful guy and now we're married! He's tremendously supportive so I still devote lots of energy to learning new techniques, practicing with different components and tools, and continuing my exploration of various creative outlets. Jewelry is still my main interest but I find myself working more on creating my own wire components, working with fire to change up metal and beads, and all-around figuring out how to really make my pieces represent me! I truly appreciate the art-bead-jewelry-creative blogging community that has become a part of my daily life. Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to share!

What's your favorite type of cording or fiber to work with in jewelry?

I've been so inspired by luscious suede cording lately that my designs have been growing from there almost on their own!

Why do you like working with cords and fibers in your designs? What quality draws you to these materials?

I'm first drawn to color but then texture...the soft and supple feel of the suede is fun to juxtapose against the hardness of steel wire. That's my favorite combination of materials right now. Plus I like that you can "finish" this suede in so many different ways--a glued or crimped end, a gathering of wire, or just a simple knot!

 Jen, I really enjoyed getting to know you a bit better. Thank you for talking with us!

Find Jen at her blog: Jen Judd Rocks 
Find more of Jen's creations in her Etsy shop: Jen Judd Rocks 

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