A couple of weeks ago, I was randomly cruising through some of the stations on the TV; and came across one of those shopping channels... and they were featuring Jay King.
Jay King owns and operates a huge jewelry making business. He is known for his gemstone pieces that he travels the world looking for, and has his artisans (in house) make pieces for. He sells them in high end stores; and on tv. There's much controversy around his work.... about how and where it's made... and I won't go into it. Anyway. The point is; he is much more familiar with the current prices and such of specific gemstones; than I am. It was through this show; that I came to find out that certain turquoise and coral beads... had taken a sharp upturn in their value; as the amount of those gemstones are being depleted and completely mined out. This happens a lot in the world of gemstones. They will "discover" a certain stone; mine all they can.... and then not be able to find any more of it... so the price radically jumps.
Anyway. It encouraged me to look through my stash... and see what I had.... and do some research myself.
It's hard to realize.... but I've been buying and making jewelry since 1995; selling since 97.
That's more than a few years of stashing beads.... and I've got a few.
It prompted me to gather a few things from my stash of beads... which led me to the next little "tidbit"...
I had made a pair of earrings, that were comprised of some fabulous stone beads.... and these seeds that were made into beads. And went to look up the seed's official name for a description I was writing.
I used to make more talisman, ethnic and religion inspired jewelry.... and need to get back into it.
(I love it.... and they are my favorite things to make).
Anyway, years ago, I had purchased a bag or two of these seeds that supposedly came from Ecuador (turns out, they actually may be from Peru).
They were drilled; and this type of seed had been used in native made jewelry for hundreds of years. The indigenous people of the area felt they had powers towards fertility and protection against evil; and so they were often fashioned into talismans and bracelets and such.
I couldn't remember the name of the seeds; and had lost that paperwork in the move.
Shockingly, I read that these seeds are no longer allowed to be sold in the USA. Years ago, there had been some cases where the seeds had been used on a bracelet; the bracelet had broken; the seeds had been broken (they have an outer casing).... and someone had eaten them. Yes, you heard me right.
(there was also a case of a woman in the UK who claimed wearing the bracelet had caused all sorts of health issues over the course of a year). Well; apparently these seeds are highly toxic (many times worse than ricin or arsenic).
The catch is.... there are 2 of these seed plants that are used.
One is much more highly toxic than the other; but both are toxic if ingested. They look the same (at least to me) in photos. So, how do I know if I have the severely toxic seed, or the not-so-toxic seed?
I don't. But either way; they are not safe to use in jewelry anymore... as least not in the US where they have been banned.
Now, ironically, the only things I ever made with these seeds were for myself... and I've had no problems (course, I didn't eat them). The problem now, is how to dispose of them.
Everything I've read says to just bag them and put them in the trash.... .which seems ludicrous.
And, of course, there were more thank a few jokes about the "bad seed" we had in the house...
Point here, is.... you learn something new every day.
If you are a lover of your craft; you are always researching... reading... learning... trying new skills...
And so on it goes.
The photos above, show some of the custom orders I have done this week.
2 necklaces...each with solid sterling silver pendants with gemstone dangles.... strung on natural leather cording. The pendant is my own design; and the dangles showcase monthly birthstones.
The 2nd series of photos are of a stunning full size Catholic rosary made in the "unbreakable" pattern of wire wrapping.
It has both gold and silver, and lots of clear faceted crystal glass beads from Europe.
I love how it turned out.