Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Massive jade boulders, wet weather and thoughts of spring

Do you know how some things happen (almost) in your backyard, but it takes a news story from another region or even country to bring it to your attention? Case in point - the Jade Buddha of Universal Peace. I had no idea that this 8 foot high 4 tonne gem quality 'polar' (nephrite) jade carved statue even existed, let alone an Australian sculptor had a hand in the design, it was blessed by the Dalai Lamai in Sydney and its eventual home be in Bendigo, Victoria!

But there you go - a newspaper article in a Canadian paper alerted me to its existence and I've now discovered more about 'polar' jade as well. I have previously heard of and had some 'BC' Jade from Canada which is a dark translucent green nephrite jade, however in the late 1990s a new find of jade was made near the Yukon border in Canada.

Inspired by its surroundings this find was called 'polar' jade. When tested it was found to be harder than normal nephrite jade and could be polished to a high shine, making it very desirable for jewellery and objects d'art. In 2000 an 18 tonne boulder of 'polar' jade was found and the noted gemmologist, Fred Ward admitted it was the largest gem quality nephrite jade boulder found to date. The planning for the statue started in 2003 and it was finished in 2008 and is valued at a whopping $5 million! The face by the way, has been painted in gold, in the tradition of buddha statues in Tibet and Nepal.

I then went on to discover that a 35 tonne jadeite (not nephrite) boulder from Myanmar was purchased by a Vietnamese businessman who plans to also have it carved into a statue of Buddha that he hopes will be approximately 16 tonnes when completed.

All I can say is WOW - they are two darn big rocks, eh!?

On the home front, it is currently wet. Very wet. I worked at the local saleyards canteen today (the school runs the canteen) and the cows and people were all soaked. Dry old drizabones that looked very stiff, had been dragged out and I'm not sure how much protection they afforded those who were wearing them as I'm pretty sure their waxed finish had well and truly gone LOL.

However we have had some lovely mild sunny days and I started to get all excited about spring and found myself working on my spring collection with lots of lovely bright colours in mother of pearl and freshwater cultured pearls. But naturally the dull weather has made me lose all interest in that. Maybe next week will be sunny again and I can take up where I left it all!

This weekend I have my last outing before spring - at the St. Luke's Fair in Scone, on Saturday from 9.30am to 2.30pm. If you're in the vicinity I'd love to see you there!

Today's pic - well I was sure I had a photo of the BC jade necklace I made once upon a time, but after almost an hour of looking I just can't find it! So, instead here's a pretty necklace - mossy quartz which has, from a distance, a slight lavender tinge is matched with silver and iolite.

Till next :)

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Silence really can be golden!

Peace has returned to the house (well, between the hours of 8.30am and 4pm it has) as the children returned to school this week. The silence truly is golden and there's one thing to be said for the holidays - it has given me a new appreciation of solitude and quiet LOL.

As we settle in for another term at school, the children have to switch from holiday to learning mode (never an easy thing) and unbelievably, as the year is well into its second half, I have to start thinking about my spring/summer collection. Eeek! It's never easy when its cold outside with heavy frosts every morning, frequent rain showers and dull skies. But we have been fortunate to have some days of brilliant blue skies and warm winter sunshine and its not too hard to think of spring then! (But at night I'm gravitating straight back to that fire!!!)

The Connect2Mums 2010 Conference is on at the end of next week. I went last year and had an absolute blast, but timing is off this year with heifers calving left right and centre here on the farm (and therefore needing round the clock watching). But I have sent along a huge box of special things for the goodie bags they're giving to everyone who comes along, and also a prize of an amethyst, rose quartz and silver necklace (pictured above). If you're interested in going to the conference (held in Brisbane) there are still a few places available, so check it out here.

On to other things, my wonderful, talented and go-getter neighbour (she really is - the woman built her own combined chook shed/dog pen, a hanging cradle for her youngest, gardens like there is no tomorrow and cooks the most divine food that makes my mouth water just thinking about it!!! Anyway....) she introduced me to the world of bamboo clothing a couple of years ago. I had never heard of it before then and couldn't believe it could be so soft and luxurious. If you have a little one, or know someone who is having a baby, I can highly recommend these babyjo bamboo wraps from Your Cheeky Monkey. My girls (now 9) still play with their wraps from their babyhood (very good for wrapping up your toys in, as well as putting around your shoulders as a cape or even just wearing as a scarf!) so its a long-term gift, rather than something they'll grow out of and not be used again.

Ah, it had to happen, I've left this too long and the peace has been shattered by the return of the munchkins.... school is over too quickly some days!

Till next :)

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Term break stresses, gem snippets and a pretty fluorite necklace

The children are driving me crazy. Can I sincerely request that the teachers cease their holidaying and open the school doors so I can get some peace and quiet? My children don't know the meaning of those words, it's all about noise, noise and more noise! I even had to shush them when we were walking down the street in town the other day. They were talking so loud it was almost as if they were yelling! Ah well, at least school is back next week, so I'll just continue stoically on (I wish!) in the meantime.

I attended the new Mudgee Upmarket at the Fairview Artspace last weekend. The weather was absolutely miserable with a heavy drizzle most of the day so the gallery owner brought us all inside - I was in the entry/coffee shop (yes it smelled of great coffee all day long!) along with a sculptor displaying her 'ladies'. The rest of the artisans were scattered throughout gallery rooms, wide hallways and verandahs. There was a steady stream of people that came regardless of the weather and lots of visitors from Sydney and interstate.

When I've not been the taxi service or peacemaker with the children this past week, I've been busy finishing orders, so there is not much new in the wild flights of fancy department a.k.a. my bench! But I have seen some fascinating gemstone trivia - well, trivia might even be too grand a word, lets just use 'snippets':

New York, the city that never sleeps, has introduced gemstone facials. One spa has a preference for amethyst - that pretty purple variety of quartz - which they use as a serum, eye cream and powder. They say it reduces skin inflammation and radiates infrared rays in order to stimulate healthy cell growth. The skin is supposed to be instantly firmer and brighter and all at a mere $275USD.

Another spa uses emeralds, rubies, sapphire, citrine, and gold. Emeralds are used to correct skin tone imperfections; rubies and gold are supposed to hydrate and smooth; citrine is supposed to plump lips; and sapphire is supposed to lift. The treatment supposedly leaves a shimmer on your skin and also runs at $275USD.

Yet another spa recommends their exfoliating paste of pearls - apparently to prevent dark spots on the skin by slowing down the growth of melanin. Compared to the others this treatment is a bargain at only $120USD!

So, okay, you don't want gems pulverised and put on your face (Wise woman. Much better to wear them!) But perhaps you might like to visit a house in Texas that reportedly has a turquoise kitchen sink!?

OK, enough with the truly reported, but rather silly state of gem news ;)

Today's photo is of a newish necklace (made a couple of weeks ago) and it gathered many lovely comments at Mudgee last weekend. Little fluorite cubes in green and purple shades and lots of sterling silver.

Till next :)

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Gem Mineral Found on the Moon

Life has been hectic with children on holidays but relatively quiet on the jewellery scene - because of the children! We're still in the midst of a cold snap and the sunshine is watery at best. Good weather for reading a book near the fire!

To break up the monotony (hardly!) of the term break, I have a show on Sunday at the new Mudgee Upmarket, held quarterly at the Fairview Artspace. It will be my first outing there and I'm looking forward to it.

Even though I haven't had much time to play at my bench, I'm always on the lookout for new information on gemstones. And I was fascinated to read a report earlier this week that mentioned the mineral olivine - of which peridot (pictured above) is the gem member of the family - has been recently identified on the moon in a large impact basin. Amazingly, I went on to read, abundant quantities of olivine have been found on Mars and that olivine is also a constituent of comet dust. Olivine as well as peridot itself has been found in meteorites too!

I've never really thought of gems being found on other planets but if you let your imagination go, you can't but help consider the amazing and wonderful possibilities of new gems on new worlds! I'm imagining stunning colours, colour-change stones, incredible patterns... how about you!?

Thursday, 1 July 2010

A winter's day of sunshine and cooking

It's another gorgeous winter day here on the Great Dividing Range. There are bright blue skies, not a breath of wind, but the air is bracing and there was a big frost this morning. The type of day when you just want to sit outside and soak up the warm sunshine and read a book (which is exactly where I'm going after this post!!) I hope you're having lovely weather where ever in the world you are too!

Thanks to everyone for the wishes on the show and the hints on surviving outdoor venues. Unfortunately it wasn't as successful as I would have liked - poor positioning meant no-one had reason to come near the traders area, unless they specifically wanted to have a look and there weren't too many of those! I would have been lucky to have had 100 people walk past in total over the whole weekend. But you live and learn and at least I got to see the showjumping, which was fantastic.

This means that all my work at my bench last week basically went unseen, however it holds me in good stead for two little shows I have coming up in the next month. Maybe I will take it a little easier as the children start their term break tomorrow and life is no doubt going to be busy as each of them vie for my attention. It will be time to change my name from "mum" by the end of the break I'm sure!

On the farm, the 70+ heifers are due to start calving this weekend so no doubt hubby will be in a grumpy mood for the next six weeks LOL. This doesn't always relate to problems the heifers may have, but just the general tiredness that comes from frequently checking out cow's rear ends. After six weeks it really takes it toll and hubby is due for a holiday!

I have also been doing lots of baking recently - I stumbled upon a cute little blog on 'sweet treats' (that I've since lost!) and wrote down their recipe (handed down from the blogger's grandma) for oatmeal cookies. I made them this week and the children are consuming them gusto. A neighbour's banana muffin recipe also got the thumbs up and our favourite apricot and choc chip biscuits were happily monopolised by the boys of the house. I just saw a great looking recipe on Your Cheeky Monkey for a muesli slice too which looks pretty yummy. Maybe that will be the next one I have to try out!

Well on that note, I think I will grab my book and head out into the winter sunshine. Ooops - almost forgot - the piece at the top is a bit scrumptious too - a necklace of black spinel and Kingman green turquoise faceted nuggets with silver.

Till next :)


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