Large Round Bezel Bracelet
Large round cabochon stones with wire bezel. Makes a statement
and really shows off the stones. Available in Rainbow Moonstone,
Amethyst, and Garnet. Made in India. A special deal: $12.50
Each month when I write the newsletter, I start
out with the previous month's newsletter as a template. This simplifies
things and makes for a more consistent look month to month. Imagine
my surprise last month when a customer emailed me and asked why
the 20% discount wasn't being applied in the shopping cart.
I was all set
to explain that the 20% off sale was over when I noticed she referred
to our newsletter as the source of her expected discount. I checked
the email and realized I hadn't changed the special completely,
thus inadvertently offering 20% off for the whole month of September.
There was nothing
else to do but offer a 20% discount for September! There are still
a few days left, so if you didn't catch my typo in the last newsletter
there's still time to take
advantage of this normally semiannual sale. Just order over
$150 in merchandise and the discount will be applied to your cart
In October I
am traveling to Indonesia. Mostly it is a surf trip: I will be on
a boat with 5 other surfers for ten days as we search out little-known
surf spots on some small islands off the coast of Sumatra. At the
end of my trip I'll be spending some time in Bali buying new products
for the Holiday season. I haven't been to Bali before, but I have
a good resource for suppliers so I am very excited.
Look for new
silver jewelry with that typically-Indonesian handcrafted detail
towards the end of the month. I'll also be chasing down textiles,
if I can find some nice ones at good prices.
soon are some great new Vietnamese purses. They are in the air right
now, so look for them toward the end of October.
Since I am leaving
before the end of the month, I won't know what the final donation
to the Habitat for Humanity
Katrina relief effort will be until I return. I would like to thank
each of our customers for your purchase in the month of September.
As you may recall, we have pledged 10% of our September profits
to help rebuild after the devastation of Katrina and now Rita.
There is plenty
to see on our site for the month of October. We have restocked many
of our best selling items, so if there is anything you were unable
to order because it was out of stock, please check the site.
Western Silversmith History
Silver was one of the first metals refined and used
by humans. It is thought that only gold and copper predate its use.
It is an economically valuable metal for several reasons. First,
it's scarcity makes it a more costly metal. Second, it has an attractive,
almost luminescent appearance that is highly desirable for display.
Third, it is a malleable, easily worked metal that can be shaped
into a variety of objects. Finally, it has many uses not only in
personal adornment, but also in industry and in medicine.
Silver as adornment
predates modern history. It was already being separated from ore
by 5,000 BC. Several ancient civilizations are known to have attained
a high degree of proficiency at working this magic metal. It was
long thought that the Greeks were the first true masters of silver
and gold smithing, but that changed in the 1920's when the tomb
of the Mesopotamian Queen Pu-Abi was unearthed revealing an elaborate
filigree knife sheath dating from 2600 BC.
technique of working with fine filaments of silver to form elaborate
designs, takes years to master and requires a high degree of sophistication.
The filigree on Pu-Abi's sheath, as well as other fine examples
found in the tomb of Tutankhamun, prove that the art of silversmithing
had been practiced and refined for an extended period prior to 2600
After the Mesopotamians
and Egyptians, the Greeks continued to evolve and refine the art
of silver manipulation, applying their own tastes and techniques.
Typically, traditional Greek jewelry featured sculptural renderings
of natural forms, similar in content to their classical statuary.
With the rise of their empire, the Romans drew much of their skill
in working precious metals from techniques perfected by the Greeks.
The similarities between Greek and Roman jewelry end with the craft.
In style, Roman jewelry making tended to be based on the use of
color, as in semiprecious stones. Designs were simpler not because
of a lack of ability but rather because the Romans preferred the
As the Romans
spread their influence throughout the Empire, the art and craft
of silver work, like so many other trades, was transferred to far
off lands. The Celts produced highly stylized jewelry in silver
and gold from about 500 BC to 500 AD. Their intricate knotwork designs
were highly prized and traded throughout the Mediterranean. The
influence of Celtic design can be seen throughout the Middle Ages
in the work of Irish monks and artisans. Celtic motifs in jewelry
have become a sort of subculture unto themselves, with whole companies
dedicated to the production of this genre.
Many of the
traditions associated with the Egyptians and Romans, filigree as
an example, were lost with the advent of Rome's decline. It was
not until the late Medieval period that their technical prowess
was rivaled. As European civilization emerged from the Dark ages,
jewelry making and the wearing of precious metal objects became
more popular. With the rise of the merchant class, starting in Venice
then spreading throughout Europe, the nobility imposed restrictions
on who could wear jewelry and of what type. Fearing they would be
upstaged, Europe's ruling class forbade the wearing of jewelry that
would be considered "above their class" by non-royals
and specifically the nouveau-riche.
With the Renaissance,
art of all forms flourished. Jewelry making attained a diversity
and technical merit not seen in over a thousand years. The appetite
for precious metal jewelry kept pace with important new gold and
silver sources in the Americas. While the level of production of
gold and silver had remained mostly stagnant or even declined after
the fall of the Roman Empire, production of ore increased dramatically
once the rich mines of South America were more fully utilized.
After the Renaissance,
jewelry making went through various periods that define popular
genres. Whereas previous eras of jewelry making are referred to
by culture or regional reference (i.e. Egyptian or Celtic), jewelry
of the post-Renaissance takes on a more trend oriented identification.
Think of Victorian, Art Nouveau or Retro period pieces. In addition,
new manufacturing techniques and refinements make for mass production
on a scale never before seen. Art meets innovation via the Industrial
Today, the idea
of artisan crafted jewelry is not lost. Like most labor-intensive
economic activities, the production of commercial jewelry has shifted
to countries with lower costs. For the past decade or so, India,
Thailand and Bali have been major sources of good quality silver
and gold jewelry that is produced at a reasonable price. Currently,
like so many other household items in Western culture, China is
becoming a world player in the production of silver jewelry. The
Chinese producers, though not of the same caliber of technical skill
as the Indians or Balinese, have added thoroughly modern production
techniques that combine the best of casting and hand finish work.
We will undoubtedly see their dominance rise over the next five
years as the Chinese more fully develop their skills in hand smithing,
And what about
the traditional artisan of Western culture? They seem to have been
relegated into three typical molds: the designer, the commercial
artisan, and the hobbyist. Maybe these are the only three categories
that have ever existed, but today they represent a small part of
the commercial jewelry industry. Some lament the decline of traditional
American or European jewelry craftsmanship, but rarely are their
voices heard above the majority who crave more and ever cheaper.
One possible origin of the term "sterling silver" originated
first as "Easterling Silver". The term "Easterling Silver" was used
to refer to the grade of silver that had originally been used as
the local currency in an area of Germany, known as "The Easterling".
of the Site
Arrivals section has all the latest and greatest.
Lamps are restocked, new styles added.
jewelry is hot!!!
Please let me
know if you have any thoughts or suggestions on what we can do to
improve. We are always open to new ideas and constructive criticism.
888-408-0072 toll free (US only)