Psychology of Color & Gems 12

Color: Purple / Gemstones: Amethyst & Rainbow Fluorite / Glass

Purple is a color associated with royalty and power.  The lighter shades, such as lavender, are calming, while the deeper shades are bold and confident.  A little purple goes a long way, and is often used in clothing, jewelry, and as an accent color in interiors.

Grape juice is a common beverage at breakfast, and who hasn’t eaten a peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich?  Eggplant is a staple in Italian cooking.  Barnie the dinosaur has entertained children for years.

Purple flowers, such as lilacs, wisteria, and hydrangeas, are very popular.  Lavender flowers have a wonderful fragrance, which is often used to promote sleep.  In the spring, we often see purple Easter eggs, candy, and accessories.

Amethyst is a purple gemstone.  Historically it has been used to calm and protect.  It is believed to bolster self-confidence, and increase intuition.

Fluorite is a beautiful gemstone, with a color range from greens and blues to purples.  Sometimes there are several colors within one stone.  Fluorite is believed to be a healing stone, particularly with increasing concentration and feeling grounded.

Fluorite & Glass Seed Bead Necklace

This Fluorite and glass seed bead necklace is beautiful and unusual.  The Fluorite beads have been carved into a floral shape, and the colors will coordinate with any fashions.  The glass seed beads reflect the light and the Fluorite beads have a stunning glow from within.

Purple/Blue & Green Spiral EarringsPurple/Blue metallic and green glass seed beads are woven in a spiral to create these lovely earrings.  They are thick and luxurious, and yet lightweight and comfortable to wear.  These attention-getting earrings will add interest and a punch of color to your wardrobe.

Purple & Pink Seed Bead Necklace

This grapevine spiral seed bead necklace includes purple beads in several sizes and shapes, mixed with pink accents.  This soft and feminine necklace has a Sterling Silver toggle clasp.

Purple, Blue & Green Crystal/Glass with Black Onyx NecklaceBlue, green and purple come together in this elegant necklace.  If you prefer the cool colors of the rainbow, this is the choice for you.  Silver-plated accents and faceted beads brighten the palette and contrast nicely with Black Onyx beads.  This necklace is part of our Jewelry Supports a Cause Collection, which benefits several charities.

If you want an outstanding color in your wardrobe, then the color you have been looking for is purple.


How to Buy Furniture – Part 2

Long-term furniture is expected to last for years in living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms.  It is not unusual for someone to keep a bedroom set for decades.  Dining room tables are often passed down in a family from generation to generation.  This furniture is built to last with high quality components, durable finishes, and timeless style.  Good quality pieces of furniture can be reupholstered or refinished.

Fine Quality Upholstered Chairs

Furniture manufacturers of quality furniture provide guarantees or warranties for materials as well as construction.  Fabric quality is tested for wear and abrasion.  Tests are performed to ensure colorfastness.  Will the cushions retain their shape or sag?  Will it be easy to maintain?  Kids and pets can be hard on furniture.  Can you clean it yourself, or will you have the added expense of professional cleaning?

Custom Living Room Furniture

Take your time when selecting furniture.  Don’t feel pressured into buying an item simply because it is on sale.  Saving twenty-five percent off a piece of furniture, which does not meet your needs, is no savings at all.

Fine Qualty Dining Room FurnitureInterior designers are experts in selecting furniture for clients based upon several key areas including style, color, construction, comfort, function, and quality.  They will coordinate new items with your other furniture, which can save you time and money through careful planning.

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How to Buy Furniture – Part 1

Selecting furniture for your home is an important and personal decision.  We all have very different lifestyles, and our needs and preferences are as individual as we are.  One factor that is often overlooked is how long a piece of furniture will last.  You need to ask yourself how long you intend to use a piece of furniture?

Dorm Room Furniture

Short-term furniture can be used in college dorm rooms, or for seasonal use such as outdoor patio furniture.  Most college students use their furniture for two semesters each year for approximately 4 years.  By the time of graduation, the furniture has served it usefulness and is ready to be discarded.  In the furniture industry this is referred to as “curbside furniture,” because it is often seen sitting at the curb on trash pick up day.

Patio Furniture

One of the drawbacks to short term furniture is that it is constructed using minimal labor with low quality components, which begin to deteriorate over time.  If you plan to use a piece of furniture on a daily basis, it may fall apart prematurely.  As the costs of manufacturing rise, the cost to replace items increases.

Curbside Furniture

Be sure to buy quality furniture that you really love.  Don’t fall for the latest color or style trends.  When the trend changes, and it always does, you may not like the item you have purchased.  Furniture is an investment and you want to get the most for your money.

Part 2 of “How to Buy Furniture” will be posted next week.

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Psychology of Color & Gems 11

Color: Yellow / Gemstones: Citrine / Glass

The color yellow is a vibrant happy color.  It brings back warm childhood memories of “Smiley Face” stickers, rides on the school bus, and that banana your Mom always packed in your lunch.  As adults, the golden rays of sunshine remind us that it is time to get up out of bed and start the day.

Yellow is an optimistic and hopeful color.  It is also a color associated with friendship, which is often shown with the gift of yellow roses.  A yellow ribbon is a common symbol in recognition and support of our troops.

Yellow is sweet and tart as lemonade, and rich and golden as honey.  It can signal the need for caution at an intersection, or the need for speed in a racecar.  Sunshine helps you feel cheerful and energized, while the lack of sunlight can make you feel gloomy and lethargic.

Citrine is a yellow gemstone, which can range in color from a pale lemon yellow to a rich, dark cognac.  Historically Citrine has been used to bolster confidence, increase energy, and bring abundance into the lives of those who wear or carry it.

Yellow & Green Glass Seed Beads

Yellow and green glass seed beads are the perfect combination for spring and summer fashions.  Each bead is individually sewn by hand to create this beautiful spiral necklace, which will weave its way into your heart.

Yellow Glass Leaf with Green Glass & Tiger's Eye

A golden yellow glass leaf pendant is the focal point of this green glass and Tiger’s Eye necklace.  The earth tones are brightened by touches of green and yellow like blooming sunflowers on a warm summer’s day.

Yellow, Pink, Orange, & Red Glass with Black Onyx

Yellow, orange, red and pink glass and crystal contrast nicely with Black Onyx beads in these cluster earrings.  These earrings are part of our Jewelry Supports a Cause Collection, which benefits several charities.  These warm colors of the rainbow are real attention getters.  The faceted beads capture the warmth and romance of candlelight, and provide vivid color in a fashion forward style.

Yellow adds fire and warmth to liven up your wardrobe.  A little yellow goes a long way so add a pop of color and brighten your day.


Bathroom Renovations – Part 2

Everyone loves seeing before and after photos.  Sometimes we don’t realize how outdated a room has become until we see it beside a completely renovated room.  It is a real eye opener.  It also inspires us to take a closer look at our own homes, imagine several options, and then make those ideas a reality.


Outdated bathroomThis bathroom had an over-powering red and gray color scheme.  The floor tiles were small gray squares with tiny red dots in the center creating a connect-the-dots pattern on the floor.  The wall tiles were light gray squares with red trim and wall base tile.  The square pattern was repeated in the red and gray wallpaper.  The bold red area rug, curtains, and accessories combined with the repetitive linear patterns made this bathroom feel small and busy.

Old fashion sink

The old-fashioned wall mounted sink had no counter space.  The metal towel bars and sink supports were discolored and made it difficult to clean.  There was no storage below the sink and no linen closet in the room.  The light fixture and medicine cabinet were old and outdated.

Narrow shower

The shower was a very tight squeeze, and there was no place to set bottles of shampoo or body wash.


Renovated bathroom

The new white color scheme makes this bathroom look twice as big.  The walls have been painted white and the floors have porcelain tile with a porcelain wall base tile.  White porcelain tile surrounds the tub/shower walls.  The neutral white is relaxing for bathing and allows the punches of color to come from the accessories.  Vertical blinds provide privacy.

New sink and cabinet

A very large sink base cabinet with 6-drawers and 2-doors provides lots of storage, which was completely lacking in the original bathroom.  The wide low maintenance countertop provides plenty of space for hand towels and accessories.  Two wall sconce light fixtures were mounted upon the large mirror.

New walk-in tub/shower

Some additional space was taken from an adjacent closet to accommodate a large walk-in soaking tub/shower.  The tub has a door, which swings open for easy access.  A fold-down seat combined with two separate showerheads enable bathers to sit or stand while bathing.  A handheld shower and bath controls are mounted within easy reach.  This tub has jets to provide a gentle massage for aching muscles.  What was once a rather dark, cramped space is now a welcoming retreat.

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Gemstone Jewelry Tips – Part 2

1.  In the past, gemstones were ground into powder for use in cosmetics, paint & dye.

2.  Rings and gloves don’t mix.  When you slide on a pair of gloves, rings can catch on the glove lining, causing damage to gemstones and weakening of prongs, leading to lost stones.  In cold weather, you have two choices for protecting your rings: You could keep your rings in a pouch in your pocket or purse and then put them on when you arrive at your destination; or you could wear your rings with gloves, but turn the top of the ring underneath toward your palm.

3.  The most popular turquoise is robins egg blue and is called Sleeping Beauty      Turquoise, named for the mine located in Arizona.

4.  Gemstones are available as cut gems or as beads.

Snowflake Obsidian, Ocean Jasper, and Sodalite

5.  In the gemstone industry, no gem weight is given for opaque gemstones, or      gemstone beads.

Tiger's Eye

6.  How does Tiger’s Eye change color?  This phenomenon is called chatoyancy, which is a French word meaning “Cat’s Eye.”  It occurs when bright light reflects off fibers in the Tiger’s Eye stone, causing the color to appear to “change.”

7.  Purple is the most popular color for Amethyst, however when it is green it is often called Mint Quartz.

8.  Many gemstones, such as Blue Topaz, are heated to enhance the color.  The lightest color is Sky Blue Topaz, while the darkest is London Blue Topaz.

Black Onyx beads sitting on a piece of White Onyx

9.  Onyx is a creamy white gemstone with bands running through the stone.  It is usually dyed black, which is a standard industry practice.

10. Hand knotted pearls are a luxury to be sure.  They require special care to protect them from perspiration, perfumes, and lotions.  Over time, the string itself can become weakened and turns black.  A jeweler can restring your pearls and advise you on care so that your pearl jewelry will last a lifetime.


Bathroom Renovations – Part 1

Everyone loves seeing before and after photos.  Sometimes we don’t realize how outdated a room has become until we see it beside a completely renovated room.  It is a real eye opener.  It also inspires us to take a closer look at our own homes, imagine several options, and then make those ideas a reality.


Original bathroom sink and toilet

The wall and floor tile in this bathroom were original to the house.  In the 1950’s, builders often used black accent tiles with light blue, light green or yellow wall tiles.  Typically small square tiles in a checkerboard pattern were used on the floor.

Original bathroom sink and medicine cabinet

The mirrored medicine cabinet, sink and base cabinet were more recent additions.  There is wasted floor space to the right of the sink.

Original bathroom tub/shower

The wall of the shower has been patched with an obvious mismatched shade of blue tile.  Note the old ceramic soap dish with the integral handle.  When people hold onto the handle for balance, the tile and grout loosen, and it eventually pulls out of the wall.  That explains the telltale wall patch around the soap dish.


Renovated bathroom sink and toilet

New Porcelain wall and floor tiles in warm earth tones bring this bathroom into the 21st century and beyond.  The upper walls have been painted with a faux finish, which adds color and texture.  The neutral colors create a soft, relaxing background and enable the client to use any color for towels, area rugs, and accessories.  Towel bars are mounted on the wall, and elegant curtains perfectly frame the window.

Renovated bathroom sink, cabinet & mirror

Instead of having a medicine cabinet, a large sink base cabinet with 3-drawers and 2-doors provides lots of storage.  The wide granite counter is beautiful as well as functional.  An attractive light fixture has been mounted upon the large frameless mirror.

Renovated bathroom shower

The new shower includes a bench, a wall niche, a handheld shower as well as rain shower fixtures.  The wall niche has been structurally reinforced and is at the perfect height to lean on for balance.  The glass enclosure keeps the interior of the shower light and bright.

If a full renovation is not in your budget, there are less expensive alternatives to update your bathroom.  You can easily remove the wallpaper and then paint the walls with a solid color or a faux finish.  There are many ways to create painted faux finishes.  You can buy some large poster boards at a craft store to experiment with different painting techniques and color combinations.  Improve the shower wall by installing black tiles in a creative pattern.  By doing this you can turn an ugly patched wall into an attractive design feature.

Part 2 of Bathroom Renovations will be posted in two weeks.

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Psychology of Color & Gems 10

Color: Indigo / Gemstones: Sapphire, Sodalite & Lapis Lazuli/ Glass

Indigo is a deep shade of blue.  It can range from navy to midnight blue.  Indigo is the most popular color of our favorite denim blue jeans.  A navy blue suit is a staple of the business wardrobe.  We write notes every day using pens filled with dark blue ink.

Indigo blue is cold and mysterious as the deepest water in the ocean.  It is romantic and awe-inspiring as a midnight sky filled with stars.  Indigo is rare and fun as a bold blue parrot, and it is opulent and priceless as the Hope Diamond.

Sapphires are available in several colors, but the most sought after color is deep blue.  Princess Diana could have chosen any color gemstone as her engagement ring, but she chose a blue sapphire.  Sapphires are believed to increase intuition and aid in meditation.  Blue sapphires are symbolic of soul mate love and fidelity.

Sodalite Earrings

Sodalite is a beautiful blue gemstone with swirls of black and white veining.  Rich shades of blue have a dreamy and calming affect.  Historically Sodalite has been carried for protection, or worn to inspire creativity.  If you need help delegating, Sodalite is believed to help you prioritize and to entrust others.  The patterns in these blue stones contrast with the metallic shimmer of silvertone accents.  These Sodalite earrings are sure to become your favorites.

Lapis Lazuli is a dark blue gemstone with flecks of gold.  It can also be a medium shade of blue called denim.  At the time of Cleopatra, Lapis was ground into a powder to be used in eye shadow and as pigment for paint.  It is a favorite stone of artists to increase creativity and inspiration.

Blue & Green Glass Chevron Necklace

Glass can be translucent or opaque.  Light reflects off the facets in these beads and the chevron design leads your eye around the necklace.  The pattern is reminiscent of Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Blue & Green Grapevine Spiral Bracelet

Blue and green glass seed beads are woven one at a time into an intricate grapevine spiral.  This luxurious bracelet is lightweight and comfortable to wear and yet it has a bold presence, which is sure to be noticed.

Blue Glass Heart Earrings

These heart shaped glass beads have a metallic blue finish which appears to change color depending upon the light reflected and the viewing angle.  Indigo blue is beautifully represented in these cluster earrings.

Whether your style is comfortable and casual or polished and professional, indigo blue is the perfect shade for you.


Victorian Cape May – Part 2

Cape May New Jersey is a beautiful Victorian beach town.  This town has been a popular vacation spot for centuries.  With pristine beaches, welcoming people, and a long history of hospitality, Cape May has something for everyone.

Hand carved pelican sign

Hand carved bed and breakfast signThe ocean and the Victorian style inspire artists to create artwork in many forms such as stained glass windows, jewelry, framed photographs, and paintings.  Many restaurants and hotels feature local artist’s work.  This flare for design can be seen in the architecture as well as the signage.

Instead of a boardwalk, Cape May has the Promenade.  The Promenade is a concrete seawall with a wide, smooth surface, which is perfect for activities, such as walking, jogging, and bicycling.  The seawall offers protection from high seas and hurricanes, but it also serves as a gathering place for friends and family, and provides a nice place to sit and watch the waves roll in upon the beach.  At one end of the walkway there is a handful of stores clustered around a new convention center, which is currently under construction.  This new building is very contemporary, which ignores the traditional Victorian style.  Only time will tell whether this new design will be welcomed or rejected.

Historic Congress Hall HotelBe sure to visit Congress Hall, a lovingly maintained hotel, which dates back to the 1800’s.  This hotel was the victim of two major fires during its long history, and each time it was beautifully restored to its former grandeur.  It preserves the past while enjoying the present.  Guests appreciate the architectural details, such as columns, decorative moldings and large balconies with ornate railings.  Gaslight lampposts surround this building with a soft glow.  Brick walkways lead through meticulously landscaped gardens.  Dozens of rockers and Adirondack chairs invite you to sit down, relax, feel the breeze and stare at the ocean.

There are several locations to view historic photos of Cape May.  You can take a trip back in time by seeing pictures of everything from buildings to clothing and swimwear, as they changed through the years.  The Physick Museum features photos and maps of the ever-changing shoreline.  It is impressive to see how storms caused major beach erosion, and later the beaches were restored to their former glory.

Horse drawn carriage

Horse drawn carriage rides are the ultimate way to see historic Cape May.  The sound of the horse’s hooves creates a rhythm, birds call as they fly across the sky, and amazing pieces of the past, pieces of American history, come to life before you.

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Victorian Cape May – Part 1

Cape May New Jersey is a beautiful Victorian beach town.  Visitors come from around the world to work and play.  The people of Cape May are a mixture of lifetime residents and new families drawn by the call of the sea.

During the winter many seashore towns roll up their boardwalks and close for the season.  Cape May has many fulltime residents and most businesses remain open year round to cater to residents and visitors alike.  Cape May has nice beaches, excellent restaurants, and a wide range of accommodations, including hotels and bed & breakfasts.

Glass enclosed Victorian balcony with gingerbread trim and window boxes.

The first thing you will notice is the wonderful assortment of architectural details, such as Mansard roofs, turrets and the fine craftsmanship of intricate wood moldings.  You will fall in love with the Victorian charm of gingerbread decorative trims along rooflines, around doors and windows, and porch railings.  Many buildings have window boxes overflowing with flowers.  Large porch windows provide a glimpse of the interiors, and beckon visitors to join the party.  Enclosed balconies offer great views while providing protection from the elements for year round enjoyment.

Property owners should receive a lot of credit for their dedication to preserving the beauty of their homes and businesses.  Seaside towns face the same harsh environmental conditions: strong sun; corrosive sea air; strong winds; salt water and shifting sand.  These ever-present elements bleach paint, rot wood, corrode metal, and wear away even the best building materials.  Frequent maintenance is the price to pay for living and working so close to the ocean.

Victorian Porch with decorative railing and vibrant paint colorsWood porch railing detail with ceramic insets

The Victorian tradition of this town adds another layer to its charm.  Each building tries to stand out from the crowd by making a personal statement and attracting attention.  One of the ways to differentiate themselves is with creative designs for porch railings, which add a lot of character.  Some use different colors.  Others use different geometric shapes.  The ultimate show offs are the ones that combine a mixture of colors, shapes, and a variety of building materials.

There is an amazing range of paint colors, and they use multiple colors on each building: 1 color for exterior walls and 2 or 3 trim colors – a house painter’s dream.  Some colors are typical for beach towns, such as pastel pink, peach, and green.  The Victorian colors are very saturated and are not the shades typically used on exteriors.  The people of Cape May use all the colors in the crayon box and the result is a fun and creative celebration.

Victorian rooftop clockVictorian rooftop temperature gauge

Decorative details can be attractive and functional.  This building has a rooftop clock and rooftop temperature gauge facing the beach to help sunbathers by providing information.  These architectural details also call attention to stores selling ice cream for those who are hungry or overheated, and T-shirts to protect those who have had too much sun.

Part 2 of Victorian Cape May will be posted next week.

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Psychology of Color & Gems 9

Color: White / Gemstones: White Mother of Pearl & Clear Quartz/ Glass

The color white brings to mind some very different images.  For some it means summertime has arrived; white clothing and sandals are absolute necessities.  To others, white means snow covered mountains and the start of ski season.  It is interesting that the color white can so easily represent the warm weather of summertime and the frosty wonderland of winter.

White is cool and crisp as a linen suit, or creamy and delicious as a dish of vanilla ice cream.  White clouds can delight us as we watch them float across the sky, and the white sails on a ship can excite and energize us as the wind drives it across the waves on a perfect summer day.

White is purity and cleanliness, which is why doctors and nurses include white in their wardrobes.  White is associated with innocence and goodness.  It is a universal sign of surrender when a white flag is waved.

Mother of Pearl is a white gemstone.  Historically it was believed to strengthen and enhance femininity and nurturing.  Because it comes from the shell that produces pearls, Mother of Pearl is considered the gemstone of motherhood.

White Mother of Pearl & Marcasite Necklace

In this necklace, two sizes of White Mother of Pearl alternate in a lovely pattern.  The Sterling Silver Flower pendant has Marcasites on the upper petals and Mother of Pearl on the lower petals.  Jewelry is always a popular gift on Mother’s Day, and this beautiful flower will last a lifetime.

White Mother of Pearl & Green Glass Earrings

If earrings are more your style, these White Mother of Pearl and green glass earrings are perfect with any spring or summer outfit.  The heart shaped beads express love and friendship.  The silver filigree accents nicely frame the white beads and add sparkle to this fashionable look.

Clear quartz is a nice alternate gemstone for white.  Parts of the stone are clear while others have a murky white or frosty appearance.  Clear Quartz looks so much like ice that you will expect it to feel cold.

Historically Quartz has been believed to elevate spirituality and bring harmony to the wearer.  It is also thought to inspire creativity and increase prosperity.  Fortunetellers would be fortunate indeed to have a Clear Quartz crystal ball.

Clear Quartz & Sodalite Necklace

This necklace has a combination of Sodalite and Clear Quartz.  The Quartz is an icy contrast to the rich blues of Sodalite.  The Clear Quartz pendant will remind you of the rock candy you ate as a child.  This decadent necklace will attract attention and compliments.

Lampwork Glass Necklace with Blue & White Glass Pendant

If you prefer glass jewelry, this white and blue glass pendant may be just what you need.  Blue and clear seed beads harmonize with blue and silver foil glass beads like stars in a midnight sky.  The Sterling Silver bail is adorned with Marcasites.  Silver accents add shimmer and style, while the white and blue pendant keeps the color palette light and refreshing.

The old rule of thumb was “Never wear white after Labor Day.”  Times have changed and so have the fashions.  No matter what the season is, you can’t go wrong with white.


Beautiful & Functional Design Ideas

In this busy world, we have all learned to multi-task.  When it comes to interior design, it is important to include items, which serve multiple purposes.  Think about how the room will be used and find solutions to fill those needs.  With planning and good design, you can create focal points, which add beauty to a room and function in several ways.

Mirror with Suncatchers

This photo shows a glass cook top range with a mirror above it sitting on top of the backsplash.  There is a suncatcher in each pane.  The mirror adds depth to the room.  The divided panes and reflection of the light through the suncatchers gives the illusion that it is a window.  The wood frame has been painted to blend with the wall, providing a background for the colorful suncatchers.  Not only does this serve as a whimsical focal point, but it also protects the wall from splashes and steam caused by cooking.  If you ever sell your house, you can take this with you to the new house.  It has another funny yet helpful benefit: If you are cooking and a neighbor unexpectedly knocks on your door, you can quickly check your hair before you answer the door!

Tiled Niche in Shower

Many people have glass shower enclosures.  Keep in mind that your guests can see whatever bottles you leave sitting out.  Instead of seeing clutter, they will be pleasantly surprised to see artwork in the shower.  The tile niche on the wall of this shower is a perfect place for a favorite statue or a small vase of flowers.  When using the shower, remove these items and use the niche to hold bottles of shampoo and body wash.  Make sure that you check the size of the bottles you typically use to make sure the niche is tall enough to accommodate them.  This niche is at a comfortable height for reaching your shampoo while showering.  Another advantage is that the niche has been structurally reinforced so it is an easy place to lean on for balance.

If we can multi-task, why not expect the same from our interiors?

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The Search for Treasure

Why are we so fascinated with treasure?

Treasure chest

Who doesn’t love a good pirate story?  There are true stories as well as legends of buried or lost treasure chests.  Modern treasure hunters spend millions of dollars in equipment and manpower to search the seas in hopes of discovering shipwrecks filled with treasure.  Others dig upon the shores hoping to find the prize of a lifetime.  Pirate’s treasure includes gemstones, jewelry, coins, and items made from gold or silver.

Mineral filled cave with natural pool

Miners spend their lives in search of gold, silver, copper or gemstones.  How many gallons of water have been sifted in hopes of finding the elusive gold nugget?  How many pounds of rocks and earth have been chipped away in hopes of striking the mother lode?

Footprints in the sand

At the end of a beautiful day on the beach, sunbathers go home, and the beachcombers arrive with metal detectors in hand.  These treasure hunters are not looking for pirate’s buried treasure.  They set their hopes on finding coins, jewelry and other items dropped by the sunbathing crowds.  And yet their goal is the same, finding treasure.

Archeologists have led large-scale expeditions.  The discovery of King Tut’s tomb revealed the greatest treasure trove ever found.  Even men who had dedicated themselves to science were overcome by the thrill of the treasure hunt.  Scientists mishandled King Tut’s body as they unwrapped the mummy and discovered hidden scarabs and gems within the wrappings.  They were so caught up in the excitement that they forgot to use careful examination procedures and worse yet they neglected to show proper respect for human remains.

Armchair explorers watch countless television shows about lost treasures.  Movie theaters are filled with people excited to see the latest stories about pirates, the lost ark, or the search and discovery of the Titanic.

So why are we so fascinated with treasure?

For some it may be greed or perhaps it is the desire for fame.  When new gemstones are unearthed, or a sunken ship is discovered, the news spreads around the world like wild fire.  Many people flock to the sight of a new find.  Some are there to watch and share in the fun, while others hope to make their own finds nearby.

A diver searches for shipwrecks

For some families, the search is in their blood.  Parents pass this passion for learning and discovery down to their children and grandchildren.  Their legacy is a life of research in the quest to discover pieces of the past.

Statue of an Egyptian Pharoah

Museums are filled with ancient artifacts, including jewelry, statues, and common items used by our ancestors, such as cups and plates.  Each culture has its own identity and style.  Each generation makes it mark in history by reinterpreting, redesigning, or boldly exploring new creations.

We appreciate art in all its forms.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  That is so true when you see some of the unexpected things that become valuable collector’s items.

We all hope to find a priceless item when we are cleaning out the attic.  How many times have we watched the Antique Road Show, and wondered if some little treasure might be tucked away in our own homes?

For many people, their interest is simply curiosity and the thrill of discovery.  As children we play games and pretend to be pirates or rulers of imaginary worlds.  As adults, we wonder about our past, and the history of the world we live in.  We love a good mystery.

Hands around the world

Perhaps the greatest reason for our treasure seeking quest is to help us understand where we have come from, and in the process we may discover hints to where we may be going.  With each new discovery, we learn a little more about ourselves, and our connection to everyone around us.  Isn’t that the greatest treasure of all?

Let in the Light – Part 4

We take artificial light for granted.  Without artificial light, our activities would be limited to the daylight hours.  Whether you are in an office or in an operating room, artificial light delivers light consistently wherever it is needed.

Artificial Light

Colorful stage lights enhance performances.  Pink light is very flattering for women, while green light is used to make villains more menacing.  Strobe lights and Black Lights make us cheer at our favorite concerts, or make us scream at Halloween haunted houses.

Lasers are being used in medical procedures, as pointers in lectures, and as tools on construction sites.  LED lights can be found everywhere, including your laptop monitor.

Task lights are for cutting vegetables or working at your desk.  Reading lights are great for finishing those last few chapters of your favorite novel.  Accent lights accentuate special features in a room and focus our attention on artwork.

Breakfast area in a kitchen with artificial and natural light

This kitchen receives beautiful sunlight making it a perfect place to enjoy a family meal.  A contemporary glass pendant fixture is suspended above the table.  Under cabinet lights provide task lighting and a warm wash of light on the backsplash and the counter.

Bedroom with artificial and natural light

This bedroom enjoys natural light and an incredible city view.  Low voltage lights create a sculptural arc above the bed, and provide general light as well as accent light for the artwork.  Table lamps on either side of the bed add additional general lighting and serve as task lights for reading.

Ambient/Mood lighting is used in restaurants to create a welcoming and romantic atmosphere.  Restaurant owners know that when they use good design and proper lighting, it will relax guests, stimulate their appetites, and encourage them to stay longer and spend more on food and alcohol.

General lighting varies according to the use of a room and the preference of the users.

Dining room with sculptural pendant fixture, wall sconces, and art lights

This dining room has three artificial light sources, in addition to the natural light.  The glass globes in the pendant fixture provide general light for the room, and also serve as a sculptural focal point in the room.  Wall sconces provide accent and ambient lighting making this room feel welcoming.  The low voltage lights focus attention on the artwork with a warm glow.  The suspended glass globes combined with the art lights appear to be floating point of lights, giving the room a contemporary and magical ambiance.

Dining room with chandelier, recessed lights and candlelight

The chandelier in this dining room provides warm general lighting, which is supplemented by downlights over the buffet and a wallwasher at the china cabinet.  The blue glow of evening light comes in the windows, and candlelight on the table and buffet adds a warm romantic touch.

Light will continue to play a major part in our lives.  We might not always notice it, but it is there whenever we need it.

For more Interior Design information and services please visit AMS Interiors.

Let in the Light – Part 3

We take artificial light for granted.  Without artificial light, our activities would be limited to the daylight hours.  Whether you are in an office or in an operating room, artificial light delivers light consistently wherever it is needed.

Artificial Light

Artificial light is needed as a supplement to or in place of natural light.  Artificial light includes any type of light that is manmade.

Campfires hold a special place in our memories: warmth, ghost stories, family vacations, girl scouts & boy scouts, childhood, roasting marshmallows and hot dogs.  Fire pits have become a very popular addition to backyard landscaping.

Spooky Halloween FunWhether you are sitting at the dinner table or soaking in a tub, candlelight is romantic and relaxing.  We celebrate birthdays with candles on a cake and Halloween with candlelit jack-o-lanterns.  We celebrate holidays and special occasions with fireworks and sparklers.  Christmas lights celebrate the joy and fun of the season.

Celebrate with FireworksA nightlight is comforting to child, who is afraid of the dark.  It encourages sweet dreams and chases the monsters away.  The invention of the flashlight made light portable and less dangerous than candles and lanterns.  Flashlights are indispensable during power outages, emergencies, and while camping.

Lighthouse - Find your way homeOur entire transportation system relies heavily upon light.  Traffic lights keep our roadways flowing efficiently.  Lights enable trains and cars to travel through tunnels.  Airplanes can fly at night to safely land at their destinations.  A lighthouse serves as a landmark by day, and as a beacon of hope on a dark foggy night.

When monks hand-draw illustrations in the bible, the process is called illumination.  The gold ink reflects light and makes the pages appear to glow.  In religious artwork, a halo of light is often shown above or surrounding angels and saints to indicate their holiness.

Watch Sporting Events Day or NightSearchlights scan the sky, but also announce grand openings or special events.  Spotlights provide light and safety for entrances and driveways.  Stadium lights enable us to watch our favorite teams play night games.

Warm and romantic firelightFireplaces serve multiple purposes in a home.  They provide heat and romantic lighting.  A fireplace is often the focal point of a room.  People often sit in front of a fireplace and relax as they stare at the flames.  Decorating the fireplace mantel is popular, and changes with the seasons and holidays.  Some people prefer the crackle and wood aromas from a wood-burning fireplace.  Others enjoy the simplicity and convenience of a gas fireplace with a remote control.  Firelight warms the room as it warms the soul.

For more Interior Design information and services please visit AMS Interiors.

Part 4, a continuation of Artificial Light, will appear next week.

Gemstone Jewelry Tips – Part 1

Exposure to heat or sunlight can fade or weaken some gemstones.

Some gemstones, such as rubies, can be created in a lab.  Before making a purchase, ask if the gemstones are genuine stones natural from origin or if they have been lab created?

Triplet - Australian Opal Earrings

Gemstones can be layered to create special effects or to meet lower price points.  Australian opals are often available as triplets, with a thin bottom layer of Black Onyx, a thin middle layer of mosaic Australian opal, and a thick top layer of Clear Quartz, which is typically faceted.

Cut gemstones come in a large variety of cuts including: princess, square, marquise, pear, trillion, oval, round, cabochons, cushion, briolette.

Gemstones have been used as currency by many cultures.

Range of colors for Unakite and Fluorite beads

Each type of gemstone can have a variety of shades and colors.  Some are available in one particular color, but the shades vary from light to dark.  Others come in a variety of colors, such as Fluorite, which includes purples, greens and clear stones.  Unakite is typically a pink and green gemstone, however some stones are all green or all pink.

Air causes gold and silver to tarnish.

Anti-tarnish strips protect precious metal.

Polishing Cloth

After wearing your jewelry, the best way to keep it clean is to gently wipe it with a soft cloth prior to putting it away.  Avoid using chemicals, which can destroy or damage gemstones.

Throughout history, gemstones have been worn as jewelry, used for healing, and
carried for protection.

Let in the Light – Part 2

Light has a remarkable affect upon us.  We may not always be aware of it, but we respond to it nonetheless.  Light makes you feel good, elevates your mood, energizes and inspires you.  There are two categories of light: natural and artificial.

Natural Light

Sunlight is a renewable energy resource.  Solar panels capture sunlight and convert it into electricity, which is used to power homes and businesses.  Solar power is also being used to heat swimming pools and to power turnpike signage.

Moon rising over the ocean.

Moonlight is romantic and mysterious as it lights the night sky, and shimmers across the ocean.  Moonlight can also be scary because we are afraid of the unknown.  The full moon often acts as a catalyst for strange behavior in reality as well as in the movies.  Because the moon was so fascinating to mankind, spaceships were built to travel to the moon to see it in person.

Full moon rising

Starlight is romantic and beautiful.  It inspires us to make wishes.  Shooting stars are always a treat.  The moon, stars, and the evening sky have inspired songs.  The North Star guides sailors to port and helps hikers find their way.

The Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, puts on quite a show in the night sky and draws spectators from around the world.  Rainbows fill the sky with arcs of color.  Did you know that to see a rainbow, the sun has to be at your back?  Will you find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?

Fireflies dazzle us as their tiny points of light dance across the lawn and up into the trees on a warm summer night.  Lightning is a powerful combination of beauty and danger.  It typically occurs during a thunderstorm, however it can also be caused by a volcanic eruption.

Stained glass windows & ceiling of a cathedral

Stained glass brings heavenly light into cathedrals around the world.  Structural columns, arches and vaults enable the architect to create large glass windows in the walls, which fill the interior with natural light.  It is important to keep in mind that in the evening, windows become black holes.  Artificial lighting is a must, even during the day.  If you have a special stained glass window, you may want to add a wall washer inside or a spotlight outside so that you can enjoy it during the day and at night.  A wallwasher is a recessed light fixture, which is angled to shine upon a piece of artwork or a featured area upon a wall.

Building with tinted windows

Skylights flood interiors with natural light from above, while still providing privacy.  Windows provide natural light and a view of outdoors, bringing the outside in.  Tinted windows block sun glare inside, while adding color and pattern to building facades.

For more Interior Design information and services please visit AMS Interiors.

Part 3 discusses Artificial Light and will appear in 2 weeks.

The Power of Birthstones – Part 2

Most people are familiar with birthstones, but they may not know that gemstones have been used for healing since ancient times.  Below is a list of birthstones for each month and their associated healing properties:

Turquoise, Tourmaline, and Topaz


Ruby – love, self-awareness, renewal, spirituality

Carnelian – creativity, energy, protection


Peridot – prosperity, harmony, relationships, intuition


Sapphire – clarity, intuition, protection, soulmate love, fidelity, meditation

Lapis Lazuli – intuition, balance, inspiration, protection, creativity


Opal – balance, harmony, spirituality

Tourmaline – healing, spirituality, energy, renewal, protection  (See photo)


Topaz – creativity, self-expression, spirituality, renewal  (See photo)

Citrine – abundance, confidence, hope, energy


Turquoise – protection for traveling, strengthens, verbal communication  (See photo)

Topaz – creativity, self-expression, spirituality, renewal


The Power of Birthstones – Part 1

Most people are familiar with birthstones, but they may not know that gemstones have been used for healing since ancient times.  Below is a list of birthstones for each month and their associated healing properties:

Black Onyx, Pearls, and Clear Quartz


Garnet – passion, remove negativity, hope, purifies

Quartz – spirituality, harmony, creativity, prosperity  (See photo)


Amethyst – calming, protection, restful sleep, self-confidence, intuition, meditation

Onyx – intuition, dreams, protection, achievement, endurance  (See photo)


Aquamarine – balances body mind & spirit, Nature, water, calming, purifies body

Bloodstone – healing, energizes, purifies, strengthens heart


Diamond – abundance, clarity, fidelity, deflects negativity


Emerald – dreams, healing, balance, protection traveling, prosperity


Pearl – female power, truth, heaven  (See photo)

Moonstone – fortune, protection for traveling, compassion, female power

The Power of Birthstones Part 2 will be posted next week.


Psychology of Color & Gems 8a

Color: Silver / Sterling Silver & Silver-plated / Silver Foil Glass – Part 2

Silver coins have been used throughout history, and are the ultimate goal of every treasure hunter.  A pirate’s treasure chest would not be complete without silver and gold doubloons.  Silver has long been mined.  The Creed Silver Strike is one of the most famous examples of finding the mother lode.

Silverware refers to the use of silver to make utensils and serving pieces.  Today many people have silver-plated flatware, which is used on special occasions.  Originally solid silver was used to create utensils as well as candlesticks, serving platters and bowls.  Silver is a soft and malleable metal, making it easy to hammer into shape, or it can be melted down and poured into molds.

Southwestern jewelry combines silver with gemstones.  American and Mexican Indians are famous for the silverwork.  Silver can be so highly polished that you can see your reflection in it.  It can also be oxidized, which darkens the silver, to create the perfect background in contrast with the shiny highlights.

Silver Plated Filigree Rainbow Fluorite Clip Earrings

These silver-plated filigree clip earrings catch the light and focus the attention on the Rainbow Fluorite bead beneath.  The high polish of the silver brings about high contrast with the deep purple gemstone.

Sterling Silver Marcasite & Mother of Pearl Pendant on Mother of Pearl Necklace

Oxidized Sterling Silver meets its match with White Mother of Pearl and Marcasite beads in this decadent pendant.  Polished corrugated silver beads dangle from the bottom adding movement and texture.

Sterling Silver Eagle Feather Pendant on Black Onyx & Sodalite NecklaceThe veining details in this Sterling Silver eagle feather are exquisite.  The oxidized recesses contrast with the polished surfaces and complement a cabochon of Black Onyx.

Blue Glass & Silver Foil Glass Necklace

Have you ever heard of silver leaf?  Several beads in this necklace contain silver foil inside the glass to add dimension and shine.  Blue glass beads accentuate the cool color theme.  The oxidized Marcasite bail is a piece of art in its own right.

Glass Silver Foil Heart Earrings

These green heart glass earrings contain silver foil.  Note the sparkle and shimmer glowing from within the beads.