The History Of Swarovski Crystals

Swarovski hair vine

I like to be known as a transparent business which means letting people know what materials I use in my business and how I or my suppliers contribute to the environment.

I love wearing beautiful things but I realized that in order to do this I have to have a planet not only to live on but one that sustains me too. I also have a conscious and want to know that my suppliers do too.  Hence why I only use materials to make my jewellery with that shares my ethics and pays their workers a fair income with great working condition’s for their employees.  It is these ethics that has been the driving force behind my business practices and the products that I make.

In today’s blog I am going to be looking at one of the materials that I use in my designs – Swarovski crystals and Swarovski Pearls. You will learn who Swarovski is, what a Swarovski crystal is made of, how it differs from other crystals and how to care for it plus much more.

I was introduced to these wonderful orbs several years ago when a family member gave me a bracelet that had been made out of Swarovski. I was mesmerized by its brilliant shine and how it looked very much like a diamond and I was hooked!

A couple of years later when the Earth Faeries was born I decided to use it in my collections.

Hand made rose bridal hair comb
A handmade hair comb with Swarovski Crystals & Swarovski pearls

 

Firstly I was looking for vegan materials and was delighted that they passed the cruelty free test.  Secondly they are environmentally friendly business and the company is an ethical one too so I more than happy to use their products in my creations. Here is a report detailing their good ethics and how they are protecting the environment. Click here for the report. Thirdly I love their cut, clarity, amazing vibrant colours (my favorite is blush pink) and their contour. Contour means perfectly shaped crystals. How could I resist?

Swarovski Crystals
These beautiful beads are authentic Swarovski Crystals that I using in my new designs

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I often get asked by my customers and friends about what Swarovski crystal is made of etc of so I thought I would write an article on it.

Who is Swarovski you may be wondering? Daniel Swarovski was the son of a glass cutter and following in the footsteps of his father he became skilled in glass cutting. Danial had a dream of creating a diamond that everyone could afford to have. He invented and patented an electric cutting machine in 1892 that was revolutionary. This allowed the crystal to be cut with more precision than by hand and create a wonderful piece of fine man made gem that had the brilliance of a diamond.

These beautiful crystals are used by well known designers and brands such as Chanel in their fashion collections.  Famous models have adorned them on the catwalks all around the world. They have been featured in Victoria secrets collections – a famous lingerie brand.  The Austrian brand has dated back to 1897 – spanning five generations of the Swarovski Family.  You may be surprised to discover that the brand has dressed big names back in history such as Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe in Gentleman prefer blonds and Audrey Hepburn in breakfast at Tiffany’s. The Swarovski crystals where used in her tiara. Seasonal collections are added every year and the crystals are used in combination with precious and semi precious stones too.

What exactly is a Swarovski crystal? Unlike quartz crystals that are made by mother nature and found in the earth – Swarovskis are man made by using natural resources such as sand, quartz and minerals.

Why are they more expensive than glass? They use only the finest natural materials, the crystal is cut with precision using a special patented machine and are polished to a brilliant shine. The entire process is very complex as the crystal is created to have hundreds of identical facets in several directions. Each direction of the reflected light must be calculated on a computer then has to be simulated in 3D, optimized and converted into programs for the machinery to make them.

How do you know if they are the genuine article?

  • there should be no bubbles inside of the crystal
  • each one is identical size to the other. There should be no variations
  • the same colour family are identical shades
  • If there is scratches on the crystal or an oily sheen then this means its not an authentic one.
  • apart from the Swarvoski pearls the crystals come loose and are not stringed together
  • All facets of the crystal meet and point upwards.

How do you care for Swarovski crystals? They should be treated the same way as fine jewellery.

  • remove your crystals before swimming or any form of exercise and before applying any lotions or make up. If getting ready put make on and put lotion on and wait a couple of minute for lotion to penetrate into skin before put them on. If going to bed take Swarovski crystals off first and then do your nightly routine.
  • Mild soap and water and a cloth should be used to clean and polish them. Swarovski recommend drying with a soft lint free towel and finish with a cotton Swarovski cloth. When handling your crystals it is a good idea to wear cotton gloves to prevent getting finger prints on them. Swarovski do sell cleaning packs to keep your crystals in pristine condition.
  • Do not use any cleaners containing alcohol, sonic cleaners, commercial jewellery cleaners or boiling water as this will have a damaging effect on the crystal.
  • Store them in the original packaging or place tissue paper over them after use to prevent them scratching metal or loosening the crystal.
  • Do not store in excessive heat or sun exposure. Make sure you never wear them for bed time, bath time or when exercising.
  • Chains and necklace will retain their shine better when they are hung when not worn.

Adhering to these guidelines will keep your Swarovski crystals beautiful and lustrous for years to come.

Hand made silver Swarovski hair vine
A delicate hair vine with lustrous Swarovsksi pearls and shimmering crystals.

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The History of Wire Wrapping

Swarovski bridal hair comb

In today’s blog I am going to look at the history of wire wrapping. You may be wondering how this technique came about so I am going to look at why our ancestors chose to use this technique and why I use it to decorate my bridal hair combs.

For those of you who don’t know what wire wrapping jewellery is it is the art of bending, twisting, cutting and wrapping wire around hair combs and gems. It is also used to hold beads and gems on the wire without soldering, electricity, machinery or the use of modern technologies.

Swaroski bridal hair comb
An elegant hand made rose hair comb adorned in lustrous Swarovski crystals & Swarovski pearls

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Here is one of the hair combs I wire wrapped

Wire wrapping dates back 1446 BC but there is evidence that it was used much earlier than that. Researchers have found wire jewellery in pyramids and in pharaohs tombs. Ancient ancestors used it because there was no electricity, machinery fire or modern day technologies then.

Early wire used for wire work was pounded flat into sheets and then rolled into thin tubes. It was thought that gold sheet were used as this could be hammered into thin sheets in which the wire would then be made of.

I started to learn this craft last year so I could wrap my hair combs. It looked great fun to learn and had me up many nights practicing. I am also using wire work to make tree of life table decorations which I will reveal to you soon. I like to use this art as I feel it is more Eco friendly as it requires no soldering, electricity, glues or any other modern technologies. I like the idea that I am leaving less of a carbon foot print.  Just like our ancient civilizations knew, it lasts the test of time and is a beautiful skill and has fascinating history to pass onto future generations.

Harper & The Faeries

Moving to Wales about 9 months ago was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Not only is is it a magnificent country with lots to see and do to ignite my imagination but it is steeped in history and faerie Lore. I love anything faerie related so I decided to write a blog each month about the different faerie lores in Wales. This month I’m going to write about Harper & the faeries.

Shon Robert who was a Harper lived in a remote part of Denbigshire called Hafod Elwy. He was a musical soul and was always being invited to parties to play for the singers and dancers. This evening he had been called to a party in Llechwedd Llyfn, in the neighborhood of Cefn Brith. After a lovely evening everyone parted company and he headed home. His path was over the bare mountains which led him past a lake called Llyn-y-dau-ychain and on the verge of it was something that he had never seen before. It was a vividly illuminated grand palace. He however proceeded on his way and to his amazement came right in front of the palace. A faerie footman invited him in. Curious, he accepted the invitation and entered into a a magnificent hall where a grand ball was taking place. Much of the furniture was lavish and made of solid gold. The faeries all drank from gold goblets and a waiter stopped by and offered him a drink from a goblet that was adorned with jewels to which he accepted.

Soon he was surrounded by friendly faeries and to his astonishment addressed him by his name. They asked him to play for them and their guests which he gladly did. And much to his delight a hat was passed around and in it was put many pieces of gold and silver coins.

The magnificent feast and merriment of the guests continued until near dawn and one by one the guests took their leave. Until he was finally alone. Sleep was calling and he found a  a couch and lay down. He was soon fast asleep.  He did not wake until mid day and to his surprise he founds himself lying on a heap of heather. The palace had vanished and the gold and silver he had transferred from the hat and into his bag the night before was changed to withered leaves.

18 Facts About Turquoise Stones

Turquoise

‘ Its powers can be harnessed and utilized for good fortune’

In this blog I am going to look at one of my other favorite stones; turquoise.   It is a beautiful stone and has a hue of  light blue that reminds me of the sky. It’s history is diverse & fascinating. Its powers can be harnessed and utilized to bring you good fortune plus much more.

turquiose-stone

It looks gorgeous worn as jewellery complimenting all complexions and is a stone of wealth. It was worn by Anselmus de Boot, court physician of Emperor Rudolph II. It was wrote in 1609 that Turquoise was so highly regarded by men that no man considered his hand to be well adorned unless he wore a fine Turquoise. [Kunz, 111].

Lets  look at some more interesting facts:

  •  This semi precious stone has been a prized gem for thousands of years. It has been the talisman of kings shamans and warriors.
  • Consists of hydrated phosphate of copper aluminum.
  • It is found in barren & dry regions only.
  • Turquoise derived from the french Pierre Turquoise meaning Turkish stone.
  • Turquoise was mined in Central Asia and the trade routes to get it to Europe went through Turkey.
  • It is a stone of protection whilst traveling and my friend always carries one in his car to aid him a safe passage.
  • It can be used with pets to keep them safe. You can stick one in a name barrel on their collar.
  • It is a good talisman for attracting friends. It has been said he/she who has it will never want a friend.
  • The ancient Egyptians, Chinese, Persians, Aztecs, Incas of South America, Native North Americans saw the stone as being sacred and used it for luck, protection and power.
  • Indian priests wore it in ceremonies when calling upon the gods of the skies.
  • In the orient the ring was worn as a protection amulet to ward off dark forces.
  • Turquoise beads have been found dating back to 5,000 BC in Iraq.
  • It promotes creativity so is the stone of artists/crafters so keep one on your work station. I do and the ideas always keep flowing.
  • It increases success. Wear one when going for interviews or trying to attract prospective clients. My friend has a beautiful elephant carved out of turquoise and always keeps it on her desk. She is an artist and is always inundated with clients.
  • It promotes leadership and enhances communication thus fantastic for businesses that work directly with people and it also aids shy people.
  • It is used to strengthen the meridians and subtle energy fields that surround the body enhancing well-being.
  • It supports mediation and is a good stone to have with you when you are meditating. As I meditate in different places I carry mine in my pocket. They also look beautiful on your alters too.
  • It promotes peace of mind and relaxation so its a lovely stone to keep in your bedroom next to your bed.

So if your looking for a beautiful stone that not only enhances your beauty but provides an abundance of good fortune, success and well being then turquoise is a superb choice. And one that will give you an abundance of pleasure whether it is worn as jewellery or used as part of your decor.

What is your favorite stone?

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Faerie lore – Llyn Y fan Fach

I have a fascination for all things to do with faeries and faerie lore is no exception. So where did it all begin? I was brought up by a mum who would often take me for picnics and walks in beautiful woods and surrounding countryside. Each walk would be magical and we would go bird watching, tree hugging and looking for the faeries hence my passion for them now.

Moving to a rural part of Wales in June 2016 opened up this magical realm once again for me because the place is steeped in legends and wonderful history. In this blog I am going to look at one of the lakes called Llyn Y Fan Fach in Brecon Beacons.in the western border of the Black mountain.  Llyn Y Fan Fach  is thought to be a bottomless lake  and is associated with Faeries and I’m going to tell you about the famous faerie legend there.

lake

One day whilst a farmer was tending to his herd he spotted a beautiful faerie woman emerging from the lake whom he instantly fell in love with. He offered her three types of bread to win her over. The first bread was hand baked to which she refused. The second was dough and again she refused. But the third which was lightly baked bread was more to her liking and she accepted his proposal.

She immediately disappeared back into the lake and returned moments later with her father and her identical sister. The father of the faerie set up a test to see if the farmer was worthy of his daughter. He asked them to differentiate between his two daughters. Thankfully the farmer was successful as he recognized his love from the way she tied her sandles. And he was allowed to have her hand in marriage.

The faerie realm gifted them with more cattle, as many as they could count in one breath. The father told the farmer that he must treat his daughter well and must never strike her more than three times otherwise she would disappear altogether and return to the faerie realm.

They had a successful and happy marriage and had 3 sons. However the farmer unwittingly struck her more than three times and on the fourth occasion she disappeared back into the lake with all of the faerie cattle that had been gifted to them.

It is said that the faerie wife returned occasionally to teach her sons the art of healing and herb lore. This was passed down the family line for centuries and the family became well known as the physicians of Myddfai.

The Llyn Y Fan Fach lake is located in the Brecon Beacons National Park. It is in a very remote location and the best way to get there is on foot consulting an appropriate ordnance survey map.

Do you know of any faerie legends in Wales? If you do please share on the comments section and I may just publish it.

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Who is Lean Green Father Christmas?

In this article I’m going to look at the fascinating history of Father Christmas, and how the father Christmas we know and have to come love has changed over the centuries.

We all love him! That jolly man who fly’s around the world delivering fantastic presents to all of the children. I remember being in my grandmother’s house, huddled underneath the bed clothes as it was snowing outside and determined to stay awake so I could catch a glimpse of Father Christmas. And although I didn’t see him I heard the sledges bells outside and I was out of bed in a split second peering through the curtains, my 7 year old face pressed against the window pain. I did see reindeer’s flying in the sky but no father Christmas or was that an over active child’s imagination? Who knows but it was a lovely memory that I like to hold onto.

I must of sat at the window for about an hour and finally sleepy eyed I returned to my bed and was fast asleep. Needless to say I never saw him coming into my room to put the presents at the end of my bed and a stocking full of nuts, tangerines and other goodies. But I remember smiling to myself the next day as I checked the mince pies and the glass of whisky we had left him which had been ate and drank. I always wondered though how he got down the chimney from consuming all those lovely gifts everyone always leaves him but my mum could never answer that.

We know him as Santa Claus, Kris Cringle, St Nicholas. We associate him as a kind cheerful large man with white hair and beard plus red and white clothing. Although the Santas in American stores are not always depicted that way. However, did you realize the original father Christmas was dressed in green, had pagan roots and represented nature and good health. Earlier pictures depict him as lean.  Fast forward and we are presented with a man who has changed his coloring of his clothes to red and too many mince pies and drink has caused his waste line to expand and as far removed as health as can be. How on earth could this happen?

In the 1920’s a certain American soft drink company whose products are ladled with sugar decided Santa should be dressed in red as part of a marketing campaign that has stuck. It makes you realize how powerful marketing can be when it can literally rewrite history and not necessarily for the better.

The healthier green lean Father Christmas represented spring and wore a green hooded cloak and a wreath of holly, ivy or mistletoe and had the ability to make people happier during winter months.

father-christmas-green1

It appears that Father Christmas and Santa were two different people. To learn more about the history and how things came to be read more

Read more here

I much prefer the green Santa as he fits in with what myself and my company stand for..being more eco friendly and looking after myself so I have the health and energy to build this new venture. I’m not perfect (I do love mince pies and as they say everything in moderation) but I am always striving to be better and like to surround myself with great role models. Who do you prefer the red Father Christmas or the green one?

Main image as featured by the BBC

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