Wednesday, May 30, 2012


I dig around for Ethiopian Crosses whenever I happen upon an import store or vendor selling African jewelry or other cultural artifacts from the continent.


I cherish these collectibles. I wear them occasionally and they make a very impressive statement.
The crosses were originally made for followers of the Coptic Church an Eastern Orthodox denomination of Christianity  in the country of Ethiopia.  Ethiopia is the modern name for Cush in the Bible’s Old Testament.


  • Many crosses feature ornate silversmith work  
  • Some are simple, stamped silver-tone or bronze metal
  • Most feature a geometric design that almost appears to be a combination of a Christian Cross with a Jewish Star of David and an Ankh. 
  • One I own is a rough hewn, etched green stone and seems ancient
  • Several are made from an animal horn
  • My favorite is made of coiled red leather string
The tips of all of the crosses feature 3 point design elements totaling 12 points on the entire cross. 


I purchased each of my crosses for under $10. They are now sold on the internet by many online retailers. These crosses are personal articles of faith and not church processional or liturgical artifacts.


Ethiopia has one of the most ancient Hebrew-Christian religious traditions in the world, going back beyond 1000 BC as documented in the Bible. Ethiopian icons like paintings and illustrated Bibles are some of the most beautiful in the world. Photographs of Coptic churches buildings are awe-inspiring.


What's your favorite collectible?


The most popular  and fascinating book on the ancient history of the Ethiopian Coptic Church is THE SIGN AND THE SEAL by Graham Hancock, publisher Touchstone, 1993.
Here is a link to information on the modern Ethiopian Coptic Church:
New York Times 2001 article
Ethiopia’s Rock of Ages, Balm of the Faithful

Update:  I just went online to shop for a book on Ethiopian crosses.  There's one on selling for $199 to $1,250!!!
Pat Thomas for Jewelrystash

Sunday, May 27, 2012



Clint Eastwood’s wife Dina looked beyond impressive in the premiere of “Mrs. Eastwood & Company” wearing jewelry styles that featured artisan gemstone necklaces, handcrafted sterling silver and Native American motifs.
Turquoise, jade, red coral, black onyx, other semi-precious gemstones and striking sterling silver designs were all used to add colorful personality to Dina’s easy flowing “in town” clothes.


She sported bear tooth design earrings once in a Sleeping Beauty colored turquoise and again later in jade, the right tint of green.
She also wore a striking bear tooth pendant made of vivid turquoise.  


At one point she wore a 2 inch rectangular pendant of inlayed tiger’s eye.
The most striking jewelry on the show was a large pendant that appeared to be vintage Taxco made with a softer Persian colored turquoise, in a swirl patterned silver setting. 
The pendant was hung from mint green silk chiffon-looking fabric with miniature flower stations.
A long, waist length necklace of red coral beads with a small silver medallion was a coy use of color. 


In one plot element, Dina got a crystal belly button piercing and Lisa her housekeeper got a nose piercing to dissuade Dina's daughter from doing the same.


At dinner with Clint Eastwood and her family, she wore a simple necklace with a black onyx disc punctuated with a white diamond.
Dina’s daughters Morgan and Francesca Eastwood followed the minimalist jewelry trend with simple, dainty necklaces and rarely wearing earrings. Occasionally they were styled with a stack of beaded bracelets and once with an artisan looking sparkly necklace that featured multiple tab pendants.
Clint Eastwood’s wife and children are featured in a reality program “Mrs. Eastwood & Company” which is about Dina Eastwood’s purpose and duty to her family and “Overtone” a South African musical group she moved to Carmel, Ca. to manage.


Dina was colorfully and thoughtfully styled in   semi-precious gemstone necklaces and earrings, dramatic enough to accentuate, but not so garish as to be distracting.  Not everybody can handle bold jewelry styles, Dina Eastwood can.

UPDATE 6/7/12:

Dina Eastwood's jewelry  is  handcrafted by Zuni Native American jewelry designer Colin Coonis from New Mexico,  per twitter accounts and numerous other online reports.

Pat Thomas for Jewelrystash

Thursday, May 24, 2012

SERIOUSLY FAKE DIAMONDS reported today, May 24, that fake diamonds are now being triple treated to avoid detection. 

Steps to Protect Yourself When Buying Diamond Jewelry

1. Be sure to get certificates for all big diamond purchases. 2. Buy only from trusted, recommended vendors.  3. Pay for an independent appraisal. 4. Make sure the vendor has an honest, written refund or return policy.
Don't let dishonesty mar your jewelry style.

Pat Thomas for Jewelrystash

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


The jewelry industry standards for a diamond’s quality are the 4 Cs: cut, clarity, carat and …??? Oh, color too.  Well, let me tell you about my mother’s standard  to test a diamond for beauty, it’s real simple to remember.

Mom’s Diamond Test

This procedure requires 2 people.  One person, you, will model the jewelry; the other person will observe the intensity of the diamond’s fire, if any.
1. Clean your diamond ring or diamond earrings and put on the cleaned jewelry.
2. Now both of you go into a dimly lit room (with candles or low-watt incandescent light bulbs.)  The room should be  about the light level for a romantic dinner, at most.
3. Have the person doing the test with you, move across the room from you and stop.
4. At this point, you can model your jewelry.


If you are wearing diamond earrings, slightly move your head a little from side to side and then up and down as if nodding agreement to something said.  If you are wearing a cocktail ring, or better yet, a solitaire, move your hand as if you are reaching out to weakly shake hands or do a slight wave.

Pass or Fail?

If the person across the room from you can see flash and sparkle, your jewelry passes Mom’s test.  But if he or she can’t see any fire… well, the diamond fails. 
According to my mother, you can see good diamonds sparkle and flash from across a room, indoors at night, even if the diamonds are small with relatively few cuts and not the best clarity or color.
Of course, where you and the other person are located in the room in relationship to the light source will have some bearing on the sparkle or flash observed.

A Diamond that Passed Big Time

Now let me tell you about a diamond that fabulously passed Mom’s test with an unearthly intensity of sparkle, flash and fire. 
I was sitting in a large auditorium of several thousand people, perhaps 5,000 or so, listening to a female guest pastor from South Africa.  The sermon was very engaging and I listened intently.
 But I became momentarily distracted by a diamond flashing on the pastor’s hand.  I continued to listen to the sermon.
Then I saw the sparkle again a few moments later. My first reaction was ‘how is that possible?’ Then, I wondered ‘how big is that diamond?’
I thought that maybe a theatrical spotlight caught the planes of the diamond’s cuts to reflect an almost laser-like light.
Then I realized I was sitting AT THE BACK of a fairly dim auditorium and I could still see that diamond.
I looked at other people near the stage but I did not see any other person’s jewelry sparkling.
Nooo… I didn’t go up to the guest pastor after the sermon to surreptitiously glance at her hand.
But I did remember my mother’s gold standard for diamonds: Their sparkle and flash should be visible from across a dim room.

Test Your Diamond Purchases

When buying diamond jewelry online or in a store, find out the cut, color, clarity, and carat and  use my Mom's standard to also quickly evaluate or test a diamond  for beauty at home. 
Pat Thomas for Jewelrystash

Thursday, May 17, 2012


I gave the new graduate her charm bracelet watch right after the commencement ceremony.  About an hour later, she was wearing the timepiece at the brunch held to celebrate her and my nephew’s graduation.


The brunch’s setting was at a locally iconic, rustic wood fish shack right on Florida’s north Atlantic coast with a white heron perched nearby posing for photographs.
Both of the graduates’ families were incredibly exuberant, with happy boisterous chatter filling the salt air, as ocean waves lapped under the dock in front of the restaurant.  We talked about Florida’s coastal tropical beauty on the Atlantic and how it compared and contrasted to our homes in mega metropolis Chicago on Lake Michigan and naturalistic Big Sur California on the Pacific coast.
While we were waiting for our food orders, the conversation turned to the big blue abalone sterling silver ring I was wearing on my right hand.


I explained that my birthstone is pearl but that I had long ago become bored with ubiquitous strands of small, round white pearls. So I began wearing some of the almost infinite number of pearl variations including south sea, black, coin, Biwa, and abalone or mother of pearl.


Actually, mother of pearl also seemed blah to me for years until I viewed a Rolex chronograph with a strongly iridescent, almost bioluminescent gray colored mother of pearl dial.  I began re-looking at the distinct color and tone differences in MOP.
I became enamored with the Mexican abalone often featured in vintage Taxco silver jewelry.  White Mexican abalone’s luminescence seems to outshine most other white varieties.


Recently, I happened upon a brilliantly iridescent blue pearl bracelet in my jewelry box that I had purchased many years ago.  I originally thought that the pearls were from either the coast of Baja California or the Gulf of California
Then again, I thought, maybe they were just dyed. 
 I examined the pearls’ captivating blue brilliance more closely, I concluded that either the dye job must have been extra special or that there must be a mollusk with a blue shell.
In Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, mollusks produce extremely expensive blue pearls.  The brilliant blue-colored  pearls rival Australian black sea pearls.


Researching further, I discovered mollusks from New Zealand with seemingly glowing, inky blue-green abalone called Paua  (Haliotis iris)  by the Maori native peoples. Incredibly, Paua is produced in wavy patterns of glowing, luminous colors including azure and turquoise blue, hot fuchsia pink, blood red and opulent purple.
Each of the colors peculiarly induce soothing and tranquil feelings when I gaze at them. I believe that the combination of the wavy patterns combined with the luminescence produces the relaxed sensation. Paua is just right to wear to the beach. No wonder the Maori revere  Paua shell.
Māori Paua pieces are inexpensive, modestly priced under $50 for casual jewelry style sterling silver pieces, in a rainbow of jewel toned colors ranging from the blues to the pinks.  I have never seen Paua in a jewelry store but it is readily available online at many internet retailers.
Paua is manufactured into rings, pendants, and earring.  Abalone  has a hardness of about 2 so I only wear the rings on special occasions.
I doubt that a nice, quiet looking strand of white pearls would have been a conversation starter at the graduation brunch like my tranquil Paua deep blue sea abalone ring.


Note: Most of the abalone species discussed in this article are endangered due to poaching, overfishing or disease.
Pat for Jewelrystash
Here is the link to the New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries website about Paua

Here is a link to a blog about Mexican Sea of Cortez pearls:

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


My nephew's girlfriend is so charming, disarming and smart, as in smart enough for NASA.   Did I mention that she's sooooooo charming?

She's graduating from college this month, so I did some online shopping to find a gift for her.

The timepiece in the photo is the latest new hot jewelry trend, a charm bracelet watch.  I think that it makes the perfect jewelry gift for a young woman.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Here are stylish, hot jewelry trends for a Mothers Day present you can find quick and easy at most stores: Black sapphire stud earrings, pearl studs in soft colored hues, diamond hoop earrings, bangle or charm bracelet Swiss watch, oval or round gold dangle hoops and large sterling silver statement ring.
Here's the link to more shopping ideas, more  trends and the latest jewelry styles for Mom, in a March blog I wrote.
Also, the easiest shopping, to avoid crowds and to quickly find the exact jewelry you want to give as a Mothers Day gift, is online shopping.
 Surprise your priceless lady” as I said last month.