Sunday, December 30, 2012

Garnets, Birthstone for January

Garnet is the birthstone for January. There is something extra special about this semi-precious gemstone that can take your breath away.  A good quality specimen can be truly exquisite.

Red Garnet Pendant. Sterling Silver Chain Necklace. Strawberry Wine
Red garnet teardrop pendant 'Strawberry Wine'
The name apparently derives either from the Latin 'granatus' meaning 'seed-like' in reference to the seeds of the pomegranate or from the Middle-English word 'gernet' which means deep red.  Garnet is a hard and durable stone that has been popular for centuries. Some have been found in burial sites dating back to 3000 BC

 Garnets can be found in several shades including red, green,orange, yellow and blue, the latter being the rarest of them all. The blue garnet was discovered only as recently as the late 90s in Madagascar and is an unusual, colour changing stone. In daylight it is a bluey-green but it changes to a warmer purple in other lights. Although some of the green variety can be much more valuable, the less rare and more easily recognised, red stones are usually stunningly beautiful, especially when teamed with warm gold or cool silver.
Red Garnet Earrings.  Sterling Silver. Wire-Wrapped Teardrop Gemstones. Strawberry Wine
Red garnet teardrop earrings (TEMPORARILY SOLD OUT)
 Here comes the short science bit.....Collectively, garnets are a group of silicate minerals. They include pyrope, almandine, grossular, uvarovite, spessartine and andradite. They vary in chemical structure so the hardness of the stone varies from 6.5 to 7.5 on Moh's scale.
Red Garnet Earrings. Sterling Silver.  January Birthstone. Ruby Berries
deep red garnet earrings 'Ruby Berries'
Like most gemstones, throughout history and across civilisations, garnets have been surrounded in myth and attributed special meanings. Known as 'The Warrior Stone', these  crimson stones were once incorporated into the armour of soldiers. It was believed they would protect them during battle. According to legend, Noah used a bright garnet to show the way through dark storms.
Red Garnet Earrings. Sterling Silver.  January Birthstone. Ruby Berries
Garnets are the symbol of fire, faith, courage and truth and also fidelity, grace and compassion. Traditionally they have been used as a healing stone to combat depression, lethargy and nightmares and to stimulate the bloodstream and pituitary gland. This stone is also the gem associated with the 2nd and 19th Wedding Anniversary.

If garnet is your birthstone then I wish you a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY this coming month.

click here to read about Amethyst, February birthstone 

click here to read about Citrine, November birthstone

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Crafty Exchange of Seaglass

seaglass and pottery from the Irish shore
Recently I've had a unique opportunity to try out something different in seaglass.  This was thanks to a lucky encounter with Joy of Seaglass Lass in the USA.
Christmas Green Sea Glass Bracelet, Goldtone toggle
drilled seaglass bracelet by Seaglass Lass
A few months back I was approached by Joy who makes beautiful jewellery from drilled seaglass beads. Descending from Irish heritage, she was looking to buy some local seaglass for sentimental reasons. Joy was especially interested in pieces from the West coast of Ireland.
Seaglass Pendant Handmade in Ireland.  Pale Aqua Seafoam Beach Glass. Still Waters
Wire wrapped seaglass pendant by Handmade by Amo'r
Our skills are very different. Joy drills and beads the seaglass whereas I wire wrap undrilled pieces to encage them. She would use the smaller pieces that are way to tiny for wrapping as the wire would swamp the glass instead of showing off its natural beauty. Those pieces are more suited to drilling into beads.
I managed to find several small pieces I'd collected on the West coast in Sligo this summer plus a few from local shores near Dublin.  I threw in a few larger ones just in case she wanted to make drilled pendants too.

Fixing a value on the pieces was a little difficult for me. After all, it was unlikely that I would be using them myself. So I asked Joy if she would exchange them for a few drilled pieces that I could experiment with. I have been toying with the idea of investing in a drill so I can make earrings and ornaments. Here was a great opportunity to see what I might do with it.
Seaglass Fairy Suncatcher, Christmas Ornament, Rear View Mirror Charm or Pendant
Seaglass fairy suncatcher or ornament, Handmade by Amo'r
I sent off the Irish glass and in return, Joy sent me some sample seaglass beads she had drilled. This little fairy is the first item I have made using the glass that Joy sent. I have stacked 3 pieces of the seaglass onto a pin for her skirt. Her bodice is a combination of silver beads and her wings are silver plate. Her head is a stunning pink crystal that will catch the light and sparkle.
Seaglass Fairy Suncatcher, Christmas Ornament, Rear View Mirror Charm or Pendant

I may use the rest to make a pair of earrings for myself and perhaps one more fairy. Or maybe I will incorporate them into a long necklace.
Irish Gifts. Bookmark Celtic. Seaglass, Silver & Stone. Made in Ireland
Irish seaglass bookmark, Handmade by Amo'r
However, I will hold off from buying a drill for the moment. Wire wrapping is my true art and I do not wish to detract from that. A drill to make beads from the smaller pieces would be useful of course, and I'll consider getting one at some point in 2013. I hope Joy has as much fun experimenting with the pieces I sent.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Oh Christmas Tree....

This year my Christmas ornaments will be gracing trees in various corners of the world including locally in Ireland, in the USA, Canada, Japan, Germany, Australia and the UK. This photo of one of the Connemara marble mini trees decorated in silver plate was taken in Finland where my Etsy friend Heli, is home with her folks for Christmas. Thanks Heli for sharing a glimpse at the gorgeous winter wonderland.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Recent Treasuries, December

A few more recent treasuries to share and say  
A BIG THANK YOU for. I am always grateful and honoured to be included:
 Thank you Barbara of Fau Mit Hut   for this unusual collection 'Stones'. Some very clever ideas brought together in a beautiful treasury!
It'a an honour to have been included in a treasury titled 'Proud of my Team gifts from Emerald Isle'. So thank you Margarita of Linen Artesan for this. I'm proud to see my cobalt glass pendant in such fabulous company.

And after a Bee Gee's themed work party, I have lyrics floating in circles in my head 'I've just gotta get a message to you-u-u' I wonder is it cos I haven't sent all my Christmas cards yet?!  Whatever the reason, the words inspired me to make the following treasury to promote fellow Irish on Etsy:

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Difference is in the Detail. Last One.

I've just posted the last in the series, The Difference is in the Detail on the Etsy Ireland Blog:
Click on the photo above to see the blog post (this will take you away to the Etsy Ireland Blog. Don't forget to come back to me please :-)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Last Dates for Christmas Shipping from Ireland

 Last chance to order gifts on time for Christmas and destined for the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan and Mainland Europe is tomorrow: 
December 6th!

The last Christmas shipping to these destinations (and other countries beyond Europe) is Friday Dec 7th so if you wish me to send something on time, please purchase it in the next 24 hours. Purchases will be still shipped after that date, but will most likely arrive a few days after the holidays. Last date for UK is 13th December and for Ireland is the 16th. 

Please click on the banner to enter my Etsy store home page

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Only 1 Connemara Marble Christmas Ornament Left

Connemara Marble Decoration. Irish Tree Ornament. Green Red and Silver  Connemara Marble Tree Ornament from Ireland. Celtic Christmas Decoration. Christmas Tree Ornament from Ireland. Connemara Marble. Celtic Spiral Charm Irish Tree Ornament. Connemara Marble Christmas Tree Decoration. Celtic Squiggle  Connemara Marble Tree Decoration. Irish Ornament. Green Red and SilverConnemara Marble Tree Ornament. Irish Christmas Decoration with Silver Heart.
These cute Connemara marble mini trees, and other Irish ornaments I made, will be gracing Christmas trees around the globe this year. Most, but not all, have gone to the USA and Canada. If only they could send me back photos of the happy families gathered around the trees over the holidays!

SALE Snowflake on Tree Decoration. Connemara Marble Ornament from Ireland.
Connemara marble tree ornament decorated with silver snowflake
This little fella is the last one left in my Etsy shop. I've reduced it to clear from €12.50 down to €11. 
 SALE Snowflake on Tree Decoration. Connemara Marble Ornament from Ireland.
Connemara marble is a rare stone found only in the West of Ireland. It comes in varieties of green from a faint white-wash to darkest forest green with 40 shades of lime and leaf in between.  This piece is a soft, pale green with grey and white marbling and lime speckles. It was carved by a Galway mason.

I flattened the snow flake shape from a silver cap bead using a chasing hammer and wrapped it onto the tree with silver plate. The crimson glass bead above will catch the twinkle of fairy lights beautifully. It has an ornate, silver plate hook for hanging. Just latch the ornament onto the branch or use a ribbon or tie if you prefer. 

This handmade ornament would make a thoughtful gift for an Irish family or friend abroad. 
SALE Connemara Marble Decoration. Christmas Ornament from Ireland. Irish Celtic Art.
OOAK Connemara marble ornament, REDUCED
 There are still  a few other styles of ornaments available in my shop. (Click here to view).

Last date for Christmas for International orders: 6th December! Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sale on Handmade Jewellery & Ornaments etc

My Coupon Sale for Cyber Monday may be over :-( but I have opened a Sale Section in my Etsy Shop. So grab yourself a bargain!  Here are a sample of items on sale. Click on the photos to view these listings:

SALE Butterfly Fairy Ornament. Silver and Pink Crystal. Decoration. Angel Fairy Charm.
Crystal & Silver plate angel charm on SALE

SALE Butterfly Button Pendant. Tomato Red and Black Button Pendant Necklace. Sally
Butterfly Button pendant on SALE
SALE Carnelian Heart Earrings. Sterling Silver.  Athena
Carnelian Heart Earrings on SALE

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 25, 2012



26 NOVEMBER 2012


Click on the image to enter Handmade by Amo'r Etsy store

Click here for simple instructions from Etsy's main site, for how to use coupon codes when purchasing: INSTRUCTIONS FOR COUPON CODE USE

*12% will automatically be deducted off the listing price of the item(s) in your cart when you apply this code

 *The discount does not apply to shipping costs, but please note the my shipping costs are quite low as the items are generally light weight.

*This code is not valid for other Etsy shops, only  Handmade by Amo'r

*This code is not valid against custom orders, only items that are already listed in the shop

*The code is valid from right now 6pm GMT on 25 Nov 2012. After all, it's already Cyber Monday somewhere in the world! The code expires 8pm  GMT Tuesday 27 Nov 2012.

Friday, November 23, 2012

More November Treasuries

A few more recent treasuries to share and say  
A BIG THANK YOU for. I am always grateful and honoured to be included:

Lynn of Lynn's Creative Crochet has to be the Queen Supreme of all Treasury Queens. Week after week she makes a whole bunch of lovely lists and hardly a week goes by when she doesn't include me in one or two. I am eternally grateful. Thank you Lynn for including my Cork red marble earrings in this dramatic treasury 'Ladies in Red.'

Thank you Emile of Prosinemi's Creations for feauturing my Irish tree ornament and a 'Merry Christmas' to you too! Cute collection Emile.

And thank you Kseniya of MelashaCat for this very chic collection, 'Winter Trends' and for including my Kilkenny marble pendant among these lovelies.

And how about Christmas Irish style? Thanks Petra of Petra's Creations for including my Connemara marble tree in this festive collection, 'Ornaments from Crafty Ireland Team.'
Another of my Irish tree ornaments was featuerd in this festive collection put together artfully by Katia of   Katia V.  Thanks Katia for 'Oh Christmas Tree'. Very cute!

And today my pink heart ornament was featured in this very pretty treasury 'Pink for the Girls.' Thank you Freja of Like Freja. I'm tickled pink with this!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Inspirations from Terra Cotta


Terracotta, plain tile and other uni-coloured sea pottery can seem a little mundane in comparison to a perfectly frosted piece of seaglass or a specimen of beach-worn Willow, for example. Yet somewhere in the recess of my imagination I've always known that the simpler and more ordinary pieces of slate and pottery have exciting potential. 
Irish Sea Pottery Pendant. Brown Beach Pottery Necklace. Tea by the Sea
brown sea pottery pendant
The prettier sea treasures are usually a challenge to wire wrap. You have to use as little wire as possible, especially on the front, in order to show off their beauty to its best. Yet, you still have to cage the piece securely so it wont fall out. And of course, it's important to keep your wire work aesthetically appealing at the same time. The secrets to this type of wire wrapping are not so easy to unlock.
I tend to go for the more exciting and sell-able baubles first, leaving the plainer pieces aside. Yet deep down I've always known that the simple sea pottery shards can turn out to be far more fun to wrap. They are blank canvases -  a backdrop for the wire itself. Often, the challenge is to get the pottery and the wire to share the limelight in just the right balance so that they enhance each other. 
I had some vague design ideas running around my head but hadn't felt very motivated to bring them to life until a trip to the National Botanic Gardens, of all places. Here in a glass house I came across some inspiring artwork made from terracotta pots.
terracotta pot sculpture by unknown artist
Celtic spirals feature heavily in my jewellery and ornament designs. So naturally, I was drawn to this clever Celtic artwork. I'm afraid I didn't catch the name of the creator of this simple but very effective garden sculpture. If anyone can provide the name, please do post it in comments below.

Initially, I thought to take inspiration from the sculpture a bit too literally. I considered creating a triple spiral using both solid copper and silver plate wire and wrapping it onto a plain piece of terracotta sea pottery. I've done something similar in the past with gemstone slabs. 
Copper & Sea Pottery Pendant from Ireland. Biscuit Beach Pottery. Celtic Tides
Copper-wrapped Sea Pottery pendant
 However, rummaging through my stash, I was drawn to this biscuit and white tile shard but felt it would be swamped by such a design. It called for a simpler look that would balance the proportions right and bring out the understated beauty of the shard.

Copper & Sea Pottery Pendant from Ireland. Biscuit Beach Pottery. Celtic Tides 
I'm pleased with the result. The warm copper comes into its own against the soft beige and creamy white background. There is no need to contrast with cold silver. With time the metal will naturally oxidise and darken, developing into a new phase of beauty. 
 Copper & Sea Pottery Pendant from Ireland. Biscuit Beach Pottery. Celtic Tides
My Etsy friend Mo of HuggleKnits had accompanied me to the Botanic Gardens that day. It so happens that she was handing over some cotton crochet chains I'd commissioned her to make. This russet brown one complements the pendant to perfection.

Friday, November 16, 2012

November Treasuries

A few more recent treasuries to share and say  
Don't you love this colour? Thank you Nicole of Lunas Unique Gifts (Winners Photography and Crafts) for 'Aquamarine' treasury. Delighted to see my Irish seaglass pendant, 'Cool Water' feautred here with these lovelies.
 'Handcraft All In Ireland' is an ecclectic mix of local, Irish items showcased by Margarita o
 Linen Artesan. I'm delighted to see my ornament in such good company thanks!

 And yet again Lynn of Lynn's Creative Crochet has come up trumps and has featured my Irish seaglass pendant or ornament in a pretty treasury,  'My winter flower Garden.' I feel like you adopted my shop Lynn you are so good to me! I am indebted to you.

 And the Winter season has got off to a good start with 'An Early Christmas Stocking' by Shona of Mireog. Thanks for including my green and black necklace, 'Bewitched,' in this festive collection.

'Chilling Down' by Handmade by Amo'r (that would be me), promoting members of the Top Treasury Team on Etsy.
I was getting frustrated with the lack of light for taking decent photos. at this time of year. I gave   up and decided to take a break and make a treasury, aptly titled 'Winter Light.' This one features to promote European craft workers suppliers and artists on Etsy