by Ashley Lodato
A 1972 photo of Earth taken by NASA's Apollo 17 spacecraft was later called "Blue Marble," and went on to become one of the most reproduced images in history. This glittering blue marble, our gem of a planet, swirls of white and green and grey and blue sparkling in the reflected light of the sun--it hangs like a tiny jewel in a vast universe. And on its surface lies a treasure trove of precious and semi-precious gems that Bronwen Jewelry brings to you in the form of handmade jewelry.
At Bronwen Jewelry, we embrace the beauty the earth has to offer, and use its places, colors, and textures to inspire our artisan jewelry designs. And we also use its jewels, sourcing our gemstones from around the world. Shall we take you on a tour?
Jaipur, India, is the gem capital of India, and has for 300 years attracted those who seek to have the world's finest gems cut, polished, and mounted. In the 17th century, the ruling Maharaja brought artisans from around India to craft jewelry, sword hilts, and, allegedly, jeweled ankle bracelets for elephants. Jaipur's craftsmen soon gained distinction as they honed their craft, particularly for cutting brittle stones like emeralds.
Sadly, Bronwen Jewelry has no demand for bejeweled ankle bracelets for elephants (but should you have a need, please don't hesitate to ask us for a custom design), but we do happen to have some lovely anklets sized for humans that would make any bling-loving elephant envious. We also offer the jewels of India in the form of our Preciosa Necklace, which features tiny faceted rounds of natural ruby punctuated by gold or silver spacers and a sweet charm, and our Athena Necklace, which pairs Indian sodalite with gold or silver faceted beads and a unique pendant.
Just to the south, the tiny country of Sri Lanka has a long tradition of sustainable practice gemstone mining, completed by hand in small pits. Compared with large-scale open pit mining, these artisanal mines provide more stable employment for miners as well as conferring far less damage on the environment. While large scale mines result in open, abandoned pits, in Sri Lanka the tiny pits are almost always filled in and revegetated, or the landowners face fines for neglecting to rehabilitate the mine.
Rich secondary deposits--gravel--in Sri Lanka yield an astonishing array of sapphire, ruby, garnet, tourmaline, topaz, and other gemstones. The island's geologic conditions create a perfect blend of chemistry, heat, and pressure that foster the growth of gem crystals. And this makes us oh-so happy, because we just can't resist the gems that form and weather in the Sri Lankan soil and water.
Farther east, Thai Hill Tribes are busy smithing silver bangles, beads, charms, and pendants as they have for nearly a millennium. The work of these skilled craftspeople is revered worldwide, as their silver pieces are distinctively stylish, with smooth, textured, carved, and hammered finishes. Take our Tiny Charm Moonbeam Necklace, for example. In this simple pendant you see the stamp of the artisan hand and the care with which the Hill Tribe people treat their art. You can witness this same level of attention to detail in our Tiny Charm Thai Smile, our Tiny Charm Flower Heart, and our Tiny Charm Thai Fish.
You want to hit the waves after the office? Go right ahead--this jewelry was made for surfing. No tarnish, no tangle. All of our Hill Tribe silver pieces are sweat, swim, shower, and sand-friendly, accompanying you from the gym to work, to the riverbank, and to cocktails afterwards.
From the European continent comes the earth's gift of Czech glass beads, which are used in so many of our bracelet wraps that we've almost lost track! Our Condesa Bracelets, for example, are saturated with the rich color of the Czech glass beads and accented by shiny silver or gold spacers. The look and feel of our Glasswrap Bracelets--which also feature Czech glass-- is so irresistible that once you fasten one on, you'll find yourself hard-pressed to take it off again. The same is true for our Waterweave Bracelets, the lower-profile little sister of the Glasswrap. Same Czech glass beads, same water-friendly design, but at a lower price.
From the Americas come beauties like our Dreamcatcher Necklace, which highlights natural green turquoise from Arizona and a playful gold or silver 2-tier charm, and the Sea Drift Necklace, in which the contrasting blues, browns, whites and blacks of gorgeous Rainbow Amazonite provide a captivating visual intrigue. The Sea Drift Necklace is as dreamy as its name.
Would you like to experience the glittering treasures of the Blue Marble? Let Bronwen Jewelry take you there.