Creative Cross-Training

Ellie Thompson on her bike in the woods during a cross training competition

The custom design process usually provides plenty of inspiration, constraint and collaborative exchange for me to produce thoughtful designs that delight my clients.  There are times, however, when this magical combination is lacking and the clarity to move a design-forward is absent.  When realistic ivy vines compete with hammered scrollwork or domed minimalism, I take a break and do some “creative cross-training.”

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What is a Karat of Gold?

Gold Theorem ring by Ellie Thompson

When shopping for gold, you’ll always see it spoken of in terms of karats: 24k, 18k, 12k, and so on. But what exactly is a karat? What does it measure, and how does it compare to the confusingly similar “carat”?

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Tanzanite: The Queen of Kilimanjaro

Vivid blue round tanzanite polished gemstone on white background

In my last blog, I talked a little about tsavorite, one of the rarest gemstones on Earth, mined in only a small corner of Kenya and Tanzania. Tanzanite is another rare beauty from East Africa, perhaps even rarer than tsavorite. If you’re looking for tanzanite, you’ll find it only in an eight-square-kilometer region that lies in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro.


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The Rare Beauty of Tsavorite

Vivid green oval shaped Tsavorite stone on a white background

Few gems match the pure, rich green of emerald, but the tsavorite variety of garnet comes close. When we think of garnet, we probably think of a gemstone ranging in color from caramel brown to pomegranate red, but garnet appears in just about every color of the rainbow. Tsavorite, which ranges in color from olive to evergreen (the latter being the most valuable), is one of the rarest shades of all—and one of the rarest gemstones in the world.


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This May, Step into an Emerald Forest

large dark green Ethiopian emerald stone on a white background

As the snow melts and the trees sprout leaves in May, we start to see the soothing, rich green of emerald all around us. If you feel the same sense of relaxation looking at an emerald that you do sitting in a green field in the springtime, it’s not just your imagination. Emeralds are said to relieve exhaustion and bring a sense of tranquility to the wearer, and like many of the properties often attributed to gemstones, this idea has some scientific basis.


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