Thursday, March 21, 2013

Girl Power in the Bronze Age!

Example of Bronze Age Jewelry found in Moesgaard Museum
Photo by Dorte Sandorff
Recently outside Vienna Austria the skeletal remains of a woman believe to be a metal worker from the Bronze Age have been unearthed. This tremendous discovery challenges the long held belief that prehistoric women only preformed the less physical and strenuous tasks associated with day to day life. This exciting find now questions long held concepts concerning the division of labor during these primordial ages.

While the pelvic bones were not included in the grave, researchers are confident the remains are of a 45 to 60 year old woman based on the shape of the skull and the size of the lower jawbone.

Contained in the grave was an anvil, hammers, flint chisels and several pieces of dress jewelry. Lower Austrian state archaeologist Dr. Ernst Lauermann said, “It was normal in those days for a person to be buried with the items that were part of their daily working lives.” These tools have led researchers to believe her occupation was a fine metal worker, an uncommon practice for a woman during this time period. Until this discovery, metalworking had always been considered a male profession because of the physicality involved since metals, then like now, were used for more than just making jewelry.

While any ancient burial site from the Bronze Age is considered a great find and a window into how past civilizations lived and ultimately formed our future; this one indicates that earlier cultures were perhaps not as patriarchal as once thought; though some scholars still believe that the significance of these artifacts is unknown. The editor of British Archaeology magazine Mike Pitts stated, “Sometimes the objects could relate to the individual’s profession but they could equally be there because they looked good or were put into the grave by relatives and didn’t belong to the individual.”

So while we will never know the truth, it’s awesome to think that women were challenging societal mores even more than 5,000 years ago!

To read more on this subject and see a photo of the burial site and skeletal remains, follow this link to the MailOnline News.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Born in March? Take Your Pick!

Folks with a birth date in the month of March have the option of choosing one of two very different stones to honor their birth month. While Aquamarine is the modern stone for the month of March, a perfectly acceptable alternative is Bloodstone.

Aquamarines are often called the “poor man’s diamond” and fluctuate in shades from deep blue to (obviously) aqua. Prices for Aquamarines can vary drastically due to the fact that naturally occurring deep blue stones are very rare; while yellow beryl stones can easily be transformed into blue aquamarines; lowering the cost. And just like our February birthstone, Amethyst; Aquamarines are found here in the states of Maine and North Carolina, while Russia, Brazil and India are the largest providers of international Aquamarines.

This gorgeous stone was coined by the Romans who believed they washed ashore from the jewel chests owned by the daughters of the river god Achelous. Sailors have great faith in Aquamarines and to this day still use them as protection against the perils and dangers often encountered at sea. While on land Roman citizens thought the stones possessed medicinal and healing powers to cure ailments of the stomach, liver, jaws and throat. During the Middle Ages they were used as an antidote against poison and then many years later in Germany, Aquamarines were fashioned into eyeglasses to correct nearsightedness.
Aqua Crown Ring
Ice Princess Ring

For those born in the latter part of March, Bloodstone is often the birthstone of choice. This dark-green stone speckled with flecks of vivid red of is usually mined from rocks or riverbeds in India, Brazil and Australia.

Often Bloodstone is called the “martyr’s stone” due to the myth that it was created when as Christ was on the cross drops of His blood stained the surrounding jasper stones. Bloodstones, like Aquamarines are thought to have healing properties especially for blood disorders.
Bloodstone cabochon by Creative Cabs
Either stone choice makes a stunning and rich statement and work perfectly surrounded by everything from platinum to brass. These are birthstones definitely worn with pride! ---And I should know because it is my birthstone!  :)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Spring Is In The Air…In Gorgeous Color!

Even though it’s still cold and gray, ole Mr. Groundhog announced just a few weeks ago that spring is right around the corner. With that in mind, it certainly isn’t too early to start planning what great new spring colors you are going to incorporate into your cosmetics, nail polish, home decor, and most importantly; your spring wardrobe and accessories including your jewelry.
The 2013 Pantone spring color report is full of gorgeous soft shades primarily on the blue/gray/green end of the spectrum with a few delicate hues of yellow, blush and red rounding out the palette.
Even some of the names of this year’s featured colors, Tender Shoots, Poppy Red, Lemon Zest and African Violet, reflect what spring is all about; blooming flowers, budding foliage and sprouting seedlings.

Tender Shoots is a pale green that reminds me of the tender sweet buds on an awakening tree, while Poppy Red is as warm and welcoming as a bed of blooming azaleas. Nectarine made me want a Dreamsicle and when I saw Lemon Zest all I could think of was a big vase of freshly picked daffodils! Monaco Blue is a classic and plays nicely against the calm and serene Dusk Blue; while Grayed Jade along with Linen are probably my two favorites; very soft and subtle, and either could easily become the new spring “neutral.” African Violet and Emerald both are sophisticated rich shades that can be incorporated into many surprising color schemes.

I’ve included a link to the Pantone Fashion Color Report so you can see these unique shades for yourself. And who knows? Maybe you’ll end up with some wonderful color inspired ideas!