Archive for the ‘European charms’ Category

The New Trollbeads Spring Collection 2012

Friday, February 10th, 2012


As promised in the last Trollbeads news post, the spring collection was just around the corner, and I’m happy to announce that it has arrived!

It’s a fun, playful and pretty collection, consisting of 15 sterling silver beads, 1 gold, 1 mixed metal, lots of glass (in pretty shades of brown/beige and white as well as bright spring colors), and 2 gemstone (ruby and smoky quartz) beads, 1 onyx gemstone bead kit, 1 new clasp, and 3 tassel beads (love the snowdrop tassel bead pictured below) .

The “fun” category includes the whimsical sterling silver cake form, tea and coffee cup beads designed by multi-talented silversmith Lone Løvschal (who also designs beautiful silver tableware, utensils, and her own line of jewelry). The playful includes two adorable baby bunny beads, and the pretty includes all the glass (in my opinion), especially the tassel beads.

This collection also introduces a new Trollbeads designer, Lars Sögaard, who designed three of the silver beads.

Here is a little collage of my favorites in this collection:

Photos: Trollbeads Universe
Collage: Charms Guide

Don’t miss the new Trollbeads Holiday Collection!


January Birthstone Charms And Pendants – Garnet

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

The birthstone for January is Garnet in pretty much every tradition except for the mystical where it is Emerald (more on Emeralds in a separate post). Garnet is also the anniversary gemstone for the second and sixth year of marriage, the zodiac birthstone for Capricorn and Aquarius, and the planetary stone for Pluto.

I love the brilliant sparkle of garnets (it also happens to be my birthstone), and I’m not the only one. They have been popular for thousands of years (even though many of the varieties we talk about here have been found in the past century), both as adornment and as protective talismans. Legend has it that Noah put a garnet in a lantern to light his way in the night, and the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans all used them in jewelry.

As usual, if you want to skip the text and go straight to the featured charms and pendants, just scroll down to the end of the post.

Garnet Healing Properties

In crystal healing, garnets in general are connected to the sacral chakra and are believed to help with the reproductive system and PMS, boost passion for life, charisma, creativity and libido, stabilize emotions, combat negativity and feelings of inferiority, inspire love, bring luck, success and protection. (There is more on the specific properties for each type of garnet in the descriptions below).

Physical Properties of Garnets

Garnet is most often thought of as a red gemstone (indeed the word “garnet” is often used to describe deep red items), but the fact is that garnets come in many different colors, each with its own name and properties.

Garnets are a family of silicates with basically the same crystal structure, and the variations in color are due to different chemical compositions.  There is a lot of overlapping between the different types, and trade names abound. Even the experts sometimes disagree on what’s what, but everyone agrees that there are two main groups – Ugrandite and Pyralspite – which each include three “main species”.

Simply put, the Ugrandites are calcium silicates and include Andradite (iron), Grossular (aluminum) and Uvarovite (chromium) garnets. The Pyralspites are aluminum silicates and include Almandine (iron), Pyrope (magnesium), and Spessartite (manganese) garnets. Each of these “main species” have several “sub”-varieties which are usually a blend of two or more of the main types. The colors vary depending on the balance of the blend, and unlike many other gemstones, they are never treated, so what you see is what nature actually created. Good job, nature! 🙂

Almandine Garnets

Almandine Garnet is a deep purple or brownish red. It is an abundant and affordable stone, the most common of the garnets. It is thought to help the wearer focus, increase productivity, and promote stamina. The Almandine family also includes:

Rhodolite Garnets, a blend of Almandine and Pyrope. The name comes from the Greek and means “rose stone”, and these very pretty pink garnets come in many shades from light pink to purple. They were first discovered in North Carolina in the late 1800s, but today they are mainly mined in India and Africa. It is a fairly abundant and affordable variety. The most sought after (and most expensive) color is Raspberry pink. Rhodolites are believed to help with frigidity, stabilize the metabolism, and enhance inspiration and intuition.

Mozambique Garnets. Also a mix of Almandine and Pyrope, and very similar to Rhodolites, but a bit darker and more on the red side. Widely available and affordable.

Umbalite Garnets are a blend of Almandine and Pyrope with a little bit of Spessartite mixed in, resulting in a purplish pink stone, ranging from light to dark fuchsia. It is really a variety of Rhodolite named for the location where it is mined (the Umba Valley of Tanzania). Pretty rare and sought after, they can be on the expensive side.

Star Garnets (also known as Asteriated Almandine) are such a dark red they almost look black. It is the state gemstone of Idaho (where, in addition to India, they are mined) and they get their name from rutile needles (mineral “straws” running through the stone), which create a star-like effect known as asterism. The most common is a four-ray pattern, but they are also found with six rays (supposedly in Idaho only). They are always cabochon cut, and fairly affordable.

Pyrope Garnets

The Pyrope garnet family includes Rhodolite, Mozambique, Umbalite (all described above), and of course Pyrope. Pyropes (also known as Bohemian garnets) are those deep blood red stones that people usually think of when hearing the word garnet. They were extremely popular during the Victorian era and are often found in antique jewelry. Today however, they have faded from fame, and are consequently very affordable.

Andradite Garnets

This rarest and most expensive family of garnets include Demantoid, Mali, Melanite, Topazolite and Rainbow garnets.

Demantoid Garnet is the star of the Andradite family and comes in a variety of green hues, from pale peridot-like yellow-green to intense, deep emerald-like hues. The stone, one of Karl Fabergé’s favorites, was first discovered in the mid 1800s and is the rarest, most brilliant, and most expensive of all the garnets (generally, the darker the green and the clearer the stone, the more expensive it is). Demantoid garnets are believed to boost vitality and alleviate fear, insecurity and feelings of loneliness.

Mali Garnet (sometimes called Grandite), a mix of andradite and Grossular garnet, was discovered in Mali in 1994. This beautiful brilliant yellow-green (and many shades thereof) stone is very rare and consequently expensive.

The dramatic black opaque Melanite get its color from titanium (it is also sometimes referred to as Black Andradite Garnet or Titanian Andradite). It is common, very popular in jewelry, and inexpensive. Melanite is thought to remove energy blockages, enhance relationships and remove anger, distrust, envy and jealousy.

The yellow Topazolite is named for its similarity (in color) to topaz, and comes in hues ranging from yellow-green to darker brownish amber yellow. It is rarely found in pieces large enough to use in jewelry. It is believed to help stabilize spiritual and emotional turbulence and protect frail people and young children.

Rainbow garnet is a dark brown (with an orange tint) iridescent Andradite first discovered in Japan in 2004 (now also mined in Mexico and New Mexico). It is among the most rare of all the garnets and you don’t see it a whole lot in jewelry.

Grossular Garnets

The Grossular Garnet family has quite a wide color range and includes Tsavorite, Hessonite,  Merelani Mint, Rosolite, Leuco and Hydrogrossular garnets. In crystal healing, Grossular garnets are thought to help with emotional trauma and promote peace and tranquility, both externally and internally.

The intensely green Tsavorite Garnet, ranging in hues from bright yellow green to deep, almost bluish green, was first discovered by Scottish geologist Campbell Bridges in Tanzania in 1967. Tsavorite was eventually brought to the US where Tiffany & Co’s Henry Platt gave it its name and started promoting it. It is a rare and difficult stone to mine, but in spite of that, less expensive than emeralds. It is, however, the second most expensive of the garnets, and prices for “perfect” stones equal those of Demantoid. Tsavorite is connected to the heart chakra and is thought to help with inflammatory diseases (like rheumatism and arthritis), kidney function and boost the immune system.

Merelani Mint Garnets are “cousins” of Tsavorites and get their name (Merelani) from the area in Tanzania where they were first discovered. Also a brilliant, sparkling green, but lighter in hue (mint green), these garnets are rare and expensive.

Hessonite Garnet ranges in color from almost clear to warm golden yellow, orange and brownish orange red and is also known as the Cinnamon Stone. It has been used in jewelry for thousands of years, particularly in carved pieces like intaglios and cameos. It is a fairly affordable stone thought to have many healing properties. It is an important stone in Ayurveda, where it is known as Gomed, and is associated with the planet Rahu. In short, it is believed that wearing a good-sized hessonite garnet can counter the ill effects that Rahu can cause, and it also brings luck, wealth, good health, success and longevity. In western crystal healing, it is believed to promote self respect, regulate hormones, and help us move forward in life and take on new challenges.

Rosolite is a bright pink Grossular garnet that ranges from transparent to opaque. They are mostly mined in Mexico, very rare and usually too small to be cut to gemstones.

Leuco (from the Greek leukos, meaning “white”) garnets are fairly rare, transparent, colorless Grossular garnets, hardly ever seen in jewelry.

Hydrogrossular garnets, also called Transvaal Jade, are inexpensive, opaque Grossular garnets from the Transvaal region of Africa.

Spessartite (or Spessartine) Garnets

Spessartites are my favorites! The garnets in this family come in many hues of orange, from bright sunny “juicy” hues to deep orange-red. They get their orange color from manganese, and the more iron (in the form of almandine) the stone contains, the darker the orange. Spessartite garnets are thought to help with fertility, lactose intolerance, depression and fear, strengthen the immune system, promote creativity, confidence, beneficial risk taking and rational thought. This family includes:

Spessartite (or Spessartine). First discovered in the mid-1800s in Spessart (Germany), the bright orange Spessartite was for some reason not particularly popular, except for among gemstone connoisseurs and collectors. These days, they are very popular, but in spite of that, fairly affordable, thanks to their relative abundance.

Mandarin Garnets (also known as Tangerine) are highly sought after Spessartites from Namibia. They were first discovered in 1991, and the find helped propel Spessartite garnets into the spotlight. They are darker in color and much more expensive than “regular” Spessartites.

Malaia (or Malaya) Garnets, a mix of Spessartite, Almandine and Pyrope, were first discovered in Tanzania in the 1960s. Colors range from pinkish orange to orange/brown/pink with a touch of yellow (stunning!) to rich honey hues to deep red orange, and the most priced are those described as peach colored. They are very rare (only found in the Umba Valley of East Africa) and prices range from fairly to very expensive.

There is also a variety called Imperial garnet, which is very similar to the Malaia; the difference is that the Imperial garnets come from Madagascar or the Linde province of Tanzania. They are a mix of Spessartite and Pyrope and come in colors from very pale peach to red pink, often with rutile inclusions.

Color Change garnets are amazing! A mix of Spessartite and Pyrope, they appear to change color depending on the lighting situation. Some are dramatically different, shifting from grayish green when viewed in daylight to deep red in incandescent light; some go from pale yellow in daylight to bright orange in incandescent; while others display only slight shifts in hue. It has always been said that garnets come in every color except blue, but the discovery of certain color change garnets changed that: there are some that look blue in artificial light (and purplish pink in daylight). Color change garnets are rare, popular, and expensive.

Uvarovite Garnets

The dark green Uvarovite garnets were first discovered in Russia in the 1830s and are rarely found in clear gemstone quality. More common is Uvarovite drusy (drusy is a term for a coating of crystals that have formed on the surface of a rock, giving it a sparkly, sugar-like appearance) and as drusy has become quite popular in the jewelry world, you can find quite a bit of it. It is fairly inexpensive.

Other Names

You occasionally also come across a few other garnet names such as:

Kashmarine
Taveta
Champagne
Hollandine
Gooseberry

These are not other varieties of garnets, they are names given to the stones above by traders, sellers, etc. for various reasons.

– Kashmarine is Spessartite from Pakistan
– Taveta is blue color-change garnet from Kenya’s Taita-Taveta region (pretty spectacular)
– Hollandine was the original name for Mandarin garnets
– The term “Champagne” is sometimes used to describe yellow-brown Andradite and Imperial garnets
– Gooseberry is another name for Grossular garnets – the word Grossular comes from the Latin grossularia, which means “gooseberry”.

That was a lot of information! Here, finally, is my selection of charms and pendants that showcase some of these beautiful gemstones:

1. Stunning antique (ca 1910) 14k rose gold pendant set with 95 Demantoid garnets. From Past Era Antique Jewelry.

2. 14k Rhodium-plated white gold charm with diamonds and Tsavorite garnets. By JewelryWeb

3. For once, something for the guys: a sterling silver and color change garnet tag necklace by David Yurman. The garnets are a bluish green in daylight and purple-red in incandescent light.

4. Pandora sterling silver and Melanite pendant

5. Sterling silver necklace with a checker cut Spessartite garnet charm pendant by New York artist Yvonne Raley. NOTE: I have to confess that I bought this necklace as a birthday present to myself – I just fell in love with it as soon as I saw it. But no worries, Yvonne has one more identical charm pendant and more jewelry featuring Spessartite in the works (as well as lots of other gorgeous gemstone jewelry).

6. 14k gold and Rhodolite Garnet charm by JewelryWeb

7. Grossular garnet, Tsavorite and sterling silver egg pendant by Fabergé.

8. 18k gold Trollbeads charm set with opal, amethyst, turquoise, lapis lazuli and garnet.

9. White freshwater pearl stretch bracelet with a sterling silver and Almandine garnet charm. By Amy Conway.

10. Hammered 14k gold pendant set with a Hessonite garnet by Massachusetts artist Laura Roberson.

Collage by Charms Guide
All content © Charms Guide


Trollbeads News – Beads To Retire, New Beads, Bead Design Contest And More

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012


Trollbeads rounded out 2011 with the release of the World Tour Austria beads (which are of course only available in Austria and included the gorgeous Apricot Blossom glass bead) and the Maternity and Paternity beads in silver (they had previously only been available in a combined silver and gold design), and they are kicking off the new year with even more news and announcements:

Many Trollbeads to Retire

First of all, the company recently released a long list of beads that are being retired. It has been a while since the last one, so we knew it was coming, but it’s still sad to see them go. The list contains quite a few glass beads, several silver and a few gold beads. Here are some of my favorites that are going out of production:

Spring Collection and Price Increase

On the same day as the new spring collection will be released – January 27 – there will also be a price increase on some of the heavier silver beads. They’re not going up a whole lot, but still… not great news. On the upside, the teaser for the spring collection hints at flowers, animals and love-related designs – can’t wait to see it!

New Chinese Zodiac Beads

In anticipation of Chinese New Year 2012 (the year of the Dragon), a new limited edition line of Chinese zodiac charm beads have been released. There are 12 silver beads, one for each sign, and in case you don’t know what your Chinese zodiac sign is, here is a quick overview (those born between January 1st and February 4th are actually the previous year’s sign. For example, I’m born in January 1966, so even though it looks like I’m a Horse, I’m really a Snake):

Bead Design Contest

The fourth People’s bead contest just began, and the theme this year is Spirituality. You have until February 1st to upload your design (which can be a drawing or a picture of an actual bead or a model made from anything), and out of all the designs submitted, 100 will be selected as finalists. They will be showcased on Trollbeads Universe where people can vote for their favorite. One winner will be selected and announced on August 3, and will be an official Trollbeads designer (which means you receive royalties, get promotion and your winning bead in 18k gold). Past winners have been the “Ice Bear”, “Pax”, and “Rolling Waves” (which I wrote about in an earlier Trollbeads news post).

Happy designing and stay tuned for the spring collection! It’s here! Read about The New Trollbeads Spring Collection 2012 and also check out the latest Trollbeads Holiday Collection.

All photos: Trollbeads


Christmas And Winter Holiday Charms And Beads – Christmas Trees

Monday, December 19th, 2011

Trees have held a special meaning for people since ancient times, and bringing evergreens indoors during winter is something that has long been practiced in many cultures. In some countries, they were thought to keep evil spirits, illness and ghosts at bay; in some they were symbols of deities, and in others, they were simply a reminder that summer – and another growing season – would return.

The Christmas tree as we know it is thought to have begun in the southern parts of 15th century Germany, where people brought fir trees indoors and decorated them with apples. The trees were an important part of the Winter Solstice celebration, and they were believed to keep evil spirits away (who were supposed to be particularly active on Christmas eve). Apples later turned into ornaments, and Martin Luther (the Protestant reformer) is credited with contributing the tradition of adding lights. The custom spread through Europe, but did not reach the US until the early 1800s, and even then, many here regarded them as pagan symbols. It wasn’t until the early 1850s, when a slightly doctored print of of Queen Victoria and her family (in order to “Americanize” them, Prince Albert’s mustache and the Queen’s tiara were removed) with their decorated Christmas tree was published in the US that the Christmas tree became popular.

There is also an interesting variation on the story on how the Christmas tree came to be: the story of St. Boniface. St Boniface was Christian missionary in Germany in the 600-700s, everyone agrees to that, but the thoughts on his impact on the Christmas tree tradition varies. Some say he cut down fir trees in the woods of Thüringen and used their triangular shape to demonstrate the trinity, and the people in the area started bringing the trees indoors, although they hung them upside down from the ceiling. Some claim that when St. Boniface returned to Germany after an absence, he found that the locals had revered to their pagan winter celebrations, which included the sacrifice of a young man under Odin’s oak tree. Enraged, he cut down the oak with a single blow of an axe, which impressed and scared the people. As the oak fell, it had narrowly missed a small fir tree, and when the frightened people asked St. Boniface how they should celebrate, he pointed to the fir and told them to bring such a tree, which symbolized immortality and peace, into their homes.

Today, a Christmas tree is an essential part of the holiday in many countries across the world, even some that are not mainly Christian. They certainly add an unmatched coziness to the celebrations, and every time I walk into a home with a decorated and lit Christmas tree, I feel like a child again – that happy excitement and expectation you always had for weeks (or even months) leading up to the big event.

Now that we’re properly educated on the subject :-), here are some recent favorite Christmas tree charm finds:

Collage by Charms Guide

1. Sterling silver charm by Rembrandt

2. Sterling silver charm by Amanda Jo

3. Sterling silver charm with a gold star by Brighton

4. Sterling silver charm with marcasites and cubic-zirconias by Judith Jack

5. Enameled pewter charm by Jewelry by Aimee

6. Pandora charm bead in sterling silver with a 14k gold star

7. Sterling silver charm bead for the Lovelinks Petit collection. By Lovelinks

8. 18k gold charm with emerald and blue and pink sapphires by Tiffany & Co

9. Rhodium plated charm with metallic green epoxy and crystals by Swarovski

10. Sterling silver charm bead by Zable

For more Christmas-related charms, also see my Santa’s Sleigh charms post.

All content © Charms Guide


December Birthstone Charms – Blue Topaz, Tanzanite, Turquoise, Zircon And Ruby

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Birthstones in general are thought to have begun with the biblical breastplate of Aaron (around 1300 B.C.) – a garment set with 12 precious stones – and it is believed that each stone was associated with a zodiac sign (like in Vedic astrology and Ayurvedic medicine). The tradition of associating specific gemstones with particular months is rumored to have begun in Poland in the 1700s, and the list as we know it today here in the US was adopted as a standard by the National Association of Jewelers in 1912.

The Birthstones For December

While most agree on which stone(s) go with which month, there are some variations. For December, the standardized stones in the modern tradition are Tanzanite, Turquoise and Zircon. Some also include Blue Topaz, but in several ancient traditions (as well as Ayurveda), Ruby is the stone for this month. So the December birthstone color is mainly variations of blue, with the blood red ruby as an exception.

As always with gemstones, each birthstone is said to have certain properties, meanings and powers. Here is a little bit of information on each stone (scroll down to the end of the post to see my selection of a few favorite charms incorporating these stones):

Tanzanite

A mineral discovered in Tanzania as late as 1967, Tanzanite (scientifically known as blue Zoisite) didn’t become an official birthstone of December until 2002 (and is the only addition to the original list from 1912). Its natural color is a brownish red, and it takes a good bit of heat to bring out that purple/deep blue color. It was discovered after a wildfire on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro by geologist Manuel D’Souza who brought it to Tiffany & Co’s attention. They re-named the Zoisite “Tanzanite” and brought it to the market with great success. It is a popular, rare and consequently expensive stone – it is only found in Tanzania and once the supply is gone, it’s gone. Tanzanite is also the anniversary gemstone for the 24th year of marriage.

Tanzanite is said to help open the heart and third eye chakras and aid in communication with the spiritual world.

Zircon

The word Zircon derives from the Arabic and means gold and color, and Zircon (not to be confused with cubic zirconia) does come in a variety of colors. Its natural hues are in the brown, orange and red family, but it also comes in green and yellow and, with the help of heat treatment, clear and blue. The clear variety has long been used as a diamond imitation, but today, the most popular hue is blue (a very pretty light pastel aqua color). Zircon can be found in many places around the world (although most are mined in Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam), and it is a relatively inexpensive, and very popular, gemstone.

Zircon is an important stone in Ayurvedic medicine, where it is thought to bring wisdom, a noble heart, good luck, joy and wealth. It also relieves pain, helps with sleep problems, and protects the muscles, bones, nerves and organs. I think we can all use one of these! 🙂

Blue Topaz

Pure Topaz is clear as glass, but thanks to a variety of impurities, it also comes in many colors, including red, pink, brown, yellow (November’s birthstone), orange, purple, green and blue. The blue variety is the most popular one, and while it does sometimes occur naturally, the blue color is most often achieved with the help of irradiation (radiation) and heat treatment. The resulting colors range from a pale baby blue (known as Sky Blue) to the crisp Swiss blue to a nice, rich deep, almost teal, blue (called London or Super Blue). Blue Topaz, which is also the anniversary gemstone for the 4th year of marriage, is available in abundance, and as with all gemstones, the price depends on the purity and size of the stone, but in general, it is quite affordable.

Blue Topaz is said to balance one’s emotions, bring mental clarity, truth, abundance, joy and love, and help the third eye’s ability to see at a higher level. Other topaz healing uses include wounds and eating disorders.

Turquoise

Turquoise is one of the oldest known gemstones, used and appreciated for thousands of years, not only for its beauty, but also because it was believed to be a good luck talisman. Turquoise is of course turquoise, and it gets its blue-green color from copper. There are other, less common, variations on the color such as a deeper blue-green and bright green, and the color depends on the chemical composition of the earth where it is formed. The best quality Turquoise is a solid robin’s egg blue with no discolorations or veins, and most of these can be found in Iran and the southwestern part of the US. Turquoise, which is also the 11th wedding anniversary gemstone, is plentiful and affordable.

An important stone in crystal healing, turquoise is thought to protect the (physical) body, help the chi flow and combat depression. It helps with communication and creativity and strengthens the immune system. It is also believed to bring friendship, courage, a long life, happiness and good luck.

Ruby

The popular Ruby is the birthstone for December in the Ayurvedic and Traditional system. In the modern, standardized list of birthstones, it is the stone for July, and it is also the 40th wedding anniversary gemstone as well as the zodiac birthstone for Capricorn. It is the red variety of the mineral corundum (a crystalline form of aluminum oxide) – all other corundum colors are called sapphires. The red color is the result of the (natural) addition of chromium, and colors range from light pink to deep red. Most rubies are heat treated to bring out richer color and more clarity, and the darker the color, the more valuable the stone. It is an expensive gemstone (several thousand dollars per carat for top-notch stones) – a ruby bracelet owned by Marlene Dietrich sold at Sotheby’s in 1992 for $990,000 (it was admittedly jawdroppingly stunning, but still!).

Ruby stimulates the heart chakra and is said to protect the heart from emotional suffering, aid in making wise decisions, promote happiness, a positive outlook, and ideal relationships. It is also thought to help with detoxification, eye problems, heart conditions, remove infections in the blood, reduce nightmares and depression and ward off evil spirits.

Whew, that was a lot of information! Let’s move on to the visual part of this post – my handpicked selection of some of my favorite December birthstone jewelry:

Collage by Charms Guide

1. Sterling silver charm with Turquoise, Rhodonite, Mother-of-Pearl, Sugilite, and Malachite inlay. By Carolyn Pollack

2. Sterling silver and turquoise charm necklace by Dogeared

3. Sterling silver and ruby heart charm from Blue Nile

4. Sterling silver bead charm with silver and Tanzanite heart dangle by Lovelinks® by Aagaard

5. Sterling silver necklace with silver key and Blue Topaz charm by Fifilabonge

6. 14k gold and blue zircon Mother and child charm from Reeds Jewelers

7. 18k gold, topaz and onyx evil eye charm from Links of London USA

8. Charm necklace with gold dipped flower and faceted Blue Topaz from Simply Brie Designs

9. Sterling silver and blue topaz baby shoe charm from Netaya

10. Rose gold, turquoise and Swarowski crystal charm bracelet by Jaidan Designs

All content © Charms Guide


Holiday Gift Guide – Elephant Charms

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Elephants have long been symbols of strength, power, intelligence, wisdom and excellent memory in many cultures across the globe, and in some, they are even deities: India has Ganesh and Airavata, Thailand has Erawan. There are also lots of other beliefs and folklore associated with elephants, and many consider them to be good luck. Some say that is true only if the trunk is up; others claim only white elephants can be considered lucky.

I personally love elephants on everything and think they are all lucky. I never leave the house without my little Ganesh charm – he is said to bring wisdom and remove obstacles, and who can’t use that on a daily basis? I put him on either a necklace, bracelet or just as is in a pocket.

Here is a little roundup of some recent favorite elephant charm finds:

1. Trollbeads Indian elephant charm

2. 14k White, Yellow and Rose Gold Elephant Charm from GiveMeGold Opulent and blingy with cubic zirconias

3. This charm by artist Heidi Gibson is actually a tiny oil painting on canvas! From Charmed By Heidi

4. Good Luck Elephant Charm Necklace from Dogeared

5. “My” Ganesh, from Shanti Boutique Fair Trade Designs

6. Sterling Silver Elephant Charm from Thomas Sabo

7. Elephant cabochon charm in glass and 18k gold plated brass from Anthropologie

8. Elephant Good Luck Leather wrap Charm Bracelet from The Lucky Elephant

Collage by Charms Guide
All content © Charms Guide


Holiday Gift Guide Series – Cupcake Charms

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Chocolate Cupcake Charm Necklace from A Fine Distraction

I don’t think the cupcake craze of the last decade has escaped anybody’s attention. Magnolia Bakery in New York City is usually credited with starting it in the mid 90s, and their creations really rose to fame after being featured in Sex and the City. They are still as popular as ever, and have even gone worldwide: last year, they openend a bakery/store in the Dubai Mall. Tourists from all over the world still flock to the original NYC store as well – I went a few years ago with a friend who was visiting from overseas and had to see it (and eat a cupcake). It’s tiny! But the cupcakes are good.

These days, cupcakes are everywhere: now, there are many bakeries and stores solely devoted to making cupcakes, cupcake caterers, cupcake blogs, cupcake food trucks, cupcake books, wedding cakes, apparel, holiday ornaments, home decor, there is “Cupcake Wars” (an entire show about cupcakes) on Food Network; and what might just take the prize as the trippiest take on the sweet treats ever: cupcake cars from Nieman Marcus. These $25,000 customized motor-driven vehicles – which come with matching hats for the drivers – are surprisingly intended for adults!

There is of course also cupcake jewelry in many forms. Naturally, we are focusing on charms here, and I have put together a collection of some recent favorite finds:

From left to right, starting on row 1:
1. Amore LaVita sterling silver and enamel charm (note the little candle!)
2. Chamilia charm bead
3. CHARM IT! base metal and enamel charm
4. Diva Diamonds Sterling silver and Enamel Charm
5. Juicy Couture14k gold, enamel and rhinestone moveable charm
6. Links of London sterling silver charm
7. Pandora sterling silver and 14k gold charm bead
8. Sweet and Savory Trinkets polymer clay charm
9. Pnut white gold and diamonds charm
10. Rembrandt 14k Yellow Gold and enamel
11. Charming by Ti Sento Rhodium plated sterling silver, cubic zirconia and enamel charm
12. Tiffany 18k white and yellow gold charm with precious stones
13. Tiffany sterling silver and enamel charm
14. Sweet Bling “One Haute Cupcake” charm in 14k white and rose gold
15. Piercing Pagoda Sterling Silver and Enamel Charm
16. Zable sterling silver charm bead

For more gift ideas, check out my Unusual Pendants and Charm Bracelet Charms, Jewelry Men Gifts for Father’s Day and Charmed Bracelets and Necklaces for Mother’s Day posts (and stay tuned for more to come!)


The New Trollbeads Winter Collection Charms And Beads

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

Trollbeads just announced their new winter collection which is very much inspired by the upcoming holidays.

The collection consists of:

  • 6 new beads – a mistletoe (which comes in gold and silver), a gold bead with interlinked hearts, a silver teddy bear, a blue glass bead with cubic Zirconias, and a tiger eye glass bead
  • 1 new clasp – sterling silver with a small 18k gold heart

and

  • Two limited edition glass bead sets, one blue, gold and white and one in red, gold and green.

The company also recently released two new additions to their Universal Uniques line – one black and one white glass bead, each set with 13 cubic Zirconias.

There is currently a contest going on, where you can win beads from the winter collection by sending postcards (real ones, not virtual). It does involve quite a bit of work: to enter, you need to register for the contest at Trollbeads Universe, you will then get a special ID number (and a lottery ticket) and the addresses of 5 other Trollbeads fans. Then, you have to go to a Trollbeads store and pick up their official Christmas cards, write a greeting and your ID on them, and send them out to the 5 people whose addresses you received when you registered. So others will be sending you cards as well, and every time you receive one, you need to log onto Trollbeads Universe and record the ID number of the person who sent you the card. This will get you additional lottery tickets. A nice idea since getting cards and letters in the mail is getting increasingly rare.

All photos: Trollbeads Universe

For more, also see the Trollbeads News and the Even More Trollbeads… News posts.


Even More Trollbeads & Thomas Sabo Charm News

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

No sooner had I published my most recent posts – Trollbeads News and The New Thomas Sabo Charm Collection – than they both announced even more new products! Here is a quick update on the latest from each:

New Trollbeads World Tour Installment

Trollbeads announced their latest release in the world tour series: Japan. They’ve been doing the world tour thing for about a year now – it’s a series of beads representative of different countries, and usually only available in that particular country. That is also the case with the Japan-inspired beads, which consist of an old shrine, a noh mask (both in silver) and two glass beads: the “Rising Sun” (white with a red dot) and the “Blooming Sakura” (a very pretty blue with cherry flowers – my favorite).

Photos: Trollbeads Universe

For the latest from Trollbeads, see The New Trollbeads Winter Collection post.

New Thomas Sabo Charms

Thomas Sabo charm club released a very feminine and elegant collection of 46 new clip-on charms, all in sterling silver, some with diamonds, enamel, cubic zirconia and pearls. There are lots of cute charms in this collection – my favorites are the red clutch, the ballerina, the handbag, and the crown.

Photos: Thomas Sabo


Trollbeads News

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

I don’t know if it’s just the part of the US where I live, but it always seems to me that Trollbeads keep a much lower profile than the other European-style bracelet brands – no flashy billboards or prime time commercials, and way fewer glossy magazine ads. That might change soon though with the recent appointment of Michael Belleveau as the new CEO of Trollbeads USA. He recently said in an interview that he plans to step up the marketing efforts, perhaps introduce Trollbeads to some of the higher-end department stores, and do co-branding with certain fashion labels.

It will be exciting to see where this goes, but in the meantime, there are several new additions to talk about:

Trollbeads recently announced their new fall collection of charms, all in appropriately somberautumn colors. There are 14 new glass beads, 7 silver, 1 gold, 1 tiger eye, and two mixed metal (and one new mixed metal clasp). One of the new silver additions is the “People’s Bead” winner this year, the “Rolling Waves”. It was designed by Denise Tong, inspired by the tsunami that hit Japan this past spring. But rather than a reminder of a disaster, it is intended to remind us to respect nature. And there also is a new upcoming release: a coin bead with the Troll beads logo on one side and an earth and heart design on the other.

Earlier this summer, a brand new line of charms were introduced: the Universal Uniques – a collection of over 100 glass beads. The new beads have a larger core, allowing them to fit not only on Trollbeads bracelets (as is the case with most of the other beads), but other brand’s snake chains as well, like Chamilia, Lovelinks, and Pandora bracelets. Devoted Trollbeads fans have had mixed reactions to this, some saying that the Trollbeads bracelet was the original and they should not modify their products to fit others; others think it’s a smart move and one that will allow for greater variety to the end user. I think both sides have good points, but ultimately, I have to agree with the pro-side. I think it’s great that those who want to stick with their “other brand” bracelet now have even more choices.

Universal Uniques

Come October, there will be two new ring sets with beads available. The “Strength, Courage and Wisdom ” sets come with either a rose ribbon or pink prism bead, and a portion of the proceeds go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The pink prism bead is an original design by Lise Aagaard, retired in 2007, but back now for a short time.

And, coming up later this month (September 23-24), the second annual TrollbeadsFest is being held in New Bedford, MA. Highlights include an entire table of retired Trollbeads, the opportunity to see a glass bead being made, and visits from Danish jewelry designers Kim Buck and Eske Storm as well as last year’s People’s Bead winner Kristi Denning.

For more and the company history, check out my earlier Troll beads post. Also see the Even More Trollbeads…. News and The New Trollbeads Winter Collection posts.

All photos: Trollbeads