Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Pantone Colors in Gemstones Spring/Summer 2015--Part II

We continue to explore the Pantone color palette in gemstones.

For the color Lucite Green, you can't do better than some yummy gem quality chrysoprase. High quality chrysoprase is difficult to find, but it has a glow to it that can only compare to the finest jade. High quality material will have a silkiness to it, almost lit with an internal luminosity and will be translucent when held up to the light. Here is an example of gemmy green chrysoprase.

Green chrysoprase

If you want an excellent match for the Pantone color of Scuba Blue, then gemmy blue or blue-green chrysoprase is an excellent choice. This is one of my personal favorites because it has such a lovely glowing blue color to it.

Blue-green chrysoprase
The two stones above without the light shining through them

The colors Treetop and Woodbine are shades of woods and forests, complementary to each other. Treetop is a lush saturated green that will remind you of the middle of summer when the trees are in their prime. Woodbine has a warmer olive undertone, which is a color more prevalent in grass and trees towards the end of summer.

A woodbine color in nephrite jade

The green jades are good colors to match for these two. North America, primarily the U.S. and Canada, have many fine jades. Jade has two classifications: jadeite and nephrite. Jadeite is preferred by many, but I've seen many prime examples of nephrite. Nephrite is quite hard compared to jadeite, and because jadeite is softer, it is the preferred material for carvings. Both are tough and wear well in any variety of jewelry or men's accessories. Jadeite is frequently more translucent than nephrite, however as I've said, I've seen outstanding examples of nephrite that will rival that of jadeite. For a ring or cufflinks, which tend to get a lot of wear from abrasion, nephrite jade will hold up better than jadeite.

Woodbine color and treetop color in jade
Strawberry Ice is a lovely color of pink, the rosy hue of a sunset on the evening clouds. There are lots of pink stones. Some you might consider are pink tourmaline, thulite, rhodonite, rhodochrosite and rose quartz.

Thulite--pink on pink
Rhodonite, ranging from a pink with a warm undertone, to cotton candy pink with black inclusions

Rhodochrosite with lacy frills of lighter pink

Or go crazy and choose complementary colors of green and pink to go together, like these examples or pink and green jade, or green jade and rose quartz.

Pink and green jade--thulite and nephrite

Apple green jade with rose quartz
The perky purple of Lavender Herb has some excellent choices with the lighter colors of amethyst. Because they are lighter in color than the royal purple color, they have a higher refractive index than the deeper hues, which means the light can enter and exit easier, making for a lively sparkle. Amethyst is tough and is a good choice for all types of jewelry. Although if you have a very large stone, you want to be careful not to chip it. Amethyst is in the quartz family, which can cleave much like glass. So if the stone is large, and it's in a ring, you want a substantial amount of metal enclosing it. Smaller stones are less likely to chip.

Another of my favorite lavender stones is a schisty lepidolite. Schist means that it has a crystalline structure that is readily visible within the stone. If you've ever seen stones with specks of mica in it, this is schist. There are bright sparkles that wink at you like glitter is embedded inside. Lepidolite is something rockhounds get excited about because it is such a pretty mineral. Here are some excellent examples below, but beware that lepidolite is fairly heavy, so unless the earrings are designed well with this in mind, you might get earrings that are too heavy to wear for extended periods of time.


Charoite is darker than lavender overall, but it has lovely silky swirls of lavender scattered throughout the darker purple. Sometimes there will be some black or brown present in the stone too.

Don't forget sapphires! Most people think sapphires are only blue, but the truth is, sapphires come in a wide range of colors--green, yellow, orange, purple, pink, and like these examples of fancy sapphire colors in lavender.

Fancy color sapphires in lavender

When you need a bright and lively color for the Pantone Tangerine, Oregon sunstone is really a shining example. It tends to have some schist in it, so it has those sparkles that wink at you, and it has a lovely saturated deep orange color.

Eye popping tangerine color in sunstones

The Pantone website can give you more descriptions and also give you ideas for complementary colors to round out your wardrobe.

I hope you've enjoyed the exploration of stones for a fashion palette!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Pantone Colors in Gemstones Spring/Summer 2015--Part I

I'm baaaack!

So, have you been following the latest fashion color trends from Pantone? This lineup features soft pastel colors along with earthy jewel tones for spring and summer 2015. Marsala is probably the hottest color of them all.

So what stone colors will match up with the Pantone colors? First, go to the Pantone site in the color links below to get an idea of what the colors look like, and the we'll look at my fabulous collection of stones to give you some ideas that will match these colors.

For Marsala, try looking at garnets. Garnets have a fabulous color range that goes beyond just red. Besides the deep claret red of pyrope garnet, or the violet undertone of rhodalite garnet, there are many colors of garnet that include an earthy brown undertone to rich red. The stones below show excellent Marsala qualities.

Garnets in Marsala color
There is also carnelian, which typically comes in cabochon form (a cabochon has a generally smooth top with no facets), or sardonyx, which has banded layers with white, is and frequently carved to make cameos. Here are several examples.
Sardonyx Cameo

Carnelian cabochons

The Aquamarine and Dusk Blue colors will have great matches in the various colors of blue topaz and blue opals. While you could always choose an aquamarine stone, not all of us have the money for a high quality stone, plus you need to limit yourself to small sizes. Aquamarines over the size of one carat, or two at the most, are rare and quite pricey.

Topazes cost considerably less so you can get a sizeable stone that won't break the pocketbook. They're pretty tough too, and have a high refractive index in the lighter colors, which means you get lots of scintillating sparkle.

Topazes in light to medium colors
The cost for blue opals depends on a lot of factors, and the prices can range from nosebleed section to very affordable. Try looking at boulder opals, doublets or triplets (a small slice sandwiched between layers), and manmade imitation opals.

Blue opal doublet at top and imitation blue opals
Sodalite and lapis are excellent choices for Classic Blue. Sodalite is a dark blue, frequently with contrasting white swirls interspersed in the stone. This will be an especially popular stone in the summer. Can't you just see it with a striped blue and white outfit, with a pop of bright red color? The red, white and blue have always been, and remain very popular summer colors, especially with sailor stripes. Sodalite is very affordable, but it's somewhat soft, so be sure to choose a setting that won't get much abrasion. Pendants, earrings and hair accessories are excellent choices.

Lapis is a gorgeous stone and higher quality lapis is a rich blue color, ranging from an ultramarine to a royal blue. In fact, the most desirable colors are called lapis lazuli or royal lapis lazuli. Some lapis has flecks or threads of gold pyrite scattered through the stone. Some prefer to have the clear stone, while others actively seek out the lapis with gold pyrite. This stone was highly sought by the old masters, because nothing else approached the rich blues of ground lapis pigment. You will see it in many old illustrated manuscripts and classical paintings.

Quality lapis is now in short supply, as almost all high quality lapis comes from Afghanistan. With all the present-day wars, there has been little quality material coming out and there are severe restrictions on how it can be bought and sold. Most of what you see now comes from old stock. As the stock dwindles, the prices go higher. 

Lapis lazuli
Several other considerations are blue lace agate and blue agate. Agates are tough and can be worn in most any type of jewelry.

Blue lace agate

Blue agate
This has covered a few of the colors that are in the Pantone palette. Stay tuned for some more really fabulous colors in Part II!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

All the Gold in the World!

Have You Ever Wondered...

What one gram of gold looks like? One ounce of gold? One ton of gold? How about all the gold in the world?

The following link is from Demon-Ocracy, which posts economic infographics. It's well worth the time to check it out!

A Visual Representation of Gold from Demon-Ocracy

Thursday, April 3, 2014

For the Metalheads

Make Tools More Comfortable

Are you tired of your hands hurting after you've held onto a tool all day long? Sometimes it's a hammer, or a chisel, or a file.

Or you could be like me and just have arthritis in your hands, and just holding a tool can cause pain. So I've set about finding some workarounds. Even if you don't have arthritis or plan on holding onto a tool all day, this will make them a lot more comfortable to use..

First up is...Vetrap! 

You can get this at a regular pharmacy, but since you won't be using it to wrap wounds, you can get it from a ranch supply place or a pet store for a lot cheaper. At the date of this blog entry, you can get a roll of Vetrap (that's pronounced "vet wrap"), 4 inches wide by about 7 feet long, for around $3. This is enough to wrap 2-4 handles generously with cushy softness.

Vetrap in oodles of colors

This stuff is so nice! Besides making heavy hammers a lot nicer to use, it also provides grip. However, I am a little OCD and like to keep my tool handles relatively clean, so I will be using some spray Plasti-Dip on my Vetrapped handles so I can just wipe them off when they start getting greasy. Just as soon as it warms up enough so I can paint them outside, because it's still snowing a couple of times per week in Wyoming.

Oh, did I mention they come in oodles of colors?  Think color coding.

And in case you should ask somebody that you want some Vetrap, and they look at you with that blank stare, tell them they use the stuff to wrap horses' legs.

If you'd like to see more bench tips and tricks, search "For the Metalheads" in the  Search box.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Making Jewelry Storybook--Black Onyx Bracelet


Black Onyx Bracelet

Black onyx bracelet with filigree wires

To start the bracelet, several wires are soldered together. A setting is made and placed between the wires and soldered into place.

 The setting for the stone is inserted

The filigree wires are made by twisting two round wires together, then flattening them on two sides. This gives the appearance of scallops. The wires are soldered into place. Boy, it's time to clean the schmutz off my soldering block!

The filigree wires are inserted

The bracelet is formed into its final shape. The ends are rounded and the file work is done. It's ready for a prepolish and setting the stone.

The bracelet is bent into a cuff shape
This is another view of the finished piece on the back side. You notice that the back plate of the stone setting has hearts embossed on it?

The back side of the bracelet 

Here's a snowflake obsidian bracelet that's similar, but with more filigree wires.
Snowflake obsidian bracelet


Side view

This is the back side of the obsidian bracelet, where I've cut out a spray of flowers. Just a special little touch known to the owner.

The back side of the snowflake obsidian bracelet
Black stones always go very well with silver because of the high contrast between the silver and the black. Silver is considered to be one of the whitest precious metals.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Semi-finalist in National Competiton

"Majesty" bracelet a semi-finalist in The Crafts Report Magazine Cover Contest

My entry for the "Majesty" bracelet has been chosen to be one of the 32 semi-finalists out of hundreds of entries for the Cover Contest in The Crafts Report. That's a big achievement! It doesn't hurt that my daughter was the photographer, because she's really good.

"Majesty" bracelet by Katherine Palochak, photo credit Andrea Palochak
The bracelet is made from sterling silver, torch textured to give it a pebbly surface. The gold is 24 kt., fused to the silver using an ancient Korean technique called keum-boo. The stone is 8+ carats of royal purple amethyst (oh, it's a beautiful stone!) in a gallery setting. The color on the metal comes from an iridescent patina that ranges in color from gold, fuchsia, purple and blue.

I could use a little love to advance to the next stage of the contest, though. If you're a Facebook user, just click on the link below, and when you get to the photo, click "Like." When you click the "Like" button, it's a vote for my entry. This is only good for the day of June 12, 2013.

Thank you in advance for your support!



Thanks to everyone who had a hand in helping me out! I was one of the semi-finalists in the Crafts Report Magazine Cover Contest for the second year in a row. I'm on page 26 of the October 2013 issue.

Let me tell you, the competition was fierce this year! There were so many excellent entries, I felt I was very lucky to have even been chosen for the competition. The craftsmanship and the quality of the entries were superb.

The entry that won the Cover Competition was a gourd inset with turquoise and fetishes. It was phenomenal! I never knew carved gourds could be so decorative. It is worth taking a look at it, so here's the link:


Now I have to figure out what I want to enter for next year! Hmmm...

Monday, March 25, 2013

Making Jewelry Storybook--Pearl Tiara

I've been making tiaras lately, for no particular reason other than it seemed like a fun thing to do. It's a nice brain break. So here's the first tiara, made with South Sea shell pearls and sterling silver.

Make the base

The base wire is twisted and attachments are added at each end for a keeper chain. It also lets a veil be attached and can be used as anchor points with hair pins.

Add the pearl posts

Soldering the pearl posts on

Drill the pearls

Drilling the shell pearls. Steady hands needed!

Finished tiara

Shell pearls on graduated posts, everything polished to a high shine

This is what I call a half-crown tiara. It looks fabulous on someone's head! I'm waiting for one of my daughters to come visit so I can take a photo of it on a head. I tried photographing it on my head, but between trying to keep it balanced on my head (got a little problem with my hair falling out right now), holding the camera and trying to locate the shutter button, the result was that I looked like the village idiot.

This tiara might still be available for sale in my Etsy shop here:
Plus (bonus!) you get to see more pictures of it.

If you liked reading about how this piece was made, you can see other pieces being made in my other blog postings of Making Jewelry Storybook.