Let’s talk about garnets

I guess it’s fortunate for me that I was born in January, because I LOVE garnets (or maybe I like them because they’re my birthstone? who knows). Most people know them as a deep red colour, or a reddish-brown like this bead necklace:

garnet bead necklace with textured silver hollow form from House of Cassady

Did you realise, though, that they come in other colours, including orange and green?

orange garnet, sometimes known as mandarin, tangerine or spessarite (if you want to be more technical!) used from: wikimedia commons
green garnet, tsavorite (used from: wikimedia commons)

Garnets are silicates, and as with many crystals, the colour variation comes from the other minerals that are incorporated, for example, red can result from Aluminium/iron, while if it’s manganese/aluminium, a more orangey colour is the result. Interested in knowing more? There is alot of information available about garnets, but you can look here, or here to find out more.

On this dreary day, I’m thinking about the warm orange variety of garnet:).

Happy Sunday!


Unique Setting

Today I wanted to share three images of work that take a unique approach to securing gems or other objects using gem setting techniques.

Regine Schwarzer using a simple tab setting to secure enameled plates.
Polly Wales casts pieces with the stones already in place. This only works on very heat resistant minerals.
Gilles Jonemann set a 5 carat diamond into small adjustable wrench using the tension setting technique.

Welcome Karyn, our newest member

Hello Jewel Envy family,

I am here to introduce myself, Karyn Houston, as the newest member of the studio.

It all begins in a land far, far away, a long, long time ago….

That’s me, at my bench at home, where I’ve been working on designs for my jewellery line sticks vs stone, since 2016.

How did you find your way into Goldsmithing?

I initially enrolled at Fanshawe College in London to study Audio Engineering, but after the first week it all felt very wrong, so I switched programs, and snuck in to the delinquent’s corner, aka the Art program, where I soon felt right at home.

I spent much of my self-directed final year working with paint.

Upon graduating, I followed my beloved Sculpture professor, Thierry Delva, back to his stomping grounding in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and attended NSCAD University to get my BFA. My major was sculpture, but I soon enrolled in classes in the Jewellery Design and Metalsmithing program in order to access their centrifugal casting set up, which would enable me to cast small objects in much higher detail than I was capable of achieving with the casting methods we used in the Sculpture program.

One day, as I was working on a piece, I had a vertiginous moment in which all the architectural and jewellery designing I had done on graph paper in my grandparents’ house as a child was suddenly and viscerally connected to the act of metal manipulation which I was currently undertaking, and I knew with certainty that this was what I was meant for. My path was clear.

After graduating, I travelled for a time, and lived in Melbourne, Australia for a handful of years. I soon discovered that not having a creative practice in my life was detrimental, and something I needed to avoid exploding.

Upon my return to Canada in 2014, I outfitted a jewellery bench in my home, and from there I have been working with metal ever since.

I would consider my aesthetic to be quite organic; evidence of the hand, imperfections, and allusions to natural processes are important aspects I aim to infer in the final design. A deeply rooted love of texture permeates my work.

Often times the creative process can be a very isolated one; the maker sits alone in their studio engrossed in their work for hours on end, only looking up and encountering others when looking to fill their belly or put on a pot of coffee. That’s why it’s important to have collectives, and studios, like Jewel Envy, not just for basic social interaction with other creatives, but to share knowledge and experiences with each other, and to foster a support network.

For this reason, and many others, I am excited to be a member of the studio, and look forward to creating, and engaging, in such a welcoming space.

Opening Happiness

Hello Sunday Readers,

When the days are cold, frosty and chilly like today,  I go to my cellphone and look for some of the photos that remember me that spring is always around the corner!

I have thousands of pics about so many things that give me strength to keep going and happiness to be a life.

Thousands of photos of my little one, Simon, the most incredible human been that came to our lives to give us all, faith and hope this world will be round and bright again!

My grandson Simon and his mom.

Many of them are jewellery’s photos, gorgeous pieces that I had made, incredible ones from my talented coworkers, like the one I will show you below, the lovely ones you see on a window shop or in a magazine and you will love to change your own way.

Persian Poem. Saeedeh Rahmati, Saeedeh Jewelery. Green Agate and Sterling Silver.

The translation of the poem is “I thrive on one thousand longings and each one is you”

One of the best parts of being a goldsmith is the beauty of been in love with what you do and keep learning every day to do it even better.

Saeedeh is an artist and her work inspire all of us.

I have too photos of the most amazing flowers we have back at home, the display is so powerful that you think it’s not real!  The colors, shapes, smells, sizes, always in my memory what ever I go.

Centro Comercial Santa Fe, Medellin, Colombia
Desfile de Silleteros, Medellin, Colombia

Even photos of fruits and legumes that smell like heaven! Colors that I can see if I close my eyes… when I need them the most.

Armenia, Quindio, Colombia

Open, look, sing, dream of what ever give you happiness and make of this Sunday a great day!

Thanks so much for buying local, for been with us all along the way!

Have a nice Sunday


Sun in a stone

Occasionally common minerals form crystals that shimmer like the light of the moon or a rainbow on a soap bubble. Called iridescence, this phenomenon is caused by light scattering, or diffracting, off closely spaced layers in feldspar crystals. Sunstones are one of the gems cut from these iridescent crystals. They exhibit a reddish to golden schiller, resulting from light reflecting off numerous tiny copper or hematite (iron oxide) flakes scattered within the stones. *(info from the Smithsonian)*

If you love moonstone or labradorite (both feldspar crystals) you might just love sunstones. I collected a few images from the old interwebs to give you a bit of sunshine through stones; you might not get vitamin d from them, but they will give you LIFE! – Alexis

sparkle, sparkle.

Showing off the range of colours.

Blurry, but still pretty ;o)

There is something about this shape and colour that just works beautifully. You can definitely see the coppery flash within the stone on this one!

Pretty pebble shapes.

Languages and Symbols in Jewellery

Saeedeh Rahmati

This beautiful pendant was made by Saeedh. In the front of the pendant, she pierced a beautiful poem in Persian calligraphy.

“I thrive on one thousand longings and each one is you.” — by Simin Behbahani

Peter Van Walraven

The collection is called “The Elements”. Each pendant is in the traditional Chinese medicine kanji, in the shape of a mahjong tile.

From left to right: water, earth, wood, fire.

Red threads is the symbol of love in many traditional Chinese stories. The earrings represent the purity and complicity of love.

Come to the store and see these beautiful pieces in person!

A Valentine’s dream come true.

Well the holidays have passed, and the retail stores make sure to remind us whats next on the celebration agenda – Valentine’s Day! Although, it’s highly unlikely anyone would forget that February 14th is approaching as malls and window displays everywhere are showered with red hearts, roses and chocolates.

We care about you and your loved ones here at Jewel Envy and we are here to help you give the perfect gift to the one you love. Instead of you racking your brain to figure out the perfect gift, let us help you – it’s what we do best in fact.

Come in and tell us all about you and your special someone. Take a walk through our display cases filled with truly magical one of a kind designs that will be sure to make your special someone feel warm and fuzzy inside. Or better yet, we can bring your love story to life through a custom designed piece of jewellery that he or she will cherish for years to come. Either way, we’ve got you covered. 🙂 <3

Big hug,


Large & Small Crown Sacred Heart Boxes created by Alexis Kostuk of Glaciale Goldsmith.

Adding Colour to Metal

Top: Asymmetric Earrings by House of Cassady
Middle: Clematis Earrings by Cosmic Skye Jewellery
Bottom: Green Gem Earrings by Glaciale Goldsmith

Hello, Jewel Envy readers! Today I thought I would share with you a few of the ways we add colour to metal here at the studio. In the picture above, you can see three different pairs of earring each coloured with a different technique. The top pair uses a patina to achieve the black colour, the middle pair is anodized niobium and the bottom pair is coloured with enamel. In this post I’m going to give a brief description of each of these techniques so you can get an idea of how they work.

Earrings by House of Cassady

Patinas: Patinas cover a broad range of chemicals that can be applied to the surface of metals to alter the colour. There are two main types of patinas, hot and cold. Cold patinas, such as liver of sulfur and gun blue, can be used at room temperature and painted on or the piece can be dipped directly into the solution depending on the desired effect and the type of patina. Hot Patinas, like cupric nitrate need to be used with heat. In the case of cupric nitrate, the metal pieces are heated at an even temperature (this can be done on a hotplate) and the patina is painted on to the heated surface. Patinas create layers of oxidization to alter the colour of the metal. Basically they make the metal dirty in a controlled and even way. If your piece is fully patinated this means you never really need to clean it!

Dragonfly Pendant by Cosmic Skye Jewellery

Anodizing: Anodizing is a process that only works with reactive metals, examples of these metals include niobium, titanium and aluminum. To achieve the vibrant colours that these metals are capable of, they need to be anodized. In order to anodize the metal, it must be hooked up to an electrical source as the anode (the positive side of the power source/battery) and dipped in an electrolytic solution (this sounds fancy but can be as simple as saturated salt water) with another piece of metal that is hooked up to act as the cathode (negative side of the battery). Once this is all set up the pieces are electrified at different voltages to achieve different colours, for example, 20 volts creates a vibrant blue while 70 volts gives you fuchsia. Anodizing essentially builds up layers of oxidization which is what creates the different colours. While anodizing can achieve some beautiful colours, one of the drawbacks of using reactive metals is that they cannot be soldered, so you need to get creative with how you attach niobium pieces together.

by Glacial Goldsmith

Enamel: Enameling is a process where glass is adhered to the surface of the metal to create different colours. Traditionally the glass comes in a fine powder (this can be turned into a paste) that is carefully applied to the surface of the metal either to create a solid colour, a pattern or even an image. Once the powder is placed the piece can be carefully placed inside a kiln and fired at high temperatures to melt the glass and make it adhere to the metal. Enameling can be done in layers to achieve more complex results. There are also different styles of enameling such as Cloisonne, where wires are used to create patterns and separate areas so that different colours can be applied to the piece without blending and Champleve, which uses cast or carved metal pieces with separate recessed areas to achieve a similar result.

These are just a few of the ways colour can be added to a metal surface. As you can see, each process gives you a completely different look. You can come check out some of the colourful pieces in this post at the studio!

Come check out new work

In the coming weeks we will be adding new work from our newest member, Karyn Houston of Stick and Stones as well as welcoming back Hyewon Jang Of H Jewellery. We recently put out some new work by Peter van Walraven, van Walraven Goudsmid so there are plenty of excuses to drop in this month!

Necklace by Karyn Houston, Stick and Stones.

Pearl Necklace, earrings, and ring by Hyewon Jang, H Jewellery.

Pendant by Peter van Walraven, van Walraven Goudsmid.

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