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Danielle Miller Jewelry
P.O. Box 8514
Greenville, SC 29604
USA

 

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Greenville, SC
USA

864-905-3646

Bridal and contemporary jewelry handmade by Danielle Miller in Greenville, SC - Inspired by geometry and nature - Using conflict-free diamonds, moissanites and recycled metals.

Danielle Miller Jewelry - BLOG

New Work - 3xR February 2017

Danielle Miller-Gilliam

Progress! The second month of the 3xR 2017 jewelry challenge is under my belt! I made four more new pieces in February using stones I have been hoarding for years. All these lovely gem stones  are one-of-a-kind so if you envision them in your spring wardrobe, click the links to make them yours! :)

I'm back ... With a new jewelry challenge!

Danielle Miller-Gilliam

WOW. I haven't blogged in over a year. 
There are MANY reasons why....
I am trying to get back on track now.

In the past, I have participated in some very inspirational jewelry design challenges that were organized by my fellow EtsyMetal members. A new challenge/inspiration is just what I need right now! So I am participating in the 2017 Rx3 challenge: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. I will attempt to create one jewelry piece every week for the entire year using old stones, pieces-parts, half finished projects, old sketches, etc.

Here are the first four pieces I created for this project - using stones I have in stock for years:

Stay tuned for more new work! 

Handcrafted Jewelry or Commercial Jewelry? The Choice is Yours...

Danielle Miller-Gilliam

In a previous post discussing smart jewelry decisions, I touched on the value of handcrafted jewelry versus mass produced commercial jewelry. While there are pros and cons to both, obviously I lean more toward artisan pieces. But in the spirit of fairness, I’ve listed the pros of each to help you make your own decision.

Handcrafted

Stick and Stones Necklace and Earrings

Stick and Stones Necklace and Earrings

  • When you purchase handcrafted jewelry you’re getting an unique piece. Although I may offer a similar style for many years depending on what my clients want, each piece is slightly different because it's made individually and by hand. For example, while you may see someone else wearing a necklace from my Sticks and Stone collection, you can rest assured it won’t be exactly like the one you may own. 
  • Like so many other artists, I truly believe when buying from an individual you are doing something good for the planet. Unlike a big corporation where designing and churning out jewelry is based on nothing more than making the most money for the least investment, jewelry artisans care about where our gold, silver and stones come from. Plus, hopefully when you buy handcrafted you buy with the intent of keeping the piece for a lifetime, not just wearing it until the newest fad. This keeps less waste out of landfills and is better for Mother Earth. 
  • You are investing in someone’s dream. Many jewelry designers like other craftsmen struggle daily to balance paying the bills with doing what makes them happy. Purchasing a piece of handcrafted jewelry gives them the confidence and encouragement to continue to bring beauty into the world. 
  • Most artists have a story to tell---about their inspiration, technique or materials. The story continues when you purchase the piece---you become part of the story!

Commercial

  • You bought a pair of earrings from a nationally known retailer only to lose one a week later. Chances are pretty good that same store or another in their chain will be able to get you the same pair of earrings within days. (Although this may not be the case if you lose it a few seasons later since the fashion styles change so often.)
  • Are you a big impulse shopper? Then commercially produced jewelry definitely can satisfy that “must have it now” urge. 
  • Since mass produced jewelry manufacturers use commercial equipment often a piece bought from a department or jewelry store will have a higher sheen because it is has been machine polished with a heavy duty polisher. 

It is easy to see, there are pros for both. And while as a jewelry designer I would love for your jewelry box to be filled with nothing but custom pieces, I understand this isn’t realistic. But when you do want that something special…a custom piece as individual as you are, then seek out a jewelry artisan, someone who can create exactly what you are searching for. 

18k gold custom made ring using customer's heirloom stones by Danielle Miller Jewelry

18k gold custom made ring using customer's heirloom stones by Danielle Miller Jewelry


Tips for Making Smart Jewelry Decisions

Danielle Miller-Gilliam

When digging through your jewelry box how many rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings do you own but never wear? Some of those purchases perhaps were impulse buys while others were gifts celebrating special occasions. Then if you’re like most of us, you probably have a few pieces from past relationships just gathering dust. Start now by cleaning out your jewelry case, selling any pieces you no longer like, have the wrong sentimental value or know you’ll never wear. Just be forewarned, pre-owned jewelry, unless vintage, doesn’t have a very high resale value. 

Then be careful when storing all your jewelry together. Consider investing in lined compartmental boxes to avoid damaging your more delicate pieces. This will also keep necklaces from becoming tangled. And here’s a helpful tip to take care of those knotted chains. Lay the necklace on a piece of plastic wrap and apply a few drops of baby or mineral oil. Use a small needle to work out the tangles then clean with dish soap and warm water, drying thoroughly to prevent discoloration. 

Costume jewelry needs special love and attention, so it’s important to take steps to keep it from tarnishing. The majority of the stones in costume jewelry are glued in place so strong chemicals or soaking in water can loosen or damage the gems, plus exposure to water can affect the finish. When cleaning it’s best to wipe each piece off with a slightly damp cloth then gently dry before storing. Just use as little water as possible to keep these pieces from changing color, rusting or becoming dull. Or simply use a two-sided cleaning cloth to buff and polish. 

When buying commercial jewelry from a major retailer don’t ignore last season’s styles, often these pieces will be discounted 50 percent or more. One of the best tips when it comes to buying jewelry is never buy anything that you don’t know when or with what you’ll be wearing it. If you purchase something without having a plan, chances are pretty good it will end up in your jewelry box gathering dust. 

And finally don’t overlook the value in a handcrafted piece of jewelry versus a mass produced commercial piece. An individually crafted ring, bracelet, necklace or pair of earrings uniquely designed and constructed with meticulous attention to detail, make the value immeasurable. Searching for more information on the pros and cons of handmade jewelry? Please bookmark my site. In the coming weeks I’ll be posting an article on everything you need to know and more about buying handcrafted jewelry. 

Searching for the perfect piece no matter what the occasion or outfit? In addition to custom jewelry (many times updating your old tired jewelry), I also offer monthly trunk shows featuring new styles, limited edition pieces and discontinued designs.

Dissecting the Hottest Fall Colors

Danielle Miller-Gilliam

Each spring and fall Pantone releases their latest fashion color report, detailing the hottest new shades for the upcoming season. This fall they are proud to introduce, along with Marsala, a gorgeous terracotta red, that debuted earlier this year as the 2015 Pantone Color of the Year, nine additional colors, that if you’re like me, will make you want to ditch your old winter wardrobe and fill it with clothes and accessories resplendent in these mouthwatering shades. 

MARSALA_RoseCutDiamond.jpg

GreenToumaline_GreenSapphire

Dried Herb - Perhaps not the best named color, Dried Herb is everything you think of when you think fall…and more. Organic, earthy and subtle, many reviews consider this shade to be military inspired; while others, myself included, lean more toward an androgynous unisex vibe. Dried Herb lends itself to becoming incorporated as a neutral would, allowing you to build your wardrobe around this one nature inspired sophisticated color.  

Desert Sage - What would fall be without a little sage? Oh wait…maybe that’s Thanksgiving I’m thinking of and all that yummy sage stuffing. Anyhoo, for your upcoming fall wardrobe Desert Sage is the perfect neutral. The greenish/gray tone has Mother Nature to thank for her inspiration. Resilient enough to be considered timeless, you’ll want to include this classic neutral throughout the entire season. 


CashmereRose_PinkSapphire

Cashmere Rose - Who says fall colors have to be dull and boring? Cashmere Rose pays homage to a gentler era, one full of soft pastels, flowing dresses, and wallpaper and upholstery featuring floral prints. There is no limit on how this tactile and muted pink color can be assimilated into your home and wardrobe. 


PeachMoonstone

Cadmium Orange - Were you around during the swinging 60’s? If so, this bright and playful orange will have you once again flashing the peace sign and frequently using the word “groovy.” And even if this era was before your time, trust me; Cadmium Orange will have you feeling peace, love and flower power even in the dead of winter. 

Oak Bluff - When you experience this shade for the very first time, you’ll think gold and yellow got married and had a baby! A very warm color that has its mellow side, Oak Bluff will give you hope no matter how cold and snowy the winter, spring is right around the corner. 


BISCAYBAY_TOPAZ.jpg

Biscay Bay - The winter equivalent of summer turquoise, Biscay Bay shouts “blue,” then quickly whispers “green,” making you want to catch a plane to a sunny secluded tropic island with a sandy white beach and your own personal cabana boy. 

Stormy Weather - Introduce this dramatic shade to your home or wardrobe and you’ll be wandering around humming the melody to Lena Horne’s hit song by the same name. Not quite a blue, not quite a gray, the rich darkness suggests the type of quality that only comes with true luxury. 

Reflecting Pond - A blue so rich and deep it almost seems to be charcoal, Reflecting Pond is a shade with substance. This color isn’t wishy-washy. It lets you know it means business and is here to stay long past Fall 2015. 


AmethystOrchid_Amethyst

Amethyst Orchid - “Unique, bold, creative and exciting” the description used by Pantone fits this bright vibrant color to a tee. Additional verbiage would just be overkill. 


Searching for exciting new fall jewelry to help capture and enhance these gorgeous colors? Please check out my full line of bracelets, rings, earrings and necklaces. Don’t see exactly what you had in mind? Contact me today and let’s discuss the custom piece of your dreams. 

Learn Bezel Setting with me on Craftsy

Danielle Miller-Gilliam

An amazing opportunity opened up for me early in 2015. I was approached by Craftsy.com, asking me if I would be interested in developing a stone setting teaching video. (Thanks to my talented friend, Joanna Golberg for referring them to me!) After a few months of working with them on class content, an outline and scripts, I flew to their Denver studios for filming. I was SO nervous!!! I have never been in front of a camera (in this case, multiple cameras) before. I needed to take a deep breath and to loosen up between scenes.---And yes! We had to do quite a few retakes on my monologs. Can you say "tongue tied?!!" But my film crew and everyone at craftsy were great to work with!  *WHEW*  I think I made it through okay---although I do wish I would have had a manicure before filming---my fingernails look horrible on camera! (Truth: most jewelers'  fingernails are not very pretty.)

Crafty's "Professional Bezel Setting Techniques" film crew: Jon, Danielle, Breken and Caleb.

Crafty's "Professional Bezel Setting Techniques" film crew: Jon, Danielle, Breken and Caleb.

What is Craftsy?
Craftsy offers online crafting classes, taught by instructors who love the craft as much as you do. Craftsy classes are available streaming online (from your computer or mobile devices) to you anytime you want for as long as you want. There are no scheduled class times, so you can enjoy them entirely on your own schedule. Each class is taught by an expert instructor and consists of several hours of high-definition (HD) video content ... but Craftsy classes are much more than just videos! While taking a Craftsy class, you can:

  • Ask your instructor questions, upload photos and get personalized responses
  • Participate in discussions with your classmates
  • Access supporting class materials - including material/tool lists, patterns, recipes and templates
  • Bookmark your favorite moments in the video so that you can easily re-watch them and take video notes that you can refer back to anytime

Who is my Craftsy video for?
My craftsy video class, "Professional Bezel Setting Techniques" will be beneficial to the beginner stone setter as well as the more advanced student. You will learn everything from a basic bezel setting using bezel wire; making and setting free form, fancy shaped and sharp cornered stones; hammer setting techniques for thicker walled bezels, as well as tab setting. By the end of this class you’ll understand how to set round, oval, square, marquise, pear, and irregular shapes; and confidently create professional-quality bezels as beautiful as the stones they house! You can also ask me questions in the video, share your projects and be inspired by other students.

Interested? If so, you can see a preview and purchase my class here:  "Professional Bezel Setting Techniques" 

Hammer Setting

Hammer Setting

Various_BezelSet_Stones.jpg

There are lots of interesting video classes on Craftsy.com. I highly recommend browsing their library! And as I mentioned earlier, my talented friend Joanna Golberg is the person who gave Craftsy my name as a potential instructor----and her video is AWESOME! Check out her "Solder Smarter" class! On a personal level, I can't wait to watch some of the gardening and cooking videos! These are on my "must see" list: "Designing Elegant Edible Gardens"  and "Big Bowls - Hearty Vegetarian Meals."

I hope you enjoy exploring Craftsy as much as I have!

Apples and Rose Gold....A Love Story

Danielle Miller-Gilliam

Photo courtesy of Timeless Moments

Photo courtesy of Timeless Moments

About the couple:
Soon after Jennifer relocated to Kitsap County, Washington for a fantastic job opportunity she joined the dating website, OKCupid, never realizing she would be meeting the love of her life. Steven had been on the same website for several years but had never met anyone as special as Jennifer. Their first date was the Friday after Labor Day in September 2013. An immediate connection, along with many common interests, gave them so much to talk about; that first special date ended up lasting over three hours!

As Jennifer and Steven continued dating, Steven began the arduous process of applying to graduate school, all with Jennifer's support. He was accepted to a program that would unfortunately be taking him out of Kitsap County. In early March, 2014 Steven asked Jennifer if she would consider moving with him. Of course, she said yes!  This began their first big cross-country adventure. After months of visiting friends and family as they traveled across the United States, they reached their intended destination and Steven settled into graduate school while Jennifer dived back into the corporate world.

On November 1, 2014, the fall season was winding down and Steven and Jennifer went to a local corn maze to explore. At a dead end in the maze, Steven proposed to Jennifer...with an apple! Jennifer and Steven had previously watched a YouTube video about the origins of diamond engagement rings and were inspired by a clip to get engaged with an apple. Steven asked Jennifer to marry him, then pulled an apple out of his jacket pocket and presented it to her. After she said YES, they shared that special apple together before turning around and figuring their way out.

Steven and Jennifer decided to hold a small intimate family wedding in Mount Pleasant, Michigan where they have settled together on their next new journey. The wedding was scheduled so to commemorate that first fateful decision to embark on their life together. Apples, of course, were highlighted in their first meal after the wedding.

About the Rings:
When it came to rings they knew they didn't want anything with a diamond or gem of any kind. While searching online, Jennifer fell in love with the facets of Danielle's design. Jennifer doesn't care for yellow gold, so they had decided on white gold until Steven suggested rose gold. Being from the great state of Arizona, Steven loves the state flag which prominently displays a copper star. He liked the idea of using rose gold because of the copper content in the alloy. Plus, since Jennifer's middle name is Rose, it seemed to be fate! 

But what of Steven's ring? Steven decided he wanted something similar to Jennifer's, but she said if the rings were going to match, the facets needed to be exact.  And that is where Danielle and her custom work came into play. Jennifer loved the size of the facets on the women's design but asked Danielle to make Steven’s ring with smaller facets so they were the same size. Because Danielle loves nothing more than a challenge when it comes to making and keeping her clients happy, she made a model so Jennifer and Steven could make sure it was what they wanted. Danielle continued to make changes throughout the process until both Jennifer and Steven were completely satisfied.  When the first one didn't come out to Danielle’s high standards, she recast it at no additional charge. Once the job was complete, Danielle also sent the happy couple a video of the ring…which was awesome!

The End…or we like to say…The Beginning of Our Wonderful New Life Together

We can’t thank Danielle enough for the thoroughness, openness to design collaboration, and fantastic craftsmanship. The result is two fabulous rings that will be treasures for us for years to come, thank you so much. :)
— Jennifer
Jennifer and Steven

Jennifer and Steven


Chandelier Earrings - Flirty and Fun for Spring

Danielle Miller-Gilliam

Designed to mimic an ornate hanging chandelier and created with Art Deco and Middle Eastern influences, chandelier earrings originally held vertical dangling strands of glass crystals, rhinestones, diamonds or other sparkling jewels. These earrings gently undulated with the wearers’ every move and were usually worn to complement evening wear. 

Citrine - Raw Surface Chandelier Earring

Citrine - Raw Surface Chandelier Earring

Now chandelier earrings are an everyday fashion staple. Short, mid-length, long or even lightly brushing the shoulder, chandelier earrings can be dressed up or down depending on the design, length and materials selected.

Go boho chic with longer earrings made from beads and lightweight woods while a shorter design crafted from silver or gold and accented with subtle gemstones is a good choice for casual daywear. And while some fashion experts believe chandelier earrings don’t present a professional look, others say as long as they are understated and additional jewelry is kept to a minimum they are fine worn with office attire. 

Long Sticks And Stone Earrings with Amethyst

Long Sticks And Stone Earrings with Amethyst

 “My hair is too long...too short…my face is too round…too square…my neck is too thick…too skinny…to wear this style of earring;” these are all reasons women give when avoiding dangling earrings. All it takes is the correct pairing of earring for the shape of your face and hairstyle to own the look. 

A round face can benefit from long narrow earrings while an elongated, heart or diamond shaped face does better with a wider broader design. Go bold when you have long hair and want to wear chandeliers; you want the design to stand out. But if shorter hair is your thing then select earrings that stop at the jawline. Anything longer will detract from both the hairstyle and your facial features. 

Lately I’ve been trying my hand at an entire new line of longer earrings that I would love for you to explore: chandelier. See something you like but want them to be a bit more personalized? Shoot me an email and let’s make it happen. 

2015 Spring Colors are...En plein air

Danielle Miller-Gilliam

En plein air…French for “in the open air”, and this season that’s exactly where you’ll want to be when you begin exploring the gorgeous new shades being offered in the 2015 Spring Pantone Color Report. Soft and subtle pastels are complemented by a palette of Mother Nature inspired neutrals. While exciting bright hues add that visual “breath of fresh air” often found after an early morning spring shower. 

This new spring color palette will immediately draw your thoughts to a simpler time of lazy spring days and warm summer nights. Many of the colors featured also have a very tropical feel. Surrounding yourself with these colors creates a sunny sanctuary and gives you permission to disconnect from your busy life. You will feel restored, relaxed and rejuvenated. 

SPRING_PANTONE_COLORS

Last summer’s relaxing days at the beach come into focus when you gaze upon the understated tropical island shades including scuba blue, dusk blue, classic blue and aquamarine. When paired with sandstone and toasted almond you can almost feel the waves tickling your toes as you catnap in the sand. 

Then when away from the shoreline, nothing is more calming than filling your home and wardrobe with gorgeous blossom colors surrounded by different shades of greenery. Lavender herb, pale tangerine and strawberry ice along with delicate yellow custard and Lucite green all mesh perfectly with the forest shades of treetop and woodbine

Marsala, as the Pantone 2015 Color of the Year is still front and center in the spring color wheel. Bold, robust and earthy, Marsala is one of those versatile shades that easily transitions seasons and pairs beautifully with the two shades of gray featured this spring…titanium and glacier gray

From classic to tropical, this season there is something for everyone! Searching for that perfect birthday or anniversary present for someone special? Or perhaps it’s just time to treat yourself. Give me a call today! I can’t wait to get started creating something extraordinary by matching these exciting colors in gemstones and surrounding them with a wide array of complementing metals. 

Marsala, as the Pantone 2015 Color of the Year is still front and center in the spring color wheel. Bold, robust and earthy, Marsala is one of those versatile shades that easily transitions seasons and pairs beautifully with the two shades of gray featured this spring…titanium and glacier gray

From classic to tropical, this season there is something for everyone! Searching for that perfect birthday or anniversary present for someone special? Or perhaps it’s just time to treat yourself. Send me a message today! I can’t wait to get started creating something extraordinary by matching these exciting colors in gemstones and surrounding them with a wide array of complementing metals. 

Pantone 2015 Spring Colors

Pantone 2015 Spring Colors

My Jewelry Box

Danielle Miller-Gilliam

This month I'm participating in my metal groups' blog carnival. Several members of the EtsyMetal team will be blogging about our personal Jewelry Boxes. We will share our favorite pieces and the special meanings behind them.


"So what's in your jewelry box, Danielle?" you ask.
Ironically, not much.
I am the jeweler who doesn't wear much jewelry.
"Why?"
Working in the studio or in my home office, I don't wear jewelry, not to mention many times it's not safe when working with certain tools.  I do, however, try to wear a pair of earrings or sometimes a necklace when I leave the studio. 


 

My favorite go-to pair of earrings are one of my own designs. They are long, swinging marquises with a small diamond. Each marquise is pin hinged, allowing for great movement. They are super light weight and very easy for me to wear on a daily basis. These were part of my old Marquise Collection and were never big sellers---which always made me sad because I LOVE them! 

Marquise Duster Earrings with Diamonds

Marquise Duster Earrings with Diamonds


 

Another one of my current go-to earrings is a new design in my Sticks-n-Stones Collection. These Sticks-n-Stones earrings are another pair that is very easy for me to wear. They are light weight, have great movement, color and are sparkly. :)

 

Sticks-n-Stones Earrings #7

Sticks-n-Stones Earrings #7


Samantha Freeman's Tap Bracelets

Samantha Freeman's Tap Bracelets

 

A few items in my jewelry box are other jewelers' designs. I cherish a pair of earrings and a bracelet made by Samantha Freeman that were given to me by my husband over 20 years ago when we were dating.


TwistedCuff


Another piece in my jewelry box that I hold dear is a bracelet that was made by my grandfather. When I was a teenager he gave me this cuff. My memory is foggy, but I think he said he made it when he was in the Navy during WWII. 


Please follow these links to read my fellow EtsyMetal members' personal jewelry box stories:

Laney Clark - silentgoddess
2Roses
Amuckdesign
Rebecca Bogan
Anne Walker
LjBjewelry
Fenton Design

MANgagement Rings: Is This Hot New Trend For You?

Danielle Miller-Gilliam

In the 1920’s jewelers began to make a push toward men’s engagement rings with little success. Jewelry in general for men had yet to become fashionable; in fact, most men didn’t even begin wearing wedding bands until around the end of World War II. 

Now fast forward to the last 10 years and the struggle so many same-sex couples have faced in trying to legalize their relationships. Because in some states the battle to recognize gay marriage has taken years, more men are choosing to symbolically declare themselves in a long-term committed relationship by wearing an engagement ring. 

Chiseled Ring with black diamond 

Chiseled Ring with black diamond 

But these days men’s engagement rings aren’t just limited to same-sex couples. As lines blur and there continues to be seismic social change between traditional male/female roles, men’s engagement rings are becoming a visible sign of how long-held conventional rituals are adapting and maturing. 

Depending on what you read, the number of men actually wearing an engagement ring varies from between 5 to 17 percent. Though a recent survey of 800 men by Robbins Brothers, a California based jewelry store, found 67 percent were “open” to wearing this type of ring. And while the majority of women polled were definitely interested and willing to spend the money on a MANgagement ring, they all said the main reason they didn’t follow through was simply because jewelry stores didn’t offer them.

Palladium & diamond MANgagement & Wedding Rings

Palladium & diamond MANgagement & Wedding Rings

When your man is open to a ring that shows in a symbolic way his commitment to you, you certainly don’t want to settle for a mass-produced band or a ring that was created for another occasion. I can help you design and create a band with textural elements, featuring diamonds or colored gemstones in a metal of your choosing. This ring can be as intricate or simple as you wish. 

A MANgagment ring is one way to show your life partner how truly special he is. Connect with me today and let’s start planning memories. 

Metal Gods: in Mythology (not Rock-n-Roll)

Danielle Miller-Gilliam

Last month we celebrated St. Eligius Day. The patron saint of metalworkers and goldsmiths, St. Eligius has been safeguarding craftsmen for centuries. But there are other artisan patron gods and goddesses who gained fame by crafting jewels and weapons for many of the more well-known mythological figures. 

Often mystical gods oversaw numerous realms. For example, Hephaestus, the Greek god of fire and volcanoes was also the patron of craftsmen, especially blacksmiths. Hephaestus was a sought after craftsman who worked primarily in metals. In fact, he is credited with being the maker of Zeus’ thunderbolts and the arrows that Eros the god of love always carried, as well as, the shield for Achilles.  Worshiped primarily in Athens, to this day the Temple of Hephaestus still stands. 

Not a part of the world one normally associates with mythological characters; Hadur was the Hungarian god of fire, war and was also the acclaimed metalsmith to all the rest of the gods. In fact, legend has it that Hadur created the fabled Sword of God carried by Attila the Hun. 

The capital of ancient Egypt, Memphis, was created by Ptah, an Egyptian deity who was also the patron god of craftsmen and architects. Ptah was such an important figure that Memphite theology believed he created the entire universe as well as all the other gods in it. Ptah, along with Seker, god of the dead and another patron of craftsmen, divided the labors of overseeing all these artisans. Ptah became responsible for the stoneworkers, while Seker guarded the metalworkers. Seker, also the falcon god, is said to have fashioned the silver coffin of Sheshong II, a ruler during the 22nd dynasty and one of the only kings whose tomb was never robbed and vandalized . 

F0176.jpg

silver coffin of Sheshong II : Photo courtesy of setkenblog.blogspot.com

Again like Hungary, one doesn’t expect to read about Finnish mythology. The Eternal Hammerer, Seppo Illmarinen is to this day, still a very popular folkloric character. He was the god credited with creating the sky and a blacksmith who was able to fashion anything from the most popular metals of the day, including gold, silver, copper and brass.

While it may seem as though all mythological figures associated with metalworkers and craftsmen are male there is one important goddess to be mentioned. Celtic Saint Brigit is the goddess of poetry, healing and smithcraft and is also the patron saint of dyeing, weaving and blacksmithing. She was so popular both the Celtic Christian and Roman Catholic Churches made her a true Saint. 

So as you can see there were Metal Gods way before Rock-n-Roll was invented. ;)

St. Eligius-The Patron Saint of Goldsmiths and Metalworkers

Danielle Miller-Gilliam

I don't consider myself a superstitious or an overly religious person. However, I do occasionally knock on wood and while doing complicated soldering jobs or setting a tricky stone, I sometimes say a little prayer to St. Eliguis.

Saint who? you ask....

St. Eligius, The Patron Saint for Goldsmiths, Metalworkers and Coin Collectors.

St. Eligius in his workshop - by Master of Balaam

St. Eligius in his workshop - by Master of Balaam

There are patron saints for everything from St. Ambrose, the Patron Saint of Beekeepers to Saint Columbanus, the Patron saint of motorcyclists. It should be no surprise there is also a Patron Saint for Goldsmiths, Metalworkers and Coin Collectors, St. Eligius.

Born around 590 in Limoges France, Eligius’ talents as a metal craftsman surfaced at a very young age. He apprenticed under a noted goldsmith and it wasn’t long before his natural talent was recognized by Clotaire II, the King of Neustria (Paris.) He was commissioned to make a throne and managed to make two with the materials he was given. Eligius and the King became close friends and he was soon appointed Ministry of Treasury where he was entrusted with designing and minting the kingdom’s coins. 

After King Clotaire died in 629 his son Dagobert succeeded him and became just as close to Eligius as was his father. During this time Eligius was promoted to Chief Councilor and due to his position and wealth became the benefactor to many slaves, provided funding for construction of several churches, a monastery at Solignac and a convent in Paris. 

While Eligius felt called to a life of religion, he was not allowed to do so though he was able on occasion to go to Luxeil and participate in activities at the local monastery. When King Dagobert died in 639, Eligius was finally able to pursue his true calling and was ordained into the priesthood in 640. After becoming Bishop of Noyon-Tournai he traveled to many parts of the surrounding country where idolatry was still practiced. There Eligius converted many to Christianity, built churches and monasteries and had numerous miracles attributed to him. While Eligius was chosen as the Patron Saint of Goldsmiths, Metalworkers and Coin Collectors because of his talent as a craftsman, many in the church saw how he used his abilities and wealth for the “welfare of humanity” and believed the “true reflection of the image of God” was seen throughout his life.

The Feast Day of St. Eligius Day is December 1st.
I hope to make many beautiful and well-crafted pieces to celebrate. :)

 

Tourmalated Quartz: Elegant and Unique

Danielle Miller-Gilliam

I have been a bit obsessed with the gemstone tourmalated quartz as of late...

The trademark look of tourmalated quartz comes from the inclusions of black or dark green tourmaline needles seen throughout the stone. These inclusions are called schorls and seem to bounce and float from within the surrounding clear or milky quartz crystal. The clearness of the quartz heightens and enhances the black tourmaline needles. Each pattern is different, adding to the individually of each stone. 

Sticks and stones pendant

Sticks and stones pendant

Tourmalated quartz has long been revered because of its protective properties. Over the centuries this crystal has been thought to encourage inspiration, deflect negativity and if you believe lore, rubbing the stone can bring good luck and happiness. The combination of black and white within the stone is the perfect yin and yang of balance. The milky opaque encourages positive energy while the black schorl counteracts negativity. A known shield stone, ancient warriors always worn or carried a piece of this stone into battle because they believed in its ability to transform any situation. 

Tourmalated Quartz Ridge Ring

Tourmalated Quartz Ridge Ring

While tourmalated quartz has been displayed in homes for quite some time, only in recent years have jewelry designers begun to take notice of both the stones’ affordability and versatility. Because each piece has such a striking uniqueness, this gem has quickly become a favorite for both designers and consumers alike. 

Though often worn simply for its beauty, many people now wear it because of how effectively they believe it deflects detrimental environmental influences. Tourmalated quartz is also seen as an effective tension reliever, has the ability to change negative thoughts into positive ones and can reduce those all so common self-sabotaging tendencies. As far as physical healing abilities, tourmalated quartz is said to be able to detoxify the entire body and is particularly effective in dealing with digestive tract disorders. 

Sticks and stones pendant

Sticks and stones pendant

Who knew such a stunning stone could do so many different things? Ready to have your own custom tourmalated quartz piece designed? Who knows, it may just change your life!

Must Have Fall Colors!

Danielle Miller-Gilliam

As the last days of summer come to a close, it’s time to start packing away all those lightweight pastels and begin thinking about what both fashion and interior designers have in mind when it comes to the latest fall colors. 

Those in the fashion world agree these new shades are all part of a diverse color palette created from both vintage and modern day inspiration. Exciting new colors, untypical of the normal autumnal offerings, are allowing more artful expression into everything from our clothing selections to the colors we’re painting our walls. 

The 2014 Pantone Spring color wheel combination of soft pastels with vivid brights was such a rousing success they decided to blend the same concept in their Fall Fashion color pairings as well. 

PantoneFall14.jpg

Radiant Orchid was a huge hit when introduced at the beginning of spring; Pantone just couldn’t bear to part with it. For the upcoming cooler months, it’s now being combined with either (or both) soft Mauve Mist or the grayer more masculine Sea Fog.

That’s the beauty of the new fall shades, many of them can easily transition between the sexes when it comes to fashion.  For example, Aurora Red is a sophisticated shade of red full of blue undertones, making it the perfect gender neutral color. 

This year it seems as though Pantone put a great deal of effort into choosing fall colors that mesh beautifully.  Royal Blue, Bright Cobalt and Cypress, all three made the list and all three complement dramatic Aurora Red. 

The only two colors which even hint of fall leaves, pumpkins and cooler temps are Misted Yellow and Cognac. Both these muted shades are already making quite a splash in one of the season’s most surprising trends-printed fabrics. 

Rounding out the newest fall shades are Sangria, a burnt red with understated hints of purple and Aluminum, but not bright and shiny tinfoil aluminum. This Aluminum is more of a futuristic matte stainless steel and is the perfect complex seasonal neutral. 

Hopefully these colors have given you some great ideas on how to jazz up your fall wardrobe. Ready to update your seasonal jewelry as well? Please check out some of my newest designs and see how fabulous they’ll look matched with these colorful hues. 

Cocktail Ring—Beautiful Piece, Funny Name

Danielle Miller-Gilliam

Aqua Crown Ring by Danielle Miller Jewelry : aquamarine, diamonds, sterling, 14k & 18k gold.

Aqua Crown Ring by Danielle Miller Jewelry : aquamarine, diamonds, sterling, 14k & 18k gold.

Ever wonder how items get named?  When it comes to jewelry many things just make sense…a wedding band, an engagement ring or a charm bracelet. But what about the so awesome and fabulously designed cocktail ring

The cocktail ring is a true piece of Americana. By the late 1700’s the majority of the East Coast had been settled and those hard drinking pioneers were making their way out to the West Coast and Pacific Northwest.  Around 1820 a moral revival was beginning to sweep the nation with demon rum being one of the biggest concerns. The following century saw a rise of temperance groups alongside evangelical Protestantism both of which were extremely vocal in their views on the evils of alcohol. 

When the United States became involved in the First World War a temporary ban was put on alcohol production in order to save grain for nutritional needs. In 1920 the 18th Amendment went into effect prohibiting the making, moving and selling of intoxicating liquors. The following 13 years, until 1933 when the Amendment was repealed, was known as the era of Prohibition

Now that your daily history lesson is complete, I’m sure you’re wondering what all this has to do with the incredibly stunning cocktail ring. Prohibition did nothing more than cause our government to lose a great deal of taxable income while driving the sale of liquor underground. Speakeasies began opening to handle the demand for both a place where people could get a drink and also socialize. 

These underground cocktail parties became all the rage with both men and women dressing up in their best evening wear. Keep in mind this was at the height of the flapper era and flamboyant attire was the cat’s meow. Accessories had to be as big and bold as the short tasseled skirts and gaudy feathered headdresses; hence, the introduction of the cocktail ring. This was also the age of social status based on appearance and sparkling oversized cocktail rings with lots of bling fulfilled that.

Then during the depression cocktail rings were hidden in the back of the jewelry box (or pawned to feed the kids) but when World War II ended and America was once again on the road to prosperity, cocktail rings made a second appearance. 

Most cocktail rings have a large center stone surrounded by smaller diamonds or other colored gemstones but there are no hard fast rules as to what defines this type of ring. Creatively, a cocktail ring can be anything you want; just remember it needs to be flashy, funky and fun!  Have a really cool idea for a personalized cocktail ring? Let’s talk!

Red, White and Blue Style

Danielle Miller-Gilliam

1/Gap Star High Waist Shorts. 2/ModCloth Boho top. 3/Bubble pendant. 4/Bubble Bracelet. 5/BIKKEMBERGS Sandals.

I am not one to "dress like the holiday" but when I saw these Star shorts, I just couldn't resist posting them for the 4th of July. So with that said, here is a sample of how you can wear red, white and blue this Independence Day without looking like an American flag or Wonder Woman. (Although she was kind of chic.---She fought for justice, love, peace, and sexual equality while wearing awesome cuff bracelets!)

Wearing Polka Dots & Stripes

Danielle Miller-Gilliam

1/DANIELLE MILLER Asymmetrical Earring.  2/DOLCE & GABBANA polka dot tank top.  3/MANGO Striped skater skirt.  4/Christian Louboutin Strappy Sandals

1/DANIELLE MILLER Asymmetrical Earring.  2/DOLCE & GABBANA polka dot tank top.  3/MANGO Striped skater skirt.  4/Christian Louboutin Strappy Sandals.

Mixing prints can be intimidating.---No one wants to look like a clown when out on the town, right?! Polka dots and stripes are a good place to start when venturing into these unchartered fashion waters. Here are a few simple tips on mixing these simple yet bold patterns:

  • Stay within the same color family (too many colors = clown).
  • Pair up pieces with different scales. (Wide stripes with small dots -or- thin stripes with large dots.)
  • Pair a lighter piece with a darker piece (within the same color family).
  • Use an accessory to add one of the patterns. (A polka dotted scarf, handbag or tights with a stripped blouse and a solid pant or skirt.)
  • When mixing black and white (one of the easiest and most stunning ways to mix polka dots and stripes) add a single punch of color to create interest. (A red belt or a yellow handbag for example.)

While you are experimenting with mixing polka dots and stripes, why not go one step further and wear a pair of asymmetrical earrings! If you aren't that daring yet, try a pair of striated or circles!

Sharp Dressed (Mad) Men --- Cufflinks are hot!

Danielle Miller-Gilliam

The television series Mad Men has certainly revived an interest in retro fashion. With Don Draper always wearing those snazzy French cuffed shirts, Sally and Bobby were never at a loss for a Father’s Day present.

Checker Board Cufflinks
Draping

photo credit: "Draping" by Eric Sturdivant on Flickr

Those were the days when a man’s daily “uniform” was a fedora, a neatly pressed suit, shiny wing-tip shoes and a crisp white shirt often sprouting French or double cuffs complete with a personalized pair of cufflinks. Then as the 1960’s and the era of anti-establishment dress codes took over, cufflinks lost favor except as a family heirloom or worn with a tuxedo. The late 80’s-early 90’s brought the advent of casual Fridays, the office dress code became more formal during the rest of the week and a return to cufflinks more common. 

Cufflinks can often be compared to a women’s charm bracelet. Metals and designs vary depending on personal tastes and interests. Many men only have that one special pair bequeathed to them in their grandfather’s will, while others have links for each day of the week. Designs can be as varied as a simple initial or a single jewel, the family crest or clan tartan, trendy designs such as the Facebook logo, or a pair created to match a tiepin. 

The most popular links feature the design on both sides, with the swivel bar style coming in a close second. Silk knots have gained in popularity because they are a bit less formal and often add a much needed splash of color to the mix. Just remember traditionally men’s style has always been focused around subtlety. 

Ready to spice up Dad's wardrobe with a pair of custom designed cufflinks? Contact me today for assistance.  

I also have several cufflinks available at Silver Blue & Gold in Laguna Beach, CA  for their Cufflink exhibition from June 5th - July 31st, 2014. Stop in if you are in the area or contact the gallery to place an order.