Saturday, March 29, 2014

New website, new blog!

I have up-dated my website and have moved my blog onto that site!
If you are a subscriber to this blog, please pop over there for all future posts!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

New Year, New Challenges

For the past several years, I have participated in jewelry design challenges that were organized by my fellow EtsyMetal members.
  • 2010 was the RAD challenge: Ring-A-Day
    • A group of international artists accepted the challenge to create, photograph and upload (to a flickr photo group) one ring per day for the entire year. This was a wildly successful challenge which also inspired an exhibition and a book! Sadly I could not finish the entire year, but I made it through 100 days and had several of my rings included in both the exhibition and the book!
  • 2011 was the RAW challenge: Ring-A-Week 
    • A similar challenge to the one above but weekly instead of daily. Once again, I could not finish the entire year and only made it through 18 out of the 52 weeks.
  • 2013 was the BAW challenge: Brooch-A-Week 
    • I don't know why I thought I could manage enough time to make 52 brooches. It sounded like a good idea at the beginning but I only made it through week 5! LOL!

Despite the fact that I have never been able to fully complete any of these challenges, I still feel like they were successful endeavors. They are always a great source of inspiration, rejuvenation and motivation. I believe they help me grow as an artist and a jewelry designer. 

So-----Despite my lack of follow through in the past, I have decided to participate in yet another jewelry design challenge this year. 

  • 2014 is the Rx3 challenge: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle from all the stock in the studio.
    •  I will attempt to create one jewelry piece every week for the entire year using old stones, pieces-parts, half finished projects, old sketches, etc. Below are my first two pieces of this year's challenge:
Rx3 week #1 - Black Diamond Chiseled Ring:
1.3ct rose cut black diamond, .013ct rose cut grey diamond, 14k yellow gold, .950 palladium

Rx3 week #2 - Peach Druzy Chiseled Ring:
Druzy quartz, 14k rose gold, 14k & 18k yellow gold

Stay tuned to see how this challenge continues...

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Turquoise, Zircon or Tanzanite? Why Just Choose One? December IS the Season for Giving

It’s almost like when the end of the year rolled around; whoever was figuring out the birthstone calendar ran out of months before they ran out of stones! And so, if you were born during the month of December you get to choose from not one, not two but three exciting and colorful stones!
Turquoise cabochons from SouthSouthWest
Turquoise was the original stone chosen back in 1912 by the National Association of Jewelers while in 1952 zircon was added and then in 2002 tanzanite was also included. But no matter when or why, if you are a Sagittarius or Capricorn, there is an awesome array of stones to mix and match into gorgeous custom jewelry designs just as special and unique as the wearer.

With all the holiday hustle and bustle, you might want to stock up on traditional turquoise. Said to bring a sense of calming serenity to the wearer, lore has it that turquoise can also bring happiness, good fortune and prosperity, properties we can all use more of and wish for this time of year.

While zircon is naturally found in a wide variety of colors, the one associated with December is the starlight blue stone. Regular naturally shaded zircon is heated in an oxygen free environment, turning the drab yellow, green or brown stones into a gorgeous sky blue. Zircons are also good jewels for the holidays since they are said to protect travelers and guarantee a deep sound sleep.

Another gem that is often heat treated to achieve its rich violet blue color is tanzanite. In the past, tanzanite was frequently substituted for sapphire. But since being named a December birthstone alternative, they are now standing on their own as a popular gemstone valued for their beauty and brilliance.
Tanzanite and diamond ring by Danielle Miller Jewelry
Whether a gift for someone else or that special holiday treat for yourself, any one of these three stones make the perfect birthday present. Or maybe consider mixing the stones for a very unique and interesting visual.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

November’s Birthstone is Topaz or Citrine - Stones of Fire, Ice and Success

Topaz stones are as colorful as the people born during the month of November who wear them. From Sanskit meaning fire, the brilliant topaz is said to also possess supernatural powers to calm and cool everything from boiling water to white hot anger. And if you know many people who can claim topaz as their birthstone, you probably know firsthand about that anger!
14k gold Chiseled ring with Imperial Topaz by Danielle Miller Jewelry
While topaz is the hardest of all silicate minerals and fairly easy to mine, they can be costly depending on their size and coloring, with red being the rarest. The largest topaz weighing in at almost 600 pounds was mined in Brazil and is now on display at the New York American Museum of Natural History. While Brazil is the largest supplier of topaz, the gem can also be found in Pakistan, Japan and Scotland and here in America in Colorado and California.

Blue and light golden are the two most recognized colors, but topaz is also available in red, pink, orange and even black which is really interesting since pure topaz is a colorless stone. Coloring occurs when the stones experience element substitutions, chemical bonding and heat through tiny cracks and defects.

For those wanting the beauty of imperial topaz without the cost consider citrine instead. A yellow variety of quartz, citrine can be a pale lemon to deep orange-gold and is likely named from the French word for lemon "citron" or the Latin word "citrus."

Citrine Charm necklace by Danielle Miller Jewelry
Citrine has many positive attributes such as its healing properties on the digestive system, degenerative diseases and depression. It is also said to bring success, prosperity and generosity, which  is why its nicknamed the "Success Stone" and the "Merchant's Stone."

Citrine gained popularity during the Art Deco period and became quite popular with many of the Hollywood stars of the day like Greta Garbo. In the late 1980’s the world’s largest citrine was mined in Brazil. Coming in at over 20,000 carats it has exceptional color and clarity and is presently part of the Programa Royal Collections of Spain.

Topaz and citrine both bring so many unique properties to the table with their clarity, fire, durability and plethora of shades. Consider having a brooch, bracelet, ring or necklace designed for yourself or that someone special since the holidays are right around the corner.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

October’s Birthstones: All the Colors of the Rainbow!

Opals are the primary birthstones for the month of October and they are absolutely gorgeous! So full of rich brilliance…in fact the word opal comes from the Greek word Opallos meaning “to see a flash of color.” Opals are a kaleidoscope of hues because of the way light plays on the stones’ tiny structural imperfections. Milky white opals are created by gas bubbles trapped within the stone, while greens, blues and reds are most often seen in black opals due to the presence of magnesium oxides. One of the coolest and rarest stones is the harlequin opal, a jewel featuring large patches of color reminiscent of a clown’s costume.
Photo courtesy of Opal Auctions ("How to Buy Opals on the Internet")
Opals reflect a sense of innocence and purity. Lore has it that the wearer of an opal is blessed with happiness, loyalty and confidence. This fabulous stone is also said to inspire both dreams and the imagination.

Brought into the birthstone family in 1952 as an October alternative was pink tourmaline; but over the years all the tourmaline colors have become acceptable. Some of the most popular tourmaline gemstones are bi-colored or tri-colored, with clear color distinctions. For example, watermelon tourmaline, when cut, features a pink center, a white ring and a green outside edge. Some of the even more unusual ones include tiny black specks that resemble watermelon seeds.
14k gold Chiseled Ring with Pink Tourmaline by Danielle Miller Jewelry
Tourmaline is mined around the world with some of most stunning blue stones found right here in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Brazil has given us gemstones in a plethora of colors while Zambia, Nigeria and Namibia are all also big suppliers.
The richness and variety of both stones give those born in October a huge variety of options and look fantastic set in a wide range of metals and designs.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Get Ready to “Fall” into Color

Pantone has introduced their fall 2013 colors and they are spectacular! Now that there is a chill in the air and leaves are started to change, it's time to incorporate these rich hues into your wardrobe and jewelry!

Color of the year, Emerald continues to blend perfectly with their entire fall lineup. Each of these new individual colors complements the other; giving the wearer a license to experiment with texture, form and shading.

Staying in the same earthy neighborhood is Linden Green, a lush pale green with soft gold undertones and Deep Lichen Green, a very brilliant rich green/gray. Dark gray Turbulence and espresso shaded Carafe are exactly the shades that come to mind when you start shopping for those winter wardrobe basics.

Acai, a color that matches its name is going to be huge! So versatile, Acai can easily be your primary color or worn as an elegant accessory.

Every season calls for a new shade of blue and this year Pantone has voted Mykonos Blue as their fall favorite. A color whose description is a jumble of contradictions, Mykonos Blue is bold but soothing, rich but restorative.

Now let’s move into the fun shades that define autumn. Koi is a dazzling orange that has a burnt shimmering hue. Wearing it reminds you of bonfires, hayrides and the changing of fall leaves. Samba is as sassy and spicy as its name. Your dark neutrals will welcome being paired with this intense dramatic red. And a color named Vivacious has to be awesome! Pantone calls it an “unruly and wild deep fuchsia” and once you see it, you’ll definitely agree. It’s the epitome of sophisticated style!

Need a little help getting into the mood for cooler weather? Click here to see these fabulous shades and be prepared to be dazzled!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September’s Birthstone Makes Me Blue/Green with Envy

Oh to have been born during the month of September for no other reason than to be able to claim the brilliant sapphire as a birthstone! These rich stones come in a wide variety of blue/green/violet shadings and look fabulous when surrounded by white gold, platinum, palladium or sterling silver. The most valued stones are those which are a medium to dark indigo or have a slight violet tint. One interesting fact about sapphires is they have the same chemical and structural makeup as the ruby which is July’s birthstone.
Blue Sapphire and White Gold Vine Engagement Ring by Danielle Miller Jewelery
Sapphires have a wide and rich history. These gemstones were discovered on the Greek island of Sappherine and also in what is now present day Iran. During the Middle Ages sapphires were believed to help keep the wearer pure and priests wore them as protection against impure thoughts and worldly temptations. Crusaders made their wives wear them while they were away in battle so they would remain faithful. Lore had it that if the stone was worn by an adulteress, the color would darken.

The British Crown Jewels housed in the Tower of London has one of the world’s most famous stones, the St. Edward’s Sapphire. Given to Edward the Confessor back in 1042, he worn it as a ring during his coronation and then in the early 1800’s the stone was set on the Imperial State Crown worn by Queen Victoria during her reign.

Sapphires are mined all across the world, from Sri Lanka, India, China, Brazil and even here in the United States. Montana sapphires, first discovered in the late 1800's by a gold miners, are the most well known US mined sapphires. However, a huge 9,700 carat stone was discovered in the North Carolina mountains in 1989.

Extremely durable, gorgeous in color and sensational in every setting, a sapphire is the perfect stone no matter when you celebrate your birthday!