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Sarahs Ring Story Part 3, The Rings

Sarahs Ring Story Part 3, The Rings

And...DONE! What do you think?

Heirloom redesign white gold vintage diamonds Heather Perry Maine jewelry designer

Every time I work through a design and finally see it come to life as a finished piece of jewelry I am amazed how much more beautiful it looks than I ever could have imagined!

There's really nothing like holding the finished piece in your hand. It's the motion of the body during wear that activates jewelry more than any image or drawing, no matter how well conceived. This time is no exception. I love the sparkly vintage feel of these rings. What’s more Sarah and her daughters do too! And trust me when I say there is A LOT of sparkle to love in these rings!

I was thrilled to help you keep the story of your family alive in these rings, Sarah,

THANK YOU!

Do you have inherited jewels stowed away you wish you wore more often? Email me right now: hp@heatherperryjewelry.com Let’s turn your heirlooms into meaningful jewelry you’ll want to wear every single day! xo, H

Sarahs heirloom diamond ring redesign story Heather Perry Maine jewlery designer

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Sarahs Ring Story Part 2, The Making

Sarahs Ring Story Part 2, The Making

How to make a diamond ring...

Part of Sarahs purpose for redesigning her family rings was to honor the memory of the two amazing women who raised her. Her intention was to give the finished rings to the two amazing women she raised-her daughters. With this in mind we decided to maintain the square arrangement of the diamonds honoring the original shape of both rings (and her grandmothers design style) while minimizing the size for functional every day wear.

Functional everyday diamonds-YES, PLEASE! I love the way Sarah thinks!

After establishing a general direction for the design of the rings it comes down to arranging the diamonds within the available space. In all we had 37 diamonds to work with!

Here’s the final version sketched out after many discussions and design variations. It includes 12 diamonds of varying sizes surrounding a center .5ct diamond in each ring-SPARKLE!

Sarahs-ring-heirloom-redesign-sketch-HPerry

Now, how to put it all together? For these rings I decided to use Computer Aided Design. When a high degree of precision is required for a design the use of CAD saves time and money-a win for everyone!

I know you’re curious, so here's a nutshell description of how jewelry is created using CAD:

Once the design is sketched the physical drawing is converted to a digital file that can then be manipulated in the computer. When it’s just right the file is sent to a Rapid Prototype Machine which carves a three dimensional version of the digital drawing in wax. This wax prototype is the model used to make a mold in order to reproduce the wax rings, which will be cast in metal. Fun, right!?

This is what a digital CAD image looks like:

Sarahs ring heirloom diamond ring CAD drawing Heather Perry Maine jewlery designer

In our case, we cast the rings in 14k white gold. After casting the metal is burnished and stones set. Final ring size correction, stone check for secure settings, polish to a brilliant shine, et voilà, DIAMOND RINGS!

Check back tomorrow to see part 3 of Sarahs Ring Story AND the finished rings!

Sarahs ring heirloom diamond ring drawing Heather Perry Maine jewlery designer

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Sarahs Ring Story Part 1, The History

Sarahs Ring Story  Part 1, The History

Every ring tells a story.

Sarahs ring story begins with two treasures she had stowed away in her jewelry box for years. I met Sarah when she called me explaining that she wanted to honor her family history by creating something new with the diamonds from her heirloom rings. Of course, I was immediately interested!

Here’s what we had to work with:

Sarahs ring heirloom diamond ring story Heather Perry Maine jewlery designer

The Rectangle Ring, c.1910 (left in photo) Sarahs grandmother was a stylish St. Louis woman who believed in good quality, great design and had a passion for DIAMONDS. Around 1910 she had a ring made for herself, a lovely art deco style platinum cocktail ring with a .5ct diamond center and sixteen smaller diamonds scattered around in filigree. It’s grand, like her, and Sarah remembers admiring the ring often because her grandmother wore it all the time. Sarah eventually inherited this ring

The Square Ring, 1940 (right in photo) When Sarahs mother graduated from high school a special gift was in order. So naturally Grandmother (of the grand cocktail ring above) had a diamond ring similar to her own custom made in platinum! She used the .5ct diamond taken from her original engagement ring, which was available since her engagement ring had been elegantly re-designed. Twenty smaller diamonds surround the center stone.

According to family tradition, Sarah inherited the square ring from her mother when she graduated from high school. She wore it every day for years and years until the gallery work (the open spaces under the settings that let light pass into the stones) weakened causing one of the corners to fall and the loss of a diamond. She was heartbroken and resigned it to her jewelry box where it sat for years.

Not satisfied to let her beautiful family rings live out their days in a small dark box, Sarah and I set to work on a design that would elegantly connect her past to her present and timeless enough to pass on to the next generation.

Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of Sarahs Ring Story!

Sarahs ring heirloom diamond ring story Heather Perry Maine jewlery designer

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How to Get Engaged in Maine

How to Get Engaged in Maine

Jewelry is more than just a pretty object.

It holds layers upon layers of meaning.

If a friend compliments your necklace, I bet you'd respond by thanking her and sharing the story of your mother’s aunt who spent 5 years in Peru and brought back the necklace you lately inherited because she was your favorite great-aunt. And how her experiences have inspired the work you do today. Or something like that, {insert your story here}.

It’s never just a piece of jewelry. It’s a direct link to your history, your memory, and we feel that connection whenever we wear it.

In December 2016, I was privileged to create a WoodSprite Stacking Band as an engagement ring for a most wonderful couple, Kristen & Catlin. After he received the ring in the mail, Catlin texted to say that it fit perfectly in the box he made to present it to Kristen when he popped the big question. What?! Yes he did. Catlin made a box from a cedar branch and filled it with moss for the WoodSprite ring to rest upon (see photo below). How amazingly sweet!

And it gets even sweeter!

In Kristen’s words, this is the first memory their ring will hold:

“We left Orono [Maine] at 4:30am driving to Acadia and began hiking at 6am in the dark in hopes of making it to the top of Cadillac Mountain [in Acadia National Park] in time to see the sunrise. It had snowed a lot that week and was snowing all morning. We had no snowshoes, so after nearly an hour of climbing we were less than halfway, my thighs were on fire, and I was irritated that we wouldn't see the sunrise. Catlin kept assuring me that it was ok. The hike was about being on the mountain not reaching the top.

“Not being a morning person, I told him firmly that I only woke up that early to accomplish a goal which we now realized wasn't going to happen. I tried to let go of my frustration and we kept climbing. On the road at this point, he suggested we find our way back to the trail, so we set off up the hill crouching down under low-hanging limbs. I ended up on hands and knees because my legs were too tired to crouch.

“Channeling a polar bear, I climbed, grunted, and eventually laid out flat on my belly proclaiming the need for a break. He had just enough of a clearing to climb up and sit in front of me, and I sat up as he started to tell me how much he loved me. His gloves were off and one hand was in his pocket. My heart started racing! As soon as he pulled his hand from his pocket, I turned my eyes towards the sky, and said I don't know what to do! I was not ready for that moment, but how do you prepare for a surprise like that.

“I kept saying ‘what are you doing?’

“And he said, ‘I'm asking you to marry me!’

“I finally looked down at a beautiful cedar ring box he had made himself, and tucked inside laid the most beautiful thing I've ever seen, a sweet symbol of our bond, our love, and commitment to each other laying on a bed of moss, my favorite.

“I knew Heather made the ring because I had been admiring her jewelry for months, and he had noticed. Finally, the ring went on, and I nearly got frostbite with my hands out of my gloves, staring at my finger with this beautiful ring that said 'I am his fiancé!' We cried, and kissed, and enjoyed the magic of being alone on a mountain surrounded by trees and snow.

“Turns out, we would have never seen the sunrise anyway because of the heavy snowfall! We continued our climb to the top, and on the way down I stopped over and over again to take in the scene, make snow angels, and hold on to those moments as long as possible. I didn't want the day to end. It was perfect, and I love my ring so much. It is not something he could have picked up from any jewelry store. It is unique and simple, and the organic style is absolutely a perfect fit for me. 

“Thank you so much Heather, for making my perfect ring!!! I love it....*sheds some tears :)*  -Kristen”

You're welcome, Kristen, it's entirely my pleasure! xo, H

Ring box by Catlin, WoodSprite stacking band, engagement ring, Heather Perry, HPerry

Cedar ring box by Catlin 

Kristens engagement day, Cadillac Mountain, Maine, WoodSprite staking band, Heather Perry, HPerry

Snow angels by Kristen on her engagement day on Cadillac Mountain!

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A Wedding Ring Redesign, Lisa's Story

A Wedding Ring Redesign, Lisa's Story

Hello, hello, and happy 2017!

If you follow my work you know I love working one-on-one to create jewelry that symbolizes personal memories, events and victories; in short-jewelry that holds a chapter in story of your life. It’s an honor to be entrusted with these significant projects and to become a part of your story!

Sometimes the unimaginable happens - the loss the very object that represents a most important occasion. I recently had the opportunity to work with a wonderful woman named Lisa, to redesign her lost wedding ring. For Lisa this was a great loss. Not only had the ring disappeared but the heirloom family diamonds that it held.

For me, this was a really exciting project because Lisa's design aesthetic is so compatible with my own and we were able to create this truly unique, stunning and SPARKLY jewel that she feels comfortable wearing every day! Here's the story of Lisa’s ring in her own words:

“When I lost my beloved wedding ring, I was heartbroken. It was a highly textured custom-made wide band that contained two family diamonds, one from my and one from his side, and several diamonds we bought together.

"One day it was simply gone, and it took a long time for me to admit the fact that I would never see it again. Once I did admit that, one of the things that stopped me from replacing it was the knowledge that I couldn't afford something similar because I had inherited these two diamonds and now they were gone. But then a very satisfied customer/friend introduced me to Heather and I realized that she was not only willing to do custom work, but she seemed to really enjoy the process of working closely with a client on an intimate piece of jewelry.

I knew from my previous ring that the process of making a custom piece stays with you for the life of the piece. When you look at the ring, or necklace, you remember the experience of its creation.

"As I began working with Heather, I realized that she was committed to making sure that the experience was a pleasure as well as the final product. I especially knew this to be the case when she ordered several diamonds for me. I looked at them when they arrived and realized that they were not right for me. I felt terrible about making her go to that trouble, but she was completely relaxed about sending them back and starting over. She really seemed to understand what I was looking for, and I realized that I could be really explicit about my choices and she would be completely supportive. That was a new experience. After we sent the other diamonds back, she called with another option, which turned out to be the perfect stone at the right price. We took two small diamonds from another family ring and ordered some other small diamonds and we were ready.  

"She let me see the wax cast at every stage. For me, that was very reassuring. When the ring was finished and I slipped it on, it was absolutely perfect. It was even better than my previous ring because she was so careful and nuanced about the placement of the stones, the height of the bezels, the width of the band, the inside of the ring and especially important, the back of the ring which had always been uncomfortable in the old ring, so much so that I often took it off, which led to its eventual disappearance. My new ring is glamorous, delicate, unusual, hard-wearing, and I could not be happier with it or its maker.” 

Thanks for reading! If this has inspired you to begin your own custom or heirloom redesign piece, send me an email at hp@heatherperryjewelry.com, I’d love to hear what you have in mind! xo, Heather

stone placement map and wax model for Lisa's wedding ring

Above: mapping out the stone placement on the wax model for Lisa's ring.

Below: the hand-carved ring wax model complete and ready to cast!

wax model for Lisa's wedding ring complete

Gold and diamond wedding ring, engagement ring, Heather Perry

 

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Voting and the Holloway Brooch

Voting and the Holloway Brooch

What’s on your mind today-the election maybe?

There was a time, as women, the election remained just there, in our minds. We had no legal right to act on our thoughts, no right to vote. Thankfully, TODAY we do. And it seems a crucial act, as a woman, in the current political climate.

While those of us who will vote today do not have personal memories of a time we had to fight to possess that right, jewelry can tell us about some of the women who did.

Pictured above is Emmeline Pankhurst (1858-1928), the British political activist and suffragette. Her women’s advocacy organization, the Women’s Social and Political Union, operated on a premise of “deeds not words” some of which included hunger strikes, assaults and destruction of property. Their acts of disruption and outrage caught attention of the authorities, and many members of the WSPU landed themselves behind the bars of Holloway Prison. This did not stop their deeds. But then, it is difficult to contain the acts of a group of people who congregate to acknowledge their shared oppression.

This is where the jewelry comes in. Emmelines daughter, Sylvia, wanted to create a symbol of their unity, strength and dedication to the cause of women’s rights and the right to vote. This came in the form of a brooch meant to be worn as a badge of honor for those women of the WSPU who served time in Holloway Prison. You can see Emmeline wearing her Holloway Brooch at the neck of her blouse. She earned it.

The Holloway Brooch

As with most jewelry in the Victorian era, it was rife with symbolism. The body of the brooch represents the House of Commons portcullis and chains, and the broad arrow, or the “convict symbol” is a direct reference to time served. The colors-Green, White, Violet-were associated with some groups of suffragettes and is meant to be interpreted by the first letter of the colors to read “Get Women Votes”.

These colors show up in a lot of jewelry from the time of the suffragettes in either gems or enamel. But it is difficult to determine, without provenance, weather the colors were intended as an homage to the suffragettes or just meant as pretty jewelry.

So, on this day that we can act on our minds and conscience (and that we still have some fighting to do for true gender equality), maybe you will be inspired to find a beautiful jewel of Green, White, Violet to wear to the polls in honor of how far we’ve come and the work yet to do. And, of course, because jewelry brings a happy sparkle to your day which can’t be a bad thing. Happy voting!

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Maine Tourmaline, A Ring Story

Maine Tourmaline, A Ring Story

The Great State of Maine

If you’ve ever been here you may have noticed our abundance of natural beauty on land and at sea. You may have taken a boat trip over choppy waves to a remote rocky island, tasted the goodness of a clam bake on the beach or spotted a moose or two while hiking the majestic Katahdin. But something lies beneath all that nature and majesty, something far more spectacular…

Mt. Mica, where the first tourmaline was discovered in 1820

Mt. Mica, where the first Maine tourmaline was found in 1820

Among the hills of the western Maine town of Paris, a couple of amateur mineralogists found a brilliant green crystal at the foot of a fallen tree near Mt. Mica. The year was 1820, a very historic year for Maine; not only was Maine granted Statehood but the discovery of the green crystal tied our state to the finest quality gem tourmaline for evermore. Yes, 1820 was a very good year.

 

 

Since that first discovery, Maine tourmaline mines have produced over 3.5 million carats of gem quality tourmaline. Yes, I said THREE POINT FIVE MILLION-that’s a lot of sparkle! Now, like all natural resources, there is only so much to go around. The mines that produced the largest hauls in their heyday have either been picked clean or are way less productive, thus creating the current scarcity and premium monetary value of tourmaline found in Maine. If you are lucky enough to own a piece of Maine tourmaline, cherish it!

The Maine Tourmaline

Fast forward to 2016, in a small studio in Brunswick, Maine, an independent jeweler going by the name of Heather Perry {maybe you’ve heard of her} stumbles upon a brilliant green crystal. Well, actually, said crystal walks into her studio accompanied by a lovely woman named Karin.

Original setting of Karin's tourmaline

Karin had been gifted this beautiful Maine souvenir by her parents. She loves the stone but rarely wore it in the silver pendant setting as it was purchased. I could immediately understand her situation. The setting was not really doing much to enhance the inherent beauty of her amazing stone. In fact, it was not until we pulled it out of the nondescript silver setting that we noticed the dichroic {a gemstone with two colors visible at the same time} nature of her tourmaline, which is a highly desirable and pleasing quality in the jewelry world!

Sadly, this scenario is all too common with Maine tourmaline. Banking on the many tourists who want to own a piece of our state gem at a bargain price, many of these colorful beauties are plopped into uninspired, pre-made settings that do nothing to compliment their inherent color and radiance. Or worse yet, that setting is surrounded by a silver or gold silhouette of the state of Maine. Oy.

If you’ve visited our great state, you’ve probably heard that Mainers are known for their thrifty ingenuity, and it's true. Myself included. So it’s hard to point an aesthetically discerning finger at a fellow statesman for capitalizing on a good thing. And Maine tourmaline is definitely a good thing. But this Maine girl's gonna take the opportunity tweak those limited design sensibilities and place focus on the brilliant qualities of the tourmaline itself, at least in this one case.

The Ring

Truth be told, it’s not that difficult to focus beauty and brilliance on a thing that already possesses beauty and brilliance. So, my task on this project was fairly straightforward.

Beginning the the wax model for Karin's ring. Check out that green glow!!!

Karin wanted to use the stone to create a ring. She has a classy and understated style and likes smaller jewelry pieces. She also likes history and objects that reflect it. Based on these facts we decided to reset the stone at an east-west orientation in a slender, understated 18k yellow gold ring that looks a bit ‘ancient,’ like it might have been dug out of the earth.

Fitting the setting to the stone-everything must align perfectly!

I used wax to create a model of the ring in order to cast it in gold. This is known as the ‘lost wax’ casting method and is one of the oldest jewelry production techniques. It is also how I achieve control over the textures that characterize my jewelry. You can see in the photos the beginning stages of the wax carving as I am patiently creating the setting in the precise size and shape of the tourmaline.

How about that bright yellow 18k gold against the green luminescence of the tourmaline!? WOW, right? I kept the setting as minimal as possible, just a hint of gold at the top and a window on each side of the base to let the light pass through the stone from the bottom-so important to illuminate its vibrant greenness.

See that dark area? That's a dichroic tourmaline! This stone is amazing!

This stone is simply stunning; its green glow seems to radiate from within. And do you see the dark part toward the one side? That’s not a shadow; it’s the dichroic nature of the stone transitioning from dark forest green to a bright leaf green. So pretty and fresh like mossy earth on a Maine forest trail after a spring rain. Delicious.

If you have a Maine tourmaline or another brilliant gem you'd like to reset, let me know, I'd love to create a ring story with you! Email me at hp@heatherperryjewelry.com call me at 207-214-6382, follow me on Instagram @olivenightshade, 'like' my FB page Heather Perry Jewelry

Doesn't it look delicious like candy?!

Ok, just one more. Thanks for reading my blog. Bye for now, xo, H

 

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Some of my favorite tools. Or, how to make jewelry if stranded on a deserted island.

Some of my favorite tools. Or, how to make jewelry if stranded on a deserted island.


Happy National Jewelry Day!

Apparently, there IS a special day for everything…did you know that March 13 is National Jewelry Day? I, for one, just became aware of this legendary Day, TODAY, March 14, 2016; an entire day late! Embarrassing but true. Sigh. How did I never know of this before? You can bet it will be burned in my memory from now to eternity.

In any case, I thought I’d honor the spirit of such an important {if overlooked} day in the life of a jeweler by sharing with you a bit about how jewelry happens in my studio. Because someone’s got to make it, right? A recent Instagram post from a fellow maker got me thinking and was the inspiration for this blog: ‘what is the tool you use most and couldn’t live without?’

Because I rely on my tools every day to take a jewel from design to physical reality, and the journey of that process varies from project to project, I’ve collected a lot of useful tools over the years, many of which I use quite often. So, this question required some thought. What tool could I not live without, hmmm…

It comes down to five. I love these selections for many reasons but feel the most significant is this; if I were stranded on deserted island and could only bring the jewelers tools I could carry in one hand it would be these five. In this totally realistic scenario {because what else would I want to spend my time doing stranded on an island but make jewelry} the tools I have chosen require no electricity and are representative of tools jewelers have been using from the dawn of the age of jewelry technology. Which makes jewelry production on a deserted island completely realistic and achievable. Yup. As long as that island is in a warm climate so my hands don’t freeze-being stranded on a Maine island is out for me, sorry to say.

The tools I can't live without.

Here’s the breakdown from the tool photo, left to right:

Brass Caliper. I use this to measure everything its little jaws can fit around. It has readings in inches and millimeters, which comes in handy because in the jewelry world most measurements are metric. Its predominant purpose for me is to find the size of the outer rim of a gemstone {its girdle} and the distance between the stone’s table and culet. See Illustration below. This enables me to create a setting in wax of the correct size to accommodate the stone I’m working with, and to measure the burs I will use to drill the hole to the exact size to set the stone once the wax model is cast in metal. I’ve had this caliper since about 1999. It’s out of alignment slightly but we’ve developed enough of a relationship that I know just where to put pressure to get an accurate reading. {My trusty brass friend can also be seen in the work-in-progress photo taken on my jewelry bench, at the top of this page. Isn’t he handsome?}

 
Gem Terminology 101

 

Large Wax File. If you’ve ever taken a painting course you may remember your instructor advising you to start with the biggest brush possible and move down in size as you develop detail. This is how I approach wax carving. And I do a lot of wax carving. Large blocks of jeweler’s wax are first cut into approximate shape with a wax saw, then I get to work removing sections of wax with this file until it’s time to develop precisely carved detail. It’s the only one of its size I’ve ever owned. I have tons of smaller wax files but at this point the large one and I have bonded and it would feel like cheating to purchase a spare one. This tool is also one way I achieve the rough and organic texture on the surface of my jewelry such as in the ring stack in the photo below:

 
Textured sterling ring stack with rubies & chocolate diamonds.

 

X-ACTO. Like duct tape, it has 1001 uses in my jewelry studio. Since my work is so dependent on carving wax models to mold and cast in metal, this is how I use my blade. After the saw and large wax file has removed the initial wax from my carving, the X-ACTO is next in line. It can slice away chunks of wax or shave off a micron’s width depending on my hand control. Lately I’ve been enjoying the flat facet-like surfaces I can achieve by rough carving with my blade. It’s how I made these pinky rings in oxidized sterling and white sapphire:

Dark Starla Pinky Rings, sterling, white sapphire.

 

Awl. Apart from being useful for positioning gems in their settings and scribing metal or wax with its sharp end, this tool belonged to my late grandfather on my father’s side. It has the most elegant & decorative steel finial, which makes me swoon. They just don’t make tools like this anymore.

Starette Divider. Starette is the brand name of this tool, desired by jewelers everywhere. I use it to take measurements from one thing {say a drawing or an existing ring or stone} and apply it to another thing, mainly a wax carving. Measurements are very important in jewelry to assure parts fit together exactly; every little fraction of a millimeter is crucial. I use my brass caliper to measure the distance I need to open the arms of my Starette. It will keep the distance I set while I mark my wax or metal with its sharp little ends. It hasn’t failed me yet! {You can see my Starette and the line it made on the beginning of the wax ring model in the photo at the top.}

Now, what would YOU take to keep you busy on your deserted island? Email your thoughts to me if you feel compelled to do so, I’m curious!

Thanks for reading to the end. I hope you found this post informative and interesting! More on the subject of jewelry soon. Until then, and in honor of National Jewelry Day, go to your jewelry box and find a jewel you haven’t worn for a while; It needs your warmth. xo, H

p.s. Shall we keep in touch?

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The Ring of My Dreams; or February's Purple Beauty

The Ring of My Dreams; or February's Purple Beauty

Hello February filled with snow, ice, cold and the color purple!

Ever since I was a little girl I have been wild about the sparkly magic of jewelry and gems {but maybe you already knew this about me}. One of my first vivid memories as a very young girl involves a purple gemstone. The memory is less about an event or story than it is about a feeling of adoration, beauty and awe. I must have been between 3-4 years old and I had a purple ring. It was really big, sparkly and the deepest translucent purple imaginable. The stone was held in place by a silvery metal. I adored this ring and needed to have it on my finger always. Its presence was a source of exquisite loveliness that would transmit a violet twinkle and flash to every corner of my bedroom ceiling if I held it in the light correctly. I believed it was enchanted with the power to attracted fairies, sprites and possibly unicorns! I would spend hours daydreaming about a mythical world where purple rings came from and that I was the princess who possessed them all. It was a good dream.

In the past I have wondered if such a splendid object was only alive in my daydreams. However, there is proof it was real because both mom and I remember a day we were going out to visit with friends, and as we were walking down the cellar stairs to the garage I glanced at my hand on the rail-my purple ring was missing! We must have been late because it was told I produced some dramatic whining to convince my mother the purple ring was an essential element of our visit. I was allowed to go back to my room to retrieve my precious treasure and the day was saved.

This resplendent jewel was the fulcrum around which my imagination turned and truthfully, still does! When I design, I sometimes go to a mythical world where purple rings with the power to attract fairies are made and anything is possible. I imagine a person in that world and what jewelry she would wear, then I create it. Maybe artists never outgrow that primal place of vivid imagination or maybe it’s just me; longing for the days of innocent childhood play that extends into dreams and into jewels...

The hard cold truth about my beloved ring is much more mundane than any fantasy I created. That purple ring was a plastic and base metal trinket acquired from a grocery store gumball machine. It was indeed my equivalent to the ultimate childhood toy-the cardboard box. Now, sadly, it’s long gone. Sometimes I wonder what it would look like to my adult self. It’s probably a good thing I’ll never know-no reason to crush a little girls’ dream!

Regardless of its origin, that purple ring and I have covered a lot of creative territory. I am ever grateful for its dreamy violet inspiration. And it just so happens that purple is the color of my very own birthstone! I’m a February baby, Ground Hog’s Day to be exact, the month of the amethyst. {Interested in the history of birthstones? I wrote about that in my blog for January’s stone, the garnet. Click HERE to read it.}

Amethyst is a member of the quartz family. It is a fairly common stone and is found all over the world. I was once gifted an ocean tumbled amethyst geode from my friend Susan who found it on the shores of Passamaquoddy Bay in Eastern Maine. Thank you Susan, I still treasure your gift!

Once thought more valuable than diamonds, the amethyst has historically been associated with the qualities of protection and sobriety. In fact, the direct translation of the Greek word for the gem, “amethystos” is “not drunken" (from Greek a-, "not" + methustos," intoxicated).

European royals associated the color purple with their privileged social status and adorned themselves with large amethyst necklaces, rings and regalia. Queen Mary of Britain (1867-1953) was known for her flair to layer many pieces of jewelry and once owned the jewels in this picture. You can read about the history of this Parure (a set of jewelry intended to be worn together) of amethyst jewels which belonged to Queen Mary, just click the image below:

Some other meanings associated with amethyst:  

  • Sobriety
  • Temperance
  • Intuition
  • Creativity
  • Spirituality
  • Piety (once known as the Bishop’s Stone)
  • Passion
  • Connection to the divine
  • Strengthen the bonds of love
  • Healing
  • Calm
  • Meditation
  • Wisdom
  • Understanding
  • Logical thought
  • Eternity
  • Release from sorrow
  • Overcome difficulty

If you love wearing amethyst jewelry this is the perfect season to put it on, so adorn yourself! And if you need an amethyst to add to your jewelry wardrobe, EMAIL ME, I'll make a jewel for you, and I promise it won’t be purple plastic-lol!

Thanks for reading to the end! If you enjoyed this post and want to be my jewelry friend, join my email list HERE {not to worry, I’m too busy making jewelry to ever send you spam mail}.

May your February be filled with happiness, warmth and a vibrant purple glow!

Until next time, H

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The Month of the Garnet. January, that is.

The Month of the Garnet. January, that is.

Happy 2016, jewelry friends!

I don’t know about you, but it seems like I was just getting used to dating my documents with 2015 and suddenly we’re in a new year-whew!

2015 was super busy, exciting and filled with transitions for me. I am, indeed, looking out a new window this year! My family and I have moved our home and my studio to Brunswick, Maine, four hours southwest of our former residence in Robbinston. Well, truthfully, we’re almost finished moving-if you’ve ever moved before you know what a long process it can be…sigh. Even so, we are fairly settled into our sweet little cottage here on Buttermilk Cove and we adore it! My studio is now located on Maine St. in Brunswick at Fort Andross, please come see what I’ve been working on!

Now it’s (already!) mid-January and I’m watching the snowflakes drifting peacefully into the ocean waves of my backyard as I write. And I’m thinking that nothing breaks the chill of a cold winter’s day like a colorful, sparkly gemstone. You know exactly what I’m talking about. Right?! Just a glance down at your frigid fingers reveals the twinkle and shine of your favorite ring(s) and it warms your heart. Jewelry does that to me, anyway. It holds joy, beauty, power, love, and whatever memories connected to the gifting or acquisition of the piece. In short, that’s part of your personal history right there, sparkling away on your finger.

Since it happens to be January right now, my mind is on the deep red beauty of the Garnet, the birthstone of all those lucky enough to be born in this month. Garnet is a curious and mysterious stone associated with passion, fidelity and health. But first, let’s explore the birthstone:

A (Very) Brief History of the Birthstone

The concept of assigning a gem to a month has ancient roots in ancient times. There is biblical mention in Exodus of ‘the Breastplate of Aaron,’ which had 12 gems representing the 12 tribes of Israel, garnet among them. Sometime between the 1st & 5th centuries AD a connection was made between particular gems and the signs of the zodiac and by extension their corresponding months. It was thought the wearer would derive therapeutic or talismanic benefits when adorned with their astrologic gem.

Eastern culture also valued gemstone interpretation. 1000 years ago the Tibetans used a list called Mythical Birthstones, and in Hindu culture birthstone assignment followed the principals of medical practice in the Ayurvedic Birthstone list, c.1500 BC.

One distinctive birthstone custom of note (I’m a fan of this one) originated in 18th century Poland; rather than wearing the gem associated with the month of your birth, this custom dictated the wearing of the birthstone of the month in that month regardless of your birthdate. Thus, it was common to own a set of 12 birthstones to cover the 12 months of the year. I’m all for bringing this custom back, what do you think?!

The list we use today was defined in 1912, with, it could be argued, the less esoteric intent of increasing colored gemstone sales. Though there are some overlaps from the ancient lists and slight differences between contemporary list sources, the modern list of birthstones accepted in North America generally reads like this:

January - Garnet

February - Amethyst

March - Aquamarine

April - Diamond

May - Emerald

June - Pearl, Alexandrite

July - Ruby

August - Peridot

September - Sapphire

November - Topaz, citrine

December - Turquoise, zircon, tanzanite

January's Impassioned Garnet

They say we are all a product of our time and culture. I’m no exception. I’ve been in love with gems since I was a tiny girl and keenly aware of our cultural birthdate/gem associations. For me there will ever be an inseparable bond between garnet and January; January is the color of pomegranate blood and holds the passion, possibility and potential for the months ahead.

Though the stone group called garnet has a range of colors from the vibrant green of a tsavorite garnet to the dramatic magenta of the rhodolite garnet, it is most known as a deep red stone. Its rich color evokes a drama and mystery that has followed it through the ages and continues to fascinate us today. Garnet has been used frequently and symbolically throughout history to many, many intents and purposes and is connected with numerous meanings, benefits and talismanic powers.

I’m always fascinated with the history, symbolism and magic associated with gems so I went on a search of all possible effects, meanings, powers should you choose to wear January’s stone. Here we go:

Virtues of the Garnet:

  • Passion
  • Fidelity
  • Loyalty
  • Devotion
  • True friendship
  • Success
  • Self-esteem
  • Energy
  • Faith
  • Consistency
  • Truth

Garnets Worn for Health Could:

  • Purify your blood
  • Stimulate your heart and metabolism
  • Enhance your bodily strength, endurance and vigor
  • Ensure health of the male reproductive system
  • Promote feminine hormonal balance
  • Aid you in the assimilation of vitamins and minerals
  • Cure liver disease, and hemorrhages
  • Support your spinal and cellular health

Garnets Worn for Protection May:

  • Guard children from drowning
  • Protect you from poison
  • Guide you in the dark of night
  • Protect you from nightmares, demons and snakebites
  • Sharpen your perception of self and others
  • Warn you of approaching danger

Garnets Worn for Love Might:

  • Heal broken bonds between lovers
  • Ensure the quick return of a traveling lover
  • Inspire contemplation and truthfulness
  • Promote attraction to the wearer
  • Aid the letting go of self-sabotage, outdated or useless ideas
  • Remove inhibitions, anger and taboos
  • Balance the passions
  • Inspire stability in marriage

Garnets Given as a Gift Could Symbolize:

  • Eternal friendship and trust (get one for your bestie)
  • Blood bonds
  • The 2nd or 19th wedding anniversary
  • The feminine life force

Garnets Associated with Religious Tradition:

  • A symbol of Christ’s sacrifice
  • In Koranic tradition garnet illuminates the Fourth Heaven
  • Noah allegedly used a finely cut and glowing garnet to illuminate the ark in its darkest hours

Garnet Fun Facts:

  • Formerly known as ‘carbuncle’ referencing the color of a boil or blister (hmmm…)
  • In the 13th century garnets were worn to repel insects

The Dark Forest Ring, heirloom garnet, champagne diamonds set in dark silver and 18k gold. Heather Perry 2015

ABOVE: The Dark Forest Ring, an heirloom redesign I created from a vintage garnet with champagne diamonds set in 18k gold and dark silver.

Wow, it’s a lot to hold this noble gemstone responsible for! Hope you gained something from this post and thank you for reading to the end-this is long one! Stay tuned for more birthstone fun in February!

 

HAPPY 2016!

x, H

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