Thursday, 26 August 2010

Fab new stones!

I see that it is now two months since I have written anything. In between that time I have been to the UK, visited the family, and spent a week in France, near Le Gers, taking time out to explore Bordeaux for the first time properly (it's a World Heritage Site - never knew that! Although not of very long standing, I don't think.)

Anyway, I am now busily back at work, increasing and diversifying my stock in my Etsy gems shop. Last week I added some gorgeous rhodolite - smooth and rose cut cabs and lots of blue topaz and this week it is amethyst and beautiful green-gold quartz. The majority of the cabochons I stock are 6mm and 8mm, as they seem to be most in demand - a few 10mm and one 9mm but not a lot. I am thinking of stocking some rose cut cabochons in a 5mm size - I think that that is the smallest they can go. However, I am not sure, so I've set up a little survey just to the right of this text- I'd be really grateful if you could let me know if this is something that would be of interest? And if so, perhaps you could send me a comment telling me which kinds of stones and colours you'd like? Thanks!

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Moonstone Special Offer!!!

I'm running a special offer on Moonstone in my Etsy gems shop for a whole week from Saturday 19th-26th June! All Moonstone is up to 20% off, and these are beautiful stones, so grab them while you can! If you want to take a look, go to

Don't miss out!!

Monday, 14 June 2010

Storm Pendant - Black and Silver

I love these; they go with just about everything and they're so interesting to look at that I often find myself just turning the thing round and round and staring at it. Although, I do have a slight tendency towards distractedness, so maybe it's more to do with that...! Anyway, they are fun to make; a simple twisty, a bit of silver foil, and the bead built up in layers, so you can see through in parts to the core of the bead. It's properly 3-D. This was the first style of bead that I felt I 'created' myself. I mean, it's probably been done before, but I came up with it without reading about it in someone else's book or blog or whatever. I think that's called 'second order originality'. Anyway, I think it's great, and if you want it, you can find it in my Etsy shop:

Or on my website of course.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Storm Pendant

I'm showcasing these pendants this week. I love these; they're so fascinating and the colours captured are just amazing. A myriad selection of deep indigo, copper blue and a soft pink encased in a thick layer of pale lavender. I won't say how I made it - but it's actually very simple and contains only two colours of glass. Here's a clue; one of them is reactive!

I call this collection 'Storm' because this looks to me like the whirling vortex of a tornado, with the colours swirling around and then captured in mid-flight. I've made this up into a simple pendant with silver beads to accent and a tiny indigo spacer to complement the bead. If you are interested in buying, you can find these on my website and also in my Etsy shop:

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Monday Madness!

Just because it's Monday, and everyone needs a little extra something on a Monday, I'm running a 24 hour 15% off offer in my Etsy gemstone shop. Every order placed between 12 midnight EST (US Eastern Standard Time) on Sunday 6th June and Monday 7th June will receive a fab 15% discount. To participate in this, all you have to do is go to my Etsy gemstone shop - - decide what you would like and convo me with your order. I will then set up a custom order with the 15% discount included!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Little fluffy clouds

That's a song by the Orb, which probably dates me a bit. Anyway, that's what this heart makes me think of, being a mix of blue and creamy-silvery-white frit encased in really pale blue glass. Bullseye pale blue which is a lot paler than Moretti's palest effort. I've got these hearts as pendants in my website shop but this is a bead set so you can let your imagination run wild. So, what we have here is a 2cm heart, nice and plump and even. The centre is rolled in frit and then encased which means there is a really cool paper-weight type effect as you turn the heart in different directions. There are six spacers, 1cm from hole to hole; three frit encased and three in plain, matt pale blue glass (these are Moretti because I find Bullseye does not etch well) decorated with silver nail-heads.

If you want to own this, you can find it in my Etsy shop:

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Rainbow Layered Bead

This is another layered bead; a nice round sphere. I love the colours in this; it's got a rainbow coloured core, then is built up with layers of very pale pink and lilac glass. Buried within is a streak of dichroic which gives it a lovely bit of sparkle. There are also some delicate plunged flowers and a series of bubble dots on the outside. I do love layered beads; they have so much depth. I think the photo looks great, but the bead in real-life is even more interesting.

This one has now sold but you can find others in my Etsy shop:

Monday, 17 May 2010

Pink and Lilac

Pink and lilac are a match made in heaven. Or so I think with my bluey-purpley-pinky palette. This is another one of my 'Saturn' lentils, made with extreme patience and love! These take a long time to make as each one is carefully built up in layers, you have to estimate the exact amount of glass - too much and it overflows the press, too little and it doesn't press to the right shape - and you only get one shot at it!

This one is made up of a core rolled in pinky-lilac frit, gravity swirled, then built up in layers, with each layer enclosing some latticino, some silvered ivory or some silver mesh, and then pressed. Precision and patience is required, but if you get it right, the sense of achievement makes it worthwhile!

This is available at my Etsy shop - if you would like to own it.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

What's this then?

I don't know what this is but a few weeks ago, the tree at the end of our garden dropped all of its leaves (seemed like a funny time of year for it, but there you are) and then bloomed. Amazing, big, red waxy flowers. This is quite a deceptive picture actually, because I must have taken it on the only day in the past 6 weeks when the sun was shining; otherwise it's been rainy and cloudy.

More tortoiseshell...

This is similar to the previous tortoiseshell beads, but with a nice whirlpool in the middle of the beads. These beads, are rolled in silver foil, then half-rolled in frit before being pressed into a lentil shape, or 'oblate spheroid' as my friend Steve would have it. They are then heated in the middle and the swirl created. I love mixing glass with silver because you never know what will happen. Here the frit has pushed the silver to the edges, which has created a lovely silvery rim around the frit. This frit mix is actually a pinky-purple.... but when you add silver in, this is what you get!

Beads available from Etsy if you would like them -

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Tortoiseshell or peacock, or something like that...

I really like these. Mixing silver and glass, you're never quite sure what you're going to get. These are made of pink glass wrapped in silver foil, then rolled in a frit mix from Val Cox. It's created this amazing tortoiseshell effect, with added blues and pinks. The frit has pushed the silver foil aside so there's also a really cool mosaic effect. I really like these...and I'm offering a set of seven (5 tortoishell plus two co-0rdinating golden lentils, also wrapped in silver foil) over in my Etsy shop - . Loads of scope for all sorts of jewellery; I can see the large one (3cm in size) as a pendant, and the two little ones would make really nice earrings.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Beads versus jewellery...

I tussled with this one for a long time; whether to make jewellery from my own beads and sell that or whether to just sell beads. The thing is, more people want to buy beads than jewellery, I think, and once people start muttering that they want to buy your necklaces just to 'get at' the beads, one has to bow to the inevitable, I feel...! So here are a few of my offerings, available via Etsy at the moment and we'll just see how it goes. I will be keeping the beads I use for my own jewellery different from those I sell.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Have a Craftgawk!

This is my latest ring - blue Chalcedony set in a silver band; an interesting combination of matt and high shine textures. Plus it is being featured on !

Sunday, 14 March 2010


Well, I never thought I'd grow weary of the sight of diamonds, but after trooping round the Hong Kong jewellery fair, I'd had my fill! Diamonds in great heaping, shimmering piles; great big flashy rocks in rings; cascades of diamonds in waterfall necklaces. Thousands upon thousands of stalls; I never knew there were so many diamonds in the world!

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Silver Rings

I've been recently re-discovering my love of silver-smithing and have a new Etsy site devoted to silver jewellery - called Joopy and Smith Silver. You can find it here:

Have a look at these lovely sparkly things!

Friday, 26 February 2010

Kung hei fat choi!

Yes, yes, I know I am late but better late than never, right? So happy lunar new year, and hope everything has a jolly good year of the tiger. I do love all the cherry blossom that adorns the city at this time of year - the blossom in the picture is near where we live, but I think the best displays are in the swanky hotels. On the actual day itself, we viewed the fireworks from on board a junk in Victoria Harbour. Fantastic fireworks! I have heard that some people thought they were not that impressive due to the fact that they were not on the telly, but I reckon that a solid twenty five minutes of massive explosions - those fantastic ones that feel like they are raining down on you, plus some which seemed to be in the shape of a cat's face complete with whiskers (can that be possible?) is pretty darn good.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010


There is a cold weather warning in Hong Kong. Temperatures are down to a chilly 9 degrees. The government is warning people to put on warm clothes and avoid 'adverse effects due to cold weather' and says that 'if you must go out(!) avoid prolonged exposure to wintry winds'. Hilarious.

Valentine's Competition Winner

The draw has taken place and the winner is Lorraine of Rainbow Gem Designs. Congratulations Lorraine!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

More of the hearts...

For more views of the hearts, please go to my Etsy shop - JoopyandSmith at

Monday, 8 February 2010

Valentine's Day Giveaway!!

Beautiful, plump hearts in a dazzling array of colours!

This month I am giving away a free lampworked glass heart, hand-made by me in my Hong Kong studio. All you have to do is visit my website - - go to the 'Hearts' section within the Shop and tell me which colour you would like. That's it! There's no catch, and you won't be putting yourself on a mailing list (although if you want to be absolutely certain, you can tell me if you don't want to be contacted). Competition closes on - of course - 14th Feb, 12 midnight UK time!!

Saturday, 30 January 2010

New blog

Well, it's a beautiful day here - atmospheric pollution now dissipated enough that we can see a few metres ahead of us, sneezing and snuffling somewhat reduced... The sun is shining and it's about 25 degrees. Perfect for taking a book into the garden with a cup of tea. Look out next week for some Valentines day related heart shaped beads.