Happy birthday, May babies!

There’s a perfectly good reason you May babies are making the rest of us green with envy: your birthstone is the emerald.

Emeralds are the vibrant green form of the mineral beryl, given its colour by chromium or vanadium.  They are fairly strong, rating a 7.5 – 8 on the Mohs hardness scale.  While hard, though, emeralds can be brittle.  Most emeralds have some inclusions or imperfections, which dealers call the gem’s “jardin” (French for garden).  An oil treatment is often used to fill surface cracks, improve transparency, and help prevent an emerald from chipping.

The first known emerald mines were near the Red Sea in Egypt.  Cleopatra was well known for her love of emeralds.  These days, Colombia and Zambia are the highest and second-highest producers of emeralds.

One of the “big four” gemstones, emeralds have long been popular and valuable.  One of the world’s largest emeralds is the “Mogul Emerald”, weighing in at 217 carats and stands around 10cm tall.  Dating from 1695, this emerald tablet is inscribed with a flowing floral pattern on one side and a prayer on the other.  And much more recent, who could forget Elizabeth Taylor’s amazing Bulgari set of emerald jewellery?

Elizabeth Taylor in her Bulgari emerald necklace and earrings


A Very Special Custom Birthday Order

A couple months ago my friend Jenn asked if I would help her make custom order bracelets for her husband’s birthday. I immediately said yes and we talked about the materials and colours she wanted to incorporate.  I looked through my existing stones and found many options for her that could work. I also took a small road trip out to Jacob’s Trading Gem & Mineral show to pick up a few extra options just in case.

We had a meeting to go over the materials, she selected the stones she wanted to use and planned out each piece. She picked out stones, colours, shapes, and textures she felt sure her husband (Ryan) would like. She called what she made a mix of “able to pass off as professional rockstar” and “hippy chic”. We then got together another evening after our day jobs and Jenn set to work.

Jenn focused on the task at hand!
Jenn focused on the task at hand!

I sat across from her and watched her work, gave tidbits of suggestions on design where needed and instruction on how to assemble and close off the bracelets when the time came, it wasn’t a hard job and it was a lot of fun to play a small part in the process of gifting between two people I love dearly. One very special element was the addition of a Canadian dime to one of the bracelets.  The story behind this is that when Jenn’s gradnfather was stationed in England during the war he had a bracelet made for his wife with a British 10 pence piece in it. Jenn wore that bracelet on her wedding day. She wanted to create a bracelet for Ryan with the Canadian 10 cent piece to emulate that gift. I absolutely LOVE working on custom orders that incorporate re-purposed items and the story behind this was is so touching. I’m honoured I played a small role in making it happen.

Red cats eye chips, malachite chips and a Canadian 10 cent coin

In the end Jenn made a total of 5 bracelets for Ryan which she gifted to him on his birthday. You can see the other 4 bracelets pictured below. Thank you Jenn for asking me to help with this lovely project. It means a lot to me and I really enjoyed watching your creative process unfold!

Wood rounds, darker wood rondelles and turquoise accent chips
Wood rounds with bone focal bead and small bone round accents








Tiger’s eye chips with jasper rounds
Snowflake obsidian large ovals with hematite chips


Upcoming Winnipeg Event

I am very excited to be participating in another Craft/Vendor event here in Winnipeg on Sunday May 1st! Still lots of time to find that perfect something for Mother’s Day 🙂

The sale will be open 10:00 AM until 3:00 PM at 1295 Salter Street, if you are in the area come by for a visit! You can RSVP and get more information on what craters and vendors will be there by clicking on the Facebook Event link here: Vince Leah Craft & Vendor Sale


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