Great Value Czech Crystal Earrings Only €20

CRYSTAL BEADED EARRINGS IN MINT GREEN AND AMBERAnnouncing my new collection of Czech Crystal Earrings for only €20 a pair. I’ve spoken before about how happy I was to discover these beautiful hand-made, fire-polished glass beads from the Czech Republic and now here are some early results. I really hope you like them. Mounted on my signature cards and ready to go inside a sweet organza gift bag these earrings make super presents.

When it comes to earrings I generally like to keep things simple and not too fussy. That close to your face and really all you want is a little subtle accent to clinch an outfit and complete your look. Also, I personally can’t tolerate heavy earrings – gone are the days when I happily sported earrings the size of small statues (the 80’s bless ’em). Now anything heavier than a pea and I get a headache so most of my earrings are barely noticeable weight-wise. Maybe that’s important to you too.  The colour range of these beads is fantastic and the finish is top quality. I’m keeping designs simple as I want to offset the beauty of the beads without too much interference. I will be adding more earrings and bracelets to the collection over the next few weeks so keep an eye out:) Lisa

 

Crystal Earrings €20Crystal Earrings €20

Swarovski Are Not The Only Czech Crystals

One of my guiding principles for my jewellery is to only use materials gathered from nature: semi-precious gemstones, wood, shell, but I also love beads made using Nature’s raw materials: namely glass and ceramic. In fact, the longer I make jewellery the more I’ve come to admire those makers who create the raw materials for me, the jeweller. I’m talking about the bead makers. So much of my time is spent sourcing quality materials and there is a whole world of people out there making amazing beads and findings (the hooks, clasps, chains etc. that jewellers use to finish their pieces). Through my work and a lot time spent on Etsy and other platforms I have discovered  people the world over making fantastic handmade beads. Just recently I’ve been falling in love with Czech crystals. I’ve always known about Swarovski of course and have used their beads in many of my pieces. Swarovski have an amazing quality of cut and clarity with the result they sparkle beautifully and are very consistent. But with that consistency comes a price. As someone who makes things by hand I love to see the mark of the hand that makes the object and so for me Swarovski are just too perfect and machine finished. I’m currently using some delightful glass beads that have come directly from the makers in the Czech Republic. The colour range is fantastic and the finish is beautiful too. I’m keeping designs simple as I want to offset the beauty of the beads without too much interference. I hope you enjoy them too. I’ll be listing a whole new range of earrings for just €20 and will be adding more bracelets and necklaces in the coming weeks. Now I just have to stop myself from buying more beads – it really is an addiction. 🙂

Crystal Beaded Earrings in Mint Green and Amber

 

Teal Blue Crystal Bracelet with Tassel

Nature as Inspiration

Like a lot of artists and crafters a lot of my work is inspired by Nature so often when I’m photographing finished pieces I have this irresistible urge to place them back in nature as that is where they seem to belong. Just recently I’ve been placing a lot of work alongside the spring flowers in my garden. They may not have been inspired directly by these flowers; it’s just that I like how they look together. Glass, metal, stone look at home in nature. I am most definitely not one of those bling jewellers and I have a strong personal dislike for synthetic plastic jewellery where necklaces, earrings etc. not only look trashy they also feel trashy. That’s not to say I don’t like the costume jewellery you see in retail shops. On the contrary some high street shops are very good at producing tasteful but low cost jewellery: Fatface for one and sometimes Next. To me a simple ceramic bead strung on a plain piece of leather is more beautiful than any exquisitely wrought diamond ring. It’s a question of taste and for me anyway the closer the piece of jewellery is to its original source in nature, both in material and theme, then the more likely it is I’ll like it.

Jasper and Silver Earrings

Blue Stone Necklace with Silver Charms

Macrame – The Ancient Art of Getting Knotted

I love macrame but must admit my earliest experiences of it were those chunky plant holders and owl wall hangings that were hip in the seventies. I had no idea it could be so fine and delicate until I came across it in its mini form: micro-macrame. As a jeweller, fibre and textiles are as important to me as metal and stone.I love incorporating the one into the other and so micro-macrame is just perfect for me.

Short Demo of me doing Micro-Macrame 

Jewellery making is quite a technical pursuit and I spent a lot of time and money in college studying different specialised techniques  so it was with great delight I ventured into the democratic arena that is YouTube to learn how to do macrame. I’d tried books but there’s nothing to compare written instructions with a live demonstration. There are any number of videos on how to do macrame and quite a few of them make a meal about setting up your board, making padded clipboards, what threads to use, and complicated measurement ratios . After trying several approaches I discovered the simplest and most effective board is a short piece of 2 x 1 wood with a nail hammered in at either end. The best thread is C-Lon or S-Lon – it’s strong, knots well, can be unpicked if needs be and comes in a huge variety of colours. You can also thread on pretty much any size seed bead without having to harden the ends first with nail varnish (though for some strange reason some colour threads are stiffer than others). On my board I’ve glued on a tape measure to guide me on size – those paper ones at IKEA are perfect. I tend to stick to the most common half knots and full flat knots. To be honest I find a lot of the more complex micro-macrame jewellery can become very overblown and naff really. Personally I like to keep my designs simple, earthy and chic.  Anyway, micro-macrame is a technique I never tire of – some people comment on how patient I must be but truth is I actually find it very relaxing! Friendship Bracelet Selection in Yellow and Gold - Handmade Beaded Friendship Bracelets

Macrame Friendship Bracelets

Turquoise – Theme Colour for Summer

Well, here in Dublin Spring has definitely sprung and so I am currently putting together my summer collection of jewellery. Inevitably, for me, that means working with turquoise. There’s something about turquoise that puts me in mind of sunny skies, long beach walks and sand between my toes. It’s the quintessential colour of summer. So my workbench is now littered with turquoise gemstone beads, turquoise gemstone chips, turquoise coloured seed beads and turquoise cord and all  the complimentary shades in between from dark teal to pale mint.

blog turquoise The perfect partner to turquoise is gold of course. I love how the two work together to become something more than the sum of their parts. It’s an ancient team of course and the Egyptians were amongst the earliest craftspeople to use this winning combination as can be seen in much of their jewellery and sculpture. Sourced from mines in The Sinai Peninsula the turquoise tended to be greener than the blue we associate with turquoise today much like Chinese turquoise in fact (see photo below). These mines are now mostly deplete and the word turquoise, which dates to the 16th century, is derived from an old french word for “Turkish”, because the mineral was first brought to Europe from Turkey.

blog turquoise chipsTurquoise is currently mined in nearly all four corners of the globe from Iran to the U.S., Chile and Mexico, to Afghanistan, China, India and even Australia.

As well as gold, red also makes for a wonderful partner with turquoise. I often use it in small doses to lend accent and balance to the turquoise, with gold acting as go-between. I’m using some lovely red coral beads to finish my turquoise and gold fringe earrings which have proved a popular choice amongst buyers. I also like to combine it into my leather wrap bracelets and find the combination works well in matte shades also.

So when the sun does finally decide to shine her light I’ll be armed and ready with my turquoise and gold goodies to make you feel beautiful!

Beaded Chevron White Leather Wrap Bracelet - Handmade Beaded Braclets - Lisa Weir JewelleryTurquoise and Gold Fringe Earrings

Top-Selling Gifts for Mother’s Day

Celebrating Mother’s Day

We here in Ireland have just recently celebrated Mother’s Day which is always exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday. (In the U.S.  it falls on the second Sunday in May so that makes it May 10th this year.) Like most calendar events it’s been hijacked by commercial enterprises looking to cash in where they can, pushing all sorts of enticements on us to buy flowers, cards, meals out. I don’t have a problem with that at all. As a mother and daughter myself, I think it’s only right to mark Mother’s Day with some token of recognition. Of course, we jewellers love Mother’s Day too, as jewellery has recently joined the list of most popular gifting items on this special day.

Jade Necklace with Gold Charms and Tassel

Jade Necklace with Gold Charms and Tassel

Men buying for Women?

long thin gold strand.on blue

Long thin gold necklace

I somehow imagined when I first started selling my jewellery that the bulk of my business would come from men buying for women. Not so! I am constantly amazed at how much of my customer base at markets and craft fairs is made up of mother/daughter combos: whether it’s mothers buying for daughters, or daughters buying for mothers, or mothers buying for daughters-in-law and vice versa, a good deal of my business goes to this winning combination. There’s something very heart-warming watching a woman selecting jewellery for her mother or daughter; there’s that wonderful desire to see the other person looking their best, to gift them with something special that you have chosen especially for them, something meaningful that will last through time and always remind them of you. Women often spend sums on each other they would never dream of spending on themselves; almost as though they’re encouraging them to treat themselves, to value who they are and how important they are in their family structure.

Top-Selling Mother’s Day Gifts

And what are the top-selling items between mothers and daughters? Well, without doubt it’s necklaces. Usually my short choker and pendant length neckpieces. You love my semi-precious stone pieces and tend to choose colours that complement your mother’s/daughter’s taste in clothes. And of course gold and silver details clinch it.

Well, however you choose to celebrate your mother this Mother’s Day know that it’s true when they say it’s the thought that counts. No amount of money spent can mean as much as the written word inside that card!

Short Jasper Stone Necklace with Gold charms

Short Jasper Stone Necklace with Gold charms

 

St Patrick’s Day Celtic Knot Friendship Bracelet Set

Apple Green Friendship Bracelet

St Patricks Day Bracelet Set

 

I attended a typical Irish Catholic Primary School in Dublin during the early 1970s and yes, a lot the time it was a bit grim, to say the least, but there were of course some happy times too and, for me, one of the highlights on the school calendar was St.Patrick’s Day.

A couple of days beforehand the teacher would put away the books and pens and turn instead to the most thrilling place on earth for me: the Art cupboard. Out would come the dowdy coloured sugar paper and cow gum (I still remember that awful smell and I suppose the name should have hinted at its origins but I just never made the connection) Next, she would rummage round and pull out the box of scissors – and a sorry collection of blunt and bockety excuses for scissors they were! If we were lucky there might be a few green ribbons or maybe even some gold card. But no such thing then as glitter glue or sticky backed jewels. Still, I loved all this because it meant that today was the day we got to make our St Patrick’s Day badges.

We didn’t tend to vary our designs much and why would we when we were so pleased with ourselves? Merrily we folded up accordion pleated circles in green paper and mounted them with white paper discs with hand-drawn Irish flags or shamrocks (tricky to master but eventually I got the knack: three little hearts joined by one triangular stalk). Sometimes we would attach paper ribbons at the bottom never failing to be warmed by the sight of the lovely green tendrils of paper we’d curled with our pencils. The hard bit was attaching the safety pin on the back. I don’t remember having sellotape and cow gum took an age to dry out. We were always too impatient to wait and so we would hurriedly pin on our wet badges  through our woolly jumpers and more often than not they fell apart on the spot and rarely make it to the big day. Still, our enthusiasm for the project never waned.

And I suppose I still got something of that little flutter of pleasure today as I designed and made this macrame friendship bracelet set especially for St.Patrick’s Day, though I hope my designs have become a little more sophisticated. I hand knotted the bracelets adding in traditional celtic knot charms, preferring them to the proverbial shamrocks, and narrowed the variety from fifty to three shades of greens: mint, olive and apple. I hope you like them! And Happy St.Patrick’s Day!

Celtic Knot Friendship Bracelet Set in Olive Green
Mint Green Celtic Knot Friendship Bracelet Set

Top Selling Gold Tassel Earrings this Spring/Summer 2015

Top Sellers

 

Gold tassel earrings

Gold Tassel Earrings popular all year round

I’m often asked what are my top selling designs and to be honest my answer changes at different times of the year. Summertime comes and we tend to roll up our sleeves and start sporting more bracelets. That’s when I sell a lot of my friendship bracelets and leather wrap bracelets as you ladies like to layer up those wrists. Styles become more daywear oriented and colours brighter: whites, blues, turquoise, and silver whereas in winter we like to bring out the glamour – gold predominates and not surprisingly colours become richer and warmer: red, plum, orange, purple and any number of browns. One design though that sells all year round are my tassel earrings in 24 carat gold plate seed beads.

Gold Tassel Earrings

I first spotted tassel earrings on the catwalk at Oscar de la Renta’s show – they were incredible: big, bold and beautiful, real statement pieces but like a lot of things you see on the catwalk when I checked them out in reality I thought they were clunky, overly large and overpriced. I didn’t like the colours either. The challenge was on. I love working with Miyuki seed beads and was doing a lot of work with their tiny 24 carat gold plate seed beads. The colour was just brilliant and I knew they would work well. What I didn’t realise was how long they would take to make – my first pair took me nearly 8 hours to make. I’ve become quicker but they still take a lot of time as they are so intricate and tiny. Immediately they were a success. My friend Kelle who’s Japanese ordered a pair and they looked amazing with her black hair and rich skin tone. Now every time I get an order I always make a second pair as I know it won’t be long before another order comes in; it could come anywhere in this global village that is our planet and I like to think about all these different women, in different parts of the world, sharing a common taste and hopefully feeling good about themselves while wearing my gold tassel earrings .

Lovehearts Necklaces perfect Valentine’s Day

Lovehearts Necklace just perfect for this Valentine’s Day but perfect all year round too. Part of my floating bead necklace series these tiny little hematite hearts are just so cute and perfect strung on their own in this minimalist design. They needed nothing else. I wanted to show off each bead on its own so used a technique called floating bead where each bead is knotted individually on a cord so it looks like it’s floating in place. The effect is simple and sweet and has a very youthful delicate appeal. My teenage daughter grabbed this one straight off the press!

Hematite is a naturally occurring material and is the mineral form of iron. It appears in a variety of forms one of which is rust and another is responsible for the reddish colour of the Martian landscape! And in terms of crystal healing hematite is associated with helping you feel grounded and connected to the earth.