Seasonal sparkles – your holiday gifting SORTED

It’s dark, it’s cold, and it’s NEARLY CHRISTMAS! Obviously, I am very excited. I’m putting my Christmas tree up this weekend, and anyone who thinks that’s too early can

tenor (8)
Source: Tenor

 

I mean, as an adult who can make my own décor decisions, why WOULDN’T I have a magical, sparkly, light-up tree in my flat for nearly two months each year? The Goblin becomes The Grinch the minute 6th January hits, so I need to get my (sorry, our) tree up as early as I can to wring as much festive feeling out of it as possible.

I’ve also done all my Christmas shopping (I know, I know, I hate me too), so I figured I’d give everyone else a hand with theirs…

Introducing Tiding of Magpies’ first ever gift sets!

That’s right, I’ve put together six sparkling sets in sterling silver, gold fill and rose gold fill to suit different tastes and budgets. With a little help from my extremely patient pal, Sophie, I embarked on a mammoth photography session, and the sets are now available online!

The Classic – £38-40

My most popular hoops, with their hammered discs, are paired with dainty hollow circle necklaces for a complementary but not matchy-matchy set which adds elegance and sparkle to any outfit or style. This set is available in sterling silver, 14ct rose gold fill, and 14ct gold fill.

The Venus set – £38

One for the feminists in your life. Featuring diddy 1cm Venus symbols on both hoops and necklace, this set proves that small things can make a big impression! Plus, £1 from the sale of each set is given to Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid and £1 to Plan International UK, to support their wonderful work with women and girls across the globe. Tidy.

 

 

Moonstone magic – £50

If you really want to treat someone, the beautiful, rainbow moonstone hoop and necklace set is just the thing. Featuring glittering teardrop-shaped moonstones, this 14ct rose gold fill pieces sparkle different colours when the light hits them, giving off a mystical glow.

Angles and spangles – £38

The disc design’s more angular cousin! Sterling silver triangle hoops are paired with a sterling silver chevron necklace, echoing each other’s shapes – perfect for adding a little edge to an everyday outfit… (See what I did there?)

Which set would you be happiest to unwrap on Christmas Day? Let me know in the comments!

Five Go-oooold Riiiiiings…

“On the fifth day of Christmas this great blog gave to me: five gold rings…”

Christmas itself may be over, but Tiding of Magpies has one last bit of seasonal sparkle for you. So if your stomachs are full after the festivities, feast your eyes instead on these gorgeous, gold specimens…

Lovely Lapis

My new fave stone is front and centre in this statement piece. Crafted between 1908 and 1917 in Russia, it’s meant to be a men’s ring, but I think I could pull it off… Lapis lazuli was popular with Fabergé during this period as well, because it turns out it’s mined in Siberia – I had no idea!

Go big or go home

The largest gold ring in the world, the Najmat Taiba (Star of Taiba), was made in 2000 for a fairly reasonable $547,000 but is now worth around $3 million. Not too shabby, for an investment that might have seemed a bit pointless at the time!

The ring weighs nearly 64kg, is 21 carats, and took 55 workers 45 days to finish it. As well as the vast amount of gold, you can also see some whopping Swarovski stones adorning the ring; 5.1kg of stones were used in total, made up of 615 individual precious stones.

xgold3.jpg.pagespeed.ic.Yorfpdywox
Source: Ashok Varma via emirates247.com

Peas in a pod or corn on the cob?

I can’t decide what this gorgeous ring is exactly supposed to be, but it’s one of the most beautiful examples of Arts and Crafts jewellery I’ve seen. I’m a sucker for pearls being used in unexpected settings and styles, and this setting of three freshwater pearls from the Mississippi River is right up my street.

Made of 14 carat gold, this ring is unusual in the early 20th century Arts and Crafts movement, whose designers tended to favour silver.

Gorgeous Georgian

30369
Source: timelineauctions.com

The unusual stone choice in this Georgian ring caught my eye while I was researching this blog – the central amethyst is flanked by one white and one extremely rare blue diamond. The auction site where I found it suggests the jewellery didn’t realise the blue diamond was a diamond, and that it was perhaps passed onto them in a selection of salvage stones, since the cutting style pre-dates the ring itself.

I always love thinking about pieces that tell a story, and who knows where the stones in this ring came from originally, or why the jewellery chose them for this piece? The ring itself has a story to tell, too: it’s engraved with the ‘Ann Colinnbell Feb 1757 an. 60’ – perhaps it was once a love token? Speaking of love tokens…

Gold love-knot ring, Tiding of Magpies

Couldn’t resist… The last of my five gold rings is my own design, which has a story of its own: I originally designed this gold love-knot ring to wear at my own wedding.

Lovingly handcrafted from 0.8mm 9 carat yellow gold, it forms a delicate, infinite knot around the finger of the wearer. The love knot is an age-old symbol of everlasting love, and this ring is a modern take on that ancient tradition, which makes it the perfect love token for your favourite human.

So, those are my five, chosen-at-random, gold rings for the winding-up of the festive period. Let me know your favourites in the comments, or any you’d have liked me to include!

Sources

http://www.businessinsider.com/worlds-largest-gold-ring-taiba-dubai-2011-05?IR=T

http://romanovrussia.com/antique/art-nouveau-russian-mens-ring/

https://www.timelineauctions.com/lot/georgian-gold-inscribed-ring-with-rare-blue-diamond/31538/

Bonus post: #treetour

To say thank you for making this year running Tiding of Magpies absolutely amazing, I thought I’d treat you all to a bonus mini-blog with a festive theme. The Goblin and I spent last night making our own Christmas crackers while drinking port, so I’m very much filled with Christmas cheer (and booze; we’ve just made some mulled wine…)

 

Because it’s our first Christmas as husband and wife (and because we used our annual leave up on the honeymoon and don’t have time to travel to our families!), we’re spending it quietly in our flat, which we’ve gone all-out on decorating.

From a quick scroll through Insta/Twitter/etc, it doesn’t seem like tree tours are much of  a thing, so I’ve decided to make them a thing. I absolutely adore Christmas trees; they tell you so much about the people who decorated them. Some are beautiful works of art and some, like ours, are just collections of ornaments that I flung at the tree. I love them all.

 

Lots of our ornaments are holiday souvenirs or were gifts from family and friends, so they mean a lot to us and tell the story of the last few years…

Honeymoon highlights

We picked up three new ornaments as honeymoon souvenirs, and they have pride of place on our tree:

IMG_20171224_112007
A traditional Kazakh hat, bought in Almaty
IMG_20171224_112202
A delicate glass bauble from Bukhara, Uzbekistan
IMG_20171224_150801.jpg
A good luck charm given to us by a lovely woman in the Khiva Museum of Musical Instruments (after she asked if I was pregnant, which I’m telling myself was just because of the empire-line wrap dress I was wearing…

Glittery gifts

Friends and family, knowing how much I love sparkly things, have also provided many trinkets for our tree over the years.

IMG_20171224_112651
A gift from my friend Sami, bought at the Leeds Christmas Market. The picture doesn’t do justice to its sparkliness!
IMG_20171224_112250
A gold glass pineapple from my grandma (who also contributed the excellent pineapple candle holders and lamp we own!)
IMG_20171224_112028
Probably my favourite ornament, courtesy of our wonderful friend Bella & the National Museum of Scotland gift shop
IMG_20171224_111924_1
The Christmas season is awash with puns about the second part of our name, so my best pal & bridesmaid, Beth, made it official with a bauble from Kikki K

Assorted oddities

The tree also shares several non-holiday or gift-related memories…

IMG_20171224_111953
A find from when I was working with the University of Birmingham and the RSC (also sort of relevant to the census bit of the nativity…maybe?)
IMG_20171224_112230
A plush find from the BL’s History of Magic Harry Potter exhibition

 

IMG_20171224_112743
A dog we’re calling a Wire Fox Terrier (the type of dog it’s our life goal to own!) from Brum’s very own Christmas Market
IMG_20171224_110556
The full tree ft. The Goblin’s presents, which I decorated for him.

Meanwhile, in the rest of the flat… 

 

That’s all for now, folks. Merry Christmas (or happy time-off-work if you don’t celebrate it!). I’ll leave you with this exceptionally great candle my grandma got us for Christmas this year…

 

Colours of Christmas

giphy (2).gif

Our tree has been up for 2 weeks, and last night The Goblin covered the flat in fairy lights and all of the leftover fake tea lights from the wedding. It’s safe to say we’re excited (even the usually Scrooge-like Goblin is full of Christmas cheer!), so this week’s post had to be a festive one.

Everywhere you look, it’s red and green, and my workshop is no exception, so here are the colours of Christmas in precious and semi-precious formats…

Reds

Currently my favourite red stone is garnet (which is actually the birthstone for January, so I’m a bit early, but never mind that…).

DSCN3115

A deeper blood red than its ruby cousin, garnet is a truly historic stone which has been popular for centuries, featuring heavily in both Roman and early-medieval English design:

Fast facts:

  • Garnet is a member of the silicate family of minerals, which is the largest and most important class of rock-forming minerals, according to Wikipedia. My GCSE Double Science doesn’t give me any more clues on what that actually means, so let’s move on to language, which I’m a bit more familiar with…
  • The word ‘garnet’ comes from the Middle English word ‘gernet’, meaning dark red, although garnets do occasionally come in other colours, including green, purple, and blue.
  • Garnet is the state mineral of Connecticut and Idaho, and the official gemstone of New York. (More on state gemstones in a later post, because I just discovered they exist and I love it… If I ruled a state, the gemstone would be haematite or moonstone, if anyone is interested.)

Other prominent red stones include:

  • Ruby – everyone knows what these are, but did you know they’re part of a group called the ‘cardinal gemstones’ which includes sapphires, diamonds, emeralds and amethysts, and which were traditionally valued above all other stones?
  • Red Topaz (topaz also comes in tons of other colours, most often blue or yellow)
  • Red Spinels (spinels also come in a range of colours, including black, and I’d never heard of them until I bought a couple to try in the design below…)
DSCN2973-1.JPG
Available here

Green

It would be a cardinal sin not to pick emeralds for my favourite stone here (geddit), but I covered them in an earlier post, so I’m going to hone in on my second-favourite: aventurine.

il_570xN.1061126229_fg61
Available here

It’s a type of quartz that, like lapis lazuli, has gold inclusions, which gives it extra shimmer despite being a translucent stone.

Fast facts:

  • The shimmer the gold inclusions give off is referred to as aventurescence. I aspire one day to be so shiny that my glittering has its own descriptor…
  • It was discovered by chance in the eighteenth century, which is why it’s called aventurine, after the Italian for ‘by chance’: a ventura.
  • As well as jewellery, aventurine is used in landscaping, monuments, and interior design:

Other popular green stones include:

  • Jade – historically significant and highly-prized for centuries
  • Garnet – that’s right, my favourite stone above also comes in green (huzzah!)
  • Sapphire – these usually-blue stones have other varieties, notably pink and green
  • Malachite – pure stripy gorgeousness:

DSC_0370-01.jpeg

That’s all for tonight, folks – I’m off to wrap some pressies to put under the tree…

tumblr_mddshi2xXd1qbq5v7o1_500.gif