Monday, January 25, 2010

A Walk down Ruby Lane

As many of you already know, I have been selling my jewelry at my shop Sundancegems on Ruby Lane since November of 2004. I have enjoyed every minute of it, and I wish I had more time to devote to my jewelry making, but that will come (as I pay off my mortgage?!). I named my shop after the neighborhood in which I live 'Sundance', in case any one was wondering, and added the 'gems' to tell it apart from the more famous Sundance!

I thought I would invite you to a weekly stroll through the cobblestone streets of Ruby Lane to discover quality antiques, art, vintage jewelry and collectibles, and artisan jewelry from all around the world. This then is what I hope to be the first of a series of weekly blogs walking down Ruby Lane and meeting my neighbors.

First to Sundancegems to check out my new additions this week. Last week, with Valentines Day in mind, I added this pair of earrings with a pair of handcrafted Cathy Dailey heart with star charms dangling from the bottom of smooth sponge coral nuggets. I love Cathy's work and use them often in my jewelry.

Let me now introduce you to some of my neighbors...

Holly Cottage Designs - where Judith celebrates the feminine style. My favorite among her new arrivals this week are the fiery red and black earrings. Judith's designs feature beautiful lampwork from artisans around the country.

Graceful Earth Jewelry - Sandi creates jewelry from the earth to grace your spirit. Her moon drop flower earrings would make such a sweet Valentines Day gift. Sandi loves to create with beautiful beads from the earth.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bead Soup Party and Bead Swap - Update

My bead swap partner is Mary McGraw of Panama City Beach, FL and here is the pretty package of beads and clasp that I received from her this past week. I am excited and have not stopped thinking of what I am going to make with these beauties.

She has posted the beads she received from me on her blog at MK's Creative Musings. Now to wait till February 10th...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Bali Beads, there's nothing else like them...

This is the third of my series of reviews of beads that I received from As I mentioned in my post of January 3 and 7, 2010, December was the month for silver and glass beads. This time I chose a beautifully crafted square toggle clasp with an edging of beads and granulated diamonds. To match the toggle I picked a pair of triangle beads with the same granulated diamond pattern on the three surfaces of the bead. I have always loved working with sterling silver and these are some of the best beads available.

Now I looked for the grandest beads in my collection to match up with these silver beauties. I used faceted nuggets of blue Sleeping Beauty Turquoise and paired them with red Ruby rondelles to create this grand bracelet. Turquoise and ruby are some of my favorite gemstones, and I love the way this bracelet turned out.

Genuine Bali Beads come from Bali, Indonesia, where they are hand made by talented craftsmen in intricate and unique designs. 'Bali-style' beads are common in the market and are not made in Bali and are usually not handmade either. It is important to shop at reputable stores to ensure that you are getting what you are paying for. With you know you are getting nothing but genuine Bali Beads.
If you like what you see then the time to get this beautiful toggle is now, a selection of Bali clasps, including this one are on sale , through January 28th!

The only downside to these beads, as with any sterling silver item is to keep them nice and shiny. To prevent tarnishing of silver jewelry clean them with a soft fabric or non-abrasive polishing cloth. Avoid direct contact with perfumes, hair spray, and always wear your jewelry after applying your cosmetics. After wear store wrapped in anti-tarnish cloth or sealed in plastic bags.

Disclosure: I received the beads described above above free of charge from I have been asked to review these beads/supplies and give my honest opinion of them.  I am not being paid by for my endorsement of any of the products received and reviewed in my blog postings.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

January Art Beads Challenge

Today I completed my entry to the January Art Bead Scene challenge. The challenge was based on interpreting Claude Monet's painting ' The Magpie' or ' La Pie'.

For my necklace I used white cultured freshwater pearls, along with faceted nuggets of Rock Crystal Quartz and grey agate with its patterns of waves and swirls. The necklace closes with a sterling silver toggle at the front from which hangs by little snowbird, a Pewter charms from Green Girl Studios and a grey lampwork bead made by Rosemarie Hanus of Spawnofflame.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Bead Soup Party and Bead Swap

Are you ready for some Bead Soup? Then you had better hurry, Lori Anderson of Pretty Things is hosting a party and the deadline for joining in is January 10, 2010. I have signed up and I am looking forward to the beads I will receive from a fellow partygoer. Got to go and gather up the beads I will send to my swap-mate.

Read all about it in her blog invitation and watch for the results on February 10, 2010.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Under the Sea Earrings

Today I want to tell you about a pair of Venetian glass beads and sterling silver links that I chose from's extensive glass and silver beads collection.

The Venetian glass beads were  Gold Foil Round - Aquamarine and the sterling silver beads were the Hammered Diamond Link . I obtained these beads from with the idea of making a pair of earrings from them.

Ahh! Venice, the city of canals and gondolas! Venice is the earliest and most renowned glass bead making center in Europe. Venice dominated the world market of glass beads in quantity and quality until the 20th century (The History of Beads by Dubin).

Back in the 1990s I had the opportunity to visit Venice with my husband and what a wonderful trip it was! We spent five days there, taking in the sights, walking the narrow streets, in and out of churches and art galleries,   among people and pigeons, and also touring a Murano glass bead factory/workshop and I even got myself a pair of Murano glass earrings. Have you ever seen the Remax commercial where a guy and a gal kick themselves in the behind for not buying the wonderful home that was for sale? Well, sometimes I find myself doing just that and let me tell you why. When I was in Venice I had no interest in beads whatsoever. Yes, I know! I saw the city just like any other tourist and totally oblivious to the wonderful and addictive world of beads! Hence the kicking in the behind! Here are some of the pictures from our visit to Venice. But enough of that... back to the task at hand.

Here are the pair of earrings I made. I have used the hammered diamond link to connect the vibrant Aquamarine Venetian glass bead to a Swarovski Aquamarine Starfish. I think the trio of beads go very well together. I have used sterling silver wire and sterling silver jump ring to connect the three. To bring out the gold foil in the glass bead, I used the Sterling Silver Ear Wires with Gold-Filled Ball. These ear wires are a favorite of mine, they were great with many of the holiday earrings that I made. The combination of the gold and silver metals always make the jewelry special.

I received the Venetian glass bead and the hammered diamond link free of charge from, while the rest of the beads and findings in this pair of earrings were previously purchased by me from them and were part of my inventory. I would certainly recommend these versatile beads to all. Make sure you watch the Handy Tip Video that explains how to smooth out the rough edges on the handmade Venetian beauties. carries an extensive collection of colorful Venetian glass beads, check them out!

Disclosure: I received the beads described above above free of charge from I have been asked to review these beads/supplies and give my honest opinion of them.  I am not being paid by for my endorsement of any of the products received and reviewed in my blog postings.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Swarovski CRYSTALLIZED™ Pearls, Better than the real thing?

Sometime in December I received an email from asking me if I would like to be a part of a group of jewelry designers who review their products and supplies and blog about the experience. I remember jumping out of my chair and running to tell my husband about it. Of course, I said yes, and today I write my first review.
December was Silver and Glass month at I chose some silver beads from their vast selection and for my glass beads I chose Swarovski CRYSTALLIZED™ 5810 Round Pearls. And this is what I created... and I am very pleased. This set is currently for sale in Sundancegems on Ruby Lane.

I received from free of charge the Swarovski  CRYSTALLIZED™ 5810 Round Pearls in Light Grey and Coral colors in both 6 mm and 8 mm sizes. In addition, I also asked for and received 5mm Bali Silver Roundel Beads. All other sterling silver beads used in creating this necklace and earrings set I had purchased previously from and were part of my ever-growing inventory of beads. As you can see I had quite a few of their sterling silver beads on hand, they have been and are my goto store for basic beads and supplies.

I had always wanted to check out the Swarovski CRYSTALLIZED™ 5810 Round Pearl Coral beads to see for myself just how close they came to the real thing. Though I carry real Coral beads in my inventory of finished jewelry and also have  some unused beads, I am becoming more and more vary of using real Coral. The reasons for this, I promise to discuss in a future posting.

The Swarovski CRYSTALLIZED™ 5810 Round Pearl Coral beads are like color enhanced pink Coral beads, and are a good substitute if one is sensitive about using real Coral. I think I will plan more pieces around this product.  I, then chose the Light Grey beads to complement my Coral beads, and I think the combination turned out great. According to unlike synthetic glass pearls, CRYSTALLIZED™ - Swarovski Elements's crystal faux pearls have a leaded core that make them heavier (the finished product certainly does not feel or look like costume jewelry, this is me saying so!), and CRYSTALLIZED™ - Swarovski Elements's pearl coating is similar to a natural pearl lustre and is consistent in color. It is also resistant to perspiration, UV rays, perfumes, scratches and washing and warms to the skin like real pearls do.

The Bali silver roundel beads, that I also received with my Pearls are used to separate some of the light gray pearls in the necklace. They were great beads, uniform in size, quite thin and perfectly suited for highlighting and separating larger beads. 

The other sterlings silver beads used in this project were Sterling Silver Twist Link, Oval Trigger Clasp - 925 Silver060 Round Link Chain, 3 x 2 Crimp Tube, 4 mm Sterling Silver Crimp Cover and 24 gauge sterling silver Head Pins. The earrings were made with sterling silver round ear wire. As previously mentioned, all of these items were purchased from

As you can tell by now, I would certainly recommend these products I have described above. I did have one problem with my Swarovski  CRYSTALLIZED™ 5810 Round Pearl beads, it seemed that almost on every bead, on one side the beading hole was perfect, while on the other side of the bead the hole almost always had a tiny edge to it. I did not file it off, in case I took away some of the coating. I used the beads as is and they did not seem to effect the final outcome in anyway. I will try to clean them off as one would Venetian Glass beads, but since these holes are much smaller than those on Venetian glass beads, I do not think the same technique would work. If anyone has some thoughts on this, I would certainly like to hear about it. All in all it was a pleasant and satisfying experience.

Disclosure: I received the beads described above above free of charge from I have been asked to review these beads/supplies and give my honest opinion of them.  I am not being paid by for my endorsement of any of the products received and reviewed in my blog postings.

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