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Red & Blue :: Sequel

I felt like an artist learning to paint for the first time. 

After my earlier post on Red and Blue, I finally plucked up courage to try my hand with these sea-foam blue Peruvian chalcedony.  I bought these superb stones on impulse and could not think of what best to make with them... that is, until I chanced upon some emerald-green onyx.

And then the painter's brush came to life:  I added dashes of crimson red rubies and baby-pink sapphires to the ocean-blue/green canvas.  And the warm brown andalusite hearts seemed the perfect straw to pull off the whole color palette.

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Red & Blue

Sometimes I feel like I want to do a piece with a strong color theme, and what better than the primary colors of red and blue you ask?

2011 Christian Louboutin High Heels Jeweled Platform Slingback


On Etsy and Artfire
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Inspiration :: This is glamorous!

Old world charm and luscious fabrics...who could resist these!  My favorite is the seafoam, turquoise train in the first picture...there is just an ethereal, dreamy feel to it!  Which is your favorite?

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Dazzling in gold :: a touch of vintage glamour

It has been some time since I created a style board in Polyvore.  However, on my daily blog reads, I stumbled upon some very beautiful inspiration boards and that nudged to drop into my account again.  I'm no talent at this, so I could only do up a very simple style board for the day:

A touch of vintage glamour

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Natural Curiosities

I have to say that I was not particularly attracted to natural (gem) curiosities before but recently they seem to grow on me.

Druzy agates, geode slices, solar quartz, ammonite fossils...the organic feel and style of these stones create an interesting twist from the usual sparkling gems I use and somehow, by incorporating these stones into my work, I feel like I could enshrine a part of mother nature forever.

Jasper Stalagtite earrings

 Ammonite fossil pendant

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What are you?

Pick one.  In fact, you may pick more than one. :-)

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Starry Starry Night

The life of Vincent van Gogh as a tragic genius holds too much drama for my liking, but his paintings of starry nights piqued my interest.  In one of his letters to his friend, Eugene Boch, he described his study of Arles, depicted in the first painting below (The Starry Night over the Rhone):

"The town lighted with gas reflected in a blue river.  Over it the starry sky with the Great Bear - a sparkling of pink and green on the cobalt blue field of the night sky, whereas the lights of the town and its ruthless reflections are red gold and bronzed green."

 Starry Night Over the Rhone, 1888

Starry Night, 1889

Inspired to create my own "Starry Night" piece, I started with two onion-cut briolettes of teal blue London blue topaz and slowly and surely, the rest of the gems began to fall into place.  So here is the result ~ a petite cute little ensemble :-)
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Birthstone Jewelry :: A New Love

I have always imagined birthstone jewelry to be boring, with simple stones on a fine chain or earring post to signify the month of birth.  Well, my creativity was put to the test one day when J. approached me to create a necklace for her mother, using birthstones for herself, her baby girl and her mother. 

For any jewelry artist, it is always the greatest blessing to have lots of room to work one's creativity and J. was wonderful in giving me that.  We finally decided on a focal cluster weaving in golden and champagne citrines, royal purple and pink amethyst and hot pink topaz and the cluster thins away with the same gemstones sprinkled throughout the rest of the necklace.


W. recently got me to create a simple, sophisticated petite pair of earrings for her friend who was born in July.  Using the traditional (onyx) and modern birthstones (ruby) with some accent stones, the result was a surprising pop of colors:

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What I have been busy with...

Something wonderful has been brewing in my little studio.

A few customers approached me lately to create bespoke pieces.  As I soon discovered, custom orders require a lot more communication with the customer.  The interaction has been both fulfilling and humbling for me, as I learn about the stories and ideas of my customers and create for them a wearable piece of art that we both love and know will delight the recipient. 

The first bespoke piece I made was meant as a present from a daughter-in-law to her mother-in-law.  J. had wanted a necklace created from the birthstones of her baby girl, her husband and herself.  It's truly a meaningful gift... I can only imagine the mother-in-law will feel that her family are close to her heart whenever she wears this necklace.       

M. saw the Dandelion earrings in my Etsy studio and was inspired to create a single earring for herself.  She has a clear love of semi-precious opaque stones and natural curiosities to precious sparkling gems.  We finally decided on lapis kites and this was what I made for her.  She is going to look really cool in this!

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Inspiration :: Tea Rose

So many artists have explored tea rose as a color inspiration, that I was tempted to do one of my own but with a twist.  It didn't start out too smoothly at first but I finally got to where I wanted these earrings to be - a blossoming bouquet of bursting summer colors :)

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Inspiration :: Portia

It's inexplicable, but the name "Portia" springs to mind when I had to name these earrings... Perhaps it's the strength of her character as the heroine in The Merchant of Venice that attracted me.  Wisdom, wit and grace residing all in a single soul - she wins her suitor and saves the life of his friend.  In the play, Portia delivers one of the most famous speeches of all time:
The quality of mercy is not strain'd.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.

Ellen Terry (1847 1928) As Portia In The Merchant Of Venice C. 1885 by Albert Joseph Moore

Source unknown

Curiously, I'm also reminded of Audrey Tatou's character in Amelie who carries out elaborate ideas to help improve the lives of people around her.  Perhaps that is a name for another creation on another day...
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Cythera :: Isle of Love

I first stumbled upon the story of the fabled island in Jean-Antoine Watteau's paintings, drawn from the world of Italian comedy and ballet and manifested in fêtes galantes style.  Cythera, also thought to be the birthplace of Venus, goddess of love, became the place where one could hope to find his or her ideal partner.  These paintings are unusual in that you can never exactly tell if the people on the island are coming or going.

I was spurred to interpret these enchanting landscapes and mood in these paintings but wanted to add a modern twist to when this yellow bantam pendant from Rosalera came along, things fell in perfectly!  The pendant becomes a keepsake and reminder of happy memories and was wonderful to go with a palette of sapphires, amethysts and lemon quartz and a solitary Akoya baroque pearl (all the gems a girl would love!) was a very happy day indeed!    

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Shades of Gray

Whoever said gray had to be dull and dreary?


And I even found this lovely blog in gray - check it out!
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Happy anniversary... me!  Amazing how time has been two fabulous years since Il Mare Atelier was born.

I still remember and am eternally grateful to Emily of Exquisite Studios who became my first customer and continued to be encouraging and supportive always; Kim of Vabeachquilter whose self-discipline spurred me to be persistent in my marketing and promotion efforts...although other challenges have come up along the way and I haven't been able to keep pace.

And not forgetting the many lovely customers I have had, some of whom have become friends...and many other friends I met in the online space :)

In celebration of Il Mare Atelier's second anniversary, I'm having price reductions on all items in both my Artfire and Etsy studios.  Use the coupon code - BDAY20 at check out to enjoy a 20% reduction.  Anniversary sale ends April 15th, enjoy!
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Wind, Sand and Stars :: a handmade interpretation

Inspired by my favorite author - Antoine St. Exupery and his novel - Wind, Sand and Stars, I felt compelled to put this treasury together.  Was it not said that a picture paints a thousand words? :)

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A birthday gift

Specially made for R's birthday and I almost couldn't bear to give it away!  Couldn't post pictures earlier as I didn't want to spoil the fun.  Look at those creamy baroque pearls with sparkling clusters of lilac amethyst and iolite gems... I hope R. loves these as much as I do and wear them often (*hint*).
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More spring love

My favorite season of the year - soft, sweet hues in fashion styles that I adore here I am, shopping on Etsy again:

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Inspiration :: The Great Gatsby

I recently finished F. Scott Fitzgerald's haunting novel - The Great Gatsby and must say I have become quite a fan of his writing.  The novel tells the story of the doomed romance between Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan and some has said that the book illustrates the fallibility of the American dream.

It has been more than a week since I read the novel, but the characters of Jay and Daisy are as fresh in my mind as ever, and I actually got inspired to create a necklace based on the style of that time period.


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In the mood for love

There are so many legends and traditions about Valentine's Day that it is hard to know its true origin today.  In the modern age, the occasion has just about become a commercialized event that few would even remember how Valentine's Day came about.   

As people around the world honor and remember their loved ones on this coming day, I thought I would share my favorite poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning:  

How Do I Love Thee?

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.

I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.

I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death. 

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Cherry Blossoms :: Welcoming Spring

The blooming of cherry blossoms or sakura (in Japanese) is a joyous occasion - it's a time to get together with family and friends, with good food and wine, and best of all, lots of laughter and good conversation...this is what the good life means :)


Inspired by the cherry blossom flowers, I created a palette in irresistibly pink gemstones - pink amethyst, rose quartz, pink Madagascan sapphires, rhodolite garnets, with keishi pearl accents.  Smoky brown andalusites with dashes of rutiles were added to resemble branches of cherry trees.  Perhaps this could be the start of a spring collection:

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