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In the Heat of Summer…

It’s getting hot (and strangely muggy) in this part of Washington…. So, just as I do every time summer comes around, I’m having serious cravings for white or iced wine. One of my favorite white wines comes from a winery with a tasting room up in Leavenworth, so my goal for the summer is to- at some point- take a day off for a road trip to buy a bottle of wine and bring it back for a wonderful candlelit dinner and some quiet time with my sketchbook….

But, meanwhile, I’ve got thoughts of white wine preoccupying my brain and it’s oh so distracting!

Sorting through a recent bead order, I discovered two Swarovski crystals which were immediately claimed for this new design…

These Tendrils of the Vine Link Earrings feature Swarovski crystals on Argentium silver wire. A perfect pairing for your next wine tasting! ;)
These Tendrils of the Vine Link Earrings feature Swarovski crystals on Argentium silver wire. A perfect pairing for your next wine tasting! 😉

 

They made me fall into a daydream of beautiful summer afternoons with a nice white (maybe an iced) wine! Since I only had enough crystals in this color for a single pair of earrings I had to make them count, so I paired them with one of my personal favorite designs from the Tendrils (of the Vine) Collection. With the Argentium Silver wire leaf swirls, handmade silver head pins and bright crystal colors- I’m having a wine craving just looking at them! These are being saved for next week’s delivery to Ellensburg Canyon Winery/Cox Canyon Vineyards, but you can find the Siam version on Etsy here.

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Crystal Fire Necklace

FSandSSN and Earrings on White
This handmade Butterfly Sundries necklace design reminds me of the inner flame and spark within all of us. I think of phoenixes rising from the ashes or the warm glow and potential of fire embers.

Phoenixes, fire embers, a person’s inner spark or flame; I love the imagery of all of them. I like the idea that fire has the potential to ignite, drive or fuel our passions- but I also know that, sometimes, our inner flames can burn down to embers if we don’t tend to our own needs. With this new Etsy design, I wanted to capture the light of fire through the ages- past, present and future.

The three Swarovski drops on the necklace remind me of the people who have helped to reignite my inner flame when I’ve forgotten my path. It also reminds me of the life-journey; sometimes we burn bright, sometimes we don’t- but always we have the spark of potential.

In my life, I have always striven to be a “light-bearer”… but there are have been times I have forgotten to tend to my inner flame; my fire burned down to embers. To all those persons in my life who have inspired me and been kind enough to help reignite my passions when I have forgotten my own potential- I thank you.

You can now find this necklace (and the matching earrings) in Butterfly Sundries’ shop on Etsy!

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Swarovski Grapes on the Silver Vine

When I see amethyst Swarovski briolettes, I think of the vibrant colors of some of my favorite wine grape varietals... maybe that's why this pendant makes me want to drink wine?
When I see amethyst Swarovski briolettes, I think of the vibrant colors of some of my favorite wine grape varietals… maybe that’s why this pendant makes me want to drink wine?

 

I love the way these Swarovski crystals catch the light; it’s almost as though they have some inner flame desperate to burst forth and share beauty with world. Just the tiniest movement can make it seem as though they come alive and the colors remind me of the beauty of some of my favorite wine grape varietals on the vine.

 

Between the holidays, the wedding of a dear friend, New Years’ Eve party invitations and Valentine’s Day plans, my mind has been preoccupied with the idea of celebratory jewelry.  And, as the marking of milestones seems to be culturally celebrated with a toast (wedding toast, toast in the new year, wine and chocolate Valentine’s Day events), this new design, part of my Tendrils of the Vine Collection, is the manifestation of my personal celebration for endings, beginnings, milestones & holidays.

 
And, for Butterfly Sundries, it also marks a new milestone: this is my first Swarovski design, now available on Etsy here! I’ll toast to that!

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What is Argentium Silver?

Argentium is a modern, more pure, kind of Sterling Silver which modifies the traditional alloy. One of the most notable differences is that it replaces some of the copper with germanium. But, why does that matter?

Depending upon the desired result and use, Argentium can have several benefits over Sterling Silver. While there are many technical benefits for the jewelry artist, for the average consumer there are two obvious benefits:

  • It is highly tarnish resistant, which for consumers who hate polishing their jewelry and want it *always* shiny and pristine is a huge bonus.
  • Argentium silver is stronger and more durable than traditional sterling silver, making it more resistant to damage from scratches, denting and deformation – (this is particularly beneficial for jewelry items that will be worn regularly).

For the jewelry artist with some cross-over for the clients:

  • Reduction or elimination of firescale (Good for the environment/requires less of the artist’s time/saves client money! Note: this does depend upon how the silver was used; it won’t always save you time or money.)
  • No plating necessary- it’s silver through and through (You don’t have to worry about it losing that “like new” appearance due to the plating wearing thin and the artist doesn’t have to spend the time doing it!)

For the jewelry artist:

  • increased malleability
  • accelerated hardening and easy heat-hardening properties
  • suitable for welding and laser forming
  • safer working environment (no nasty or dangerous chemicals required!)

For the environmentally and socially conscious, it’s important to note that Argentium silver is guaranteed-responsible:

  • The traceability of its raw silver is guaranteed; only recycled silver is used (it’s certified).
  • No hazardous processes (chemicals)
  • Reduction in manufacturing time, labor and resources
  • Argentium alloys don’t contain nickel.

 

Aesthetically, it’s also whiter than traditional sterling, white gold and platinum! Over an extended period of time, it can develop a mild golden patina.

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Silver Delights

Silver and Copper Nautical and Climber's Knot Ring, an original Butterfly Sundries design
Silver and Copper Nautical and Climber’s Knot Ring, an original Butterfly Sundries design

While the vast majority of my designs are always available in silver (by custom order), in preparation for the holidays I’m making some of my favorite original wire designs in silver ahead of time (both as samples of my work and also for sale). Some will be available on Etsy, others through the Moses Lake Museum & Art Center. The difficulty is in choosing which pieces to focus on!

I’ve chosen a few of my favorite items from the Tendrils of the Vine Collection, and I’m sure one of the silver naval/climber’s knot rings will show up…. but after that my brain freezes.  I simply can’t decide.

(Taking suggestions and requests!)

What I have decided, though, is to explore the possibility of making select etched-silver designs available in-time for the holidays. After numerous requests for the option, it’s time to meet the demand. And for those pieces…. I already have grand plans in development!