Gemstone of the Month: Carnelian

The birthstone for July is the carnelian, a form of chalcedony. It is usually offered as a brownish red coloured stone, but can range from pale apricot through bright orange to a darkish chestnut. It is found in Brazil, India and Uruguay, in forms translucent to opaque.

The chemical composition of carnelian is silicon dioxide, enhanced by iron to give it colour. It can be distinguished from reddish brown agates by the fact that the inclusions causing the opacity are cloudy and evenly distributed, and not organised into bands.

In the Granary Knits Etsy store, carnelians feature in a number of pieces of jewellery as part of a mixture or as standalone gemstones.

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Gemstone of the Month: Moonstone

June‘s birthstone is the beautiful glowing moonstone.

Moonstone is part of the feldspar group of rock. it can be colourless, or pale yellow, with an internal sheen that is particularly lovely, like the shimmer of moonlight (hence its name). It is one of the potassium feldspars, with a chemical composition of potassium aluminium silicate. Deposits are found in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Brazil, India, Madagascar and the USA.

In the Granary Knits Etsy store, we have both jewellery and stitch markers using a particularly lovely pale grey moonstone.

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Gemstone of the Month: Emerald

The birthstone for May is the Emerald, a type of beryl, available as both a precious and semi-precious stone. The precious gemstone emerald is a rich glowing transparent green, the deeper the colour (and the more transparent) the more highly prized the stone. So beautiful is the stone it has given its name to the particular shade of green.

Its chemical composition is aluminium beryllium silicate, the colouring agent for true emeralds is chrome (other green beryls are coloured with vanadium, and should not be called emerald, but instead “green beryl”). It is mined in Colombia, Brazil, Zimbabwe, and many other countries around the world.

Semi-precious emeralds are clouded by inclusions, and may vary from pale to dark green. These are the type of emerald you will find in the Granary Knits Etsy store, in the form of earrings using selected shaded chips.

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There are many large and well-known emeralds, mostly held in museums around the world, including the Natural History Museum in London, the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul.

 

 

Gemstone of the Month: Rock Crystal

April’s birthstone (in the precious stone range) is the diamond, but diamonds are not everyone’s cup of tea, nor within everyone’s budget. But you can give as a gift a lovely clear sparkly stone that is affordable and pretty without taking out a second mortgage: the rock crystal.

This macrocrystalline form of quartz is named crystal from the Greek word for ice, as it was believed that rock crystal was eternally frozen. It’s chemical composition is silicon dioxide, with no other chemical additions to give it colour. It is found all over the world, but the most important deposits can be found in Brazil, Madagascar, the USA and the Alps.

At Granary Knits, we have recently been adding some rock crystal items to the shop.

A single stitch marker, made from a rock crystal bead which has a lovely crackled interior, is available as both a knitting and a crochet marker.

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A set of clear rock crystal marker are a welcome addition to the range of gemstone stitch marker sets currently in store. This set features five markers with three, four, or five crystal chips.

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And finally, some smooth clear nuggets of rock crystal fashioned into beautiful earrings.

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Gemstone of the Month: Aquamarine

Another gorgeous gemstone features as this month’s gemstone of the month. Aquamarine is the birthstone of March, and as its name implies it is the colour of the sea. Aquamarine is a stunningly beautiful stone, semi-transparent to transparent, greenish-blue to pale blue, like the colour of seafoam.

Aquamarine is a type of Beryl and is related to emerald; its chemical composition is aluminium beryllium silicate, and owes its beautiful colour to iron. The most important deposits are found in Brazil, although it is also found in Australia, many countries throughout Africa, and China.

Here at Granary Knits, we use aquamarine in jewellery, both as single-stone pieces, such as these aquamarine earrings, and mixed with other gemstones and luscious glass beads to form individual unique pieces.

Knitted on silver wire, these aquamarine earrings are stunning
Knitted on silver wire, these aquamarine earrings are stunning
Simple but effective
Simple but effective
Aquamarine features in these beautiful rainbow pieces
Aquamarine features in these beautiful rainbow pieces

 

 

Gemstone of the Month: Amethyst

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February’s birthstone is Amethyst, a beautiful richly coloured transparent to semi-transparent gemstone, ranging in hue from pale lilac to deep purple grape. It is the most highly valued stone in the quartz group, the most important deposits being found in Brazil. Silicon dioxide is its basic composition, coloured by traces of manganese, titanium and iron. Its name means not drunken in Greek, and was worn as an amulet against drunkenness.

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Amethyst and silver knitted earrings showing the range of shades
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Cape Lilac Amethyst knitted onto silver wire

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I use amethyst in a number of pieces of jewellery; plain individual colours as shown in the photographs above, as well as mixed with other gemstones and glass beads to give a rich texture and colour to unique earrings and bracelets. To see my full range of Amethyst jewellery and stitch markers, please go to the Granary Knits Etsy shop.

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Gemstone of the Month: Garnet

Garnet is the birthstone of January, and what a glorious colour it is. Rich burgundy red, with a deep shine; garnets are like little nuggets of warmth.

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Garnet is actually a group of stones with a similar crystalline structure – rounded crystals – and colour, a reddish brown. The name derives from the Latin for grain, granum, because of the rounded crystal structure and because of the similarity to pomegranate kernels. The basic chemical composition is aluminium silicate, and the gemstones within the group – pyrope, almandite, and spessartite – each has a different chemical addition which gives it its different colour. So pyrope is magnesium aluminium silicate and is red with a brown tint; this is the type most commonly sold as garnet. Almandite is iron aluminium silicate and is red with a violet tint; and spessartite is manganese aluminium silicate and ranges in colour from orange to red-brown.

You can see all the garnet items in the Granary Knits shop here.

garnet stitch markers
garnet stitch markers

Gemstone of The Month: Turquoise

Turquoise is one of those colours that just about everyone loves, and the gemstone Turquoise does not disappoint in the rich variety of its shades of light bluey-green. It is the birthstone of December, bringing colour and light to the dark months of the year.

The chemical composition is aluminium silicate which also contains copper, although the turquoise found in North America actually contains iron rather than aluminium; the latter tends to have dark veining.

Two types of Turquoise are commonly available: African and Chinese, although the stone is mined in many places around the world. African Turquoise tends to be a darker blue/green than Chinese, with darker threading throughout. Both types take polish well and gleam and glitter in jewellery.

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Turquoise has featured in jewellery for thousands of years; it was used by the ancient Egyptians and Aztecs in jewellery and as a decorative stone; King Tutankhamen’s burial mask and tomb was inlaid with turquoise as the stone was a symbol of regeneration; the Mesoamericans created turquoise mosaics; the Chinese carved turquoise into ornaments; it was used by Native Americans in works of art and jewellery; the Tibetans believe in its healing properties and have valued turquoise jewellery for centuries.

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African Turquoise knitted into a delicate bracelet

You can see all the turquoise items in the Granary Knits shop here.

December at Granary Knits

This month’s new listings feature lots of new stitch markers, a brand new stitch marker set, and some fabulous earrings.

First of all, thank you to all my customers who have bought the Dreaming of the Sea and Sun Moon and Stars marker sets; it’s wonderful to see that themed sets of stitch markers have struck a chord with people in many countries. Today’s new stitch marker set is called Deep in the Forest. I love trees, the stillness in a forest when you can almost hear the earth breathe, the rustle of small creatures in the undergrowth, the earthy smell of woodland after rain. I have tried to capture this feeling in Deep in the Forest, a set of six stitch markers featuring gemstones and glass beads in shades of green, and charms that represent the elements of a forest that I love.

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Gorgeous greens from the Fancy Jasper, Aventurine and glass beads, earthy tones from the Smoky Quartz and the Jasper again. This set is available as both knitting and crochet markers.

There are lots of new single markers, too, some with a 5 for the price of 4 option. Continuing the forest theme, there is a large solid acorn marker and an owl marker. And a stylised tree etched onto a round charm with a reverse stating Save our Planet, a sentiment I’m sure we can all subscribe to!

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Linked to last month’s sea themed stitch markers comes a large decorative dolphin, a beautiful charm, ideal for those who like a larger stitch marker (or perhaps a project bag charm!)

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Another large stitch marker added to store today is the beautiful spiral goddess, a real beauty.

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The final two markers added this week are a pretty combination of charms and gemstones. The Lotus Flower is a popular and familiar symbol and I love searching out new forms of this icon. This double-sided charm has an opening so that a bead can be inserted into its heart. I have used blue banded agate in this marker, with lots more lovely gemstones to choose from if they prove popular!

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The Hamsa Hand, or Hand of Fatima, is another favourite symbol, and I have found a charm which again has a hole in the centre just right for a small gemstone bead. This one feature Lapis Lazuli, one of my favourite gemstones, glinting with specks of golden pyrite. The beads in both the Lotus and the Hamsa are free to move, and turning them is a great way to meditate whilst you are knitting or crocheting.

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New items of jewellery are always fun to design and make, especially those pieces involving knitting or crocheting with wire. And adding gemstones is just so satisfying! The Moonstone Flower earrings were no exception. The pale grey Moonstone I have been using has an exceptional glow in its depths as well as a beautiful sheen. These were crocheted using 99.9% pure silver wire and each earring has fifteen glowing milky grey chips in its five petals.

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The last item for today features a gemstone new to me: Kambaba Jasper, also known as Crocodile Jasper. It comes from Madagascar, and has a very distinctive colour and patterning, not unlike the skin of a crocodile, in fact. As with all Jaspers, it is a spotty stone, although the spots here are rather larger than, say, in Dalmatian Jasper. The main colour is a moss green, with the spots and streaks in black or very dark green. These chips are square cut, giving the earrings a contemporary look.

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I hope you have found something to delight and inspire you in this week’s new listings. Keep checking back for new items, or follow me on Etsy to get all the latest updates.

New in Store Today

Over the past month I have been busy developing lots of ideas for new jewellery and stitch markers. I released the first couple of new stitch marker sets a few weeks ago – Dreaming of The Sea and Sun Moon and Stars – and they have been very well received.

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Last month, I released the next themed set, Deep Blue Ocean, and I think it is gorgeous! It features dark blue and brown Tiger’s Eye, an intriguing stone with the same luminous striping as the more common brown/gold Tiger’s Eye; Amazonite, a fabulous turquoise blue gemstone; Mother of Pearl; and Blue Banded Agate, the colour of the Mediterranean. But that’s not all. Fish swim, Dolphins sport, and Whales flip their intricate tails as they breach and dive.

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Cat and Moon is a new single stitch marker that has already proved popular. A shiny crescent moon hangs in the sky, and sitting on its edge is a cute little cat, tail curled around the curve of the moon. This is a pretty marker for either knitting or crochet, and comes with a special offer – buy five of this marker for the price of four.

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The third new item is a Knitting Queen single marker. This is similar to the Knitting Diva marker already in the shop, and joins Yarn Ball, Yarn and Needles, and Knitting Diva as the specifically knitting-related charms that I offer. It also has a five for four offer.

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The final new item released in November is a sweet piece of jewellery, a necklace featuring a curved bar suspended on a chain. The bar features a beaded rainbow. It is offered in both Silver Plated and Sterling Silver versions, and joins several other rainbow influenced pieces in store.

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There will be more updates soon. To stay up to date, either follow this website, or follow me on Etsy.