New Items, New Thoughts.

This post may be a bit longer, as I feel text has been slightly dwindling from this blog. Firstly, new items! These will be hitting the shop later tonight and tomorrow.

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Stone rings in natural old stock Royston and Manassa mine turquoise, and a luscious pink rhodochrosite.

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Other newer pieces include mini “Sweet Sayings” rings. These sterling bands feature delightful short quotes by yours truly. Each ring features a different quote, but they can be made to your size upon inquiry. Currently made are: “We are the brazen bold“, and “A darling day for rain” (for the English). These sterling bands are patina darkened and then  polished to a steel like finish, with the darkened quotes hidden on the inside of the ring band. On the outside is my jeweler’s mark. These also make great knuckle rings.

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A wampum necklace with mini wampum beads, old stock cut of green Manassa mine turquoise, wild horse magnesite Crossed Arrows dangles, and silver & rose gold stackers will be joining them.

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It’s also been pretty evident that I’ve been somewhat neglectful of the Stretched Ears Jewelry shop. The Arrow Vanes, signature Stray Arrow wear, will soon be available in multiple gauge sizes in the shop. I’ll also be making more plugs featuring rare turquoise (Blue Moon mine), and other designs quite soon.

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Now for my favourite new addition. Awhile ago I made a necklace for myself that, along with The Stray Arrow necklace, has become a signature daily piece. Out of bronze and silver sheet metal I made a 5 string banjo. Completed with a wrap around quote on the body, and sawed out arrow in the back. I’ll be offering these in the shop as of tonight as a *CUSTOM* piece. The quotes and backing design can be customized. Four string banjos are also available. They’ll put a little folk mountain life in you. No templates, all hand forged.

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That’s it for new items for the next few days. I’ve also been working on some custom orders that’ll be shown here and the usual outlets (Tumblr, Instagram @thestrayarrow, Facebook), once finished.

A Note-

I’ve been noticing people imitating my work. While this is a touchy subject that seems taboo to talk about, this is getting unavoidable. Artisan one of a kind jewelry design is a difficult art to protect when compared to other art fields. Copies will happen. “One offs” are tolerated and occasionally flattering if the artist is *given credit* as being behind the inspiration. This is unfortunately not the case. I have been seeing people not only imitate my very specific signature materials (not that one can ever claim to own such a thing), but my writing descriptions, photography style, work title style and themes, and my overall aesthetic entirely. A continual ‘paraphrasing’, if you will. Most people have the grace to come up with their own designs, for those that don’t they bring down the work of others. I want to reiterate and remind everyone that if there is space to stamp my half inch “STRAY ARROW” logo onto an original piece, and it is not there, it is not made by me. This means that it is not backed by my quality guarantee, nor my 6 years of turquoise study experience. Just because a piece of turquoise is claimed from a mine does not equal good quality. I am an artist with eccentric interests, and my jewelry work is an extension of that. I try to be respectful of everyone’s creative and intellectual property, and truly wish the same in return.

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In other news, I’ve been in the process of taking some jewelry group shots of pieces for things like packaging, cards, and promos (hint hint *soon*). Below are some of those shots, as well as some really great folks wearing my jewels. Click on their photos for their respective work links and check them out!

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^lady Arlie, of Urban Revisions in 14k yellow gold and dark silver faceted sapphire gem ring. Paired with her new white glass jewels!

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^the extremely talented Rachel (photographer), in Royston turquoise and dark silver necklace.

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^Dominique of Couture Vulture wearing Stray Arrow No-see-’ems, and mini crystal rings by Concrete Polish.

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Cave Ladies, Shooting in The Dark,

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still a favourite.

Cave Ladies

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That’s all folks! I leave you with an illustration from one of my favourites, the Pink Fairy Book~

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xx The Stray Arrow

In the works…

I have been slowly compiling an inventory of the growing amount of different stacking rings in my shop. There are an awful lot, aren’t there? Nothing can be so classic or complex as the little stacker. In homage to this timeless trend, and for a bit of organization, I’ll be posting a guide next week on all of my signature stackers and the different ways they can be worn! Looks will be divided by themes like “Cave“, “Arrow“, “Floral“, “Class Act”, etc. In addition, I’ll be adding some new stackers to the shop. Many of these will be *one of a kind* stackers; non-resizable one offs.

Another post in the works will be an inside scoop-what kinds of jewelry do jewelers collect? My personal vintage collection will be shared. Expect some bragging to ensue.

***NEW ITEMS***

Will be hitting both shops next week. New turquoise, as ever and always, along with some warmer toned pieces for Springtime. See you then!

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Tulip Stackers. image for Blog

xx Stray Arrow

Preview Night

All of these new pieces will be sprinkled throughout the main Shop late this evening and throughout the day tomorrow…

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Quiver Packs modeled2

New ‘made to order’ Quiver Pack Rings feature little arrow vanes dangling from molten sterling and fine silver openings on a horse shoe shape. These can come either high polished or darkly oxidized. My jeweler’s tag for authentic Stray Arrow Wear joins the chevrons in the center. Each arrow vane is hand sawed with no template. The sides are then filed, sanded, and polished down so they are comfy and wearable-there’s no pricking here! While making the first one on a whim I was concerned they may be hard to wear, or get stuck on things. I was proven wrong. These are comfy, don’t get tangled, and make the sweetest sounding noise. They remind me of seeing little feathers sticking out of quiver packs. The dangling effect has a gypsy and belly dancing appeal.

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Main Quiver Pack pic

Quiver Pack reversed

Quivers modeled

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Another Oak Bark Ring, like the previous sold, will be in the shop. This one features a lovely spotted natural turquoise stone from the Cerillos mine. Set in a gold fill bezel on sterling hand sawed oak leaf. The texture and patina mimic the changes of colour in Autumn, and the rose gold fill veining also hints at a Futhark Algiz Nordic Rune.

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Green Oak Ring

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To accompany the Wild Flower Ring in the shop that’s ‘made to order’, a Wild Flower Bangle Bracelet! Featuring a deep and dense blue natural Kingman turquoise stone on a hand sawed bronze domed flower. The bronze and silver bracelet have been patina darkened for a lot of subtle rich tones. More Kingman Wild Flower Hair Ties will also be joining these within the next few weeks…

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Wild Flower Bangle main pic

Wild Flower ring bangle duo

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Also, a double dose of The Archer

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Double Archer Necklace

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Agate Cave Lady main pic

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This is a new favourite. Another Cave Lady Ring with an incredible agate slice that looks like a cloud being taken over by the earth around the edges. Could be the cloud is hovering OVER the earth, but that’s less dramatic. This stone has many layers, and rests on a hand sawed sterling backing. Four arrow vanes shake from either side. The back features a spiral cloud motif. This lovely is huge, and a serious statement piece. A perfect combination of the primitive foundations and delicate romance hidden in us all.

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Agate Cave Lady angled

Agate Cave Lady frontal shot

Agate Cave Lady Back

Agate Cave Lady

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FULL CAVE LOOK:

A Cave Lady Ring, flanked by Quiver Packs, and topped with Arrow Vane stackers. 

only for the bold and brazen.

Full Cave Look*

Check back to the shop to see more pictures and descriptions of these pieces.

xx Stray Arrow

Rock Appreciation Day

For this double Rock Day we have Imperial Jasper, and Lace/Banded Agate. The usual disclaimers apply-

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(Royal) Imperial Jasper

Jasper and agate are two of the most varied stone types out there. Jasper is of the quartz variety, almost always opaque, and reaches a 7 on the MOH’s hardness scale (for reference, diamonds are a 10 on the scale). It is said to be an impure chalcedony. Jasper can come in any colour. Because there are so many different colour and pattern variations, there are beyond dozens of “types” of classified jasper. Some other types besides imperial jasper would be Ocean jasper, Plume jasper, Picture or Landscape jasper, and so on. Jasper is found worldwide, but the majority of the beautiful type known as “Imperial Jasper”, or “Royal Imperial Jasper”, comes from Mexico. A light pastel version of the deeper colours associated with imperial jasper can also come from the Willow Creek Mine in Idaho. The main defining characteristics of imperial jasper are any combo of green hues, warm red/pink hues, and cream/brown hues. Rarely seen are the colder hues like grays and blues. There is a soft creaminess to the colours, and the highest grades show distinct banded patterns of colour. The bands or lines within this jasper can be referred to as “streamers”, when the jasper fractures and is then filled in with more jasper. Colours can swirl and merge from the rock forming process yielding amazing patterns. The most prized of all imperial jasper, are “Royal Imperial Jasper Nodules”. These nodules have a variety of colours in a banded pattern like an orb, stemming from the center of the stone.

 

The imperial jasper below is my own collection. All are up for grabs for custom orders except the small oval with rust and deep green colours of the same value. This is being used in a large ring…

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Imperial Jasper group pic

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Imperial Jasper group no. 2

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Lace and Banded Agate

Lace agate is quite close to jasper. It is also in the quartz family, and another variety of chalcedony. Classified as microcrystalline quartz, it measures a 6.5-7 on the MOH’s hardness scale. It can be opaque or translucent, and any degree in between. Like jasper, there is an inmeasureable amount of different types. Lace agate is close to banded agate and striped agate. Crazy lace agate is a more specific type only found in Mexico. Crazy lace agate can also be known as the “Laughter Stone”, or “Happy Lace”. Agate is said to start as a nodule in volcanic rock and ancient lava. From formation, the insides of agates are often left hollow and can form druzy quartz on the insides. This type will be saved for another Rock Day. The stones below are my collection of lace and banded agates up for grabs. The bottom left is crazy lace agate.

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Agate group photo

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Agate group pic 2

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Below:

Pieces made with lace and banded agate.

An example picture to show the difference between some plume and lace types…

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Agate jewelry group

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Plume & Lace type examples*

In the SHOP now:

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New Cave Lady Ring with agate in the works, and in the shop tomorrow:

Lace agate ring in works

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In other news:

New ITEM PREVIEW on the blog tomorrow morning.

New items in the shop tomorrow night and Monday-

xx Stray Arrow

Changes, New Item Preview, Commissions…

Well after spending several hours cropping photos and finishing new items last night, I did something I haven’t done since college. I LITERALLY fell asleep on my computer. Sorry all! 

This year has had a rocky start to say the least, but I won’t be getting into personal details. I’ve been making a series of required family trips, as well as planned trips (for sanity and all that). We all know how I love to drive! Now that things have settled down again I’m turning my full focus on the shop AND the Brand itself…

Changes. My Process.

Many jewelers, shop owners…business folks in general…never really talk about the inside details. I’m going to do a little sharing, so I’m sorry if this bit is boring! Photography wise, I use a simple SLR that I focus, point, and shoot. It’s all natural daylight. No tripod, no lighting, none of the fancy stuff. Unfortunately in these winter months, the sun yields a blue tinged light here in New England to everything no matter the time of day. I feel completely frustrated when trying to shoot work, even trying to keep it in focus with this old busted camera seems tough. SO. I have officially bought some more legitimate equipment to shoot in…and by legitimate, I mean real little lamps with daylight bulbs. Hopefully I’ll be reshooting *most* of my items with this to better represent the jewelry. The daylight bulbs allow me to shoot anytime, which also adds appeal. In addition I’ll be considering a new camera a few months down the line. Digital is a whole new world to me, and I’m pretty shameless about that. Up until needing a camera to shoot my jewelry I just used a 35mm manual Pentax in a darkroom. In summation, any good SLR camera any of y’all could recommend would be helpful! I’ll also be shooting my pieces in less cluttered set ups. Don’t worry. The leather, leaves, flowers, feathers, and all around Earth Essence will still be present. I couldn’t pull it out of me or the jewelry itself if I tried.

Commissions.

This year, I did something new. I told folks I was filled up on commissions to not overload myself and keep a steady pace. I put some proposed commissions on hold as well. Why did I do this? Without going into complicated details about the metal smithing process in general, there is some wait time in between technical steps. I’m one of those folks that truly just love to physically work, so I always have an extra 5-10 projects going on the side while working on everything else to keep beyond busy. Because of this, dozens of lovely ideas get made up to a point, but I never end up having true time to dedicate to finishing them. By only taking a certain number of commissions the past two months, I’ve been able to finish several projects that have been mer whispers of metal in the studio. All new items posted today have either been in progress, abandoned for the past few months, or stones I’ve been hankering to use for what feels like ages. For everyone wanting to get something specific done and waiting for it, THANK YOU.

I currently have some pending commissions that are still being worked on, but I’m completely open for more now! I’ll be contacting folks who’ve been waiting patiently-and yes. You’ll all get little extras for being amazing.

Rock Appreciation Day.

Was missed. I had Royal Imperial Jasper on the menu…and realized I’ve never made a piece with it! It’ll be done for March First in ADDITION to another stone type. Any requests are welcome!

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Feb Group Photo

New Items.

A brief description of the goodies below, which will be hitting the main Etsy shop this Sunday. I’ve been working on more pieces veering towards a “Stray Arrow” mindset. What exactly IS that? The entire concept behind The Stray Arrow, which has always been difficult for me to word, is in essence individuality. The Stray Arrow is alone from, or ahead of the pack. The Stray Arrow can be the one arrow in the quiver that makes the bulls eye shot. It’s me and you.

These pieces have a more rustic, Cave Time feel. Little arrow vane chevrons, individually sawed/sanded/stamped by hand, adorn each piece enthusiastically.

The Stray Arrow Necklace-

Made of pure molten silver with a beautiful weight to it. Little arrow vanes fan out, deciding which direction your path will eventually lead. These huge, low swinging necklaces will be made to order upon purchase. They are true Stray Arrow Wear, reminding you never to get boggled down. You always have options.

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Stray Arrow Necklace.

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Stray Arrow Necklace with rings

*pairs perfectly with Arrow Vane Stackers & Studs, Feathered Bands, and Crossed Arrows.

Stray Arrow Necklace...

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The Archer Earrings.

Made literally on a whim in the studio the other night, these will be “made to order” upon purchase. I had a thick arrow sawed out on the bench for another Robin Hood necklace. While listening to Paganini’s 6th Caprice, somehow the shapes of violins, cellos, and violas entered my mind. All those lovely curves while staring at the arrow immediately brought my mind back to bows. I’ve been craving to make some kind of arrow earring for awhile now. Over the past couple months arrows seem to have BOOMED in the world of popular shapes. Thinly walled base metal castings of basic arrow designs are everywhere. It’s time for something of quality and substance, don’t you think? These earrings are completely hand sawed, and stamped with tiny details reminiscent of obsidian stone arrow heads. When everything used to be made by hand, and it was necessity. All sterling silver, these are totally darkened. Thick arrows rest on bows, with their sterling silver chain “strings” pulled back. This is a simple, unique design. A companion necklace will also be in the shop Sunday.

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The Archer..

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Cave Lady Rings.

Close friends always have a handful of nicknames for each other. One of my favourites given to me is “Cave Lady”. My hair is fluffy and curly, made up of separate tendrils/tentacles that jut out in spools of crazy. Over the years (and through much trial and error) I’ve found a couple products that “tame the tentacles”, but I’ve come to terms with this nickname in all it’s appropriateness. Cave Lady for me also ties back to the primitive (note: I am NOT using this term in a derogative fashion as it so often is when applied to tribes or nations). When I was little I was obsessed with cave paintings (Lascaux), and trying to find arrowheads. Just the idea of putting that much time into the making of such a small object was fascinating. Fast forward into the future and I am now the creator of small things. I truly adore sawing and making these little arrow vane shapes, and thought…why not COVER something in it? So, in homage to the nickname, the old ancestry that ties us all together, and of course my obsessive love of rocks, I give you Cave Lady Rings. Two are currently made, one using a beautiful White Buffalo Turquoise stone and one a unique Koroit Opal stone. These rings feature little dangling Arrow Vanes, that also give them a Gypsy feel (another obsession, as a chunk of my family are from the Carpathian Mountains). Each ring has a wide band with “Cave Lady” stamped on the inside. These can be custom made with your stone choice in your size. The two current rings will fit a US size 5.5-5.75 (Buffalo), and US size 8 (Koroit).

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Cave Lady White Buff

Cave Lady White Buff Back

Cave Lady White Buff ring

Cave Lady Koroit Opal ring

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Three Needles. Bracelet.

This piece is pretty substantial. The Three Needles (as in Pine tree needles), features three different kinds of old stock, natural, rare and collectible kinds of American Southwest Turquoise. I obtained these three stones from a man who deals directly with the mine owners, so these are from old stock collections of the owners themselves! Each mine name is stamped on the back of it’s respective stone. Each stone has a different bezel type, with a different etched in textural design around the bezel. The horse shoe shape that two of the turquoise stones rest on is also filled with dangling hand sawed arrow vanes. These make a fantastic light noise when in motion, and add a little movement to the piece. It will fit a small to medium wrist. This is a serious unique statement piece.

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Three Needles Bangle

Three Needles Back

Three Needles in Ice

Three Needles Bangle Close Up

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Zig Zag Steerer. Necklace.

This necklace has been on the work bench half finished for a long, long, time. It ties back to my Romantics Line, featuring quotes of poetry or literature. The quote is from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s, “The Humble Bee“.  Featuring three nicely coloured old stock natural Royston Mine turquoise stones, wampum, and chalcedony gems, this is a massive piece. The wampum is an amazingly coloured chunk that my mother actually found on the beach last year. For anyone out there who knows about wampum, you know what an impossible feat that is! I set the wampum in pure silver bezel on a sterling backing just as it was found. The wampum dangles from the massive three turquoise stone pendant. The great quote from Emerson’s poem, “Zig Zag Steerer, Desert Cheerer“, is stamped on the back of the turquoise and wampum. Little oceanic flowers of faceted sea foam chalcedony gemstones join the pendant on the blackened silver chains a ways up. The necklace length is adjustable by using the tiny amethyst gem clasp, or the plainer silver clasp at the end. This piece oozes feelings of royalty, beach colours, bookworm appeal, the Southwest, and even latches on to my “Along The Dark Shore” themed pieces that combine turquoise and wampum. There’s something in it for everyone, and it has an amazing weight and presence to it.

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Zig Zag Steerer Necklace

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Sunday.

All of these fresh lovelies, PLUS MORE, will be in the main shop on Sunday. Any new pieces joining those that have been previewed here may make an appearance on my FaceBook Page or Instagram (username: TheStrayArrow). Anything can be reserved ahead of time if you have your heart set.

I have been neglecting the shop for those with stretched ears, and will be pouring my efforts into breathing back some life into it in the coming week. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, it looks like we’re expecting ANOTHER snow storm here in New England this weekend. For those in it’s path, stay warm.

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Archers Crossed.

xx Stray Arrow.

Turquoise Guide.

Time to crack open the Treasure Chest…

Turquoise Treasure Chest

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A COMPREHENSIVE TURQUOISE GUIDE FOR CUSTOMERS AND OTHER ENTHUSIASTS

       A DISCLAIMER: I am an enthusiast. I have gathered all of the information here by myself over years spent drooling over and collecting rocks. I have not been trained, schooled, or educated beyond my own research. I am not a lapidary artist, mineralogist, gemologist, mine owner, or any other kind of authority on gems, stones, or minerals. I am simply sharing information I have gathered through reading and observation, and my opinions. If you see something mislabeled please –kindly- let me know.

       For this Turquoise Guide, the main aim is to educate anyone and everyone who would like to know how to identify the quality of what they’re buying (many of these factors can be applied to all stones, not just turquoise). A three star grading system will be used solely within my shop for my own jewelry pieces, and will be explained with examples towards the bottom of this post.

 I will be using select terms in repetition for describing aspects of stone quality. These are also just handy in general. Here is a list of some terms that may prove useful with a few example pictures:

Rough/Nugget: when a stone is in a nugget or chunk rock form straight from the earth.

Slab: After the rough/nugget stage rocks are cut into working slabs (from what I’ve seen around ¼” thick), that a lapidary artist will trace in pencil where to cut cabochons.

Preform: The shape of a cabochon cut from a slab and roughly started.

Rough examples

(click picture to enlarge)

Cabochon (cab for short): Stones used in jewelry, mainly for bezel setting. Cabochons are flat on the bottom and polish domed on the top for easy setting.

Doublet: When a stone or gem has some kind of backing. This can been seen in “opal doublets” or triplets-which is done to save money. In the case of turquoise, however, it is often done in the lapidary process to work with the stone when shaping and polishing. Turquoise is very soft compared to other mineral types, so many natural turquoise stones will more often than not have a resin backing. This can actually be handy when buying turquoise because stabilized, or enhanced turquoise won’t have any resin backing.

Enhanced: When natural stones are treated to improve colour, finish, strength, or other characteristics. This lessens quality as “natural” is more desirable. Enhancement methods can include surface coating, filling cracks, oiling (usually done to emeralds to hide fracturing), waxing, dyes etc.

Stabilized: A form of stone enhancement where plastic resins are forced into the pores of a stone to harden and brighten colour. The only way I know of to test this is to take a heated pin to the stone and see if you smell plastic.

Fracture: A crack or break in the rock. Fractures can also be teeny tiny river shaped cracks in the surface of a stone, which is common among older stock pieces, natural pieces, or especially soft pieces. A stone can often still be used with fractures as long as there is no chipping, but they are not desired.

Porous: A stone with tiny holes in the surface. While these can still be beautiful, things like water and oils from skin can get into the rock and change it’s colouring over time.

Value: Spectrum of light to dark.

Hue: Essentially colour.

Saturation: The intensity, depth, and vividness of colour.

 Chroma: Purity or intensity of colour.

Luster: State or quality of shine.

Water Web: When a stone features a webbing pattern of two different tones/values of turquoise without a host rock.

Spider and Water Webs

(click on picture to enlarge)

TURQUOISE & QUALITY.

LOCATION:

All of the turquoise I collect comes from the American Southwest. Other turquoise hubs that I know of are China and Persia. Persia produces a lot of great quality blue turquoise that can also sometimes be seen in Native American Indian jewelry. China produces a lot of enhanced or stabilized turquoise, as well as quality turquoise like that of the Hubei Mine. I’m sure there are other “hubs” that produce turquoise, but these are the prominent three I’ve been exposed to constantly while rock roaming.

 In theory, a mine owner or their employees will sell rough to lapidary artists who then create cabochons or other stone styles from the rough. Sometimes a mine will produce turquoise in several stages for sale (rough, slabs, cabs). Essentially what it comes down to is it is on the mine owners, operators, employees, buyers, lapidary artists, and any other middle folks between digging the rock out of the earth to the hands of a jeweler to keep the Mine location of the turquoise properly labeled. This is a very hopeful practice. Many people say you can never really know where a stone comes from. I met a man once who could tell you the exact Mine or Mine pit a stone was from just by looking at it. It really depends on how much exposure you have to turquoise, and how close you are to the source. Sometimes a stone origin can be evident if a mine has signature characteristics that NO OTHER MINE HAS. Damele and Lander Blue come to my mind (watch out though! Highly prized Lander Blue is often poorly faked. Anything that isn’t sold for hundreds a carat ain’t real folks). Mines that are really close in location and colour qualities are harder. For instance Crow Springs, Ajax, Royston, and Pilot Mountain mines can be confused very easily. While most stones are only graded in quality based on the condition of the stone, turquoise also factors in location and colour.

COLOUR/PATTERN:

Colour is always subjective. Back in the day deep saturated blues were considered prized. Solid colours were considered higher quality. Nowadays pale blues, deep greens, and everything in between has become collectible. Patterns make for more unique stones, and unique stones are always more sought after. No matter what, a mainstay in quality is spider-webbed turquoise. A clear webbing pattern is always the highest quality. What I look for in colour is uniqueness and chroma/saturation. The deeper colour of the stone the better in my book. Different hues, like mixed blues and greens, are also a hit. I veer towards the collectible “military greens” often seen in Manassa, Blue Gem, and Royston turquoise. Rare hues are also what I cherish, as I’m a bit of a colour nerd. Anything topographical or “earthy” I’ll jump on. Pale blues can also be beautiful, especially the “white turquoise” of mines like Dry Creek. Any kind of webbing, boulder cut, or water web is always special and a bit harder to come by. If a colour looks “chalky”, or less saturated, I’ll personally consider it lower quality. An example of this is two different rings I made in the same “Green Grasses” theme. Both cabs were natural from the Crow Springs Mine. One is a deeper green and I considered that to be more prized.

Crow Springs Green Grasses ringGreen Grasses No. 2 better

TREATMENT:

The highest quality stones are natural. Always. Natural stones are often, but not always backed or mounted. If a stone is too soft it is often stabilized or enhanced in some way. High Grade natural turquoise is a small percentage of turquoise produced from a mine that is hard and can take a good polish. There are always exceptions based on location. For example a webbed Damele turquoise with one or two chips may be prized more than a hard, high polished Kingman mine stone. There is always subjective compromise based on location, pattern, and colouring. The general consensus is natural>treated every time. The difficult part for many is being able to tell when a stone is enhanced in any way. For me, I think stabilized stones look dulled out and more plastic like. While it is done to strengthen and brighten colour, the overall appearance is waxy and too high polished to be believable. Then again, there really is no way of knowing unless you know and trust the source or get it professionally tested.

OTHER FACTORS:

The highest grades of turquoise will be either the perfect hue (robin’s egg blue), spider-webbed, water-webbed, birds eye, include pyrite, fossils, dendrites, or be extremely rare based on mine location. Few are able to obtain and use turquoise of this grade and it is what I would consider to be “museum” or top quality. Any of these types of turquoise that aren’t extremely hard, cut well, and polished I would consider to be “good/decent” quality. Natural turquoise that is a jewelry standard usually features one solid colour or decent matrix. I prize turquoise with pyrite, tight spider and water webs, and rare mines.

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TURQUOISE GRADING SYSTEM FOR THE TURQUOISE STONES I USE IN MY OWN JEWELRY:

A three star (***) system will be seen displayed with each piece of jewelry I create involving turquoise. A single star will encompass the majority of turquoise used. To the best of my knowledge, this will always be natural turquoise. One star will stand for wholesale to decent grade turquoise. Two stars will stand for higher grade turquoise or rarer mines. Three stars will rarely be seen and reserved solely for my best top-notch turquoise stones collected and used.

       These stars will appear at the bottom left corner of the first photo for every Etsy turquoise listing from now on. The star shown is how I will be grading the stone in the jewelry piece.

If you see a stone and fall in love, but it is low quality-it doesn’t matter! Anything has the potential for beauty. This guide is merely to inspire confidence in any customer, to establish price points, and for sharing information. I care about what I use, produce, and offer to people. There’s nothing better than someone enjoying something I’ve created. I love turquoise, and I want you to love it as well. Sometimes I also use rough, uncut, or unpolished turquoise. These stones will also be graded with one star. I use these because of either where they come from, the colour, or just because they are really, really cool rocks. I love the thought of the process they go through coming out of the earth, and capturing it in an early stage for jewelry use is exciting.

 WHEN BUYING JEWELRY:

Sometimes I will actually snag and use a turquoise stone when I do not know, or am not sure of the mine. This may be because the stone is obviously of amazing quality, or because I just think it’s darn nifty. A stone is a stone, after all. When you buy jewelry, from me or any other jeweler or place out there, make sure people tell you what you’re getting! If the “main stone” of a piece is listed as Sleeping Beauty mine, do NOT assume this covers any other turquoise stones in that piece that are not identified. I’ve seen this a lot where someone will use one nice stone, and surround it by cheap stabilized Chinese turquoise. If they don’t know where it’s from, they should tell you. It may or may not lessen the personal value you project towards that jewelry piece, but you should have all the facts. Most people do not know the mines of the stones they use, and it should not take away from the piece unless you’re aiming to collect a mine.

Secondly, all sides of what you are planning to buy should be seen. Sometimes there is a limit to how many photos of each item a seller can post depending on the selling platform. If I do not post a picture of the back of an item, it is usually because of this reason or lack of detailing on the back. Never hesitate to ask for more photos from anyone to see all views.

*PRICING*

If the price is too good to be true, it usually is. Rare turquoise is RARE, and thus expensive. Once a mine is depleted, all that is left is uncut rough or old stock cab collections on the market to be used. If someone is selling “natural”, “rare” turquoise, or anything from a specific mine, at a low cost, they are either not making any money or being dishonest. My particular prices are extremely fair for what the turquoise stones themselves alone retail for, or cost for collectors. I have worked for several years to search out reputable and trustworthy sources. If you have a questions about a stone used in my jewelry, feel free to ask.

If you have any questions about any of my work, never hesitate to ask me. Be nice though, and remember we’re all human.

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BELOW:

TURQUOISE EXAMPLES &  TURQUOISE IN JEWELRY EXAMPLES.

RoughCrowSprings

^these are rough cabs from the Crow Springs mine. I would not use them in my jewelry but collect them because I like rocks and think they’re nifty.

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Pilot Mtn Tight Web stone

Morenci with Pyrite

Lander Group Ex.

^These four all look similar but are from different mines.

(L to R: New Lander, Lander County, Apache, Widow Maker)

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Damele Group ex.

Crow Springs Quality Group

^Crow Springs Mine.

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BISBEEgrouping^an indicating mark of Bisbee Blue is the warm deep chocolate brown host rock/matrix

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~*FOR JEWELRY EXAMPLES CLICK ON THE PICTURE TO SEE THE ITEM*~

Apache Mine Lisa's ring

#8 mine webbed plugs

Cripple Creek Ring

Damele&Candelaria Lin's rings

Kingman Murky Skies ring

Lisa's Murky Skies Apache

Manassa studs on feather

^these little Manassa post earrings are of decent quality and have a lot of beautiful teeny patterning, hue, and chroma variations.

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Steph's Manassa Plugs

^custom 1″ Manassa Mine plugs with solid and ribbon cut turquoise.

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Tory's Damele Bangle

Unknown gold ring stone

^while the Mine is unknown, this is natural, webbed, Southwestern turquoise.

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Kingman Bangle

^certain Mines, like a lot of Kingman Ithaca Peak, are actually popular in this more “nugget like” form. They are collected this way and still prove of great quality.

Spider to Fly ring

Unknown Nugget Turq Ring^this last one is unknown, Kingman mine is usually more blue as seen in the two previous.

White Buff my ring

^lower quality White Buffalo- this ring is one of my personal pieces i made for myself.

Buffalo and Crow Custom Bracelet

^custom Buffalo&Crow cuff, with White Buffalo ribbon cut. Ribbon cut and boulder turquoise is automatically considered a little lower in quality simply because there is less turquoise involved and more host rock. These types have become collectible in their own right for contrast between the turquoise and host rock, and patterning.

Sotmr Caller White Buff ex

^high quality White Buffalo, with smooth even polish, hard surface, and clarity between the white and black chert host rock matrix.

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THAT’S IT FOLKS.

As always, feel free to message me with any questions, concerns, etc.

Thanks for reading!

xx Stray Arrow.

*these are my own notes from years of study and research. Copyrighted by Stasia Salvucci 2013. Please do not quote or use without permission.

Giveaway Results, New Item Preview, New Rocks…

LET’S GET RIGHT TO IT, SHALL WE?

For both giveaways I made a list of the names entered with numbers next to the names. The drawing for the Koroit Dirt Drop Necklace was out of 24 names, the Buffalo out of 64. I used a random number generator to choose the winners:

Picture 5

WINNER of Koroit Necklace:

Picture 6

SARAH HAYWARD.

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Picture 10

WINNER of Buffalo:

Picture 9

LAUREN PROPER.

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Congrats to Lauren & Sarah! You’ll be contacted to confirm shipping info. Thank you so much to everyone who participated! Grazie Mille for the comments, compliments, shard stories, quotes, lyrics, and little diddys. We’ll have to see what I come up with next December!

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If you all didn’t notice, both shops are currently on VACATION. I had some panic last time that folks couldn’t “find” my shop on Etsy and thought I had been lost forever, so DON’T PANIC. They’ll reopen next week! Meanwhile I’m out on the road to see some good ol’Bluegrass banjo music. Speaking of banjos…..

*NEW ITEM PREVIEW*

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JewelryGrouping

I’ve always liked some nice twang. While I listen to many, many different “genres” of music, I adore old Appalachian Folk, Bluegrass, Delta Blues, and old Country. Banjos in general are just neat. So, I’ve been bangin’ out some 5 string banjo-shaped pieces for keychains and little necklaces. They are out of thick copper and bronze in two different sizes. Each has my maker’s mark on the back, and a CUSTOM song quote or tittle on the front. There will also be a standard set of quotes to choose from. The key chains will be great for guys and gals alike, the necklaces shall veer slightly towards a steampunk fashion with antique watch faces for the banjo body, reading, “BANJO TIME”, on the back. These will be up in the shop for sale next week as a “first draft”at this new concept.

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BANJOS.

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These new goodies will also be in the shop next week:

Icarus.modeled

Icarus.side.

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KingmanGoldPosts

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KoroitBacchusnecklace

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ManassaStacker

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LittleLeafStacker

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miniRoystonPendant

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WinterWindsmodeled

WinterWindsside.

WinterWinds.size.

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Olive Arrowring

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Also new will be one of a kind stacking ring sets, “The Cave Stack”. Each will feature two pieces of natural turquoise from a collectable mine. Each will have 4 rings in the stack total, often spur of the moment made stackers. These may be one shot items. They’ll all be patina rustic, echoing your inner cave dweller. The Cave Stack below features Castle Dome turquoise from the Southwest in a size 7.5. A set featuring Damele mine turquoise is also made up in a size 6, and a #8 Mine Cave Stack is currently in production in a size 8.5. These can also be custom made!

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CastleCaveStack

CastleDomeCaveStack

CastleDomeStackModeled

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NOW ON TO ROCKS.

Some sad news is I *WON’T* be heading to the fun and fruitful Tucson Gem Show this coming year. After getting slightly more organized this year, I’ve realized that I do have an extensive rock inventory that really does need to be used up before I buy oodles more. Because of this, I just snagged a HUGE, MASSIVE amount of natural old stock turquoise stones from a secret source of mine. In addition I’ve formed a couple of other selective sources for primo quality natural turquoise. A few days before I picked these out, the man I acquired them from had just had a mini summit of sorts with 5-7 different Mine *owners*, so this is pretty great stuff straight from their respective sources. Most are currently up for grabs for any custom orders (great for Cave stacking sets!). Feel free to inquire about any sizes, or custom ideas!

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BISBEEgrouping

BlueGemGrouping

CasleDomeCabgroup2

CastleDomecabgroup1

CastleDomeCabGroup3

FoxMinegrouping

ManassaTurqgrouping

NumberEightMineturqgrouping

TurqGroup1

^ABOVE FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: rough Manassa, rough Damele, Skyline Mine, Snowville Variscite from Utah.

SmokeyBisbeecab

SleepingBeautycabs

Roystonminegrouping

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That’s it! Hope everyone has had a Happy Holiday season, whether you’re celebrating Channukah, Christmas, Yule/Solstice, or what have you. See you all January First for Rock Appreciation Day!

xx Stray Arrow

One Thousand Sales

It has happened! I have officially hit 1,000 sales in my main Etsy shop, and I know it had nothing to do with luck. Selling on Etsy has been amazing. Starting a business in any capacity is hard. Perching over my little sawing set up late at night while still at school with a full 8 class course load and tons of things on the side was worth it. It’s been an absolute pleasure to do what I love, and be able to share it with people. It’s been a slow and steady learning experience that is the most rewarding thing I’ve done to date. Those that know me personally know I’m not a particularly gushy person, but I truly want to thank all of you for your support. I’ve had some unique and inspiring customers. I swoon over the feedback some have left, and I adore discovering how many people out there share my interests. Y’all truly are, the bees knees.

In celebration, I’d like to give back a little. The 1,000th sale was free. From tonight, until *tomorrow night at midnight*, take 25% off your entire order! Use the coupon code in the photo below upon checkout in the Stray Arrow Etsy Shop

Thanks all!

-Stasia.

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THOUSANDSALEBLOGIMAGE

Mini New Item Preview

These lovelies will be in the main shop and in the plugs shop later this evening. Another item preview will be next Sunday~

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Flower&ArrowStackers

FoxMineBrzDanglesforTunnels

WhiteOakBlog

WhiteOakBack

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xx Stray Arrow

DECEMBER GIVEAWAYS

For the month of December, I’ll be having *TWO SEPARATE* GIVEAWAYS.

*each person’s name will only go in once for each giveaway, regardless the amount of items purchased or the amount of comments made.

Giveaway 1 will be for this buffalo bracelet (currently unfinished). The bracelet will fit a small to medium sized wrist, and pictures will be posted when finished, when the winner is announced. All purchases made in BOTH Etsy shops, Gauged by Stasia and The Stray Arrow, from December 1 through December 25th at midnight, will be entered in to win. The winner will be announced on the blog on the 26th, and be contacted for shipping information.

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BUFFALOGIVEAWAY4

BUFFALOGIVEAWAY1

BUFFALOGIVEAWAY3

BUFFALOGIVEAWAY2

BUFFALOGIVEAWAY5

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GIVEAWAY 2  won’t require any purchased items. To have your name entered, simply leave a comment on EITHER this blog post, or the corresponding post for this announcement on my Facebook Page (liking my page won’t hurt either!). The comment can be anything you want, a favourite quote, a picture, your favourite colour-anything at all. All comments on this blog post or the facebook post will be entered and a random name drawn on December 26th. The prize is *UNDECIDED* at this time! I’m thinking some kind of necklace, possibly a koroit opal Ice Shard, have any ideas? Get to commenting before I start making it quick! Once the prize is completed this post will be edited to list it.

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!

xx Stray Arrow