High-Road-Artist Blog

A Small Surprise

Written on 08/20/2019
Jeane George Weigel

I’m announcing my brand new website that just went live last night. You can see it at https://www.jeanegeorgeweigel.com/. But that’s not the real surprise.

The surprise is that I’ve started making beaded necklaces! And they’re available on my new website.

Kim says it’s sort of like Picasso’s shift to sculpture–going from the surface of a canvas to something one can hold in the hand.

It all started when I couldn’t, for the life of me, find a tasteful pink necklace. So I thought I’d give beading a try myself. I bought some very high priced stones at a bead shop in Taos–tiny little bits of citrine, garnet and tourmaline. I ended up padding them with beads from old necklaces of mine and some glass beads I bought at another bead store.

My Tasteful Pink Necklace

And I just couldn’t stop after that. There’s my first effort above.

Although I’ve since learned a lot about the semi-precious stones I’ve been buying and, as a result, simply cannot use glass or wood in my necklaces anymore. They’re all about the stone (along with a bit of coral and shell).

Garnet, tourmaline & agate necklace

I’ve always loved stone as many of you who read my blog know, so this seems like a natural shift for me. And I seem to be drawing influence from the natives who used to live on this land. And from my paintings. My necklaces are abstract. Definitely.

There is something in the materials I’m choosing that fits with my new southwest roots I think. It’s one of the reasons I love using local stone.

But that can be difficult with turquoise. American southwest turquoise is beyond my ability to buy most of the time, which is fair since it’s a precious, diminishing resource. I have bought Kingman, Arizona turquoise on sale and Sonoran turquoise from Mexico which is also prized.

Sonoran green turquoise nuggets

But I’ve learned there are unscrupulous sellers of beads that sell dyed howlite, a creamy white stone that has similar characteristics to turquoise, as genuine turquoise!

They do the same thing with magnesite. I stupidly purchased these beads in the beginning (there they are above paired with Sonoran turquoise, before I understood the difference), but will never put them in a necklace without noting that on the tag. They ARE still stone so I won’t throw them away. And they are still beautiful, if not really real.

The happy end to that story is I’ll never buy those beads again and I’ve now learned about creamy howlite, which I love. There it is above with blue apatite.

Similar unscrupulous sellers will sell howlite or magnesite as “white turquoise.” Just know there is no such thing, nor is there such a thing as turquoise magnesite (I thought it was just a lesser form of turquoise). It’s simply dyed magnesite so they’re not really lying when they call it “turquoise” if they are only referring to the color.

Above is the beautiful Sonoran green turquoise cut in cubes. I’ve just found out that these beads are sold out and the mine no longer has enough material to cut them because it wastes too much stone. Yikes!

I’m finding suppliers I trust. There’s a wonderful rock shop in Espanola called Chimayo Rocks and they’re going to start looking for turquoise for me. They also make beautiful silver clasps and they have the most delightful basket of loose beads that I paw through and buy at so many for a dollar. It’s where I’ve found many of my focal point beads.

There is also the wonderful Santa Fe Jewelers Supply where many of the local Indian and Spanish artists shop for beads. I have my own salesperson!

There is something about working with these semi-precious stones. It’s definitely an extension of my painting and right now it is everything.

I am obsessed.

So please take a look at what I’ve been doing and let me know if you like it.

I may ask my gallery if I can set up a table there during the High Road Art Tour next month to show and sell my jewelry. So I may see some of you there.

Love to you all,

Jeane