Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank – “My Favorite Things About Summer”

August 20, 2012
My favorite fisherman, Bobby!

The Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank topic for August is…(drumroll please)… “My Favorite Things About Summer” 

If you have been following my BOSTT posts and have clicked through the links at the bottom of each post to read my fellow BOSTT Bloggers’ posts (and I really hope you have), then you know that it is rare that we have a single favorite anything!  😉

First and foremost – Summer means all of the great outdoor activities are added to the schedule.  
Amber, Mia and Rollo

Now being a California Girl, the fabulous things like flowers and weather are pretty much year round (I hear the “haters” groaning now) so I am thinking Activities.  By know you “get” that there are so many things that we do all year round (too much?) that most would think of as “Summer” activities, but I am doing my best to only post the things that actually happen during the summer months.

Now, for the sake of space, I present my Top Five Favorite Things About Summer”! 

My #1 Favorite Thing about Summer is Camping and Fishing trips with my partner, my favorite fisherman and the love of my life!
#2 would have to be those fabulous photos of kids playing in the sun!  …these happen to be just one of Bobby’s gorgeous daughters (he has three) and amazing grandbabies (there are four, so far)!

I chose this photo to represent our Rockhunting Trips because I LOVE staying in the TeePee at the Spectrum Mine in the high desert of Oregon.  You will get your best night sleep after a day of digging for gemstones!

#3 – Summer means time for Rockhounding Adventures at some of our favorite spots!  Tourmaline at – the Himalaya Dig (CA) and the Oceanview (CA) also Spodumene; Virgin Valley Opal  at – Rainbow Ridge (NV) and The Royal Peacock (NV); Sunstone at The Spectrum Sunstone Mine (OR)…and this year we are adding Fire Opal at Juniper Ridge (OR)!

#4 – Gem Shows move outside!  nothing better than viewing gems and specimen under natural light!  …this photo is from the AFMS/CFMS Convention and Show, hosted by the North Orange County Gem & Mineral Society!

#5 – the BEST West Coast opportunity to connect with International Gem Dealers, Artisans , Luxury Lines and Jewelers – Jewelry Week in Las Vegas!   if you want to see more photos from Las Vegas check out the photo albums on The Daily Jewel’s Facebook page!

OK – I am heading out to see what my fellow BOSTT Bloggers posted, Join Me?
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Review: The Gem Merchant – NEW 3rd Edition

August 19, 2012

The Gem Merchant: How to be one; How to deal with oneThe Manual On How to Buy & Sell GemstonesThird Editionby David Stanley EpsteinIn this the third edition of Epstein’s manual for gem dealers and buyers alike, he tackles the changes in the Ge…

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July 22, 2012

As most of you already know I am back in the OC (that is Orange County, CA) to help out my parents. My adorable Mom (her way of saying thanks) recently purchased tickets for a fabulous event at the Bowers Museum – if you aren’t familiar, it is definitely worth a drive in from surrounding communities.

So, the Bowers does this great program series called Bowers After Hours – which features a lecturer or some type of program that compliments one of it’s current exhibits – in itself is reason attend. But what drew me to this one in particular is that it spotlights the incredible art and goldsmith’s of the design house of Faberge!
“Fabergé is one of those iconic names – just the name Fabergé connotes elegance and fine workmanship,” said Peter Keller, president of the Bowers. “What he focused on was not the gems, believe it or not, but the workmanship and the piece itself. He didn’t want any one part of the piece to overwhelm the rest of the piece.” 

Tim Adams joined the patrons and
answered questions in the Gallery

Bowers After Hours, starts at 5 PM, Distinguished Lecture, 7 – 8 PM, exclusive discount in the Gift Shop and they extended the exhibit hall hours until 9pm.

Distinguished Lecture Presenter: 

Tim Adams
art historian 
and guest scholar for the Fabergé exhibition. 
At the end of the nineteenth century, Russia had one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Out of this economic boom was born one of the greatest jewelry houses in the world, the House of Fabergé. Carl Fabergé set the standard for taste and elegance in the daily living of the not only the Imperial Court, but of the new wealthy upper class created by the industrial revolution. Fashion was synonymous with Fabergé, and he influenced the way society lived and socialized.

This exhibition is stunning on it’s own but after hearing Adams informative and exciting talk it really came to life!   He relayed the politics, class structure and mood of Russians during this time in history.  Bringing to light reasons for the increased interest by the upper classes for the great design houses that came into their own during this time…like Cartier, Bulgari and the house started by Carl Faberge. 

“Many of the pieces have imperial provenance,” said Timothy B. Adams, a San Diego art historian and Fabergé scholar. The McFerrin collection, while only six-and-a-half years old, he said, is “one of the largest Fabergé collections in the United States right now.”

Very familiar with this particular collection because he is an Art Advisor to the McFerrin family, Tim Adams did his thesis on Faberge.  One of the things that really stood out to me was his point that Faberge was so much more that Imperial Eggs…they worked in stone and presentation pieces and some of the finest jewelry of the time.   

“We really enjoy collecting, and we try to collect the more historical things,” said Dorothy McFerrin, who acquired the collection with husband Arthur, president of KMCO Group of Houston, a chemical company.

St. Petersburg location
The one statement that stayed with me is that their were approximately 150,000 pieces produced by the design house of Faberge before it was forced to close, and they were all one-of-a-kind pieces.  In it’s heyday Faberge employed over 500 artists, designers and goldsmiths.  It is said the Faberge paid extremely well and most of his staff stayed throughout their career.  In what Adams described as the first “Artist Co-op”  the grand St. Petersburg shop was massive -a bottom level that was retail – a large workshop and the family had living space on the top level.

Faberge was a trained goldsmith but as the firm grew he became more of a stylist – setting the tone and personally detailing the customer’s needs.  But he very much influenced the style and look that we all have come to expect from the design house of Faberge

Moscow Shop
Faberge counted his sons among the 500+ staff as well as several “Workmasters” – most of Finnish decent…but of the most famous, Michael Perchin, designed the Imperial Eggs from 1885 to 1903, was Russian;  Henrik Wigstrom, a Finn, assumed Perchin’s position following his death in 1903 and was responsible for the Imperial Eggs through 1917.  Another Finn, August Holstrom was a Senior member of the firm and head Jewelry Designer. 

For a more extensive list of the design team at Faberge see “The Faberge Workmasters”

Interesting Fact:  Faberge was one of the first to employ a woman in what was and to this day still is predominantly a man’s world.   Hired to record in watercolors all of the items being produced in the Moscow shop at a mere 20 years old,  Alma Pihl was granddaughter of August Holmstrom and daughter of Oscar Pihl who was the head jeweler of the Moscow branch.  At just 25, Alma became an integral part of the firm assuming a prestigious position and later entrusted with the Nobel commission, creating some of Faberge’s most famous pieces, the quartz with diamond “Frost” collection.

“When her uncle August Holmstrom took over her grandfather’s workshop she was invited to come on as an artist who would keep detailed watercolor drawings of all the items being produced in the shop.  She was a mere twenty years old when she joined him in 1909.  It did not take long for her talent to be recognized and she was promoted to assistant designer and entrusted with the commission from Dr. Emanuel Nobel for a number of small brooches that would remind the recipient of a Russian winter.  Alma was inspired while looking out the window at icicles suspended from the windowpane.  She immediately began drawing designs for what would become Fabergé’s line of “frost flowers” – jewelry made of quartz and diamonds.  This winter theme would lead to an even grander design – that of the Winter Egg that was presented to the Dowager Empress in 1913, but even this as not the end of Pihl creative genius.  The following year she was put in charge of the design for the Tsarina Easter egg.  For this she chose a mosaic design that emulated the petit point design which she watched her mother executing one winter’s eve.”
…from the Workmasters link referenced above.
Alma Phil’s Imperial Egg – The Winter Egg
There is a very detailed timeline of Faberge and the Romanoffs HERE

The Exhibition
Saturday, June 23 – Sunday, January 06, 2013
Discover the spectacular designs of Peter Carl Fabergé.  the master goldsmith and legendary jeweler still celebrated for his inventive designs and meticulous craftsmanship, through a special exhibition, Fabergé: Imperial Jeweler to the Tsars.

The House of Fabergé has a reputation for turning the everyday into the extraordinary. Perhaps best known for Imperial Easter Eggs created for the Russian Royal family, the House of Fabergé also fashioned jewelry and luxurious gifts for many ruling families of Europe, as well as other wealthy patrons.  From elegantly simple to breathtakingly ornate, the jewelry, clocks, picture frames, boxes and eggs in this collection have been thoughtfully selected to exemplify extraordinary materials and workmanship.

In recent years, the McFerrin Collection has become one of the world’s most important private collections of Fabergé. While many of the pieces in this collection have been featured individually in other exhibitions and publications over the past 60 years, this is a rare opportunity to see this magnificent collection.
Fabergé created this diamond tiara around 1890. The stunning briolette diamonds were a gift from Tsar Alexander I to the Empress Josephine after her divorce from Napoleon Bonaparte. This piece is one of only a few tiaras ever made by Fabergé.

Tsar Alexander III commissioned the first egg ever created by the House of Fabergé in 1885 as an Easter present for his wife, Tsarina Maria Feodorovna. His son Nicholas II later commissioned such treasures for his wife Alexandra and for his mother, continuing a tradition that would last more than 30 years. Fabergé made eggs for only a small number of other clients; one of those was Swedish industrialist Dr. Emanuel Nobel, who commissioned this treasure between 1913 and 1914. This piece, a jeweled, enameled presentation egg, is also referred to as the “Snowflake Egg,” its shell ingeniously enameled and engraved to simulate the tracery of frost against a misted ground. It opens to reveal a “surprise”—a rock crystal and diamond pendant watch. The unique watch design was created specifically for Dr. Nobel and interpreted in other jewelry pieces by Fabergé, some of which Dr. Nobel gave as favors at his dinner parties. Several examples of these “ice jewels” are included in the exhibition.

This intricately decorated picture frame (made between 1908-1917) of gold, platinum and enamel is meant to be viewed from both sides and is arguably one of the finest examples of gold work ever produced by Fabergé. One side features a photograph of Tsar Nicholas II, and the other his wife, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. This was probably a gift from the Tsar to his mother, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna. The form was most likely inspired by a fire screen, created by George Jacob that was in her apartment.

The Imperial Russian court was renowned for the lavish gifts presented to foreign dignitaries visiting Russia. Fabergé made hundreds of presentation boxes, but many connoisseurs consider this his finest. Made of gold and decorated with enamel and diamonds, the box features the cipher of Tsar Nicholas II on the cover. The Emperor presented the box to Leon Bourgeois, a French politician and statesman in 1902. Bourgeois was one of 90 foreigners to receive a snuffbox with the Emperor’s initials.
Gathered around the display of Faberge Eggs at the Bowers Museum
More than just eggs…the house of Faberge was kept busy by a popular and social Romanoff family.  Dignified guests of the royalty expected a memento of their visit and Faberge stocked a room filled with tables of “presentation pieces”  from boxes and cigarette cases to frames, clocks and snuff boxes.

I want to end with some of the really whimsical pieces from the collection clocks, bell pushes and hand carved in gem material…most functioned as cane or parasol handles.


For more photos from the exhibit see my Facebook page at:
Descriptions, Quotes & Photo Sources:  
The Bowers Museum
Review for The Register by Richard Chang
…some photos are my own
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Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank – “What is your favorite time of day?”

July 20, 2012

July’s topic for the Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank is…
“What is your favorite time of day?” 

If you have been following my BOSTT posts and have clicked through the links at the bottom of each post to read my fellow BOSTT Bloggers’ posts (and I really hope you have), then you know that it is rare that we have a single favorite anything!  😉

This time I have a definite FAVORITE!!!  

From the old radio show “Broadway is my Beat”:
Broadway is sleeping now… the furious avenues of the night are still… only the sleepwalkers are there… the seekers, the sodden… it’s Broadway. The gaudiest. The most violent. The lonesomest mile in the world. Broadway… my beat!”

My favorite time of day are those hours just before dawn when there is a little light in the sky and everyone is asleep – best time to Work …and best time to Fish out on the open seas! 

Photo Credit:  Brian Reynolds, Flickr

Hmmm – now I am going to check around and see what my fellow bloggers posted…won’t you follow me?

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A SoCal Art Opportunity You May Not Have Thought About!

July 15, 2012

When you finally knew you were an “artist” and started looking for opportunities to show your art…I know you never thought to approach your local Airport!!!   …nope – not a typo – AIRPORT!

If you are an Artisan in San Diego, you have this option – if you are an Artisan elsewhere?  show them this amazing program at the San Diego International Airport…they may be willing to start the program with YOU!

I first became aware of this program with “GIA Celebrates Birthstones” which featured over 250 gems, minerals and jewelry from around the world.

On September 14 2011, the Airport Authority joined GIA (Gemological Institute of America) in Opening this glorious attraction which closed in February of this year.

Representatives from both the Airport Authority and GIA addressed the crowd, including GIA President and CEO Donna Baker. 

“We want to offer our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the San Diego International Airport Art Program for providing us the opportunity to install the ‘GIA Celebrates Birthstones’ exhibit,” said Baker. “In selecting a focus for this display, we wanted to be relevant and appealing to all travelers from around the globe. Since everyone has a birthstone, it was the perfect choice. Our mission is to protect the public trust in gems and jewelry – and engaging, inspiring and educating people about gems and jewelry is part of that mission.”

Other Exhibitions have included Displays by the San Diego Potter’s Guild; San Diego Hall of Champions & U.S. Olympic Training Center, Chula Vista; Paper Sculptures by Robin Olimb; The History of Skateboarding by Tony Hawk; Creative Connections ArtLink & Francis Parker Schools; basically anything that makes the San Diego Area unique has been represented!  for an idea of past projects check out:

There are several Art installations throughout the Airport – from the Airport Authority website…

 “There are currently four unique areas comprised of 24 exhibition cases located in the Commuter Terminal and throughout Terminal 2. This program provides opportunities to showcase San Diego’s unique identity through the presentation of items that have cultural, educational and artistic interest. Proposed exhibits must use all cases respective to the exhibition site. Opportunity is limited to San Diego Area artists and organizations.”  
Currently Showing is:

The San Diego International Airport Art Program was established in 2006 to engage travelers in innovative, memorable and considerate experiences, creating an ambiance unique to San Diego and welcoming people to the airport and region. The program consists of three components: temporary and rotating exhibits, performing arts and public art. Visit for more information.

Photos via the GIA Exhibit Set from the San Diego International Airport Art Program Flickr Stream

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Book Review: A Ring A Day…

July 1, 2012

The Ring A Day (RAD) project is the little project that grew to international status…

Jewelry Designer. Graphic Designer. Appreciator of modern design.
For the year 2010, I have given myself the challenge to create a ring every day. They can be made out of anything. The only restriction is that I must make one ring every day for 365 days. I will be posting all of my rings here. 
Several other artists have joined me in this challenge. You can see their work here:”    …from the blog of Nina Dinoff

…and so it began – a few at the start that soon grew to hundreds of jewelry artisans committed to designing and fabricating a “Ring A Day”!

While there will always be the Flickr group with photos of every piece submitted…the little Lark tome is a handy at home or in the classroom reminder of the exercise.

Brilliantly standing in its jewel toned red cover – Marthe LeVan has once again curated a collection that gives the novice an idea of the entirety of the project.  Sampling rings of  every material be it animal, vegetable, mineral or metal and all things in between.

 What started as a small adventure, day by day, grew to become an incredible and amazing experience. Also, this project brought my pieces, along with many other participants, to a United States Exhibition and it has been published by Lark Books in this fantastic book. Thank you all!”      …from the 18kt blog by Marta Sanchez

The project started with the agreement to “make a ring a day no matter where you are, what materials are at your disposal, or how much time you have available” and post a photograph of it to Flickr. The project was designed to encourage people to find beauty, art, and jewelry everywhere. Their imaginative rings showcase a range of unusual things, from a pencil sharpener to a tiny baby doll to an egg, and even poodle hair! Comments and quotes from the artists themselves provide plenty of insight into the work.

…and so the project grew from a Flickr Group to international Art exhibitions – including the Annual Conference of the prestigious Society of North American Goldsmiths.

RAD exhibition at SNAG
EtsyMetal is pleased to announce that the Ring a Day Project has been accepted as an exhibition for theSociety of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) upcoming Annual Conference in Seattle, Washington.
RAD, a Ring a Day for 365 days(working title)
Thurs May 5 to Sun May 29, 2011 – At the Punch Gallery in Seattle – More about the exhibition here.   from the “ring a day” blog

 Thank you to Lark for providing a review copy of this book and I apologize for taking so long with the review…it is never too late to pick up inspiration!

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Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank: “What is your favorite quote?”

June 20, 2012

June’s topic for the Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank is…
“What is your favorite quote?”

If you have been following my BOSTT posts and have clicked through the links at the bottom of each post to read my fellow BOSTT Bloggers’ posts (and I really hope you have), then you know that it is rare that we have a single favorite anything!  😉

Nothing has changed!  …and with that rambling intro I present an assortment of TOP Quotes!

Whether it is in Life or Business my go-to Guru is Seth Godin – so much so that my Business Cards have Seth Godin Quotes on them…btw you can get them too, from moo!


One of my latest passions is Pinterest – some of my favorite quotes are pinned to my Sign of the Times board

…finally – the words I try to live by…

Now it is time to see what my fellow Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank bloggers posted for this great topic:

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Celebrating 65 Years With a 65 Facet Design Competition

June 13, 2012

65 FACET DESIGN: Create a design for a gem with 65 facets and enter it on Jewelry Making Daily.  Jewelry Making Daily members will vote on their favorites based on photographs of cut stones and descriptions of the cuts. Winners must make the stones available for photography and provide cutting instructions for publication. (Photo: Clay Zava’s 65th Anniversary facet design 
shown in a 22 ct blue topaz; photo by Jim Lawson.)

The first place winner will receive a variety of tools, equipment, or supplies from our sponsors, and the winning design will be pub-lished in Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist’s special Gem issue, January/February, 2012. Second and third place winners will also be published in Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. Read the Official Rules before entering. You must be a member of Jewelry Making Daily to enter.

Enter Now!

View the Official Rules

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Review: Gemstone Setting: The Jewelry Maker’s Guide to Styles & Techniques

June 11, 2012

Gemstone Setting: The Jewelry Maker’s Guide to Styles & Techniquesby Anastasia YoungJust when you think the title says it all…Let me preface this review with a little about the author.  Anastasia Young is from London, a graduate of the Royal…

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Blog-o-sphere Think Tank: Favorite Place You’ve Traveled To – Why?

May 20, 2012

Choose Your Favorite Travel Destination…Explain Why?OK, once again I am going to fudge a little on this topic.  Off the top of my head I can think of two trips I’ve made that we now repeat almost annually.  But, these are favorites for very…

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