Thursday, September 17, 2009

Stately Sapphires - The Birthstone for September

I am a Diamond girl. That is to say, I was born in April, thus making my birthstone Diamond. Which really, I have no complaints about. However, if I were to choose a gemstone to pair with my diamonds, it would have to be the wonderfully hued Sapphire, the birthstone for September. This regal corundum mineral is generally thought of as the truest of blue in gemstones. Hence the phrase “Sapphire Blue”. But sapphires can be nearly any color except red (since those are called rubies, which are chemically and structurally the same). Sapphire is also the Zodiac stone for the constellation of Taurus the Bull. (which, being a Taurus, I can appreciate)

The Logan Sapphire from Sri Lanka (right) is one of the largest faceted gem-quality blue sapphires in the world, weighing 422.99 carats. It is currently on display at the Natural Museum of Natural History.

The Hall Sapphire Necklace (below) was designed by Harry Winston, Inc., and features thirty six matched Ceylon sapphires from Sri Lanka, surrounded by four hundred and thirty five white diamonds. The Hall Sapphire Necklace is on display at the Smithsonian Institution's American Museum of Natural History in Washington DC.

Sapphire is also the traditional gift for a 5th or 45th wedding anniversary. (my advice? instead of celebrating a 25th anniversary with paltry silver, opt to celebrate five times your 5th and receive five sapphires) If somehow you make it to your 65th wedding anniversary, then the traditional gift is the rare and pleasantly peculiar star sapphire. (below right)

Sapphires from Sri Lanka and India are well known, and excellent examples are also found in Tanzania and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. In addition, sapphires are found in many places throughout the world, including North Carolina, Montana, Brazil, and China.

But I think the best place to find them should be in my jewelry box . . .

Paraiba Green Sapphire

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Button, Button . . .Who's got a Button?

I have a fascination with buttons. I think it's partly my Oma's fault. My first memories of my intimate introduction to these little treasures are of sitting on the floor in the living room at Oma's house while my mom had coffee. I was given a large glass jar, the kind that dill pickles used to come in. It was filled with buttons of all shapes and sizes. I think the idea was for me to thread the buttons onto string, thus improving concentration and dexterity in a toddler. However, I had different ideas.

Instead, I sorted the buttons. First, I sorted them by color. Then I sorted them by size. I divided them into shank and no-shank; I divided them into two holes versus four. Then I put them all back in the jar and started over.

Today I buy buttons for no reason other than they tickle something inside of me. Usually, crafters buy notions for an intended purpose. I have scores and scores of buttons that I have no idea what I will use them for. For now, they sit in a series of antique Ball blue glass jars on a shelf in my studio. For now, this is their sole purpose.

To just look interesting and hold all kinds of possibilities.

And that's okay by me.

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