Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Legend of the “Star of the St. Croix”

It is said that there is a legend in the St. Croix River Valley from long ago. I don’t know if it is true. 
The fabled "Star of the St Croix" diamond- 1.1 carat
Once upon a time there was a handsome French fur trader who married a beautiful Native American woman. He knew of diamonds and promised her that one day he would give her a beautiful stone that would shine like the most brilliant star in the night sky.

They had a wonderful life together but as hard as they worked there was never enough money for him to buy this precious stone. One day, when they were older, they took their canoe out on the river at night to look at the stars. It was calm and the stars were reflected in the water. She said “It looks like the stars are floating in the river.”   He reached down and in his hand there was a beautiful diamond that he gave to her.

This stone was passed on through the generations and at one point was cut into a gem stone and set into a ring. So the story goes.

I recently purchased some old gold jewelry to be recycled. Among the pieces was an old beat up ring with a hundred year old mine cut diamond. I do not normally buy old diamonds because of the expense and It may be difficult to find the right person to sell it to. (See my recent blog “Let’s talk about diamonds) But this one spoke to me. It was hard to tell how good it was because of the old fashion cut. I had it re-cut and certified. It is a lovely diamond.

Whether it is the fabled “Star of the St. Croix” I cannot say, but it surely looks like the brightest star in the night sky!

If you or someone you know may be interested in a larger recycled diamond of good quality, let me know I would be happy to show it to you.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Farm Girl

I recently made wedding rings for a lovely couple, Gay and Ann. They had been together for many years and were now able to be legally “married”. As part of the process of deciding what the rings would look like I showed them all of the possibilities I have to offer. They chose their ring designs which were a pair of magical double Mobius strip bands (subject of another blog sometime!). One day Ann called me to ask if I could make a pendant for Gay as a wedding gift from her. She remembered a line of jewelry that I make from tiny pieces of driftwood from the north shore and asked if I could make a pendant from a piece of birch bark. We managed to find a piece from a small branch that had all the distinctive markings associated with that look and I made the pendant. 

Some time passed and I get another call from Ann asking about a pendant for herself. She was raised on a farm and has always thought of herself as a “farm girl”. Her parents no longer ran the farm but knew the people who did. She said there used to be a hundred year old hay barn on the farm that had fallen down. Some of the pieces had been saved. Ann asked if I could possibly use a piece of the old weathered barn wood as a background for the pendant. “Sure!”

Ann went to visit her parents. Her father is living with Alzheimer’s disease. As they were talking she asked her father if he could draw a picture of the old barn. He used to entertain her as a bored child in church with simple sketches. He proceeded to draw a very nice likeness of the old Illinois barn from memory. They then got a small board from the barn and brought it to me. 

I was able to make a reverse impression of the wood texture and from that make a positive in wax. I carved “farm girl” in one piece of the wax and carved a copy of the sketch of the barn in another piece as a pendant for Ann’s mother. We are all pretty happy with the result.

Cabin Sketch 

Wood piece from the Barn

reverse image of barn wood piece in silver

Wax casting
Finished pendant

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Let’s talk about diamonds

Let’s talk about diamonds. They are beautiful, unique gifts from the earth – the symbol of something that will last forever and never fade. If you want a diamond I will get one for you.

First of all it is very important to me that the diamond you buy is “conflict free”. This is assured by working with reliable, trusted and ethical suppliers - people that I know personally, have a long relationship with and who share this concern.

When you come in, I will explain what diamonds are all about.  In ten minutes you will know more about diamonds than many people who sell them. We will talk about quality and price, then, if you like, set up another appointment. I will go get several diamonds in your price range for you to look at and choose from.

I do not have a drawer full of stones or hundreds of “unique” settings. I only have a few diamonds as samples to show you.

What I do that is different from the stores, is to go to my suppliers and carefully look at each diamond available and choose one that meets my standards and has the qualities you have asked for.
engagement ring & wedding band
After decades of being in this business I have come to know the subtle differences in the qualities of a diamond that go beyond the standard classifications. Does the cut enhance the brilliance of the stone. Are the flaws dark or light. Are they in a place that can be easily seen or not. Is there clearness in the structure of the stone or a slight haziness. Is there florescence and if so is that good or bad. It is essentially a matter of how does the stone look to my experienced eye.
You learn about diamonds. I find the best ones. You choose the one you want. And you will most likely save money. I charge less than the stores because I don’t have a lot of money tied up in stones and when you get here you will see that I don’t have a lot of overhead.
Diamonds are like people and couples. Each truly is unique. You have chosen each other. I would love to help you chose the right diamond. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Winter Wonderland

Final ring- Front with cabin 

Ann and Steve are good friends of mine who were recently married. Steve and his family have a cabin in the Black Hills where they have spent wonderful times together. They asked me to make their rings for them. 
Final ring- Deer tracks leading to rose

When I asked what they wanted their rings to be like, Steve thought of the cabin. He then drew a sketch. Ann wanted a rose to be a part of the design as well. There are deer tracks leading from the rose to the trees surrounding the cabin- a winter wonder land.

The "sketch"
You don't need to be a Rembrandt, I'll know what to do

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Wren

Several years ago I made wedding rings for a great couple,  Dave and Wren.

In November, Dave called me to ask if I could make a wren pendant for his wife. It sounded like a fun project and I think it turned out well. It's made from platinum and is a little bigger than a quarter. The branches are made from molds of tiny driftwood pieces from the north shore of Lake Superior.  There are small rubies set in the blossoms of the branches to give the piece a bit of color and suggested the berries of spring.