Friday, July 22, 2016

A New Perspective, An Age-Old Divide

I try to stay away from political and even personal posts on this blog.  This is, after all, supposed to be about fine jewelry and jewelry designers.  But, today's climate....  

The suffering in recent weeks in unbearable.  Just this past week alone, my news feed was filled with stories about police officers being ambushed and killed; a group of teenagers who set a litter of puppies on fire and distributed video of the horrific abuse; a petition to free the 'world's saddest polar bear' from a shopping mall display in China; a bull being tortured and blinded by fire for sport; a collection of murder-suicides and yet another police officer killed in my hometown while responding to protect others.  

An Inspired Antiquity exclusive, the proceeds of this Sterling Silver & Sapphire (or Ruby) Necklace go to support S.A.F.E.
You can read more about the work that S.A.F.E. does to support the families of Law Enforcement Officers & Firefighters
by visiting our "Giving Back" page, here.

The hatred, the negativity in our world today is stifling.  I feel overwhelmingly sad.  I feel compelled to speak out from a different point of view.  The point of view of a responder, a wife, an animal lover and a global citizen.

The stunning necklace by Retablo donates 13% of all proceeds to areas Animal Rescue Groups.

You see, jewelry is an escape for me.  It's my part time escape and one of my full time loves.  I sometimes wish, and daydream, that I led a more creative life away from all this hatred, abuse and killing.  Where it wasn't something I had to see first-hand on a daily basis.  A life like any number of the designers or artisans whom I have profiled or who's work holds a place of honor in my jewelry box.  But I don't.  

In my *real world,* I don't work for a jeweler, an antique jewelry auction house or artisan.  I work behind the scenes in a world that most have never heard of - Emergency Management.  Hardly inspired, its name is exactly what it is.  I manage (and, hopefully, prepare) for other peoples' emergencies.  It is my job to make sure that my colleagues are educated, trained, prepared and capable of responding to any incident that may affect our little part of this world.  I am (supposed to be) the voice of reason.  The calm in their storm.  

The purchase of this bracelet by Survival Straps will result in 25% of the purchase price being donated to

In the course of my work in this field for the past (almost) 20 years, I've also been a search and recovery canine owner/handler/trainer (you can read about a special piece of jewelry related to that work here.); a member of a National Incident Management Team; a dog fighting crime scene investigator; a critical incident stress counselor and I've even received training in responding to improvised explosive devices (IEDs).  So...I think you can imagine why I need an escape from my *real world* on occasion and stunning fine jewelry becomes the perfect outlet.

But beyond all of that, I support our Nation's law enforcement officers as well as those individuals and professions throughout the world who put their lives on the line to protect, save or recover those who don't.  Those of you who know me personally, know my connection to that "Thin Blue Line" and will understand why I don't refer to it directly in public forums (even one like my own blog).

When you purchase this "Be Brave" Necklace from, $10 will be donated to Wives Behind the Badge - a non-profit that provides a number of resources to the families of Law Enforcement Officers.

But what I am seeing in our world today has me both scared, thankful and puzzled.  

Scared for my friends and relatives who walk that line throughout the world. Scared that one day, they will respond to a call for assistance only to be ambushed, shot in the head, left for dead and turned into a martyr when what they really wanted to do was protect people, love their families and be able to sleep at night like the rest of us.

Thankful that some of my friends and family have left that line behind - although it will always be a part of them.  I am thankful that they made it through their service years with only a few cuts, a bullet hole or two and a lower-level case of PTSD.

Buying this little Sterling Silver Paw Print  Necklace from RescueArtWorks will support Rocky Mount, VA-area animal rescue groups.

Puzzled because I don't understand.  I don't understand why history continues to repeat itself - AND WE LET IT.  Every race, religion, sexual orientation, gender and ethnic background has been discriminated against at some point in our combined human history - or still is (can anyone say unequal pay for women doing the same job as men?!).  Does this make it right?  Of course not!  But isn't that exactly what we are doing right now?  Discriminating and chanting "I wanna see dead cops!" simply because a group of individuals all have a single characteristic in common?  They all wear a police uniform.  How is this form of discrimination any different than any other form of discrimination based upon a single common characteristic?

Every purchase of the Amelia Bracelet from will result in a $10 donation to the
National Alliance for Law Enforcement Support which provides resources & emotional support
to Law Enforcement Officers & Firefighters as well as serving as a positive voice in the community.

Are there bad people in every profession; every walk of life?  Absolutely!  They are, unfortunately, what keeps people like me employed in the *real world* and necessitates the existence of my profession.  Does dialogue need to occur between all the parties involved?  Certainly. Without a doubt.  Do more lives need to be lost unnecessarily?  Never.  

But when my news feed is filled with so much ugliness, hatred, condemnation and supposed injustice (real or unreal); I have to wonder - When did we all forget that the blood we shed is the same color regardless of skin color, uniform, species, etc.?  When did we decided that the Golden Rule only applies to some and not all?  Why must we let hate overpower empathy and civility?  And when will it all stop?  When will WE ALL MAKE IT STOP by holding ourselves personally accountable to a higher standard of behavior, ethics and morality?

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Friday, July 1, 2016

Rough Rhodolite Garnet Design Project with Hozoni Designs

I love rough stones and have collected them since I was child.  With a resurgence in the appreciation for these fabulous little works of art by Mother Nature, there are becoming more and more designers who are utilizing these rough stones in their collections.

At 6.80 carats, this Rhodolite Garnet has a very, very deep purplish-red color & has been one of the favorites
in my collection for several years.  Although not 
flawless, it's color & unique, almost heart shape, have
been a constant source of enjoyment that has been calling to be shown off.

One of my favorites was recently featured here, Hozoni Designs.  Steve and Daniele Passantino of Hozoni Designs have an entire collection, the Rough and Refined Collection, that is centered around the beauty of rough stones - primarily garnets.  They were the perfect collaborators when it came to utilizing one of the little Rhodolite Garnets in my collection.

The initial sketch by Steve Passantino featured each of the design elements that I had requested -
mixed metals (in this case, Rose Gold & oxidized Sterling Silver) & some texture.

And, drum-roll please….The finished project:

I adore the bold, industrial feel of this ring!  The rose gold shows of the warmth of
the garnet in such a lovely way.

The adorable rivets are just the sort of attention to detail that drew me to Hozoni in the first place.

There is just something about the way a garnet glows in the Arizona sunshine....

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Monday, June 13, 2016

Jeriann Watkins - High Impact Uses for Wedding Jewels, Guest Blogger

I am so excited to share today's guest blogger with you!  Jeriann Watkins is a lifestyle blogger with a passion for wine, food, music and writing.  And, yes - she even loves jewels!  Jeriann has an adorable blog that I truly recommend you check out because you're going to love her sense of humor!  So after you've pursued today's post, be sure and swing over to Jeriann's blog, DairyAirHead, at, to get more lifestyle ideas!

Jeriann Watkins - the DairyAirHead herself!  Be sure & swing over to check out her blog.

When you think of wedding jewelry, you probably think about wedding rings. But there are a lot of other ways that jewelry lovers can incorporate some bling into their nuptials. Below are some high-impact uses for jewelry in weddings.

Bridesmaid Gifts
It’s common practice for brides to shower their bridesmaids with thank you gifts. After all, the bridesmaids are the moral support that the bride needs to pull everything together for the big day. One trend that’s been popular in recent years is to get the bridesmaids jewelry to wear in the wedding. You can get bridal party sets like the ones above so that everyone matches your wedding colors and each other.  This is a great way to thank your bridesmaids and have them looking great on your big day.

14K Gold Spike Earring from CJbijoux
Brooch Bouquets
Another popular trend going around is replacing the traditional floral bouquet with a “bouquet” made of brooches and other jewelry. You can buy pre-made or custom ordered brooch bouquets through online retailers such as Etsy or you can DIY-it up and make your own! This is a great way to incorporate your favorite jewelry and any heirlooms that may have been passed down to you. You can also ask friends and family to contribute a piece to your brooch bouquet to add even more sentimental value. Here’s a great tutorial for how to make a brooch bouquet yourself.

Image Source: Flickr

If you want a simple way to class up your centerpieces, attach some antique jewelry to some fabric and wrap it around a jar or vase. You can also put jewelry on table runners to add some bling to the table itself. If pearls are your jam, fill tall vases up with pearl strands. There are countless ways you can incorporate your taste in jewelry into your reception décor.

Image Source: Pinterest

Cake Jewelry
If you have one or two large pieces of jewelry that you want to incorporate into your décor in a big way, consider showing them to your cake decorator and seeing if they can build the cake design around them. The cake is one item that is sure to be seen and used as a focal point in photos. This is a great way to let those special heirlooms shine.

Image Source: Colin Cowie Weddings

Do you have any other ways to incorporate jewelry into weddings? Share your ideas and experiences in the comments below!

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