What finish do you like?

When you think of sterling silver, do you think high mirror polish finish? Alot of people do, but there are actually other finishes that can be very attractive, and not everyone likes the super shiny look.

Sterling silver rings (left): high mirror polish, with bezel set gemstones

Sterling silver rings (right): oxidized and partially rubbed back to show texture

Bottom: sterling silver pin with needled felt: matte finish

(Jewellery by Robin-House of Cassady)

How about you? What’s your favourite finish? Come in and see what else we’ve got.

Happy Saturday!

Just in the nick of time: Amethysts for February

It’s a bit wintry out today, so thinking about cheery purple stones is making me smile. Which is good, because the birthstone for February is the amethyst.

Amethyst is a purple variety of quartz, and its colour comes from irradiation, or inpurities of different metals or other trace elements (although mainly iron). It’s got a nice hardness, (if you read the post a few weeks ago about Mohs, you’ll know what I mean :), so it’s a lovely stone to use in jewellery. 

It’s also something that is found in Ontario. I remember traveling with my dad when I was young (he was a long haul trucker), and passing through Thunder Bay area, and seeing all the amethyst crystals, rocks and finished jewellery (yes, I was a magpie even then!).

So…..here’s some purple to brighten your day!

Lovely pieces from our studio members: flower pendant from Jenn (Frekkel Designs), large optic amethyst pendant by Gillian (Pash Jewellery Design), stacking rings by Robin (House of Cassady), and large flower ring by Alexis (Glaciale Goldsmith).

We’d love to see you, why not come in and explore what else we’ve got for the person born in February in your life?

Happy Saturday! Stay warm!

-Robin (House of Cassady)

Garnets–it’s January, right?

So, winter seems to have (maybe?) arrived…although happily, it’s a nice sunny Saturday! In honour of starting another trip round the sun (and because I’m a January baby), let’s spotlight the garnet.

Garnets are the January birthstone, and when you think of garnets, you might think of red/burgundy, and you’d be right. What you may be less familiar with, is the wide range of colours that garnet comes in, including orange (my favourite!), and green.

Different colours of garnet

There’s lots of information about garnets available- the nitty gritty about their structure and variants, as well as the lore behind them. For example, did you know that the word garnet comes from an old word for pomegranate? Or that they were the height of trendy during the Victorian era?

Garnets are a great stone, they’re reasonably hard, so they’re durable, they come in a range of colours, and they’re usually pretty budget friendly, making them a great choice for jewellery!

Earrings by Robin (House of Cassady), sterling silver with garnets and needled felt)

We hope you’ll wander in to the studio and see the exciting pieces we have available, or talk to us about making your jewellery wish come true in a custom piece incorporating garnets!

Have a great day!

Come warm yourself by the fire….

I was walking in this morning, and the weather was dreadful (I was soaked by the time arrived!). You’d never know it now, it’s very sunny as I look outside.

As I was walking in, I thought it was a good time to remind you that we’re doing a collaboration, or feature of something different in the store….these Campfire Kiss candles by Eric Petersen. I’m not going to go into the whole story here, but if you’re interested, you can read the whole thing here: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV.

The Campfire Kiss burns for 50 hours!

I have to admit, I’m not usually a big fan of frangrances, and campfire has never been one of my favourite smells, but this one, is amazing. The fragrance is not overpowering, and rather than irritating, it calls to mind the amazing experiences that have happened for me at or near campfires! Evocative of coziness and home, I bet it would cocoon you in its loveliness too!

You can buy them in our online shop, and pick up in the studio. Come in and check it out!

Stay dry!


Visiting Las Vegas

So, I very rarely get the chance to get away, so when a friend offered the opportunity to visit Las Vegas, I said “yes, please!”. So, that’s where I was last week; playing hooky from all things work. But, you know, I still love art, and took the opportunity to visit the “Art District”. A bit north of the main strip, it’s a slightly odd place to visit, but fun.

I saw alot of graffiti. Interestingly, apparently this is an area that you can go to and try out different things, which I thought was an interesting concept.

More graffiti, it’s not always my thing, but I can appreciate when there is a bit more art to it.

I also saw a lot of building murals, which were quite interesting. Here are some examples of what you can see there, from the surreal, to the political. Some are very polished, and others less slick, but still visually very interesting.

If you’ve never been there, it was definitely worth the walk around, especially if you’re looking for a break from the Strip (which, frankly, is pretty much constant sensory overload!).

It remains to be seen as to whether what I viewed will inspire me to develop new pieces, but I guess time will tell!

If you’re hanging around Roncevalles this weekend, pop into the Big Blue House and see what new art we’ve got for your viewing pleasure (or purchasing pleasure :). We always look forward to seeing you!

Have a great weekend, and I hope you see something that inspires you!


Story Time Part IV Wrap Up!

Now that you have read about Eric’s past, his love of jewellery, his loves of flames lets tie it all together with the explanation of why Jewel Envy felt compelled to promote him and this epic journey by starting with Eric’s personal recollection of how he became acquainted with Jewel Envy.

Eric Petersen first met Gillian Batcher (Jewel Envy’s founder) while he was working at Zilberschmuck Art + Jewellery, a former gallery for Canadian jewellery artists. In fact, Gillian was the first person, outside of jewellery school, with whom he connected with.

They’ve kept an eye on each other’s career’s ever since, Petersen was present for the grand opening of Jewel Envy and other events and he has admired Gillian from afar, for her support of local jewellery artists, her drive, and brilliant business acumen. Not to mention the blue house!

15 years later, their professional admiration for each other is going strong, showing love on social media and Petersen was thrilled that Batcher saw the vision, or “the light” some might say, of his latest venture- a luxury scented candle made by master perfumers in Grasse, France – a nod to nature, nostalgia, his personal past, as well as his utmost appreciation for quality made goods.

Petersen is thrilled to have Jewel Envy’s support as a stockist and hopes his candle will bring light into people’s lives in the same way that Batcher and Jewel Envy have brought light to countless couples and individuals. The fire is lit, let there be light!

How wonderful for paths to cross at the beginning of a career and continue to Cris-cross until an opportunity to work together is presented.

“I recall meeting Eric at the Zilberschmuck opening. I was impressed with his work and fearlessness to share parts of himself that could have been kept private. In making them public the shared information showed his depth of strength and drive. Eric has also been able to embrace and appreciate all of life’s moments, big and small, and always looks towards a bright future. I see the light reflected in his eyes and have been watching the passion burn. I am so excited to be able to support him and represent his latest luxury item and know it will just be one of many products he brings to market throughout his career”.

Shop the candle here!

Story Time Part III

By now you have learned a lot about Eric Petersen so you might be getting a sense of how he is the kind of person you just want to have in your circle of colleagues and friends. He stays true to himself in all endeavors and inspires that in others. Read below on what inspired this established goldsmith to try to develop a scented candle!

With skateboarding being his first true love, part of his backpack arsenal always included a candle for the purpose of waxing ledges to perform tricks on, so developing a candle seemed totally on brand.

Years later he would accidentally light himself on fire when the button-down Yves Saint Laurent shirt he was wearing dangled into a candle at the home of his high school sweetheart. Never had he imagined that he would someday have to utilize the lesson he learned way back in grade school – to stop, drop and roll. Miraculously, an undershirt spared his back from serious burns. And so it was written…

Petersen’s origins however, which are deeply rooted in this candle, are in actual flames. And that statement is as dramatic as it sounds. In the early 1970s, Petersen’s father tragically lost his first wife and three baby girls in a house-fire. This has haunted and helped Petersen for his entire life because believing that everything happens for a reason, he often reflects on the fact that had that tragedy not occurred, his father might not have met his mother, and he and his sisters might not be here at all.

When Petersen was faced with his own tragic circumstances to work through, namely the death of numerous friends in a relatively short period of time, the thought of his half-sisters and the belief that everything happens for a reason was a guide and source of comfort for him through the grieving process.

Developing his signature scented candle Campfire Kiss was a labour of love for Petersen. It became, and is, a beacon of light, a ray of hope, in honour of the lives that were lost, and the lives that were gained. It’s a tribute to love and lost love, the eternal flames that burn inside and define us.

You don’t need to know the entire history of why candles appeal to Eric to appreciate what they represent to many- a quiet and cozy night in, a loving embrace of a partner, cuddling with a pet, reading a book, or a time for reflective solitude. All of these moments pair perfectly with the great Canadian of making your way out of the city to enjoy the stars surround by nature. In times of uncertainty we all gravitate towards nostalgia and the feelings that can be evoked through scent are some of the strongest. Eric often retreats into his own nostalgia for the wilderness and smoke-kissed clothing which explain how he arrived at his signature candle. Campfire Kiss evokes that shared Canadian nostalgia we all long for when bogged down in regular life.

Story Time Part II

To truly understand why Jewel Envy would be selling a candle made by a goldsmith you need to know more about Eric and so below is a tiny glimpse into his life story.

A childhood passion for collecting semi-precious gemstones, which included sparkly rocks found in gardens, led Petersen to a career and love affair with diamonds and fine jewellery. What’s interesting is that while doing research for his first major project while studying Jewellery Arts at George Brown College, he was surprised to find himself at the same gem show his mother had taken him to a decade prior, where she had bought him a skull pendant with a rose in its mouth, a symbolic gift that he keeps close to his heart. His older sister Lorinda, purchased some faceted peridot beads, the birthstone for August, and glued them into the eyes. And so began an extraordinary journey of love and loss, hopes and dreams and everything in between…

On his birthday in August of 2005, shortly before beginning school for jewellery studies, Petersen learned of his mother’s acute myeloid leukemia diagnosis. While in school and juggling long days and a long commute, he would visit his mother, Dorothy, in the hospital while she underwent chemotherapy treatments. He once brightened her day by hammering a bent ring of hers round again, and to her it was like he had worked magic. “How did you do that?!,” Dorothy exclaimed astonishingly.

The first piece of ‘real’ jewellery that Petersen made was a silver and copper pendant with a purple bezel-set cabochon amethyst. It was his mother’s favourite gemstone and one she had personally selected for the piece. Unfortunately she did not get to see it completed. Her battle with leukemia was short-lived and on March 14th 2006, she died surrounded by her loved ones. Fortunately, due to a school strike and lockout, Petersen was able to be there by her side. Blessings in disguise.

After this relatively sudden and unexpected loss, Petersen opted to drop out of college, but he was encouraged by George Brown’s faculty to stay and continue his studies. It’s a good thing he did, and he’s forever grateful for the unwavering support and encouragement of his professor’s.

Included on the Dean’s Honour List and recipient of the Louis Frankian Diamond Jewellers award, Petersen graduated from Jewellery Arts, School of Fashion Studies at George Brown College and would go on to win two awards for Best In Design Innovation, as well as an Honorable Mention for his piece in the I.M.A.G.I.N.E. Peace Now exhibition, an initiative founded by American metal artist Boris Bally, to bring awareness to gun violence so prevalent in North America (an issue that Eric unfortunately has personal experience with). The exhibition travelled to galleries across the United States and Eric’s piece titled, ‘Pieces of Youth’, a hat-turned-handbag, garnered him praise from artist, activist and Obey Clothing company founder, Shepard Fairey, who served as a juror for the exhibition.

In 2009, shortly after returning from a month in Australia, Eric received a call that his friend and future business partner Adam, had been killed in a freak motorcycle accident. By this time Eric was no stranger to loss, he had recently buried a few murdered friends, however this was the tipping point that pushed him to the edge of his dreams. Petersen quit his job as a Dental Technician where he had been making dental appliances in a laboratory, he liquidated what assets he had, bought tools and materials looked towards his jewellery future. “The way I saw it was it was now up to me to realize the dreams that Adam and I both shared,” says Petersen.

In addition to his private jewellery practice, Petersen has given lectures and presentations to schools within the TDSB, DDSB, George Brown College and the 2013 annual SNAG (Society of North American Goldsmiths) conference. His work has also supported charitable organizations such as Music Not Mischief, The Assaulted Women’s Helpline, The Canadian Cancer Society and the George Brown College Foundation.

The campfire Kiss Candle burns for 50 hours!

Buy it here.

Story Time!

Over the next few months we are featuring something unusual for sale on our website. Unusual because of how it’s made, where it’s made and what it is.

We’re calling it a collaboration or a feature but really it’s more a signal of mutual admiration for a like minded approach to continuing to develop as makers throughout a career.

With this mini intro I think you can understand how admiration works at Jewel Envy, we turn it into support for each other! And with that in mind I would like to introduce all of you to Eric Petersen the luxury designer behind Campfire Kiss. Over the next few weeks we will share his story in snippets and through these mini posts you will learn how a custom jewellery studio chose to support and sell these amazing candles available for purchase on our website and in store pick up through this link.

And now Eric’s short biography will be the best way for everyone to start to get to know him!

A formally trained goldsmith and graduate of Jewellery Arts, School of Fashion Studies at George Brown College, Eric Petersen is the lead Designer and Director of ERIC PETERSEN, a bespoke designer brand specializing in fine jewellery and accessories.

Born and raised in West Hill, Scarborough, one of Toronto’s grittier neighbourhoods, Petersen is an award winning designer-jeweller, inspired by life events, world travels, and cultures; as well as song lyrics, quotes and other people’s stories. 

With skateboarding being his first true love, Petersen is a voracious reader, Scotch whisky enthusiast, vintage wine lover (although mildly allergic), nature lover and an always curious cat-dad.

It’s October!

I don’t know about you, but the changing of the seasons definitely seems to be upon us! As usual, there are lots of happenings in the studio, and we are starting to turn our minds towards making for the holidays. If you’re feeling the itch to do something hands on, Gillian announced the dates for our last session of eight week classes in the newsletter today, and there are still some one and two-day workshops that are taking bookings.

Some recent class finishes

You can find information about the classes and schedules on the main website. You can also always come in and ask, email or phone to talk to someone for more information about our exciting class offerings!

Don’t forget that we still require proof of vaccination (that’s 2 doses and at least 1 booster) to take part. While we all wish covid had disappeared, sadly it hasn’t, so this policy is in place to protect our member goldsmiths, as well as everyone taking part in the classes. We appreciate your understanding and support of our policies.

Happy Saturday!

-Robin (House of Cassady)

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