About My Jewelry

About My Jewelry
Mary Brown Jewelry

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mary Brown Jewelry: Purple and Orange? Wow!!!

Purple and orange, wow! An amazing combination? This is what I thought when I really looked at the Porcelain Jasper pendant on this necklace.

Years ago when I was working in retail, I paired a pink blouse with a teal suit. People were amazed at how well they worked together. While visiting a garden, I noticed a spot where the gardener had paired red with purple. Daring? One would think so, but nature does it all the time.

The exploratory and playful combining of colors is what my designs are all about. I look very closely at the semi-precious gemstones I work with to find the hidden colors and build my designs around that hidden color to bring it to the forefront.

At first I thought this stone was just gray and orange. Upon closer inspection, though, I could see purple lines running through the stone. When I held it up to the light, I could really see the purple shine through.

To highlight the Porcelain Jasper, I used purple Tree Jasper and Carnelian with sterling silver accents.

Pink and teal dyed Jade are combined with Russian Amazonite and sterling silver accents in this stunning necklace.

I have posted these two designs, along with several others, on my website at marybrownjewelry.com.

I would love to hear from you, your comments are always welcome.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I’m late! I’m late for a very important date!

A date with my favorite group of gemstones, Jasper. The colors, the textures and sometimes even pictures, Jasper lets your imagination run wild.

Part of the Chalcedony family, it often contains organic material and mineral oxides that give it interesting patterns, bands and colors. Many of these patterns resemble landscapes with mountains and valleys. The name "picture" is part of the name of many well known jasper.

Ocean Jasper markings are almost indescribable. No other stone contains such a variety of color and pattern, green in all shades, orange, pink, white, lilac, yellow, brown, wavy lines, polka dots and sometimes cavities are present which are filled with sparkling druzy quartz.

When I see Ocean Jasper, I just have to smile. Not a Cheshire cat smile that just disappears, but a real smile, because I know Ocean Jasper will inspire stunning and very wearable jewelry.

Found along the intertidal shores of northeast Madagascar, Ocean Jasper is very soothing, healing and brings peace of mind. It helps with acceptance of responsibility and increases patience. The circular patterns of Ocean Jasper help us realize that we are all connected and nature is a cyclical pattern.

 Kambaba Jasper (also known as Kumbara Jasper or Crocodile rock) are Stromatolite Fossils of fossilized Algae. They are sedimentary fossils.

The deep rich patterns of green and black in Kambaba Jasper are like the cool, mossy forest floor. It is said to soothe the nerves and state of mind. As with other Jasper, traditional lore says that it is good for grounding and protection. In folklore, Kambala Jasper is considered beneficial for plant health and growth, especially in arid environments or where the soil is poor.

Moukaite Jasper (sometimes called Mookite) is a type of Jasper found in Australia. The broad patterns of red-brown, gold and purple that sweep through it are actually finely-divided minerals such as clay and iron oxide. This durable jasper forms layers of color depending upon how they are cut from the slab.

Moukaite’s earthy tones are sumptuous, sensual and create a warm and soothing feel to any piece of jewelry. Moukaite is a stone of the “here and now.” It helps balance the internal, external and acceptance of change. Moukaite is a very protective stone, and is particularly good as an emotional protector.

Caring for Jasper

It is safest to clean Jasper using warm water, mild soap and a cloth or soft brush. Do not use an ultrasonic or steam cleaner. Keep Jasper out of contact with excessive heat, acids, ammonia and other chemical or abrasive cleaners. Due to its finish, Ocean Jasper should only be cleaned with a gentle cloth.

Jasper can be casual, sophisticated, warm, calming or just plain fun.  You will enjoy wearing this stone as much as I do.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mother's Day - Let me help you pruchase the perfect gift for your Mother.

Mother’s Day, the day that we honor our Mothers, is just around the corner. If you are looking for the perfect gift for the special Mother in your life, let me assist you in your selection. And, don’t forget your wife and grandmother.

If your Mother loves the ocean, scuba diving or just sitting on the beach, then N450 is perfect. The wild polka dots, wavy lines, multi-colored floret patterns of Ocean Jasper make this a gorgeous and exciting stone (also called Orbicular Jasper). The colors vary widely - including white, green, pink, red, black, blue.

Always the life of the party, she sparkles with fun and makes life enjoyable for everyone around her. N188 is the one for this Mother. Formed when hot water saturated with colloidal silica and iron oxide invaded cavities in country rock and began to cool, the beautiful, rare Fire Agate asymmetrical necklace is ablaze with possibilities.

For the Mother who is down to earth, in tune with nature and loves the outdoors, I suggest N274. Reminiscent of the colors of fall, this intertwined, three strand necklace with sterling silver clasp contains New Jade (Aventurine), Vesuvianite, Carnelian and Jasper.

For the sophisticated Mother who enjoys the opera, theater or concerts, N430 is the necklace you need. The semi-opaque variety of pale azure blue Amazonite is as cool and refreshing as a mountain breeze. This asymmetrical necklace is set off by the sterling silver shell and clasp.

Is your Mother adventurous, fun-loving, always looking for ways to make your life exciting and different? N398 is just what you are looking for. Inspired by the colors of a vase created by Dale Chihuly, this necklace contains Sugalite, Purple Rain Forest Jasper, Denim Quartz and Aragonite with a Sterling Silver clasp. It is truly an adventure in color.

Enjoy browsing my website at marybrownjewelry.com and if you need any help selecting the perfect gift for you Mother, please contact me at mbjewelry@comcast.com.

Happy Mother's day to all the mothers of the world.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Mohs' Hardness and Amazonite

When people refer to the hardness of the mineral they mean the scratch hardness which was introduced more than 159 years ago by the Viennese mineralogist Frank Mohs (1773-1839). He used ten minerals of differing hardness to draw up a comparative scale. The Mohs' hardness scale is valid throughout the world to the present day.

Pale azure blue Amazonite is as cool and refreshing as a mountain breeze. This semi-opaque variety of Amazonite is blue-green to pale green stone in the feldspar group. It comes mainly from United States and Australia.

The pale blue Amazonite in this necklace is combined with sterling silver in an asymmetrical design a very sophisticated look any woman would feel proud to wear.

The deep green/blue of Russian Amazonite combined with the hues of cream in a natural, opaque stone is mainly from Russia.

The Russian Amazonite necklace featured here with Peridot Jasper and Yellow Jade creates a very beautiful color combination.

Both display a schiller of light which is caused by inclusions. Schiller is a lustrous reflection from planes in a mineral grain and is similar to what is more commonly known as iridescence. The schiller is caused by a feature of the stone's crystal structure. Orthoclase feldspar and albite are present in close association, arranged in layers. This causes an interference effect of light.


A Brazilian legend boasts that Europeans (familiar with green microline from Russia) assumed that the “green stones” given to them by the Amazon people was the same stone. As it turns out, Amazonite is not found in the Amazon Basin and the legend was most likely referring to Nephrite (jade). It is believed that Amazonite was first called ''Amazon Stone,'' and was later changed to Amazonite.

Care and Cleaning

Even though Amazonite has a hardness of 6, it is pressure sensitive and should be stored by itself so that it cannot be scratched by other gemstones.

Amazonite is sensitive to chemicals, abrasives, heat, acids, and ammonia. Never use a steamer, hot water or ultrasonic cleaners with this gemstone. Use mild soap and room temperature tap water with a soft cloth so you do not diminish the luster of the gemstone.

Folklore, Legend, and Healing Properties:

Amazonite balances feminine and masculine energy, enhances creative expression, promotes kindness and practicality and is an excellent stone for artists and for men. Amazonite is considered a soothing stone that offers confidence and is often called the "hope stone" because it inspires confidence and hope.

Used extensively by the Egyptians it is called the stone of courage and is said to be named after the Amazon women warriors. Some archaeological evidence suggests that the Amazonians were a matriarchal society during the Bronze Age.

Monday, March 8, 2010

National Kidney Month

March is National Kidney Month and tomorrow, March 11, is World Kidney Day and also the date of my first Kidney transplant. In honor of this I would like to invite all our family and friends to join my husband, Bill, and I in our efforts to support the Kidney Foundation.

When I was 13 years old I had a strep infection that affected my kidney function. Over a 7 year period, my kidneys continued to decline until in 1970 I needed a transplant. Fortunately for me, my Mother was a match and she donated one of her kidneys to me.

In 2004 we discovered that my, then, 86 year old kidney was in trouble. My brother, Ted, was tested and turned out to be a perfect match, and he donated one of his kidneys to me in 2006. I still cannot believe how lucky I am; there is only a 25% chance that a family member will be a match.

Bill, who has been diabetic for a long time, is now on dialysis awaiting a donor match so he can have a transplant. Unfortunately, no one in his family can donate a kidney to him. Bill will have to wait at least 3 more years to qualify for a transplant, which is determined by his blood type.

On June 5, 2010 the the Kidney Foundation of Northern California
will be hosting the Silicon Valley Kidney Walk. I have set up a team named Billy Brown and would like to invite you to join me in the 3 mile walk and to collect donations in Bill's name. To donate to Bill's team, please follow this link:

Billy Brown's Team Page

I have set a goal this year of collecting $2,000.00 for this walk, and we hope that with your help to go beyond this goal. If you cannot walk but would like to make a donation please follow the link above.

If you wish to walk with me for Bill, please meet me outside the registration for the walk. You may turn in your collected donations at registration and receive a T-shirt if you collect $100.00 dollars or more.

If you would like more information about kidney disease and transplantation, please follow these links:

Facts about being a Kidney Donor

Kidney Foundation of Northern California

If you should have any questions about the Silicon Valley Walk, please email me at:


Friday, February 5, 2010

Valentines Day - New Necklaces

In my future Blogs I will be featuring information, folklore and care of the semi-precious gemstones I presently work with in my jewelry. The gemstone that I am highlighting this month is the Garnet. Not only does the Garnet remind me of Valentines day, but when my husband proposed to me on Christmas Day he gave me a Garnet necklace and bracelet.

Garnets, combined beautifully with Swarovski crystal pearls, make this a stunning necklace. I created th
e pearl flowers using a Japanese bead weaving technique. Anyone who loves what is pure and natural will be fired with enthusiasm by the color spectrum of the Garnet. Look on marybrownjewelry.com for N444 and E445 for the earrings.


Throughout history, Garnets have been one of the most popular gemsstones. They are found world wide and in great abundance. The beautiful deep red of the Garnet resembles the juicy seeds of a pomegranate. The Latin word for pomegranate seeds, granatum, could be where the Garnet got its name. In Greek mythology, a pomegranate was often given as a gift of passion and associated with eternal love.

et occurs in every color except blue and most varieties are named for their color. Rhodolite is a purplish red, Hessonite is the name for an orange, cinnamon, or pinkish variety. Tsavorite is the name given to dark green Grossularite. Uvarovite and Demantoid are also green varieties.

Red and black Swarovski crystals and green Tourmalated Garnet necklace. The gorgeous Green Garnets set of the crystals stunningly. Look on marybrownjewelry.com for N443 and E446 for the earrings.


Legend states that Hades gifted a pomegranate to Persephone before she left his domain to ensure a speedy and safe return. When she did return, the fruit transformed into a handful of the red gemstones. Garnets are often gifted to a loved one before they travel. Garnets are commonly believed to aid in the healing of broken bonds of love.

Garnet’s powers include healing, strength, and protection and it is often worn to relieve inflammations of the skin. It is also believed to regulate the heart and blood flow and aid in curing depression. Garnets were also believed to protect you from being poisoned. In earlier times, garnets were exchanged as gifts between friends to demonstrate their affection for each other and to insure that they meet again.

Caring for your Garnets

Clean Garnet gemstones with warm soapy water and a soft brush. Rinse the stone well after washing it. Ultrasonic treatments may be used for most Garnets, except the Demantoid variety. Steam cleaning Garnets may cause color changes from the heat. Protect Garnet from sharp blows, extreme temperature changes and harsh chemicals.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Welcome to my Studio

Hello Again,

My studio is in California where the light streams in through the window most of the year and allows my creative juices to flow!! Every time I get set to work on a new design inspiration comes easily in my warm and cozy studio.

This is where I create my jewelry designs. Working with

semi-precious gemstones is my signature and bringing out hidden colors in the stones is my specialty. I create uniquely designed jewelry for the discerning woman in all of us.

I have been a quilt designer, teacher and fiber artist for over 20 years. I found beading and jewelry designing to have been a very remarkable awaking of my talents. What I discovered is all the many colors of semi-precious gemstones that have taken my color choices in an entirely different direction.

As a Fiber Artist, I am able to use my skills with fabric to enrich my creativity in my Jewelry designs. On my website marybrownjewelry.com under "Color History" you will see some of my quilts and my “Dragonflower” coat. I won several ribbons for this coat. Fiber Art is similar to quilting, except that you really learn to work outside the box and you get to wear the garments that you create. Working outside the box has also helped me with many of my designs that I have made especially for you to enjoy.

Our Schnauzers, Rosie and her daughter Frosty, keep me company and give me inspiration. They are retired show dogs that we adopted. We have also adopted Schnauzers from the Humane Society and rescue groups. However, we decided that retired show dogs also need homes and they are much calmer and easier to train.

I hope you enjoyed the tour of my studio.