In 1991, I founded Bijouterie and was introduced to the amazing world of mineral specimens shaped into some of the most beautiful beads I had ever seen. In learning about all the varieties nature had to offer, my first offerings were the simplest of strands, attempting to showcase these gorgeous treasures.
Along the way…
The longer I searched and the more I traveled, the more interesting the choices became. I began to notice that some choices showed up only once—never to be seen again. I started to look for better clasps, unusual minerals, gold work, vermeil. And when I found even a few beads of something unique, I brought it home so that it could go into the next creation. Tiger coral, serpentine, tiny abalone squares formed into delicate beads by hand, shells from all over the world, carved teak beads, turquoise from the Southwest US, and from China, Karen silver to the tribal region of Thailand, baroque pearls from Japan, Botswana Agate from Africa, Citrine from Brazil, Peanut Fossil from Australia and yellow/black agate from Brazil. Every mineral is special, the energy they carry and the way they feel when worn, adds so much when we come into relationship with these treasures of Nature.
Agate is thought to have been originally named sometime between the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C. by Greek philosopher and naturalist Theophrastus. Each of the agates in this collection is a one-of-a-kind rock specimen. Agates of this sort have been recovered at a number of ancient sites suggesting widespread use of this mineral in the ancient world. This mineral group was found to be part of cultures as far back as the Bronze Age Minoan culture. The Greeks, Egyptians and Sumerians all used forms of agate for decoration and for playing important parts in their religious ceremonies. Each of these pieces is hand picked from a mine in Brazil and then polished and shaped for these striking pendants.
Pearly agate with earth-colored drusy and one tear-drop bead
Coppery Agate pendant with a band of drusy and burnished pearl drop on a steel multistrand chain.
Banded agate pendant with 18K electroplated gold drusy and a rutilated quartz drop.
Matte black agate with sparkling black drusy and a South Sea pearl drop.
Fanciful medley of black and white glass beads, pearls and silver and pewter accents.
African red jasper with gray striations, volcanic lava and silver accent beads. Jasper is known to have been a favorite gem in the ancient world.
Since the 3rd millennium B.C.E. lapis lazuli has been mined in the Badakhshan province of Afghanistan. This year I found grade A lapis which was a find as the region has been in so much turmoil for years that getting quality lapis is incredibly difficult. Wonderful blue discs creating a dramatic necklace when coupled with matte gold vermeil accent beads and clasp.
Carambola Café Shell carved and polished into lightweight orbs of shimmering polish. These shells are combined with delicate discs of for acents and a gold vermeil Swiss clasp
Tiny slices and chips of Citrine, gold accent beads and a doughnut of golden serpentine are combined in a two strand circlet.
Only one strand was available but it was exceptional and quite rare. Black needle-like crystals flowering out of clear quartz. Energetically powerful, aesthetically beautiful and combined with bead knots of gold vermeil and an amazing vermeil circular clasp.
Baltic amber—cognac, butterscotch, lemon, and creamy colored chips combined in a surprisingly lightweight, chunky strand, gathered with larger amber accent beads.
Rich black, taupe brown with small flecks of gold in soft, smooth marble beads cut in an assortment of shapes in Switzerland and polished to a beautiful luster. It is combined with rare peanut fossil beads from Australia.