Sunday, June 16, 2019

Unusual and Creepy Jewellery

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but some times we question if the beholder has lost it's glasses (or it's mind). for a fun Sunday, I made a small recompilation of creepy and unusual jewellery around the internet.

Insects and small animals
 Personally, I don't like it, for the sake of the animals (even tho some are made with already dead critters), but this is not a new trend, as insects trapped in amber are found in jewellery pieces around the world for many centuries.

Image result for real bugs in jewellery -etsy

Teeth and other body parts
Some decide to remember friends and family (pets included) by carrying with them some piece of the deceased, a reminder of their child's first teeth, others just had their wisdom teeth removed and wanted to do something with them; either way, its very common to get this kind of requests as a goldsmith.

Image result for human teeth jewellery 

Not literal food, but make hyper realistic looking jewellery reminiscent of  our favorite dishImage result for ugly jewelleryweird jewelry

To be honest, I find this one the most disturbing, carrying effigies of decapitated heads, I know they are made of plastic but still... no

Image result for doll made jewelleryImage result for doll made jewellery

Unusual and creepy or unique, you decide.


Saturday, June 15, 2019

Enameling in jewellery

Hello there!  Saturday has somehow come around again, I don't know where the week goes sometimes!  Today I wanted to talk a bit about enameling and jewellery.  Most people are aware that traditionally, enamel referred to powdered silica (or glass), fused to a substrate, in jewellery generally copper, silver or gold. There are many different styles of enamel, and it can be a great way to include colour in jewellery, instead of, or in complement to gemstones.

If you're interested in a bit more information, you can read more here.


With advancing technology, new types of enamel have been developed, and new and inventive ways of applying enamel to different effects.  Here are a couple of examples of more contemporary designs incorporating enamel from goldsmiths at the studio:



Interested?  Come in and talk to one of our goldsmiths about commissioning an enameled piece of jewellery.  Or, if you think you'd like to try it out, check out our classes in enameling and come explore this fascinating technique for yourself! (We have lots of classes that don't need any prior experience!)

Happy Saturday, and see you soon!

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Benitoite, the rare blue gem

Benitoite is regarded as one of the rarest gemstones on the planet, it is formed in high pressure and low temperature conditions. Originally found on the San Benito Mountains in California, where it got its name, but it can occur in a number of isolated locations across the globe like Japan and Australia.

It's also the State Gem of California!

The resemblance of color makes this gemstone almost indistinguishable from a blue sapphire,
although there is a trick to recognize this gem, put it under a UV light and see how this translucent gemstone becomes a glowing solid rock out of a Sci-Fi movie.


 Pretty nice stone, with a really nice trick.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Studio's a buzz buzz buzzin'

Although the studio is at full capacity Gillian Batcher the studio's scheduling guru (and Owner) is able to map our time for maker's visiting from far and wide this summer. Today there is a class is full swing, goldsmith's working away, and a temporary visitor creating in the studio today. 

Jade Dumrath, object and jewellery maker extraordinaire is in Toronto to celebrate her sister's wedding and needed some time to make some special somethings before the big day. Check out more of her work here. And some of it just below ;o)  - Alexis

Slim ring box, as pictured on Jade's Instagram

Sunday, May 26, 2019

The Reasons You Shouln't Work Out With Jewellery

I am something of a gym rat, and going every day of the week to the gym has exposed me to curious behaviors that otherwise will go unnoticed.

I saw a couple of girls on the stretching room ready to tackle a nice sweat session, and during the conversation that I was totally not eavesdropping, came the fact that one of them was wearing their engagement ring; this left me wondering how many people go through their exercise with jewellery on, and how bad it can be.

Seems obvious in my mind that you definitely should not wear jewellery during a workout, but there might be someone out there that will put vanity or emotion over logic, and keep their ring/earrings/necklace/etc...  

After giving it some thought I came up with some reasons why you should definitely not wear jewellery during a workout.

1. Jewellery is not indestructible:

We know some precious metals are very sturdy and tend to last longer than their cheap counterparts, white gold and platinum being the ones that resist more than any other; but that doesn't make then impervious to damage.

The amount of material makes them somewhat fragile, and small details like prongs and settings can easily get bent, crushed or broken with little pressure; gemstones are at higher risk, some are very delicate and will crack with ease or can be forced out of the setting and get lost forever.

2. There is a risk of injury:

Rings and big dangling earrings can be a hazard during a workout; rings will generate discomfort while griping the equipment and the pressure can actually hurt your fingers; earrings that are too long can get tangled everywhere, poke you during certain movements or hit you during fast phased movements.

3. It can get lost:

Sweat will make your rings slip out of your fingers and a quick movement with your hand can send the ring flying and disappear forever, heavy earrings can fall, and chains will break; Jewellery is pricey, and you definitely don't wasn't to pay for your engagement ring again.

Stud earrings and piercing jewellery are fine, they are small and unlikely to get on the way during your workout session, but if you're not sure, just have a bag or any container to put them in, place that on your gym bag with the rest of your jewellery, and put them in your locker (with a lock... please)

I hope this post reaches everyone that might need the pep talk and prevent some sad moments about lost jewellery or injury; specially you girl from my gym, your ring is really nice.

Have an amazing Sunday,



Saturday, May 25, 2019

Ponte Vecchio - From 'Old Bridge' to 'Goldsmith Bridge'

Last spring I had the pleasure of visiting Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy and it was a beautiful experience to say the least. The Ponte Vecchio, or Old Bridge, was the only bridge across the Arno in Florence until 1218 and was rebuilt after a flood in 1345. During World War II it was the only bridge across the Arno that the fleeing Germans did not destroy.

Ponte Vecchio is a very romantic spot in Florence, with its great views over the river and of the bridge itself. By night, the wooden shutters of the shops create a look like suitcases and wooden chests, making it a very suggestive route to take for an evening passeggiata, or stroll.

There have been shops on Ponte Vecchio since the 13th century. Initially, there were all types of shops, including butchers and fishmongers and, later, tanners, whose "industrial waste" caused a pretty rank stench in the area. In 1593, Ferdinand I decreed that only goldsmiths and jewelers be allowed to have their shops on the bridge in order to improve the well being of all, including their own as they walked over the bridge.

Today there are hundreds of shops alongthe Ponte Vecchio that glisten with gold for your viewing and purchasing pleasure. I know I indulged in a couple keepsakes for myself and I encourage you to do the same next time you find yourself in this Artisan city ~ you wont be disappointed!

Happy Saturday!

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Watermelon Tourmaline

Sneak peek at some design ideas Alexis Kostuk of glaciale goldsmith is brewing up to set these beautiful watermelon tourmaline into some earrings designs.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Greetings from van Walraven Goudsmid

Greetings Everyone!!

Meet the newest member of the Jewel Envy family, Peter van Walraven (me). I'm very excited to begin my journey as a professional goldsmith here. I guess this is where I give a little introduction to myself and how jewellery became a passion of mine, the birth of van Walraven, Goudsmid.

Like many young teens and adults, upon graduating from high-school I had no clue what I wanted to do as I was torn between arts and sciences. I had a born talent for the arts but I also had a burning curiosity for earth and space sciences. I chose earth sciences and proceeded to graduate from Laurentian University in 2011 majoring in geology; I followed the money. After 5+ years traveling/working to remote locations like Greenland, northern Ontario and Northwest Territories, I found myself still painting, drawing and creating to fill that artistic void.

In 2015 it hit me, I needed to create art, but I wanted to also share what I had learned about our little rock, Earth. The epiphany came to me that winter, that gemstones were the link between the two domains of my life. In 2016 I enrolled with the Canadian Gemmological Association and earned my place as a certified gemmologist (FCGmA) and soon after I enrolled in the Jewellery and Metals program at Georgian College. Now three years later I can proudly say I am a certified goldsmith, graduating best in class and in show from Georgian College Graduate Goldsmithing and Silversmithing Certificate program. I finally found where art and science became one for me.

I want my work to not only say it all, but also explain it all. I know with jewellery the story is as precious (if not more precious) than the material within. I want my patrons to be able to understand the stories of the stones and metals they wear. Seriously, it is mind-blowing when you realize what you wear may be older than Earth itself. My style is all about duality and versatility, something you can wear in a professional setting, or not. I draw inspiration from my experiences working within the Earth Science sphere along with graffiti and concept artwork. However, I draw the most inspiration from the story. This is why I enjoy commissions. It is a real treat to be a part of someones special story, and to be able to help make a visions into something tangible and adored.

 If you made it far in reading this, thank you (First blog post here). I am both ecstatic and humbled to be here within this colourful community, and I hope to be able to share what I have learned with everyone here at Jewel Envy.

Cheers, Peter van Walraven 
Check out more at
@pt_raven my Instagram
Facebook page for van Walraven Goudsmid is coming soon.

PS - Goudsmid is goldsmith in Dutch... as you can probably tell from my last name, its where my roots lead too.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

New Equipement at Jewel Envy

Hello Sunday Readers,

Jewel Envy is a collaborative studio environment where we get to make the work we love!  share ideas and help each other flourish. We do this because the arts are important, we respect each other's ideas and we value each other. Through hard work and supportive infrastructure we can succeed in-achieving all of our goals!
Among the new facilities at the studio, we have a Laser Welding machine.  In this laser welding process, the energy gets into the work piece only through heat conduction. The laser melts the materials to be joined along the joint. The melts flow into each other, and the solidified melt connects the materials permanently.  This machine will help to make our work so much easy!  

Laser Welding 

The new Polishing machine is a big improvement too,  the final step in jewelry manufacturing is polishing a newly created piece to a mirror-like finish. This is done with a motor powered polishing machine. The new one is a state of the art, more security because the buffers are behind a plastic protector, and the dust doesn't come out of the machine, but goes in a filter that stop it to spread in the room.

Polishing Machine

Last but not least the new blue multi-locker is amassing! now every one of the gold smiths has their own locker lose to the polisher, to keep their buffers and more!

We improve every day for you! to give the best of our work, design and ideas!
We love what we do and you are a very important part of it!

Have a nice Sunday!



Saturday, May 4, 2019

Born in May? Emeralds are your birthstone

I just love the hues that emeralds come in, don't you?  Although my favourite colour is generally blue, I've always been drawn to the green of emeralds.  Somehow, for me, it's a colour unlike any other gemstone. 
taken from
Here are some fun facts about emeralds:

They are made from the mineral beryl (we'll skip the formal chemical name, that's just too complicated!), and it's not the only gemstone that is beryl (for example, aquamarine is a beryl as well).  What makes it an emerald are the minute impurities of chromium or vanadium which give emeralds their characteristic green colour (yes, I was a biochemistry geek in another life!).

Emeralds are also known to generally be "soft" scoring around 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale of hardness (for comparison, diamonds are a 10), generally because the number of inclusions, or impurities in the stone.

Gachala Emerald, taken from

The first known emerald is thought to have been mined in Egypt around 1500 BC, that's a pretty long time ago!! However, although Columbia is the largest current producing of gemstone quality emerald, the stone is found all over the world, including

There is some interesting (and bizarre) folklore surrounding emeralds, too. Apparently, putting an emerald under your tongue can help you see the future, and they were believed to act as a "truth potion" to indicate whether your lover was telling the truth. Something a bit more believable is that emerald was thought to relax and relieve eye strain.  Maybe I'll have to test the truth of that one!

Here's some more eye candy showing some of the different shapes and cuts that you find for emeralds:
taken from:
That's all from me for today, but why not pop into the studio and check out our gemstone jewellery?

Sunday, April 28, 2019


To learn more about moonstones check out GIA's description  

Visit out Instagram to take a look at a beautiful pair of earrings featuring moonstones.

And as always, don't hesitate to get in touch with us to help you track down the perfect moonstone (or any other gem) to create a custom piece of jewellery for you. 

*all pics were found on google, with specific details noted on a couple.

This shield shape is gorgeous and one of a kind, found through here

Pic from GIA


Saturday, April 27, 2019

Stacking rings and inspiration for a Saturday!

Happy Saturday, readers!

I thought I’d talk a bit about one of my favourite British jewellers, Wendy Ramshaw,

who passed away at the beginning of this year. Wendy was a very successful goldsmith with a distinctive style, and you can find her pieces all over the world.
taken from:

There are a lot of things that I like and admire about her work, but what I remember and think about the most are her iconic stacking rings that she made to be stored on unique lathe-turned pillars. Here are a few examples:
taken from:
taken from:

Aren’t they amazing?  If you have a chance to see her work in person, I really recommend it.

Stacking rings remain very popular. They’re great because they offer a multitude of different configurations, and whenever I see them, I think of Wendy Ramshaw.  Here are some examples from the studio:

Visit the studio to check out our selection of stacking rings, learn to make your own, or commission some of your own unique rings!


Sunday, April 14, 2019

Happy Sunday Jewel Envy Followers!

Its Jess here, and I'm back today with blog #2 of the weekend. I'm a fan of tradition and since yesterday's post was about the folklore and mythology of my absolute favourite gemstone, I figured I would stick to the theme and give you some background on another fan favourite of mine.....drumroll....Amazonite!

A true beauty, soft, semi-opaque, and a blueish turquoise hue, reminding me of the waters of a deserted island, Amazonite is a stone associated with the throat chakra. This is the part of our energy body that we associate with effective communication. It is said that wearing Amazonite will help to enhance your ability to delivery presentations, negotiate and have impactful conversations.

Legends have it that Amazonite was originally found in the Amazon river (hence the name). The coolest part of the mythology to me is it's association with the fierce mythical warrior women- the Amazons. These women were a force to be reckoned with, adorning the Amazonite stone on their sheilds during battle, they believed that it gave them the ability to heal and protect. This is why it is referred to as the stone of feminine power and courage.

So you may want to think about incorporating a piece of Amazonite in your jewellery box, ready to go for those days you want to embody that warrior spirit or need just that little extra boost of courage for the day! If you would like that custom piece of courage made just for you, come in and see us! We've got you covered :)

Thanks for stopping by Sunday Readers! This was a fun journey for me into my love for gemstones and mythology this weekend - see you again next month! Enjoy your Sunday :)