Apatite and Pearl Necklace

May 15, 2013

Apatite and Pearl Necklace

Apatite and Pearl Necklace and Earrings set is $45.00 and is 17 to 19 inches long with a sterling silver clasp.


Toggle Clasps

April 9, 2013
Sterling Silver Toggle Clasp

Sterling Silver Toggle Clasp

I’ve been using toggle clasps on my jewelry designs ever since I started designing jewelry in 2006.

My introduction to toggles, though, was not the best. Many years ago I purchased a necklace with a toggle clasp and the salesperson said that the clasp was very safe and the necklace would not fall off. She was wrong; it fell off my neck the first time I wore it. Luckily, I was near the department store where I had purchased it and I took the necklace back for a refund the same day. I didn’t wear a toggle clasp for many years until I started designing my own jewelry.

When taking jewelry classes I was at first adamantly opposed to toggles but my teachers won me over by explaining the difference between a well-designed toggle and a poorly-designed toggle. I understood and I was toggled; my first necklace was made with a toggle clasp.

Silver-plated over brass Toggle Clasp with rounded ends

Silver-plated over brass Toggle Clasp with rounded ends

There are a wide range of toggle clasps out there both in price and style. I’m sure I could spend hundreds of dollars on a toggle and I could also spend a dollar or two on a toggle. I leave the two extremes to others. I tend to purchase the toggles that allow me to sell necklaces and bracelets in the price range I’ve set for my jewelry.

For many years I’ve used a sterling silver swirl toggle, but with the cost of sterling silver findings (including toggles) climbing very steeply in the past year, I can only use this toggle now with necklaces using finer beads and gemstones.

Lately, I found this silver-plated over brass toggle clasp that’s bright and shiny. I like the round balls on the ends of the bar which makes the toggle doubly safe. It’s good for bracelets as well.

Often toggle clasps have unusual designs, especially natural designs including flowers. I find many customers are fond of flowers, and nature in general, and enjoy wearing nature-inspired motifs. One findings company has quite a selection of wonderful flowers, stars, and other nature-inspired toggles.

Most toggles should be worn so they can be seen. I have a simple, long chain necklace I made and wear with one of my favorite plain toggles and I always wear it so the toggle can be seen. The toggle looks great to either the right or left and adds interest to a plain top and chain.

TierraCast Sunburst Pewter Toggle

TierraCast Sunburst Pewter Toggle

One pretty toggle is made by TierraCast and as you can see it’s lovely. There’s only one problem with it is that the hole in the round part is rather small and care must be taken to make sure the bar part with its jump rings, beads, and chains can easily pull through the hole without the wearer having to struggle getting the bar, etc., to quickly lay flat. So, each time I use this particular toggle I make sure it works well with the necklace it’s being used with. It’s also a nice toggle to use to the side because of its lovely sunburst design.

Sterling Silver or Silver Plated Nature-Inspired Toggle

Sterling Silver or Silver Plated Nature-Inspired Toggle

Toggles, too, can be worn directly in front, either alone or with additional chain or charms added to the circle part of the toggle. Now, when worn in the front, I must admit that there is more of a chance for the toggle bar to work its way out of the toggle round. Because of this I definitely want a longer bar than usual or additional charms and chains attached to the round part of the toggle. Charms can also be attached to the jump ring on the bar part to add some additional weight to the bar.

There’s nothing wrong with mixing metal colors in the toggle, especially if you are doing the same with the beads in the necklace or bracelet itself.

The longer I design jewelry, I find almost anything goes, as long as the pieces work well together and don’t cause the toggle clasp to fail.

Beryl and Rose Gold Necklace

March 1, 2012

Beryl and Rose Gold Necklace and Earrings

Love Beryl which is in the Emerald family of gemstones and rose gold metal. The Rose Gold is warmer and softer looking than yellow and white gold or silver. Why has it taken so long for me to find a source for it? I hope you love it too. What do you think.

My newest love – Beryl and Rose Gold

February 6, 2012

Have you heard about the large “Emerald” stone that was up for auction recently with the seller hoping to receive a million dollars or more for it? Well, it turns out that the stone is not all “Emerald” and part of it is dyed. Because of the laws regarding the selling of gemstones, such a stone cannot be classified as “Emerald” and it did not sell. You may ask why am I writing about a million dollar gemstone. That’s O.K., ask away. Emerald is a member of the “Beryl” family of gemstones. This family includes the well-known Emerald, and also light-blue Aquamarine, pale, warm-pink Morganite, bright red Bixbyite, yellow Heliodor, clear Goshenite, and a few other lesser known gems. Beryls are usually colorless but can be green, blue, yellow, red, and white. The clear stones are often irradiated or heat treated to change their color.

To tell the truth I have fallen in love with the Emerald relative called Morganite which was discovered in the middle of the 19th century and was named after the great financier, J. P. Morgan. It is a lovely warm pink. I bought a ring with this gemstone as the main stone and I love it. It’s so soft and feminine. At my age it’s nice to remember what it was like to be young again. Morganite brings back those memories and helps me to feel in love with life again.

Because the colors blend so well together, Morganite is often sold in Rose Gold settings – either over Gold or Silver. If you’re not familiar with Rose Gold, it is a gold and copper alloy. It looks like pale copper without the problem of turning your skin green when you wear it. As with the Morganite, Rose Gold has a soft glow that makes you look and feel better when you wear it.

To make a long story even longer, I’ve found a supplier of Rose Gold over silver findings that allow me to make a variety of jewelry – earrings, necklaces, bracelets – even chain.  I will be designing and making Rose Gold and Beryl jewelry for myself and for you. You’ll find that the Beryl gemstones are very softly colored – sometimes the color is only noticeable when set next to another color. So far, I’ve used both Silver and Rose Gold. If you like pale gemstones, take a look at my selection. More is on the way.

I’ve also found Morganite or Beryl gemstone beads. They are translucent to opaque – not clear as with the fine, expensive gemstones. The opaque Beryls have a tendency to have chatoyancy* that’s missing in their expensive relatives. Rubies have chatoyancy as well. Lovely! The chatoyant effect is noticeable as I roll the beads between my fingers while I’m stringing them. It’s also noticeable when you’re wearing the beads as they roll over your body.







*Chatoyancy is an optical effect seen in gemstones such as quartz, chrysoberyl, beryl (especially aquamarine), tourmaline, apatite, moonstone and scapolite.  It’s caused by the fibrous structure of a material, as in tiger’s eye quartz, or from fibrous inclusions or cavities within the stone, as in cat’s eye chrysoberyl. It is quite striking and produces a silky sheen along the stone as you roll the gemstone between your fingers.

Needle in a Haystack

April 4, 2011

There’s a new show in town and it’s called Needle’s Haystack, a new jewelry-only marketplace now open for shopping. Already this new store has 45 talented jewelry designers showing their beautiful designs. Take a peek; you might find something you just can’t live without.
I’ve also listed a few of my designs including a sodalite necklace, bracelet, and earring set, a turquoise necklace and earring set, and blue chalcedony/smoky quartz necklace, bracelet and earrings which are sold individually. I also have lapis and malachite jewelry available as well. I just couldn’t resist the urge to show a few pieces there.

Designs for Pantone Spring 2011 Fashion Colors

February 16, 2011

Pantone Spring 2011 Fashion Colors

My last article was about the new Spring 2011 Pantone fashion colors. Since I wrote that article, as a jewelry designer specializing in gemstone beads I’ve been thinking about what jewelry to wear with these new colors. Well, I’ve decided to combine my best-selling necklace design, tweak it a little bit, and add some of my best-selling gemstone colors.

Tin cup style necklaces

Here they are. These are easy to wear with just about all of the colors, easy to adjust the wearing length of the shorter necklaces, and easy on the pocketbook since I’ve limited the amount of sterling silver used. Most of them use dark gemstones that will highlight this spring’s colors. The Rose Quartz necklaces will look smashing with darker pinks, blues, and brown.

From top to bottom, the gemstones used are:
A – Blue Labradorite rounds. Each bead was handpicked to present the most schiller or the play of color as the gemstone is moved in the light. (21 in long with 2in extender).
B – Rose Quartz rounds with light green Serpentine butterflies (20 in long with 2in extender).
C – Dark Blue Dumortierite ovals and rounds (26 in long).
D – Dark Blue Dumortierite coins and rounds with silvery freshwater pearl potato beads (19.5 in long).
E – Rose Quartz faceted ovals and rounds (27 in long).
F – Dark Blue Dumortierite nuggets and rounds (26 in long).
G – Blue Crazy Lace Agate coins, rounds and ovals (24 in long).
H – Manmade Blue Goldstone twist ovals and faceted rounds (21 in long with 2in extender).

Being a garden-type girl from way back I’m always interested in anything spring whether it’s plants, trees, and shrubs for the outdoors, or new clothing, colors, and jewelry for spring. Jewelry can make an outfit come to life and also set the tone for the outfit – whether formal or informal. I also know that many women have to wear “uniforms” to work and only certain style of jewelry is allowed so I have designed these pieces to be very wearable whether you must wear a blue or brown suit or you can wear more stylish clothing. Since the cost of sterling silver keeps going up and up I have limited the amount of sterling silver in these pieces as well.

Better pictures and fuller descriptions of the jewelry and gemstones will be available on my website, censtudios.net.

This simple type of necklace with gemstones spaced along the wire with high-quality glass seedbeads from Japan (many with special finishes) is definitely my best-selling style. It’s a cross between the tincup style which uses knotted thread and a station necklace using chain links. In thinking back over what gemstones have sold the best for me, dark blue gemstones whether natural, such as Dumortierite, or manmade, such as blue goldstone, have been my best sellers. I can see why since dark blue looks well with just about any other color except perhaps black. Also, dark blue sapphire Swarovski crystals sell well as bracelets and in necklaces. Come to think about it, I’ve read that blue is the most popular color.

Pantone Fashion Colors for Spring 2011

January 19, 2011

Oh, I just been looking at Pantone’s Fashion Spring 2011 colors and I am in heaven!

After such a terrible year with all of the political animosity, killings, war, the downturn in the economy, it’s such a relief to see beautiful spring colors. These colors truly lift my spirit and for the first time in quite a while I am actually interesting in shopping for clothing again. I can’t wait to wear a blouse or a jacket in Honeysuckle, a suit or skirt in Regatta, shoes is Russet (on my computer it has pink undertones), a handbag or scarf in Coral Rose, anything in Peapod (a beautiful light blue-green), and a skirt or handbag in Beeswax. Of course I wouldn’t wear all those colors in one outfit. Perhaps one or two colors together, especially in a handbag or shoes and skirt. As I have “summer coloring”, most of these are “my colors”.

As a jewelry designer I am wondering what jewelry would we wear with these lovely spring colors. I actually left out a four colors: Silver Peony, Blue Curacao, Lavender, and Silver Cloud. Well, Blue Curacao could easily pass for turquoise and turquoise can be used with all of the six colors I mentioned in my first paragraph. Iespecially like turquoise with Coral Rose and with Beeswax. Hmmm, Beeswax looks a lot like Citrine gemstone! Citrine is a lighter tint and is transparent. Citrine with Regatta would be elegant, and Citrine with gray Silver Cloud would be a more modern, edgy look.

Silver Peony looks a lot like Rose Quartz (a lovely, soft pink gemstone) which would look great with Honeysuckle, Regatta, Peapod, and Russet. I think pink and brown look smashing together.

Lavenderspring color reminds me so much of the Tanzanite gemstone and could also pass for Amethyst in its many incarnations. I’m thinking of the pale Amethyst sometimes called “Rose de France”. Also Swarovski Elements have a Tanzanite color. I would wear a Tanzanite or Amethyst necklace or earrings with Honeysuckle. Also, why not wear Lavender with Coral Rose for a modern look.

Gray as in Silver Cloud is still popular. Of course, jewelry designers think of that color as the color of silver which is still the most popular metal today. Russet, though, reminds me of the vintage brass that is very much in demand by certain circles.

I could go on and on about how to wear these wonderful Spring colors, but I would also like to hear from you.